Skiers in the San Francisco Bay area will have a new way to reach the slopes of the North Lake Tahoe region starting Dec. 7. The Sierra 49er Express train is set to start twice-a-week service from San Jose, Oakland, Richmond and Martinez to Truckee, Calif. The trip from Oakland takes 6 1/2 hours. Passengers who buy ski packages will get connections by van to hotels and ski resorts, including Northstar, Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows, at the north end of the lake. The 49er will leave the Bay area on Fridays and Mondays and return Sundays and Wednesdays. Through the winter, Transcisco Tours of San Francisco -- (800) 765-4937 -- which owns and operates the train, is packaging ski trips that include round-trip rail transportation, a meal aboard the train in each direction, two nights lodging, transfers to and from hotels and a coupon book containing discounts for lift tickets.