By Ashley Aarti Cooper

Ashley Aarti Cooper is a storyteller and yogi. She is one of the organizers of the Restorative Arts and Yoga event at Granlibakken Tahoe. You can contact her at aacooper18@gmail.com or follow her on Instagram at @ashley_aarti. Learn more about Ashley and her practice here.

Yoga overlooking Lake TahoeWhy do we go on retreat? If you are reading this, you might not. Yet. Those of us who do retreat from our every day lives do so with eager hearts, practically running from our duties and tasks and diving heart first into the moment of surreal reprieve.

When you retreat, you will find that all of your duties and tasks will be waiting for you upon your return. Some of you may even find that the world has continued its orbit without you, perhaps giving others in your life an opportunity to rise to an occasion not often left for them to try out.

The reasons we retreat can be many: to make new friends, to try new things, to explore within the safety of a nurturing environment.

The reason you will continue to retreat time and time again will become apparent shortly after your arrival. It is because by retreating from our every day life, we feed our soul, our bodies, our hearts. Clarissa Pinkola Estes calls it homing. It is our right as humans who give so much of ourselves to replenish our stores of energy and inspiration. It is necessary if we are to continue on with the full force of our potential, strength, and creativity. And all of these things are necessary if we are to continue to serve our individual dharma, or life purpose.

“It is right and proper that we eke out, liberate, take, make, connive to get, assert our right to go home. Home is a sustained mood or sense that allows us to experience feelings not necessarily sustained in the mundane world: wonder, vision, peace, freedom from worry, freedom from demands, freedom from constant clacking.

Whatever revives balance is what is essential. That is home.

There is not only time to contemplate, but also to learn, and uncover the forgotten, the disused, and the buried. There we can imagine the future and also pore over the scar maps of the psyche, learning what led to what, and where we will go next.”

You know home, and it is not any single physical place. It is that peaceful, soulful, mindless moment in your asana or meditation practice. It is that feeling of relaxing into your car seat as you take a drive with the windows down and no pressing destination. It is the flow of painting, dancing, writing, or singing. It is in the noticing of the sun or a warm breeze on your skin, the gentle give of earth beneath your feet or between your fingers. It is the laughter you share with a special friend when you have nowhere else to go.

Sometimes it is total peace and joy. Other times going home is an opportunity to reflect, revisit our intentions, remap our next steps. We may be licking our wounds or strengthening ourselves for a march ahead. We may simply need rest.

The reasons to retreat are many, but one thing is certain: stepping away from our every day lives in order to settle once again in the seat of our power is the only way to live a life with integrity, grace, and creativity.

hanging hammock

Click here to learn more and to register for one of Granlibakken's Sierra Soul retreats.

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Tahoe Rim Trail

The Tahoe Rim Trail intersects with Granlibakken property.

The snow is melting, and hiking and biking season is nearly here! The Tahoe Rim Trail is a well-developed trail that circumvents Lake Tahoe, a total of 165 miles. Granlibakken Tahoe is the only hotel property that intersects with the Rim Trail. That means that whether you are just planning a few day hikes, or if you are planning on completing the full trail, Granlibakken offers a great stopping point.

For backpackers planning on doing the full trail, Granlibakken offers a variety of amenities and services to give you some respite during your adventure. You can mail non-perishable food and supplies to our address (please contact us before doing so!), and book a night so that you can get some rest in a real bed and enjoy a hot shower. Our pool, hot tub, and sauna offer a great place to relax and unwind for an evening. Refresh your tired legs with a rejuvenating massage at our onsite Day Spa. Most lodging packages include a hot buffet breakfast, perfect for fueling up for your journey. You won't find a breakfast like this out on the trail! Everything from eggs and bacon to yogurt and fresh fruit, not to mention delicious hot coffee roasted by Peerless Coffee Roasters.

For those just interested in day hikes or mountain biking, Granlibakken is a great choice. The Tahoe Rim trail portion from Tahoe City to Paige Meadows intersects with Granlibakken property. It is a 3 mile hike to Paige Meadows, a 6 mile round trip. This is also a popular mountain biking trail, with some technical parts but mostly a fun single-track, great for all abilities. Paige Meadows is a gorgeous destination, especially in early summer, when the wildflowers are in bloom. Enjoy a hike or bike through the series of connected meadows surrounded by the Sierras, where you can enjoy not only the plant life, but also an abundance of wildlife.

