Every season our crew takes some time to do the research and make the calls so that we can put together some fun and comprehensive information about the local resorts. Explore our Resort Roundup with fun facts, what’s new, and insider tips as well as our Resort Guide offering an easy to read, one stop shop with prices, phone numbers, and more!
Don’t kid yourself… No other resort destination in North American encompasses itself with such an abundance of World class slopes, bountiful snowfall, pristine vistas, and sparkling amenities. Moreover there are more chair lifts to ride in the Tahoe Basin than in the entire state of Colorado. Four out of five days are sunny. Winter temperatures average around 29 degrees. When it snows, which is often and usually early, the flakes fall thick and fast, piling into soft mounds on the upper portion of discolored mountain peaks that erupt from the lake to constitute the massive walls of a beautiful basin.
Last winter we had the second snowiest winter on record with more than 710 inches of snow at many Lake Tahoe resorts! Here we go again- The National Weather Service has confirmed an El Nino for the 2023-24 season and the Old Farmer’s Almanac “predicts snow, seasonable cold, and all of winter’s delights!”. Get those shovels ready!
Last updated: 11.15.2023
Off-piste, wilderness skiing complimented by flawlessly groomed cruiser runs make Alpine Meadows a cradle of Sierra Nevada carving. Local friendly, folksy, and with a multitude of fall-lines, the increasingly popular 2000 acre, 13 chairlift resort offers views of cobalt colored Lake Tahoe from nearly every run. The resort is blessed with five lower lifts that immediately disperse skiers onto fall-line terrain. The Summit Chair is flagship of the fleet and accesses two-thirds of the mountain. From the top of Summit four distinct bowls descend either into wide trails or steep, off-piste drops.
What’s New: During the 2011-2012 season, Alpine Meadows combined operations with Palisades Tahoe, and now one ticket is good for both resorts. The resorts are connected by a shuttle bus and their NEW base to base gondola. After decades of dreaming, the Base to Base Gondola is now a reality. A 16-minute gondola ride will link the Alpine Lodge base area and The Village at Palisades Tahoe base area, giving additional access to the top of the iconic KT-22 lift. This winter you can explore our 6,000 acres of skiable terrain – uninterrupted.
Best Place: Advanced skiers test their mettle while attempting Keyhole. Descending its narrow corridor is as abrupt as dropping a quarter into a payphone. Lose it here and the rest of the ride is like a wave tank in physics class.
Don’t Miss: Mid-day drinks at the Ice Bar at the bottom of Sherwood Chair. Soothing outdoor atmosphere is accompanied by music, munchies and discounted beer surrounded by overwhelming panorama of Ward Canyon.
Boreal’s little outstretched paws are a welcome sight early in the season. In mythology, Boreas was the god of winter. He must have been a snowboarder. After 58 years of operation, Boreal has grown into a bastion for serious riders. This season there will be 8 parks! Featuring three types of terrain venues — Learning, Experiential and Performance — each park is designed to provide innovative ways to teach, learn, coach, progress and have fun. As a skier or rider, you can choose your own path, build your skills and have your own park adventure at your pace. The resorts only problem is with overcrowding and grommet cockroaches. Riding here can be like getting into a cage with wild beasts and being mangled.
What’s New: Pop-up Parks! Get it while you can! An exclusive park build, in a zone on the mountain not typically used as a terrain park, that will only last one week. Tahoe’s best skiers and snowboarders will session the park the night before it opens, so everyone can get an awesome preview of what’s to come. Then, the next day the park is open to the public for 7 days of shredding before it’s gone. Don’t miss out on some of Tahoe’s coolest park set-ups.
Best Place: 50’x50′ bag jump or an ever changing rhythm section in Shred Park off Dutchman.
Don’t Miss: Night riding everyday until 8pm! Meet some friends after work and get some runs in under the lights.
Incline Village received its name from the grade that was used to carry timber nearly 1,840 vertical feet during the 1800s. A century later, the same grade is being used to carry skiers up and down its slope after the Boise-Cascade corporation developed the golf course and ski resort now called Diamond Peak. With stunning views of Lake Tahoe, affordable pricing, special programs for kids, and a variety of terrain, Diamond Peak is one of Tahoe’s premier family resorts. The knock on this resort is its short runs. Skiing here is like shaving one’s armpits and the itching won’t stop. It lacks tempo for advanced riders.
What’s New: Uphill Use Pass. Diamond Peak has a unique “uphill” culture where skiers and snowboarders like to skin/bootpack/snowshoe up the ski hill before the resort opens for a heart pumping morning workout. This used to be unregulated, but now you must obtain a Uphill Use Pass to get your morning workout in.
