Squaw Valley

8 Best Ski Resorts in Lake Tahoe, 2018

Sunny skies, beautiful mountain scenery and a relaxed Californian attitude make Lake Tahoe one of the most sought-after ski destinations in North America. Add to that several world-class ski resorts with excellent snow conditions, expansive terrain and state-of-the-art ski lifts, and it’s hard to compete with this winter wonderland. Lake Tahoe has dozens of resorts and several are world famous, such as Squaw Valley and Heavenly. Skiers of all levels will find suitable terrain at all resorts, although some are better suited to certain skiing standards. Northstar and Homewood are great for intermediate skiers, while Kirkwood and Mount Rose challenge advanced skiers. If you’re planning a day trip from San Francisco or Sacramento, then Sugar Bowl is the best choice as it is the closest and most easily accessible. The other resorts are best for a weekend getaway or longer vacation, which is especially nice when staying in one of Lake Tahoe’s cozy lodges or rustic cabins. Most accommodations have fireplaces and forest views for a traditional alpine experience.

Read also: Where to Stay in Lake Tahoe

1 Squaw Valley

Squaw Valley

A world-famous ski resort, Squaw Valley was the site of the 1960 Winter Olympics and offers some of the best skiing in Lake Tahoe. The resort has 3,600 acres of skiable terrain, 29 ski lifts and more than 170 trails, with the longest distance stretching 3.2 miles.

Squaw is suitable for all skiing abilities. About 25 percent of the slopes are suitable for beginners, 43 percent for intermediate skiers and 32 percent for advanced skiers. At elevations of 6,200 to 9,050 feet, Squaw Valley Ski Area has good snow coverage, averaging 150 inches per season. Wide powdery slopes criss-cross the mountainside, lined with pine forests. Those learning to ski will appreciate the dedicated beginner ski area at the top of the mountain (accessed by trams), and intermediates will find plenty of fine slopes at the Shirley Lake and Pacific Crest Bowl ski areas. Squaw Valley is also popular with snowboarders for its steep slopes and long slides, plus a halfpipe.

For those spending a few days in Squaw Valley, a highlight of vacationing here is the European Village . With many restaurants, shops and art galleries, the village offers a lively après-ski atmosphere. The resort also has an ice skating rink as well as areas for snow tubing, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. For luxury ski-in and ski-out accommodations with mountain views, the Squaw Valley Lodge is the perfect choice, just steps from the slopes.

The Squaw Valley resort has a sister resort, adjacent Alpine Meadows . This picturesque, family-friendly ski area has charming chalet-style lodges and runs for all skill levels: 25 percent beginner runs, 40 percent intermediate runs and 35 percent advanced runs. The resort covers 2,400 acres and features more than 100 trails with 13 lifts. The terrain extends from wide open bowls to steep slopes for advanced skiers. From March 9 to 12, 2017, Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows will host the Audi FIS Ski World Cup.

Address: 1960 Squaw Valley Road, Olympic Valley, California

Official site: https://squawalpine.com/

2 Heavenly Mountain Resort

Heavenly Mountain Resort
Heavenly Mountain Resort

Aptly named for its sublime scenery, Heavenly Mountain Resort dazzles skiers with its inspiring mountains and sensational lake views. Located on the border of California and Nevada, Heavenly is the largest ski area in Lake Tahoe, with 4,800 acres of skiable terrain and 34 miles of ski trails, including 97 different trails with 29 ski lifts. The spectacular surroundings make it one of the most unique ski areas in the world. The resort offers wide-open, well-groomed slopes and trails that pass through tranquil pine forests. Sometimes skiers stop mid-run to marvel at the sparkling blue waters of Lake Tahoe glistening in the sun or the surprisingly arid landscape of the Nevada desert.

Popular with both skiers and snowboarders, Heavenly has runs for all levels: 20 percent of the runs are beginner, 45 percent are intermediate and 35 percent are advanced. The most challenging runs are the 1,600 foot deep double black-diamond canyon runs, the 1,800 foot drop of the Gunbarrel Run , and the “pillow falls” in the Nevada Woods . For extreme skiers, Heavenly has the Highroller Terrain Park , where it is possible to try 80-foot ski jumps. One advantage of Heavenly over other Tahoe ski resorts is the wide selection of hotels, cabins and restaurants nearby. The resort’s lively atmosphere also makes Heavenly a favorite destination for those looking for a fun-filled ski vacation.

