We are doing a trip from San Francisco to Lake Tahoe and then down to Las Vegas. I am from Australia and don't really have much idea of the terrain or conditions we will experience.
So far we have planned to leave San Fran on the morning of the 17th of December and drive to Kirkwood.
Arrive in the morning of the 17th at Kirkwood and stay the 17th & 18th (2 days boarding @ Kirkwood)
Drive to South Lake Tahoe in the morning and stay (19th & 20th) (2 days boarding @ Heavenly)
Drive to St Rose in the morning for a days boarding then on to Reno for a night (21st) (1 days boarding @ St Rose)
Drive to Olympic Valley (Squaw) in the morning for a days boarding (1 day boarding @ Squaw)
Then on the night of the 22nd head south ...towards which option??
Option 1: should we stick to US 395 and stay the night at Mammoth on the 2nd then do another days snowboarding in Mammoth Lakes on the 23rd, stay a night then drive through Death Valley the next day on the way to Vegas? Or skip Death Valley and do two days boarding arriving in Vegas that night.
Option 2: should we should detour to Yosemite instead and stay somewhere close on the 22nd. Then do Yosemite on the 23rd ,then stay somewhere on the 23 and head to Vegas the next day. I am not sure if we could also fit in Kings Canyon.
What would be the best option?
Our accomodation is already booked up until the 21nd in Reno...and then again on the 24th of December in Las Vegas
From what I can work out going to Yosemite would add on about 5 hours to the trip.
We are in Vegas from the 24th until the 30th and have planned to go to Bryce, Zion and The Grand Canyon so we will be seeing a few parks along the way
My other question is what sort of car we should hire. We were just going to hire an economy vehicle but from what I am reading a 4wd may be necessary. Cost is an issue so if I can I would prefer to get a cheaper vehicle. I am not sure whether I will also need one with snow tyres or if I take the economy hire car I am allowed to put chains on it. If anyone can recommend a cheap car hire place that would also be great.
All advice is welcome.