Granlibakken Tahoe is also close to many other popular trails and destinations. Located just about 5 miles from the Pacific Crest Trail, Granlibakken is a great place for thru-hikers to stop for a rest. Granlibakken Tahoe is also located close to Desolation Wilderness on Lake Tahoe's West Shore, offering miles of hiking trails for outdoor enthusiasts of all abilities. Check out some of our favorite hiking trails nearby here.

No matter how you want to experience the outdoors in Lake Tahoe this spring, summer and fall, Granlibakken has the accommodations, amenities, and resources to make your journey a memorable one.

Desolation Wilderness

Desolation Wilderness offers great backpacking and day-hiking

 

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This is the last installment of a 3 part series introducing Yoga Nidra. Read Part 1 here, and Part 2 here. Join Lauri at the Restorative Arts and Yoga Festival, May 19-21 at Granlibakken Tahoe.

Now that you have a good idea of what Yoga Nidra is and how to create a powerful and potent Sankalpa/Intention for you practice, we can talk about prep and expectations!

First off, how to prepare.

This is an "in general" guide for Yoga Nidra during any class or listening to a recording at home and not just specific to the upcoming event.

1.  Dress comfortably!  Yoga pants and a tank are great, just make sure to bring some socks and a sweatshirt or cover-up to keep you warm.  Body temp drops as we get deeply relaxed during practice.

 

2.  Build a Nest!  This might be the most important.  If you aren't comfortable while lying down, you will just end up meditating on being uncomfortable and that's not fun!  Here's the setup:  Yoga mat, blanket over the yoga mat lengthwise, blanket width-wise at mid-torso, small blanket or soft item under your head (not too big), extra blanket to cover up with, and a bolster under your knees.  Get cozy and comfy but supported.

 

Yoga Nidra experience

3.  Have a Sankalpa/Intention ready to go!  Once the meditation gets going, you don't want to be scrambling in your mind for a meaningful intention to work with.  We will take some time at the workshop to develop one, but if you practice at home or in class, make sure you've got one committed to memory and ready to manifest! Learn about creating your own Sankalpa here.

 

Second, What to Expect.

 

1.  You will be lying down for approximately 45 minutes.  There are shorter versions absolutely, but I would advise a minimum of 30 minutes.  The shorties are relaxing but just a teaser and can be challenging to truly drop into the Theta brainwaves and parasympathetic response that make Yoga Nidra so powerful.  Give yourself the time.  You deserve it!

Relax while practicing Yoga Nidra

2.  You will be guided the entire time by the instructor.  No need to worry about what to do.  Just follow the sound of your yoga instructors voice and if you find yourself lost in thought, come back to the guided instructions.

 

3.  At the forefront, those practicing Yoga Nidra experience a deep sense of peace, calm and connection to something greater than themselves.  People express finding a deep stillness inside them, an equanimity.  Deep relaxation is most common (and yes, sometimes you may even fall asleep.  No harm done!).

Other experiences are "revelations or epiphanies";  you may find the answer to a problem, or a tough decision or action you need to make is revealed to you clearly in the practice.  You may have emotions of all variety rise up, sometimes unexpected.  They are welcome guests.  They are just energy and will arise and dissolve on their own......the key is to witness rather than engage in them.

You may see colors or shapes or have profound visions or memories arise.  A common experience is a deep sense of release and letting go.  All of these experiences are part of the profound Healing power of Yoga Nidra.

Group practicing Yoga Nidra sessions

Well, that is all for now.  I hope to see you at the upcoming Restorative Arts and Yoga Festival so you can experience this practice first hand.  And if you are interested in learning more or in private Yoga Nidra sessions, I am available at my office in Truckee and in the comfort of your own home.  You can learn more and contact me at www.LauriGlenn.com

Watch Lauri Glenn's Introduction to Yoga Nidra: Part 3 here:

Lauri Glenn  is a yoga instructor and massage therapist as well as an avid outdoor enthusiast in the Tahoe region. She will be one of our workshop leaders at the upcoming Restorative Arts and Yoga Festival this May. Learn more about Lauri and her practice here.
Click here to learn more about the Restorative Arts and Yoga Festival.