Best Place: Scream down Lightning, a black diamond run comparable in steepness to Palisades Tahoe’s Headwall.
Don’t Miss: Dynamite views from the Snowflake Lodge reflect a twilight hour of Indian blue, water of glass, tree glistening and liquescent. Its relaxed sunny setting is perfect for playing tonsil hockey with a loved one.
Although undoubtedly the last of its kind, Donner Ski Ranch’s (DSR) simplicity, convenience, and affordable costs continue to beckon visitors. From the summit of its highest rise atop Signal Hill (7,851 feet) dramatic views descend toward Donner Lake, past the railroad snow sheds and the “Chinese Wall”, a right-of-way foundation built by coolies in the latter 1800s for the trans-Sierra railroad. The small cachet of the Ranch’s terrain surprisingly contains a balanced variety of steeps to rolling shoulders comprising a mighty little mountain. The area’s five hundred acres plus are accessed by six chairs, the pride of the fleet being a fixed grip triple chair. If park riding is your style, DSR has got ya covered, there are a variety of park features, as well as a handful of natural cliff drops to play off of.
Best Place: Dodging all the snowboarders off Chair Three.
Don’t Miss: Old School Days- throwback lift ticket and package deals that’ll remind you of the good ol’ days! Every Tues-Wed- Thus (certain exclusions apply)
The story of skiing at Granlibakken, which in Norwegian means “a hillside sheltered by fir trees,” dates back to 1928 when the resort became one of Tahoe’s first snow play areas. In 1930 it built one of the country’s best ski jumps and hosted the following two years the National and Olympic Trail Jumping Championships. Today, the historic jump looks over the ski hill and one poma surface lift that continues to evoke the old Tahoe charm and treasured memories. The ski area is a great choice for those who are learning to ski with their families and avoid crowds. Top off the day at the machine-groomed saucer snow play area.
What’s New: Special Night Sledding sessions with music and lighting take place from mid-December to mid-January. Night sledding starts at 5:00 PM and your ticket includes either a hot mulled wine or a hot chocolate for the little ones.
Don’t Miss: Access up the rope tow to backcountry trailheads.
4,800 acres of terrain straddle the California-Nevada border, making Heavenly the land of alpine opportunity. Its rolling shoulders, long boulevards, and unobstructed views of Lake Tahoe create most of the pleasure. Wonderfully spaced trees on the Nevada side offer the best recreational tree skiing in the Basin, maybe in North America. Thanks to a multi-million dollar commitment made by Heavenly over the past two decades, the ski area now has the largest snowmaking system in North America blanketing almost 70% of the skiable trails. Alas, “adagio sonata pathetique” – its Byzantine lift dispersal system is sometimes like wearing a heavy garter belt. It can take you 45 minutes to get onto real fall-line terrain from the base area.
What’s New: Ditch the old plastic season passes, download “My Epic App” and have your pass on your phone! With traffic and parking an increasing problem, be prepared for a new reservations-based paid parking program on weekends (Saturday – Sunday) and holidays/peak periods at the California Base Area parking lot.
Don’t Miss: Killebrews and Motts Canyons contain enough steeps to choke the most courageous. Kids can explore in the new adventure zone called Black Bear Hollow, a meandering, low angle skiing and riding trail with groomed whoop-de-doos, entry level progression park features small rails, gentle jumps and boxes designed to help youngsters explore.
Many winter enthusiasts are discovering this West Shore sleeper that offers incredible beauty and hard to beat value. Homewood has eight lifts spread over 1,260 acres. Its lakeside location is both blessing and bane: It makes for the best views, but environmental concerns have hampered attempts to upgrade its Sixties-style facilities. But what Homewood lacks in luxury, it makes up for with some of the best storm powder skiing in the region. With 8,740-foot Ellis Peak to block the winds, when other resorts stop spinning their lifts due to “wind hold”, homewood usually can keep them churning! The three terrain parks are testing grounds for grommets burger flipping its radical wave hits, c-curves, and tabletops. Homewood’s exceptional scenery makes one feel like you are about to ski into the lake, the resort’s slow lifts can make a cold day feel colder.
What’s New: Check out the new luxury offering at Homewood- Homewood Snowcat Adventures! Access over 750 acres of backcountry terrain on the flanks of Ellis Peak, above the resort’s traditional ski area boundary. Participants enjoy snowcat shuttled laps with 1,824′ vertical from the top of Ellis Peak – where panoramic views of Lake Tahoe and the Desolation Wilderness await – to the bottom of the Old Homewood Express chairlift.
Best Place: The beefy steeps on Quail Face and the Hobbit Land satiate thrill seeking appetites.
