Orrin Ellingsen standing by his skis." ( Dave Bienert)
Orrin Ellingsen standing by his skis.” ( Dave Bienert)

It is no contest that Tahoe is one of the premier vacation destinations in the world, and as and one of the first ski resorts to open in Tahoe, Granlibakken has been host to generations of visitors who come to the 74 acre wooded property to make memories and seek thrills. From its incarnation as a winter recreation hill for the posh Tahoe Tavern to its current operations as a family-owned conference center, lodge, and ski/sled hill, Granlibakken has a rich and varied history in the Tahoe region.

In 1926, the valley just outside of Tahoe City where Granlibakken is situated was acquired by the Tahoe Tavern for use as their winter sports grounds. Granlibakken’s location and sheltered ski hill were a winning combination, and Granlibakken’s renown in the snow sports world was cemented.

In 1929, the ski hill won the bid to host the Olympic ski jumping trials for the 1932 Lake Placid Olympics, putting Tahoe on the map as a winter sports destination. In the years before WWII, the Olympic ski hill became a staple in the Tahoe community, as a proving ground for many of Tahoe City’s youth and visitors alike.

In 1947. Kjell “Rusty” Rustad and his wife Marion leased the land from the Tahoe Tavern, naming the hill “Granlibakken,” reminiscent of a ski hill that Rusty enjoyed in Norway. Granlibakken means “hill sheltered by fir trees” in Norwegian. Rusty extended the existing rope tow, and added a smaller rope tow for beginners. The Granlibakken ski hill began to gain a reputation as one of the most accessible and best places to ski in Tahoe City, with ski jumps for adults and juniors alike and transportation to and from Tahoe City via a Weasel snowcat. Rusty built a log warming hut and some lodging rooms at the base of the ski hill, making Granlibakken’s first foray into the world of hospitality.

In 1958, the UC Berkeley International House purchased the land across the road from the Granlibakken ski hill, and built a lodge, swimming pool, and dining area for Berkeley alumni use. In 1978, the property was purchased by its current owners, the Parson family.

Since the Parsons acquired Granlibakken, they have preserved its old-Tahoe charm, while making improvements. Granlibakken Tahoe is now known as a family-friendly resort with a number of great amenities onsite. Granlibakken’s successful conference center has become a favorite for conference planners, and is also host to family reunions and weddings. The wide variety of lodging room options and the choice of several types of meeting spaces onsite make Granlibakken the perfect location to hold a gathering for groups of any size.

Granlibakken’s ski and sled hill is now one of the oldest continually operated ski resorts in California. You can still picture the early days of Granlibakken when you enter the log and post beamed ski hut at the base of the hill, which still boasts some architectural components from its original construction. The Granlibakken ski hill is the perfect place for beginners and families to get on the slopes while avoiding the crowds at larger resorts. The whole hill can be viewed from the lodge, and the terrain is approachable for beginner and intermediate skiers and riders.

Sledding was added by the Parsons to expand Granlibakken’s offerings. The sledding hill is guaranteed to be a crowd-pleaser, fun for kids and adults alike. And if you can’t decide between the activities, fear not, because a skiing day pass is also valid for sledding at Granlibakken.

Granlibakken has come a long way from its humble roots as a recreational hill for The Tahoe Tavern. Granlibakken Tahoe has been in the business of making memories for generations, and will continue to provide families unforgettable experiences for many years to come.


Granlibakken Conference Center & Lodge

Granlibakken Tahoe

The holidays are a time to be with family and to enjoy good food and good company. Granlibakken understands how to make your holidays truly special and unforgettable. All of our lodging rates include our holiday meal packages, from a full Thanksgiving dinner with all of the trimmings, to a Christmas Day feast, and finally, a New Year’s buffet dinner with a champagne toast.

Cheers to 2012!

