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Diamond Peak Ski Resort Review
By Christy Mehrlich

It's hard to get more 'family' than a snowboard riding, penguin mascot. The six foot tall (and almost four foot wide), clumsy character makes appearances regularly at the child ski center, along with all the major events at Diamond Peak. So, your kids are sure to catch a glimpse… of Diamond Pete, as he is lovingly called.

This penguin exhibits, on a freshly waxed snowboard, just how much families are a priority to Diamond Peak. In the 2007 season, more than one-third of all tickets sold were to kids. It surely makes their motto- Your Tahoe Place… for Kids- ring true.

Situated on Lake Tahoe's upscale North Shore, Diamond Peak is right on the lake, which not a lot of Tahoe resorts can boast. That being said, the views of the lake are arguably the best. Two spots in particular cannot be missed. Snowflake Lodge, Diamond Peak's mid-mountain lodge, offers not only cocoa and a reasonably priced lunch for the family but also a 4,000 square foot deck that overlooks the 193 square miles of Lake Tahoe, the largest alpine lake in North America. The second spot, a bit more challenging and thus a bit more rewarding, is atop the high-speed lift, Crystal Quad, which unloads at 8,500 feet. From there, your family will have 360-degrees of stunning Sierra views, and a 2.5 mile intermediate run all the way down to the base.

With almost 65 percent of the mountain being beginner and intermediate runs, this 655-acre mountain is small, yet accessible. Its size, being a detractor to big mountain black-diamond skiers and trick riding snowboarders, turns out to be quite appealing to those who want to avoid lift lines, ski run congestion and parking chaos. Simply said, Diamond Peak is manageable.

As for the surrounding area, Incline Village and Kings Beach are at opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to atmosphere and price. Incline Village, right down the street from Diamond Peak, primarily has condos and homes for rent. The town is perfection after a heavy snowfall. It is everything that you want in a winter retreat, and with that comes a higher price. Kings Beach, on the other hand, is right over the California border and about 15 minutes from Diamond Peak. It has plenty of lower end motels and hotels, which may look rundown. There is less snowfall, but the whole town is right on the water, and has more of a youthful vibe than Incline. And if you want a great breakfast to prepare you for a long day on the slopes, the Log Cabin on North Tahoe Blvd. has a great selection of unique dishes, including a lobster scramble!

Wherever you end up staying- or eating, Diamond Peak should be a mountain you visit, even if only for a day. The experience will be intimate, unique and comfortable, as if you've been privy to terrain that only locals appreciate. Well, and penguins… apparently.

Christy Mehrlich is a Lake Tahoe based writer recognized for her work in aviation and travel journalism. Her work has been featured in numerous newspapers and web-zines, as well her website, www.skyfemme.com, which documents her experience flying a single engine Piper Arrow around the country for 21 weeks.