Don’t Miss: Outer Limits off Quail Face on a powder day.
Kirkwood’s charm rests over 2,300 acres of horseshoe-shaped terrain that boast some of North America’s toughest and tamest slopes. The mountain has always retained the air of adventure and been a favorite liar for hard boiled skiers from both north and south shores who are attracted to the resort’s giant bowls, precipitous steeps and nostalgic atmosphere. Thanks to a base elevation of 7,800 feet, Kirkwood boats California’s deepest powder in the heart of winter. But it’s ironic that for all the eye-popping pitches, and ragging pulchritude lurking within Kirkwood’s intestines, the mountain is friendly to all, cradling the novice and purring to families. Some of the finest beginner terrain can be discovered in the Timber Creek learning area. The bane of Kirkwood remains the 35 mile commute from the south shores of Lake Tahoe. Carson Pass is downright hairy and about as unsavory as a dog’s breakfast on a snowy day. Driving over the pass is often better than getting snowed in at Kirkwood’s base.
What’s New: Book a course with Expedition Kirkwood! Expedition Kirkwood is California’s Big Mountain Education Center, whether it be tackling that next goal in the resort or helping get you into the Backcountry safely, Expedition:Kirkwood guides and coaches have you covered. Courses this season include; Freeride Camp, Mogul Camp, All Mountain Camp, Guided Backcountry Trips, and Avalanche Safety Courses.
Best Place: The chutes below The Sisters, or One Man and Two Man Chutes are reachable by following Larry’s Lip off the Sunrise Chair.
Don’t Miss: Thunder Saddle- The north facing area contains high level intermediate to expert runs that hold snow well for carving clean, short turns down adventuresome chutes.
Located just 22 miles from the bright casino lights and dirt-cheap lodging of Reno, a good time at Mt. Rose is never a gamble. While the resort’s 1,200 acres and six lifts may not be at first glance as impressive as some nearby Tahoe Basin mega-resorts, Mt. Rose contains enough dandies and primal rushes to make for the most dolce of vitas. After all, this is where World Cup champion Tamara McKinney learned to carve turns with her brother Steve as youngsters. With a base elevation of 8,260 feet and northeastern facing slopes, Mt. Rose typically receives enough snowfall to bulge out over its terrain like thick hair under a baseball cap. There is, however, a drawback to Mt. Rose. In good weather, a trip from Reno to the lifts is a 25 minute drive up Highway 431, but if there’s a hint of new snow it’s best to either start early or stay home and play Twister with the dog.
What’s New: Last season Mt Rose added Ski ’til 6pm on Fridays starting in March! This (of course) will be snow/weather dependent for the 2023/24 season! Hopefully this will return for spring skiing!
Best Place: The steep runs under the Northwest Magnum 6 detachable drop 1,400 vertical feet and contain nasty lines to slap the hardest of chargers upside the head. Gold Run’s 55% gradient qualifies it as one of North America’s steepest steeps.
Don’t Miss: No other resort in Tahoe offers as many Daily Specials such as Two-fer Tuesdays (2 lift tickets for the price of 1), Ladies Day Thursdays (discounted lift tickets for ladies on Thursdays), TGIF pack (discounted pm half day tickets after 12pm on Fridays), and Local’s Sunday (discounted tickets for locals- local ID within 1 hour driving radius of Mt. Rose), and Ski the Day You Fly ($69 lift ticket the day you fly into or out of Reno/Tahoe International Airport).
Call Northstar California the Charles Atlas of Sierra Nevada ski resorts. Its modest mountain used to have a clear niche: attracting families and teaching them how to ski. Sand got kicked in the face with its nickname “Flatstar.” Hip locals never set an advanced ski boot on its slopes. During the past 2 decades, however, the now Vail Resorts owned area spent more than 45 million in on-slope improvements. The resort has beefed up its 100 trails and 3,170 skiable acres with a healthy tonic of steeps, chutes, cruisers and bumps which dwell alongside the manicured boulevards tilted just enough for ego boosting turns. The Burton Academy offers idiot-proof snowboarding lessons. Northstar is known for its 8 terrain parks that consistently make the list of Top 10 Terrain Parks in North America. Northstar’s success has created its own drawbacks. The traffic entering and exiting the Village after a long day on the mountain can be overwhelming. Best to opt for a shuttle from Truckee, or at the end of the day wait it out with a beverage in the village.
What’s New: Last season, NorthStar celebrated the official grand opening of the new Comstock Express lift at Northstar California! The Comstock Express lift has been upgraded from a four-person chair to a high-speed six-person lift, which is designed to reduce wait times at one of the mountain’s most popular lifts and will increase uphill capacity by nearly 50 percent.