Adres: 3860 Saddle Road, South Lake Tahoe, Californië

Official site: www.skiheavenly.com

Accommodation: Heavenly Mountain Resort

3 Northstar Ski Area

Northstar Ski Area
Northstar Ski Area

Northstar is a family-friendly ski area that is ideal for advanced skiers. The extensive grounds cover 3,170 hectares with 97 impeccably groomed slopes accessed by 20 lifts. The majority of the slopes are rated as moderate, with 13 percent starter runs and 60 percent intermediate runs. At elevations of 6,330 feet to 8,610 feet, Northstar generally has good snow coverage, and when snow is scarce the resort uses snowmaking. Skiers enjoy gliding through powdery slopes surrounded by lush pine forests. Northstar is also known for its Snowboarding terrain parks including The Straits for a variety of jumps, pinball machines for “jibs” and the Burton Progression Parkfor those learning freestyle skiing. In addition to downhill skiing, Northstar is a great place for telemark skiing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and snow tubing.

One of the highlights of Northstar is its lively village atmosphere. The area at the foot of the slopes offers a wide choice of shops and restaurants, as well as a luxury spa and the stylish Hyatt Residence Club Northstar Lodge. The Ritz-Carlton Hotel is located in the middle of the resort at the mid-mountain level and offers easy ski-in and ski-out. Decorated in a rustic-chic style, this five-star hotel has cozy lounges with heated fireplaces and modern rooms with all amenities.

Address: 100 Northstar Drive, Truckee, California

Official site: www.northstarcalifornia.com

4 Kirkwood Ski Resort

Kirkwood Ski Resort
Kirkwood Ski Resort

Although the Kirkwood Ski Resort is one of the furthest from San Francisco (180 miles away), the exceptional terrain makes it worth the extra drive. Kirkwood offers pristine mountain landscapes and impressively varied terrain. Skiers appreciate the resort’s peaceful setting; long, wide runs; and open bowls. The resort has an average snowfall of 354 inches per year and a high base elevation of 7,800 feet, which ensures consistent powder snow coverage. Kirkwood has 2,300 acres of terrain and 86 trails for skiers and snowboarders. The longest trail extends for 2.5 miles.

Kirkwood’s summit reaches an awe-inspiring 8,800 feet and the resort is known for its challenging terrain. Only 12 percent of the runs are beginner, 30 percent are intermediate, 38 percent are advanced and 20 percent are for experts. However, the Timber Creek area is designed for beginners and intermediate skiers, with two lifts and two “magic carpet” lifts. Freestyle skiers and snowboarders can try some extreme athletic adventures, such as jumps and twists, at Kirkwood’s four terrain parks. Kirkwood also offers cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and dog sledding.

Address: 1501 Kirkwood Meadows Drive, Kirkwood, California

Official site: www.kirkwood.com

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Kirkwood

5 Sugar Bowl Ski Resort

Sugar Bowl Ski Resort Maria Ly / photo modified
Sugar Bowl Ski Resort Maria Ly / photo modified

Sugar Bowl is the closest and most easily accessible ski area to the San Francisco Bay Area. When traffic is light and weather conditions are favorable, it takes about three hours to drive from San Francisco (179 miles away) and just a 1.5-hour drive from Sacramento (92 miles away). For added convenience, the resort offers ample parking close to the slopes. Located on beautiful Donner Summit , this picturesque ski area usually gets the most snowfall of any resort in Tahoe. Skiers will enjoy the wide slopes covered in a thick blanket of powdery snow. Despite its appearance as a quaint, old-fashioned ski resort, Sugar Bowl offers modern amenities and 13 chairlifts, including the modern high-speed Crow’s Peakchair. The resort spreads over 1,650 acres with some slopes having vertical steps of 1,500 feet. Skiers who enjoy uncrowded slopes appreciate the resort’s open access to the backcountry. Sugar Bowl has ski slopes for all levels, from beginner to intermediate and advanced. The resort’s ski lessons teach beginners the basics and help advanced skiers improve their techniques. Sugar Bowl also has a Terrain Park for adventurous skiers and snowboarders.