 

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Denay Joy Woodman has danced throughout her life in a joyful somatic exploration of many different movement forms including fusion partner dance, yoga, massage, belly dance, blues, swing, salsa, African, jazz, modern, pilates, kickboxing, tango, ballet, theatre, tai chi, cocrea and more! Music and movement course through her blood, heart, and soul, continuing to offer their magic anew.

Denay discovered Nia Technique in 2008 and dove into her Nia trainings,  attaining a white belt in 2010 and blue belt in 2014. These have melded into a clear and deep passion for guiding people back into the joy and pleasure of their body, mind, emotion and spirits.

What is Nia? Done barefoot to diverse and inspiring music, Nia is a transformational movement practice that offers remembrance of how to be joyful, alive and expressive in your unique body. Nia is holistic, engaging all the realms of experience. Drawing from the dance arts, martial arts and the healing arts, Nia creates purposeful movement. This intentional movement helps you grow and embody your full potential. It is a solo and community practice which calms the mind to relieve stress, increases grace, flexibility, and endurance. It also builds reservoirs of Chi, strengthens muscles, balance and agility and increases the pleasure of living and dancing in your body.

Denay currently lives, loves and plays in Nevada County with her Partner Martin and her 5 year old, Finnbud, sharing offerings of Nia, fusion partner dance, and Women's Butterfly Gatherings. She is also a new co-owner of Core Movement Center in Nevada City,Ca.

Denay will be leading a Nia class at RAY 2017. This is a great opportunity to explore this movement, become more flexible, and have some fun.  Unfold, awaken, and play during Denay's class, and discover something new about yourself.

Come dance the change you want to see in the world!

Learn more information on the Restorative Arts and Yoga Festival.

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Granlibakken Tahoe is proud to be a member of Tahoe Truckee Sierra Disposal's pilot composting program. Through this "yellow bag" program, Granlibakken, partnered with TTSD, is hoping to further its environmental goals and reduce the amount of biodegradable waste that ends up in land.

Composting is a truly amazing process, where organic waste is converted to humus, which can be used as an additive to soil to make it more rich in nutrients. It is pretty awesome to think about our food, lawn, and other organic waste being converted into a rich and valuable soil amendment.

Composting not only helps to create rich soil, but it also eliminates waste from the landfills. Granlibakken has been working to lessen its impact on the environment, and being a part of this pilot program is a part of that. The waste diverted from landfills goes towards a useful and valuable purpose, while biodegrading more efficiently than it would in a landfill.

Granlibakken's location in a peaceful wooded valley just steps from the shores of Lake Tahoe really emphasizes the importance of composting and preserving the ecosystem in which we live. Composting is a step in the right direction. Currently, we are only able to compost organic food waste through this program, but we are looking forward to it growing and becoming a more robust composting program that will serve not only businesses, but also residences in the area to make Tahoe a healthier place.

Learn more about Granlibakken's environmental efforts here.

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Tahoe Yoga

Relax into a heartfelt practice surrounded by the Lake Tahoe pines.

It's been a great winter for us here at Granlibakken Tahoe, but it hasn't been easy. Our staff has had all hands on deck doing snow removal and working to ensure that our property is safe for our visitors. Although winter seems to be holding on here in Lake Tahoe (more snow predicted on Thursday!), we are working hard to complete the Soul Shelter, a meditation and relaxation space located in the heart of Granlibakken property.

We conceived the idea of the Soul Shelter after hearing from many of our guests and retreat attendees that they would really appreciate a space to meditate and relax while attending a retreat or vacationing in Tahoe. We listened, and thought that a meditation space would fit in really well with our existing location, nestled in a peaceful wooded valley just steps from Lake Tahoe. The Soul Shelter will be open to all guests come this summer, and will provide a space to reconnect, unplug, and relax whilst visiting beautiful Lake Tahoe.

Earlier this winter, Granlibakken worked on refinishing the interior of the room, outfitting it with new flooring and repainting it with neutral colors. It's amazing to see what just a new coat of paint can do for a room! We just got some decor and props in for the new yoga room, and are looking forward to decking it out to really give the space a warm and inviting feel. Yoga mats, blocks, and blankets will be available to guests, and we got some greenery, baskets, and cubbies for shoes as well. The room is really coming together as the space that we envisioned when we first embarked on this project.

