Where to ski in Tahoe? One of the biggest California ski areas
As the title mentions Lake Tahoe ski resorts area is huge. It has 13 out of the 29 ski resorts in California plus 2 ski resorts in the Nevada side, adding a total of 23754 acres of skiable area (that is without counting the almost infinite options to get into the backcountry).
The large number of resorts available out there in Tahoe makes it an unique winter destination, with options for every kind skier or snowboarder.
At the time of looking for your next trip destination there are some things you may want to consider before you decide where to go in Tahoe:
First of all you might want to consider your level or ability. If this is your first time on the snow a short flat slope will be the best for taking that first steps into the sport. A small, less crowded ski resort is the preferred option to learn the basics.
On the other hand, if you are an experienced athlete you might consider descending any of the famous double black diamond slopes that Lake Tahoe ski resorts have to offer. If this is the case you can’t miss to ride some of the biggest ski resorts of California.
If you are going only for the park there is a special place for you too.
Another important thing to look for is if you like to be in the city, with great options to take the first gondola from the main street, if you are comfortable with the commute to the resort by driving or public transport, or if you are looking for a ski-in ski-out accommodation. If any no skier is going to be with you in the trip I would choose to stay in the city. If the whole group are riders ski-in ski-out is the most comfortable experience ever.
If you can allocate a considerable amount of days to skiing or snowboarding during the season a multi resort pass is the option for you. With this kind of pass you are going to be able to enjoy more than one ski resort, and sometimes you can add accomodation and classes to the combo getting a nice deal.
Last but not least it would be helpful to know that Lake Tahoe is situated between two states, California and Nevada, divided by the stateline. In one side (Cali) we can find a more relaxed, familiar ambience. At the other side of the stateline (Nevada) we are going to find a lot of casinos, bars, and a more active nightlife.
With this tips in mind now we can divide the physical terrain in two: North Lake Tahoe and South Lake Tahoe.
North Lake Tahoe ski resorts
Alpine Meadows ski resort
It has an intermediate size. 2400 skiable acres and 13 lifts. Ideal for intermediate and advanced riders. You can ride through trees, steeps, chutes, cliffs and glades. It can be combined with Squaw Valley if you need more options. You can accommodate at the Squaw Valley lodging for a ski-in ski-out experience. If you need a more economic option there Alpine Meadows is near Truckee and Tahoe City. You can find a good deal there. There is a huge parking and free shuttles between both Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley Mountains.
Boreal ski resort
It’s a small resort ideal for beginners. 380 acres to feel how much you love the sport. It has a great park for people starting to do some freestyle tricks. Boreal has a small hostel in the base, or you can get accommodation in near Truckee.
Diamond Peak ski resort
It’s a small ski resort, 655 skiable acres, but it counts with a lot of short black diamond runs. It can be ideal for some intermediate rider who is looking to push it harder but always keeping the control. You will find some lodging options in near Incline Village which provides a free shuttle to the mountain or you can search in Reno (25 miles) or South Lake Tahoe (25 miles).
Donner ski ranch
It’s a small resort with a lot to offer. They have 435 acres of skiable areas with options for beginners and intermediate riders but also have a couple of quality long black diamond runs for the advanced ones. It have one of the most elevated terrains, which guarantees good powder.
If you want to escape the big crowds for a couple of days this ski resort sounds like a great option.
You can accommodate in the 80 years old ski ranch, or go to Truckee.
Homewood ski resort
Intermediate size. 1260 skiable acres with 67 trails. There are options for all the levels, and as a plus there is a huge amount of snowcat terrain. This resort offers one of the best views of Lake Tahoe. It’s situated on the west side of the lake.
Mt. Rose ski tahoe
This is another intermediate size ski resorts near Reno. It has 1200 skiable acres. It has a perfect size for the enjoyment of any kind of rider. One thing to highlight is that it has backcountry access which lets you enter to the Humboldt Toiyabe National Forest backcountry. Please be responsible and know what you are doing if you leave the bounds of the resort.
Northstar ski resort
Northstar is one of the big boys of Tahoe. 2905 skiable acres. That’s a lot, yes! Beginners and intermediates will find options to have fun during a long stay. It’s an ideal place to visit if you are going to be a season around. Northstar have snow parks with features to beginners and for experts, with everything in between.