Dating back to 1939, the Sugar Bowl Resort features a European-style lodge filled with old-world ambiance and a cozy, rustic style. The Lodge at Sugar Bowl offers cozy overnight accommodations, ski-in and ski-out access, and an elegant dining room serving excellent cuisine. Another reason to stay at the lodge is the Sporthaus with sports facilities, a yoga studio, a swimming pool and a spa.

Address: 629 Sugar Bowl Road, Norden, California

Official site: https://www.sugarbowl.com/home

6 Sierra-at-Tahoe


Conveniently located 16 miles from the town of South Lake Tahoe, Sierra-at-Tahoe Ski Resort has been named a Top 10 Overall Resort in the United States for its excellent value and excellent ski slopes. This family-friendly resort offers an excellent selection of accommodations and dining options, as well as vacation packages. Sierra-at-Tahoe is ideal for intermediate skiers. Half of the resort’s ski slopes are intermediate; the other half includes 25 percent beginner and 25 percent advanced runs. Those learning to ski will appreciate the resort’s lessons and four lifts reserved for beginners only.

The resort covers 2,000 hectares of skiable terrain, with 46 trails accessible by 14 lifts, as well as some tree ski areas and access to 320 hectares of backcountry terrain. The scenic slopes are popular with both skiers and snowboarders. One of the selling points of Sierra-at-Tahoe is that the resort’s ski slopes are protected from the wind, making skiing conditions more enjoyable. The resort receives an average snowfall of 480 inches per year, leaving a nice blanket of powdery cover on the slopes. Sierra Terrass Parks Sierra-at-Tahoe earned an entry on the Top 10 Best Parks and Pipes in the United States list. The Terrain Parks have seven different choices for all kinds of freestyle moves, such as extreme ski jumps, spins and snowboxing tricks.

Address: 1111 Sierra-at-Tahoe Road, Twin Bridges, California

Official site: https://www.sierraattahoe.com

7 Mount Rose Ski Resort

Mount Rose Ski Resort
Mount Rose Ski Resort

This relaxing resort offers 1,200 acres of skiable terrain, with slopes that offer stunning views of Reno and Lake Tahoe. The resort’s longest runs, one of the longest in North America, challenge skiers to 1,800 feet of vertical drops and the famous Mt. Rose Chutes are steep 1,000-foot drops with impressive pitches ranging from 40 to 55 degrees. Mount Rose has many black diamond runs suitable for advanced skiers, as well as a good number of intermediate runs in the Slider Bowl area and a small portion of Beginner terrain. Both skiers and snowboarders will enjoy the choice of ski slopes, and freestylers can choose from five terrain parks. Because Mount Rose’s ski slopes face north and east, skiers can bask in the sun on eastern trails in the morning. Mount Rose is conveniently located 25 miles from Reno (about a 35-minute drive) and only 14 miles (about a 20-minute drive) from Crystal Bay on Lake Tahoe. During ski season, Mount Rose offers daily shuttle service from Reno hotels and accommodations to the ski area.

Adres: 22222 Mt. Rose Highway, Reno, Nevada

Official site: https://skirose.com/

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Reno

8 Homewood Ski Resort

Homewood Ski Resort cole24_ / photo modified
Homewood Ski Resort cole24_ / photo modified

Located about 50 miles from Reno and 200 miles from San Francisco, Homewood Ski Resort offers one of the best values ​​for ski passes in Lake Tahoe. The Family Season Passtwo adults and two children can ski all season without blackout. Homewood has more than 30 ski trails for skiers and snowboarders; the majority are intermediate slopes, and the rest of the resort’s terrain includes a handful of beginner runs, about 15 advanced black-diamond runs, and six terrain parks with scenic views. Homewood is a favorite ski resort in Tahoe for its well-groomed trails, manageable compact size and on-mountain restaurants that offer gourmet dining in an elegant alpine style. For overnight skiers, the West Shore Café and Inn offers luxurious lakeside accommodations and delicious California cuisine. The area surrounding the Homewood resort also has many options for hotels and cabin rentals.

Address: 5145 West Lake Blvd, Homewood, California

Official site: https://www.skihomewood.com

Read also:

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