Tahoe practically begs for a Choose Your Own Adventure approach. For our token spin around the Lake, we decided to rent paddle boards from Tahoe City Kayak in the early morning hours, before the speed boats could wreak havoc and turn a gentle paddle into a surf expedition. Besides the frigid temperature of the water, there’s no reason to fear falling in. As someone once told me years ago, “If you fall in, don’t worry—just stand up.” (The water level is low due to last winter’s disappointing snow fall.) The two decidedly un-wimpy hikes we did, Five Lakes in Alpine Valley and Shirley Canyon in Squaw, were mere minutes away by car from the resort. Word to the wise: Shirley Canyon isn’t as much a hike as it is a 3.5-mile vertical scramble up the side of a mountain, but if your knees are decent and you’re intrepid enough to brave a not-so-well-marked trail, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic valley vistas at your final destination, High Camp, located more than 1,300 feet above your starting point (never fear, you get to take the gondola down for free). And when your badonk looks amazing in your jeans the next day, you’ll be doubly glad you took on the challenge.