Cheers to 2016 at Granlibakken Tahoe

Our lodging rooms can accommodate any group size, and many of our rooms have their own kitchens and living areas, which make a great home away from home. Sit by your townhouse’s fireplace after the annual Christmas day torchlight parade to warm up with some hot cocoa, or prepare your own signature drink in your studio’s kitchen on New Year’s Eve.Leave it to Granlibakken to ensure that everyone in your party is well fed and entertained. Our Thanksgiving Special includes a turkey dinner (vegetarian options available) with all of the trimmings, and you get to take home the leftovers! Our Christmas dinner is sure to impress, with Christmas favorites and decadent desserts, followed by our annual torchlight parade. New Year’s Eve in Tahoe is truly special, and with a delicious buffet dinner and a complimentary champagne toast, there is no better place to ring in the new year than Granlibakken. Additionally, Granlibakken’s historic ski and sled hill is located just steps from lodging rooms, and day passes to the ski and sled hill are half off for all guests. Our day spa located onsite is sure to relax you after a long day of activities, and leave you feeling rejuvenated. The Treetop Adventure Park located onsite is fun for the whole family, and is open on the weekends throughout the winter. And of course, Lake Tahoe as well as some of North Tahoe’s best ski resorts are located just minutes away.

Come to Granlibakken for some holiday cheer, and let us make your holidays memorable, fun, and truly special. Visit our special packages page for more information. http://granlibakken.com/lodging-packages/


Free breakfast at Granlibakken for all guests all the time!

Free breakfast at Granlibakken for all guests all the time!

How many times have you heard that breakfast is the fuel for your day? A lot, I bet. Here at Granlibakken, we take our first meal of the day seriously. Our hearty buffet breakfast is served year-round, and is included in all rates. With a variety of options, from fresh fruit to omelets to muffins to quiche, there is sure to be something that pleases everyone on the menu.

When in Tahoe, you want to spend time doing activities and having fun, and our amazing breakfast is sure to give you the energy needed to have a fulfilling and adventurous day. Whether you will be spending your day on the slopes, hiking through the woods, or driving around the lake to take in the views, Granlibakken is here to ensure that you are well prepared for whatever adventure you get into.

Granlibakken Conference Center in Lake Tahoe.

Granlibakken Conference and Meeting Center in Lake Tahoe.

Most of the time a continental breakfast is an unimpressive affair, with mini boxes of cereal, bread and bagels to toast, and maybe bananas if you are lucky. That just isn’t the way that we do it here at Granlibakken. Every day there are breakfast specials, from eggs benedict to french toast. In addition, have your fill of fresh cut fruit, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, bread pudding, and a wide assortment of baked goods. Did I mention that we also serve delicious, local Peerless coffee to give you a jump start on your day?

So whatever your plans in Tahoe are, we here at Granlibakken want to make sure that your day gets off to the right start. Our breakfast is included in all of the rates, and is sure to prepare you for your Tahoe adventure.

Visitors and locals alike are drawn to Lake Tahoe’s natural beauty, world-class entertainment and year-round activities. Granlibakken, nestled in the trees next to Lake Tahoe and steps from Tahoe City, the heart and soul of the area, is the ideal spot for your next retreat, conference, vacation or special event. Find out more about our resort.


Granlibakken at the Autumn Food and Wine Festival 2015.

Granlibakken at the Autumn Food and Wine Festival 2015.

Granlibakken has great food, anyone who has stayed here can tell you that. From our hot buffet breakfast included with all reservations and served daily, to our conference meal plans that offer a variety of different options to suit even the most discerning diner, we pride ourselves on serving amazing meals. However, it is not often that we get the opportunity to win awards for our food, and so we were very excited to win first place for wine and third place for food and wine pairing at this year’s Autumn Food and Wine Festival.

Granilabakken won third place for their food and wine pairing at the 2015 Autumn Food and Wine Festival.

Granilabakken won third place for their food and wine pairing at the 2015 Autumn Food and Wine Festival.

Our winning wine, Hallburg Family Ranch’s 2012 Emeritus Pinot Noir, was an immediate favorite with the judges. With its delightful berry flavors, crisp acidity, and rich tannins, we knew that it would be a winner. Our executive chef, Ron Eber, and his staff next had to decide what to pair with such a bold wine. They chose an equally as bold pairing, lamb meatballs and fried macaroni and cheese. Wine and cheese is a classic pairing, so why not bring a little comfort food into the mix? Our meal was also a favorite with the judges, winning third overall in the pairing category.

