Real Estate

Tahoe’s New Clubhouse: Ultrawealthy Tech Execs Ditch Amenities In Favor Of Adventure And Acreage

Silicon Valley tech execs who want to buy property in the Lake Tahoe area are changing it up. Cabin in the woods? Too traditional. Lifestyle community? Too many rules.

Northern California’s wealthy elite instead are seeking large tracts of land in remote areas for an authentic mountain experience, a place where they can connect with nature and enjoy a sense of exclusivity. For these buyers, owning a spread also provides an escape zone in case of civil unrest or turbulence in urban life.

Call it the New Clubhouse, where buyers favor adventure and acreage over amenities.

“Nowadays, a second home means a place where you can spread out, go mountain biking, trail running, back-country skiing, riding dirt bikes,” says Jeff Brown of Tahoe Mountain Realty. “There’s a much greater sense of adventure than there ever was before.”

The necessities: accessibility, natural beauty and proximity to the tech hub as well as Tahoe’s famed ski resorts (about a three-hour drive from the Bay Area). Some prime locations where a single estate home could be built include these properties:

  • Forty-seven acres adjacent to the former Alpine Meadows (now part of Palisades Tahoe) allow quick access to the slopes and maximum privacy. (In 2011, Alpine and former Squaw Valley merged to create a single resort with 6,000 skiable acres and a base-to-base gondola that links the two sites.) It’s a place to embrace nature while remaining close to summer and winter playgrounds. The location is a 10-minute drive to Tahoe City and an hour from Reno-Tahoe International Airport. The sales price is $12 million; Brown is the listing agent.
  • A smaller .54-acre property in Olympic Valley is embedded in the mountain at Palisades Tahoe (formerly Squaw Valley). Again, the buyer would have access to the resort as well as recreation in a remote, natural setting. The property connects four contiguous lots. The selling price is $12.5 million, and Brown is the listing agent.

Tahoe has always been a magnet for wealthy Bay Area residents, Brown says. The trend started with traditional cabins in the woods around the third-deepest lake in North America. When the lake became built out in the 1960s, the emphasis shifted to building ski area and golfing communities with more upscale homes and quality lifestyle amenities.

Lately, Tahoe’s housing prices have skyrocketed, helped by the COVID-19 pandemic that stoked a work-from-anywhere ethic and the number of world-class ski resorts in the area. In 2022, half of the residential transactions reached prices over $1 million, and luxury sales soared above $10 million quadrupled.

“Nowadays, the Silicon Valley crowd with young money want something different from their boomer parents or grandparents: space,” Brown says. “Lots and lots of space to recreate, to spread out, to escape.”

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