If you are looking for fancy lodging you have options here. The Ritz-Carlton Tahoe is at mid-mountain. The village offers lodges and condos as an alternative.
Soda Springs ski resort
One of the smallest resorts. 200 acres to have fun with your family. It’s ideal to bring small kids to learn how to ski or to make contact with the snow tube. Situated west of Truckee.
Squaw Valley ski resort
Squaw ski resort is other of the stars of Tahoe. 3600 acres of snow joy. The biggest ski area of North Lake Tahoe. Trails for all the levels, and lodging for all the budgets in the village. Free shuttle to and from Alpine Meadows. It’s in between Truckee and Tahoe City.
Sugar Bowl ski resort
It’s an intermediate size resort. It claims to have 1500 skiable acres and to be less crowded than the others. That sounds as a good deal for me. It has all kind of trails, so satisfy beginners and double black diamond fans too. It has a small village where you can search for lodging and it’s near Truckee too. A great option for all the family.
Tahoe Donner ski resort
It’s a great place to start skiing and learn from a young age. A small resort, with 120 skiable acres. The instructors can start teaching kids 3 years old young. It’s in Truckee, so you can find an accomodation in the city.
South Lake Tahoe ski resorts
Heavenly ski resort
Another of the big brothers talking about ski resorts. The biggest one of all the Lake Tahoe ski resorts. It has 4800 skiable acres. It has beginner and intermediate runs but a lot for really expert riders. If you want to discover every single spot of this resort you will have to put effort!
From South Lake Tahoe city you can walk a couple of minutes to the gondola in Heavenly village. Lot’s of lodging options if you decide to ski here.
Kirkwood ski resort
Maybe you have heard about “The Wall”, the steepest run in Lake Tahoe. It’s here, in Kirkwood Mountain resort where you can experience this famous line. This is another of the big resorts of Tahoe. It has 2300 skiable acres with 58% of that terrain advised for advanced and experts.
There are a lot of options for lodging in this area. From hotels, to condos, hostels and houses to rent.
Sierra at Tahoe ski resort
The last big from the south Lake Tahoe ski resorts. 2000 acres of skiable area with trails for all the levels, parks and backcountry access. Want more? It’s located near South Lake Tahoe (15-30 minutes drive). Plenty accommodation options in the area.
Lake Tahoe ski season pass
If you are going to do a long visit to the slopes, or maybe you are in a city near Tahoe working during all the season and are going to ski or snowboard during the weekends the best way to enjoy the lake tahoe mountains is to visit several california ski resorts.
To do this you have the option to take a multi resort season pass.
In Tahoe you have two options:
- Epic Pass: It includes the Heavenly season pass, Kirkwood season pass and Northstar season pass. Epic Pass gives the option to buy only the Tahoe Local Pass or the full Epic Pass. There are also included in this pass (full Epic Pass) all the resorts that belong or have an agreement with Vail. In this case you can visit a lot of other areas, as the Epic Pass is expanding year to year.
- Mountain Collective: Includes Squaw Valley season pass and Alpine Meadows season pass and like the Epic Pass does, the Mountain Collective includes some other great options if you want to travel.
- Super Pass: It includes an unlimited Squaw Valley season pass and an Alpine Meadows season pass. With the purchase of this pass you can get up to 50% discount on some other resorts too.
In conclusion, depending how much time you are going to use it, what resorts you want to explore and if you have in mind a travel through the country some of this two season passes will fit better. Just do the maths.
Is there snow in tahoe?
The snow conditions in Lake Tahoe ski resorts is the first thing you want to check before you start adjusting your gear and putting the crew together. As the nature is unpredictable I recommend you that give a look to the forecasts on a regular basis, and decide your trip based on the snow.
Hope you have a great experience riding Lake Tahoe ski resorts, and why not shred some runs together. Just send it!
DISCLAIMER: The views expressed on this article are just opinions, and the “beginner”, “intermediate”, “advanced” classification of the resorts is based on the trails they have (percentage of each one). I think that you can find a terrain for you in every resort. So just go out there and have fun!