Next time that you’re at Granlibakken, we are sure that you will find your own winning pairing of food and wine (or orange juice, if it is breakfast). Ron Eber and the kitchen staff are constantly working to create meals that are delicious and exceptional, and there is something for everyone. The award that we won this year at the Food and Wine Festival is just the icing on the cake, or the cheese on the macaroni, if you will.

Visitors and locals alike are drawn to Lake Tahoe’s natural beauty, world-class entertainment and year-round activities. Granlibakken, nestled in the trees next to Lake Tahoe and steps from Tahoe City, the heart and soul of the area, is the ideal spot for your next retreat, conference, vacation or special event. Find out more about our resort.



The U.S. Department of Energy recognized Placer County for its leadership in improving energy efficiency and showcased Granlibakken conference center and resort at Lake Tahoe.











Placer County was recently recognized by the Department of Energy as a leader in energy efficiency, and Granlibakken was named as the showcase project for their efforts. We couldn’t be more proud that our hard work implementing energy efficiency measures has been recognized.

In today’s world, it is important to not only operate a business that is economically sustainable, but it is crucial that the business is also environmentally sustainable. You may have heard of the bottom line of a balance sheet, pertaining to the profits of a business. Here at Granlibakken, we feel that the bottom line should be more encompassing, and we use the triple-bottom line approach toward our operations. The triple bottom line pertains not only to financial goals, but also to social and environmental goals. We work hard to ensure that our resort is profitable, but we also know that in an area like North Lake Tahoe, it is important to support the vibrant community around us. We host events that benefit the community, like the Women’s Wellness Weekend that brings together local professionals, connecting them with attendees interested in learning from them. We are constantly working with the community to encourage more tourism to this area, and to support local businesses through partnerships and cross-marketing.

Lake Tahoe is sometimes called “The Sapphire of the Sierras,” and we know that it is vitally important to protect this gem. This brings us to the third component of our triple bottom line, the environmental bottom line. Over the last few years, we have installed a more energy efficient heating and cooling system, replaced old appliances with newer, more efficient ones in our kitchen, and taken a number of other measures to reduce our carbon footprint. Since implementing this program, we have an energy savings of 44%, which we are very proud of. We are looking forward to continuing our work with Placer County and the Department of Energy to further increase our environmental sustainability so that Lake Tahoe and Granlibakken can continue to be a destination for travelers in years to come.


To learn more about our efforts, please visit our page at http://www.granlibakken.com/environment.php.

Keep sierra Green

winter-wedding-2-650Picking a wedding venue is no easy task. After all, you want your special day to be unforgettable without having to stress about the details. Enter Granlibakken Tahoe. With our comprehensive wedding packages, our amazing wooded venue close to pristine Lake Tahoe, and our wide variety of accommodations available onsite, we have all of the tools to make your day memorable, romantic, and absolutely perfect.

We know that if you are planning your dream wedding, things must be flawless down to the last detail. Our wedding package includes personalized, friendly, and prompt service from our onsite Wedding Coordinator, who will be able to help you plan your big day, doing anything from recommending florists to conducting site tours and tastings. Our wedding package also includes setting up and cleaning up the wedding space, linens, umbrellas, house centerpieces and chairs, and housing for up to 14 people in our Big Pine Lodge, located right on the Big Pine Lawn.

Imagine tying the knot on our beautiful Big Pine terrace, surrounded by your friends, family, and ethereal pines. Imagine afterwards seamlessly moving to the reception located onsite, and within easy walking distance from the ceremony and guests’ lodging rooms. Imagine an amazing dinner prepared by our award-winning chef, Ron Eber, followed by a night of dancing, drinks, and laughter. Granlibakken is well-equipped to host your special day, and our staff will ensure that all of the details are in place so that you can enjoy your wedding day to the fullest.

And right now, we are offering a Winter Wedding special, with 50% off your winter wedding ceremony and indoor reception! Is there anything more magical that getting married under the snowy Tahoe pines, followed by a cozy reception surrounded by family and friends?

Learn more about this special here: Winter Wedding Special. And feel free to reach out to Christi Nasser, our Wedding and Special Events Coordinator, at 530-581-7313 or at christinasser@granlibakken.com. 



Granlibakken is the perfect setting to inspire connections!