We look forward to sharing this special space with you, and we hope that you check it out once it is finished!

Learn more about the Soul Shelter.

Learn more about Wellness at Granlibakken, and check out our conference and retreat packages.

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Soul ShelterMeditation SpaceRelaxation Center


 

See What 6,300 ft. Can Do For Your Soul at Granlibakken Tahoe

Imagine a soulful weekend where you reconnect with nature, invigorate yourself with daily yoga sessions, and enjoy music and meditation in abundance. Surrounded by the majestic yet peaceful scenery of North Lake Tahoe, reset and relax before a busy summer season.

Hosted by Granlibakken Tahoe, a family-owned resort and retreat center in Tahoe City, California, this one-of-a-kind event is designed for those just starting their yoga practice and experienced yogis alike. Granlibakken is just a short walk from the breathtaking shores of Lake Tahoe, and is situated on 74 tranquil acres of National Forest land. Comfortable lodging and meals are available onsite, as well as a day spa and miles of hiking trails to explore. The full weekend of events is just $240, which includes access to all workshops and classes as well as meals.

hiking-yoga

Explore Granlibakken's 74 acres with Ashley Aarti Cooper on an eco-therapy hike.

Shawna West, the event organizer, says, “RAY offers a unique blend of therapeutics, yoga, meditation and inspirational teachings allowing each person a deep and true state of healing and restoration.” Tahoe has long been recognized as a premier destination for health and wellness pursuits. The abundance of outdoor activities available and the rustic beauty of the area naturally inspire an appreciation of the outdoors and a healthy lifestyle. Capitalizing on the talent and expertise of Tahoe practitioners and instructors, Granlibakken brings an event unlike any other to the yoga retreat landscape. Over the course of two soulful days, RAY 2017 offers workshops that range from an introduction to hula-hooping to a sound-healing meditation class. Join Emily Weer in a cacao ceremony followed by kirtan, a musical form of storytelling and meditation.  Set your own Sankalpa, or heartfelt intention, through a relaxing Yoga Nidra practice hosted by Lauri Glenn. If inversions are your thing, you won’t want to miss the class taught by Meghan Ruiz that will help you to expand your practice and become more confident upside-down.  Celebrating the many different modalities within the alternative health and wellness world, this event is designed to inspire, to teach, and to help attendees grow in their own practice.

Ashley Aarti Cooper, one of the RAY 2017 event organizers, summed it up by saying, "North Tahoe - Truckee is a really incredible place. So many creatives and healers have made their homes and practices here. It is time that we open up the hidden secret of this side of our community to the rest of the world so that those who are looking for respite, inspiration, or a place to take care of themselves know that we are right here in their backyard." Ashley will be leading an eco-hike session, blending science and natural education as well as yoga and meditation to help participants see the Sierras through a different lens. Ashley has hosted and helped to organize many workshops and classes at Granlibakken Tahoe in the past, and is familiar with the many trails that intersect and weave through Granlibakken’s property. Her great respect and passion for the outdoors will shared with her fellow hikers as they enjoy the therapeutic benefits that spending time in nature can uniquely bring to a lifestyle.

Meditation retreat

Enjoy a restorative sound healing class with Emily Weer.

May is a gorgeous time to be in Lake Tahoe, with the landscape coming to life after a long winter, and the lake at its fullest. Wildflowers are in bloom throughout the area, and the days are long, sunny, and gorgeous. The Restorative Arts and Yoga Festival will be a wonderful time to appreciate the beauty of the Sierras while sharing a practice with Tahoe’s vibrant community of instructors and healers. From the towering pine trees to grassy meadows, and from Ki Gong to Vinyasa flow classes for all abilities, there is so much to explore inwardly and outwardly in Tahoe. RAY 2017 will bring the best of Tahoe to you, so that you can explore a new practice or meditation, or crystalize your existing intentions and expand your existing practice.