Best Place: Ripping down Lookout Mountain gives the impression of skiing a wilderness preserve. Its advanced runs offer a panoply of rowdy lines that compliment the thigh burning, straight liners of the Backside Express Quad.
Don’t Miss: Every day at 2 pm, skiers and riders are invited to “Tōst”! Join in on one of Northstar’s most unique traditions and enjoy a glass of bubbly (or apple cider) with friends and family at Lake Tahoe’s only ski-up, mountain view bubbly experience. Local tip, get in line by 1:30pm to partake in the 2:00pm tōst to the mountain as glasses are first come, first serve.
This legendary California ski resort formerly known as S**** Valley, now goes by its new name Palisades Tahoe. The name comes from a steep, chute-riddled area above Siberia chairlift, which has been the focus of many classic ski movies (G.N.A.R. anyone?). Palisades Tahoe is now officially the largest ski resort in California after the installation of the new Base to Base Gondola. The Gondola connects the two base areas of Palisades Tahoe, uniting the resort. The Gondola transports guests between The Village at Palisades Tahoe and the Alpine Lodge, with the option for expert skiers and riders to unload at the KT-22 mid-station, and takes about 16 minutes. While the Gondola “officially” makes the two resorts one, there are still some big time cultural and mountain differences between Palisades Tahoe and Alpine. Many locals still declare themselves a “Palisades” or “Alpine” only skier, rarely crossing the line to the other side.
When you think of Palisades Tahoe, you mind goes to jaw-dropping scenery, on-mountain eateries, museums, tubing, and ice skating. Off-slope, Palisades’ base area offers shopping, live music, bars, restaurants, a yoga studio, art galleries, and more! Oh, there’s skiing too.
Palisades is big, as in “penis libre.” Site of the 1960 Winter Olympics, the resort’s gargantuan geography makes first-time visitors feel as though they’re looking through the wrong end of a telescope. Carved from six peaks spread over 4,000 acres and served by 30 lifts, the resort has always sung hosannas for the wild at heart. Its slope remains a monument to free skiing adrenaline junkies attracted to the area’s hair raising chutes, intense steeps, and gnarly rock faces, some the size of small office buildings. This place is so cool it could heal warts. If there is a glaring drawback to this Olympic feast, its “Les voies urinaires” – Gaper wannabes who whine and shed bad poseur vibes waiting in line for KT-22 to open on a powder day.
Alpine has a different vibe, with limited amenities in the lodge area and no grandiose village. Alpine skiers and riders come to Alpine to shred, grab a beer at Last Chair Bar and make their way elsewhere for more apres. Alpine is known for wilderness skiing complimented by flawlessly groomed cruise runs. Local friendly, folksy, and with a multitude of fall-lines, the increasingly popular 2400 acre, 13 chairlift resort offers views of cobalt colored Lake Tahoe from nearly every run. The resort is blessed with five lower lifts that immediately disperse skiers onto fall-line terrain. The Summit Chair is the flagship of the fleet and accesses two-thirds of the mountain. From the top of Summit four distinct bowls descend either into wide trails or steep, off-piste drops. Many of the best areas are accessed by hiking, so if you want to check out the best runs, prepare to earn your turns.
What’s New?: The tried and true Red Dog Chair, one of the few lifts in operation during the 1960 Olympics, has been replaced with a high-speed, detachable six-person lift. The base terminal has moved to the east, giving skiers direct access to the lift right from the parking lot.
Best Place: Palisades– If there is a predominant geological statement to Palisades Tahoe that immediately captures the eye it’s the Palisades above the Siberia Chair lift. These cliffs of over 9,000 feet elevation remain a monument to pinwheeling freakhuckers. Straight-lining its steeps and sweat-induced plunges is a forbidding thigh-burner. Lose it here and the result will make you feel like the Tin Man after a good thrashing by the flying monkeys. Alpine-Advanced skiers test their mettle while attempting Keyhole. Descending its narrow corridor is as abrupt as dropping a quarter into a payphone. Lose it here and the rest of the ride is like a wave tank in physics class.
Don’t Miss: Palisades– Wild shots and sweat-induced plunges are discovered off the Granite Chief Chairlift, just past Shirley Lake. Alpine– Mid-day drinks at the Ice Bar at the bottom of Sherwood Chair. Soothing outdoor atmosphere is accompanied by music, munchies and discounted beer surrounded by an overwhelming panorama of Ward Canyon.