Holding a meeting in North Lake Tahoe is sure to be a hit. Who doesn’t want to go to Lake Tahoe, whether it be for business or pleasure? Once you have decided on North Lake Tahoe as the region of choice, how do you choose a venue? Many meeting and conference center venues around here have great offerings, but Granlibakken Tahoe stands apart from the rest with its authentic charm, great location, and friendly staff.

Whether you are planning a small corporate retreat or a large convention, Granlibakken is the perfect choice for your group. Granlibakken offers several technology options, including onsite audio/visual, accommodations for up to 400 people, and a multitude of meeting spaces for any sized group. With our location right outside of Tahoe City and within minutes of many premier attractions, Granlibakken is sure to please a crowd. Our American style conference package with all meals included is a great value, and is easily catered to any diet, including gluten free, vegetarian, and vegan options. The wide variety of activities onsite, including tennis courts, a heated pool and hot tub, a day spa, The Treetop Adventure Park, a historic ski and sled hill, and miles of hiking, biking and cross-country trails accessible on our property means that attendees will stay busy during any down-time (and they will probably make some great memories too!).

Granlibakken is nestled in the woods of Lake Tahoe, providing a quiet retreat where your group focus on teamwork and increase productivity without distractions. However, if you are looking for a night out or a day of adventure, we are located only a mile outside of Tahoe City, and we are within a half hour drive of many Tahoe attractions, including breathtaking vistas of the lake, gorgeous hikes, and world-class ski resorts.

And guess what? Right now, for a limited time, we are offering 25% off of all conferences held between November 2015 and April 2016 (restrictions apply). Now is the perfect time to check out Granlibakken, and start planning your next retreat! View our conference packages for more details.



Granlibakken is the perfect setting for your business conference or retreat with 74 secluded acres at Lake Tahoe.

Yoga girl by lakeImagine a place filled with doctors & health professionals who encourage questions and a place that allows time for the answers. This is it - Granlibakken Tahoe boasts the 5th Annual Lake Tahoe Women's Wellness Weekend (WWW) on November 7 & 8, 2015. A weekend full of life & medical answers.  Year after year, the audience returns to hear fresh presentations about women's health and well being. Medical doctors, naturopathic doctors, nutritionist and dietitians, motivational speakers, physical therapists and many more take the stage to deliver current and relevant information on hot topics that captivate the audience. Mimi Stuart, a participant for 3 consecutive years, has said, "Each year just keeps getting better and better." This year the weekend schedule includes presentations on metabolism, autoimmune disorders, environmental toxins, gluten and more. WWW is not only complete with speakers, because what is a wellness weekend without some exercise? Yoga classes are offered each morning, as well as stretching classes, meditation, and nature walks. The event closes with a health fair - alternative health professionals, medical doctors, energy healers, physical therapists, massage therapists, chiropractors, dermatologists and so much more gather to offer demonstrations and consultations. Book now and join us for a weekend of information, rejuvenation and fun.

Visitors and locals alike are drawn to Lake Tahoe's natural beauty, world-class entertainment and year-round activities. Granlibakken, nestled in the trees above Lake Tahoe and steps from Tahoe City, the heart and soul of the area, is the ideal spot for your next retreat, conference, vacation or special event. 

Follow our Blog, Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date with our Wellness events, including our yoga retreats held in the spring, summer and fall. 


Granlibakken_SmithJones_0005 (2)Not long ago, people young and old lived attuned to one another and to the rhythms of nature.  Over the last century or so, life has sped up faster than ever before.  People now live most of their over-scheduled lives plugged in, indoors and out of touch.  There is a quiet revolution, however, as people begin to yearn for the great outdoors and connection once again.

A growing body of research is taking root across the planet as we rediscover what is now aptly called ecotherapy. Ecotherapy exists alongside Nature Deficit Disorder, a phrase coined and spread by Richard Louv.  The notion is that our modern lifestyles and our tendency to become driven to distraction keep us from fully experiencing our worlds and our own potential by robbing us of the benefits of time spent in nature.