Vinyasa Lake Tahoe

Awaken with a Vinyasa flow each morning

For those who are interested in other wellness offerings by Granlibakken Tahoe, be sure to check out their full Sierra Soul series of wellness events. With RAY coming up in May and the Wellness Weekend coming up in November, Granlibakken works to bring well-being to locals and visitors alike throughout the year. Granlibakken Tahoe also offers the perfect setting for your next retreat or event. With eco-friendly facilities that can accommodate groups of 4-400, an experienced sales and event coordinating staff, lodging onsite, and an unparalleled setting, your next retreat or event will be truly unforgettable.

 

 

Find more information on wellness retreats in Tahoe and for the event schedule.

 

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"There's no wrong notes when you sing from the heart," says Emily Weer, quoting her teacher about her sound therapy practice. Emily has more than twenty years of experience in the healing arts, and is a full-time bodyworker, yoga and meditation teacher, and musician based out of Truckee, California. Through many years as a professional athlete, yoga and healing work have been a true blessing to Emily, and she has found that they complement the more demanding aspects of life. It is Emily's truth to give back and share that healing energy with people of all ages. Her powerful nurturing and caring comes through her music & teachings, which she generously offers from her wild and free heart.

Emily's broad scope and experience are evident in her classes, which embrace the wild and primal sides of our nature, bringing subconscious musings, worries, and joys to the surface as one enjoys the healing properties that meditation guided by soothing tones and music can bring. Emily says that "The essence of sound healing is coming back to nature," and she uses her vibrational therapy to allow her students to overcome the distractions of the modern world, and to find a space within themselves where they can be calm and address their challenges head-on.

Emily will be leading a cacao ceremony followed by a kirtan practice at RAY 2017. Attendees are welcomed to sip a small cup of cacao, which will  help to elevate their experience by unlocking their heart connection and releasing any negative emotions. Kirtan is a form of storytelling, rooted in the Sanskrit word Kīrtana; meaning "narrating, reciting, telling, describing" of an idea or story.* Whether you are confident musically or not, Emily's class will help you to release any shyness you may have regarding singing or chanting with a group. As Emily says, "The less that you think about it, and the more that you just do it, the more freedom you will experience."

Emily's class at the Restorative Arts and Yoga Festival is sure to be an incredible experience mentally, physically, and spiritually. Check out this video to learn more about the art of sound healing and the different instruments used here:

Click here to learn more about the Restorative Arts and Yoga Festival.

 

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*Source: Wikipedia


Yoga RetreatWelcome to part two of our 3-part series discussing the powerfully healing practice of Yoga Nidra.  In Part One, we discussed What is Yoga Nidra?  Today we discuss one of the distinguishing aspects of the practice, Sankalpa, or heartful intention.  The word Sankalpa breaks down into two parts.  San meaning "of the highest truth, of the heart" and Kalpa meaning "a vow followed above all others". So, when combined, a Sankalpa is a vow you commit to that serves your highest truth (I.E: purpose, dharma, intention).

There are two kinds of Sankalpa.

One is a broader, sometimes sweeping, general statement of a desire for a state of being or achievement you wish to realize that will have an overall positive effect in your life.  For example, "I am joy", "I am unconditional love" or " I am compassion".

The second kind,  I have recently heard referred to as "stepping stone Sankalpa" which I think is a great description.  This or these sankalpas may be "stepping stones" to help you to get to the broader statement above or they may be completely unrelated.  But often, a Sankalpa you feel is unrelated may reveal itself to be quite connected as it evolves.  In reference to the broad statement above of "I am Joy", a stepping stone sankalpa might sound something like this:  "I recognize and embrace the moments of happiness during my day."

So, there are some things to consider in developing and stating your Sankalpa.

First, your Sankalpa is best stated in the present tense as though it already exists.  By speaking your intention in this way, it reinforces it as truth.  And, it begins to create a neural pathway of it's existence in our nervous systems.  Pretty amazing.

Second, you want to explore your initial Sankalpa for it's deeper, heartfelt meaning.  For example, if you wish to quit smoking, you can ask yourself "what will my life look like, feel like, when I succeed at quitting"?  Your answer may be that you'll feel healthier, more energized, inspired, vibrant, that you'll most likely live longer to enjoy the planet, your family, your friends.   So, you may form a more heartful intention from this.  "I honor my health and cherish my life therefore I choose a smoke-free life".