These benefits permeate all levels of our existence from childhood through old age.  Being outside helps us recover from mental fatigue and restores our ability to process information, especially when your're enjoying the natural beauty of Lake Tahoe.  By decreasing our mind’s over activity, nature helps our thoughts become clearer, sharper and more creative. Taking easy advantage of these benefits, progressive “forest schools” schedule classes out of doors to enhance student performance, and homes for the elderly utilize horticultural therapy to increase quality of life.

Nature even heals us.  In the 1980s, Japan began formalizing the practice of “forest bathing,” or shinrin-yokuShinrin-yoku is the slow, meditative experience of walking in nature with directed focus on the elements and senses. Studies held in the lab and outdoors, as well as in prisons and hospitals, have discovered nature’s benefits begin immediately and last for several days after exposure.

These benefits include: reduced blood pressure, reduced stress levels (as measured in salivary cortisol), improved mood (perhaps owing to a friendly dirt bacteria which causes the brain to produce serotonin), increased energy levels (thanks to trees’ essential oils), and boosted immune systems.  The latter occurs because trees give off organic compounds that encourage the body’s production of natural killer cells which fight abnormal cells and speedup recovery time after surgery or illness.

As the studies continue to come out, the facts echo what we already know intuitively: being in nature feels good physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.  When in nature, the brain quiets down a bit and we become more curious about the world around us.  The world, and we, come alive.

Ashley A. Cooper is a freelance writer and yoga instructor residing in Truckee, CA.

Visitors and locals alike are drawn to Lake Tahoe's natural beauty, world-class entertainment and year-round activities. Granlibakken, nestled in the trees above Lake Tahoe and steps from Tahoe City, the heart and soul of the area, is the ideal spot for your next retreat, conference, vacation or special event. 

Check out our calendar for our Wellness events held in the spring, summer and fall. 

Further Reading:  Last Child in the Woods; and The Nature Principle by Richard Louv.


We have all heard the benefits of meditation: decreased stress, anxiety and tension accompanied with feelings of well-being, patience, concentration and compassion.  These benefits are easy to grasp conceptually and many of us make ourselves grand promises to start integrating meditation into our daily lives.  With the best of intentions, we sit down in a silent room and get to “shutting our brain off.”  It is not long before our knees start hurting, our to-do lists start screaming and our shut off brain is running on over drive.

The problem is not you or meditation.  It is all in the approach.  To begin, be easy on yourself.  Choose a technique from below or elsewhere that suits you personally, and just challenge yourself to five minutes a few times a week.  Meditate in a truly comfortable position whether you are sitting cross legged, in a comfortable chair, or lying down with pillows supporting you.  You can practice at home or, if you do better with group activities, attend a class.

When many of us think about meditation, we think of sitting down in silence with our legs crossed and our mind blissfully blank.  This is the Zen Buddhist practice of zazen, and it may be this simple for some of us.  Many more types of meditation exist, however, and for every learning style there is an approach to meditating.

Guided meditations are extremely useful in anchoring you to the present moment by providing structure and sound.  If you don’t want to attend a class, there are many excellent free guided meditations on the internet.  Visualizations are also extremely useful anchors and can be guided or learned ahead of time.  Some people use a mantra (a word, sound, or statement) that is silently repeated or murmured. When using mantras, you can also hold japa mala beads which resemble the Christian rosary: each bead is a single repetition of your mantra.  This mantra is very straightforward, memorable and can be done anywhere.

For whichever approach you choose, remember a few things:

  • First, the purpose of meditation is not to attain anything, we meditate to become present.
  • Second, the brain will not simply shut off; the trick is to allow thoughts, ideas, images, etc. to come without holding on or judging.
  • Third, meditation is a practice. The progression of this practice will reflect the amount of time and effort put into it.

Image:   http://yogabasics.com/japamalabeads/malashop2/wp-content/uploads/images/products/p-531-IMG_7547.jpg   Caption:  Traditional Japa Mala beads used to count mantra meditations in sets of 47, 54, or 108 repetitions.

Visitors and locals are drawn to Lake Tahoe’s natural beauty, year-round activities and world-class entertainment. Granlibakken is nestled in the trees above Lake Tahoe, and is the ideal destination for your next conference, retreat, special event, or vacation. View our calendar for upcoming Wellness events being held at Granlibakken.




Ashley A. Cooper is a freelance writer and yoga instructor residing in Truckee, CA.