Third, your Sankalpa may and most likely will evolve as you realize these "stepping stone" sankalpas along the way.  For example, after you have quite smoking and begin feeling healthier, you may shift your sankalpa to a more general desire for the state of being referenced earlier.  Such as "I am vibrant and full of energy" or "I embrace life with Joy" or simply "I am Joy".

So, you may see how this process of Sankalpa can begin to unravel itself not unlike peeling away  the layers of an onion.

Lastly, it is suggested to work with just One Sankalpa until it is realized rather than bouncing around to many different ones.  The specific words may evolve to what resonates better with you but stay with one until it is realized or no longer resonates for you.

In conclusion, don't worry about whether your first Sankalpa is perfect.  Just pick one and begin working with it.  It will reveal itself to you. And as you weave your Sankalpa into the practice of Yoga Nidra consciously, it begins to weave it's own way into your subconsious, your physiology and your life positively.   And the possiblities are limitless.

Thanks for joining me for part two of this 3-part series.  I look forward to sharing more with you in Part Three and at the Restorative Arts & Yoga Festival this May where I'll be presenting a Yoga Nidra Workshop alongside my co-teacher Ashley Cooper.

 

Watch Lauri Glenn's Introduction to Yoga Nidra, Part Two here:

 


Lauri Glenn  is a yoga instructor and massage therapist as well as an avid outdoor enthusiast in the Tahoe region. She will be one of our workshop leaders at the upcoming Restorative Arts and Yoga Festival this May. Learn more about Lauri and her practice here.
Click here to learn more about the Restorative Arts and Yoga Festival.

 

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Tahoe City Hotels

When you're looking for a Tahoe City hotel in the wintertime, convenience is everything. With so much to do in North Lake Tahoe and somewhat unpredictable weather, you want to be sure that you are close to the action. Granlibakken's location close to many of Tahoe's premier ski resorts as well as the many amenities included in all stays will ensure that your next winter getaway is easy and memorable.

Granlibakken offers its own skiing and sledding hill onsite. The 300 vertical foot ski hill is perfect for beginners and young families. Tickets are just $30 non-holiday for adults, and $20 non-holiday for kids, and are always half-priced for lodging guests. The intimate hill is laid-back, with fewer crowds than some of the larger resorts. Granlibakken also offers lessons for beginners, with competitive beginner packages that include a lift ticket, a lesson, and equipment rentals. Sledding is always included in full-day lift tickets, great for the kids with a short attention span, or kids at heart who want the best of both worlds. The entire ski and sled hill can be viewed from the warming hut at the base, so you can enjoy a drink while the kids learn to ski.

Tahoe City Hotel

The Ski and Sled Hill Warming Hut

Speaking of the warming hut, Granlibakken offers some of the best Mexican food in Tahoe at the log cabin at the base of the hill, which is the original structure from the 1940s, when the hill was first developed. With a wood stove in the center of the cabin and a sunny deck overlooking the slopes, it is the perfect place to warm up and enjoy a snack or lunch. The firepit outside is lit during the afternoon on the weekends, with s'mores available in the warming hut to roast for a quintessential family favorite.

Inside the warming hut Granlibakken also boasts a full-service rental shop, with alpine ski equipment, cross-country ski equipment, snowboards, and snowshoes. For those who prefer not to go downhill, Granlibakken's 1.5 mile groomed cross-country skiing and snowshoe course around the property is great for enjoying the peaceful woods surrounding the property. For more of an adventure, you can ski or snowshoe to Paige Meadows, a popular destination for cross-country skiers and snowshoers, and about a 6 mile round-trip from Granlibakken.

Skiing and sledding are available to the public, but it definitely pays to stay at Granlibakken. Ski and sled tickets at Granlibakken's hill are half-priced for lodging guests, which is a great value. A hot buffet breakfast is included in all rates, and offers the best way to fuel up for a winter day in Tahoe. Our Tahoe City hotel is located just one mile from downtown Tahoe City, and a 15-20 minute drive from Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows, and a 10 minute drive to Homewood. Guests enjoy a location just one mile from the shores of Lake Tahoe, situated in a peaceful 74 acre valley.

When you're looking for places to stay in North Lake Tahoe, look no further. Granlibakken will be your home base for your Tahoe vacation this winter.

Book your stay today.

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