Sierra- at – Tahoe experienced the worst case scenario for a ski resort known for tree riding, a devastating wildfire. The 2021 Caldor Fire ripped through trees crawling through the canopies and the forest floor affecting 1,600 of the 2,000 acres, damaging lift towers, haul ropes, and disintegrating terrain park features. Sierra-at- Tahoe has rebuilt and was open to the public in the 2022/2023 season. The terrain is drastically altered, but Sierra is still la vraie chose, genuine down to the last coiffed slope. One of the biggest changes from the fire is that West Bowl now much more of a “bowl” than before, with wide open space for big turns. When the wind howls atop nearby Echo summit, Sierra’s front Grand View Express become catcher’s mitts for fastballs or powdery snow and welcomed dumping grounds where blowing winds are often quieted to rusting bough and the muffled whoomps of skier’s tracks. Skiers and riders can pick from 7 parks and South Lake Tahoe’s only halfpipe. If Sierra-at-Tahoe has any drawbacks, it is a desperate lack of on-site lodging convenience. Although there are plenty of hotels, casino resorts, and cabins just 12 miles away at South Shore the ride can become downright hairy when storming.
What’s New: Restoration post wildfire continues at the resort. Clean up of East + Backside began in Spring 2023. Those areas were closed during the 2022/23 season. Look out for an announcement for full opening of those areas for the 2023/24 season. We can’t wait to see the reopening and check out new lines and powder stashes!
Best Place: Huckleberry Canyon is the place to be on powder days. Huckleberry Canyon is 320 acres of epic backcountry accessed by five gates at the summit of Sierra at-Tahoe. The terrain is ungroomed and avalanche controlled, allowing experts to have an incredible backcountry experience without the hike in. Always bring a buddy while exploring this area and stay aware of avalanche conditions!
Don’t Miss: Blizzard Mountain, a snow play and tubing area features two rope tow-accessible tubing lanes, an expanded snow play area, a bounce house, snack bar, fire pits, picnic tables and sledding.
While Soda’s 200 acres qualifies it as only a nugget-sized resort by today’s standards, its pitchy terrain and an emphasis on families have transformed the resort’s small-are reputation to that of a skier’s mountain that also has great value. Cheek by jowl to adjacent Sugar Bowl’s Mount Lincoln, Soda’s ridgeline commands view of Lake Van Norden and the spine of the Northern Sierra. The small, but enchanting resort once entertained the glitz and glamour of the 1930s San Francisco society. Now known more as a snowtubing showpiece, the two-lift, 15 run hillside offers a variety of affordable family fun.
What’s New: The Woodward Start Park, a Woodward Mountain Park learning zone. The Park is the perfect place for mini skiers and riders. By introducing sculpted snow features, like bumps and berms, the Start Park uses terrain-based learning to give beginners their first taste of transitional park riding. The Soda Springs Woodward Start Park is a welcoming place with foam blocks, learning boards, and more.
Best Place: Having a family day? Drop in down Nose Dive or Race Course which takes you down to the Planet Kids. Check in on the fam and load back up Crystal Chair. Round and round until you or the kids need a hot cocoa break.
Don’t Miss: Tube town for the bigger, little kids. Up to 10 Lanes + 400ft Surface Lift of tubing adventures! Tube Town is geared towards kids and adults 42″ and taller.
Hip, singular and with the self-contained feel of a remote mountain retreat, encyclopedic is an adjective often used to describe its mountain. Founded in 1939 by Austrian downhill champion Hannes Schroll, the skiing at Sugar Bowl feels big and it is. Sugar Bowl retains its old-school charm with a 1950s-style gondola and a rustic base lodge. But it’s plenty modern too. With 5 high speed express quad chairs, high end on mountain dining, and recently renovated ski in-ski out lodging options. With Donner Summit’s high elevation, Sugar Bowl invariably gets the coldest, driest, and most abundant snow around – over 500 inches some years. When Pacific coast low-pressure systems rampage throughout the Sierra it can snow for days, even weeks. Sugar’s biggest problem is it little vertical makes for a valise without straps.
What’s New: Sugar Bowl embraces the growing popularity of “skinning” uphill and provides designated uphill travel routes inside the ski area boundary. Feel the burn and earn your turns! A valid season pass or uphill only season pass is required for uphill travel.
Best Place: Crow’s Nest Peak has some of the best tree skiing at Sugar Bowl. This is a great place for advanced and expert riders to head on a powder day.
Don’t Miss: Soft, thigh high and fleecy freshies off Strawberry Fields on a powder day.
When we have big winters like last year, sometimes you simply can’t travel miles and miles to a ski resort. So what’s better than a ski resort in your backyard? Tahoe Donner serves as the backyard ski resort to the 6,500 properties in the Tahoe Donner community. Tahoe Donner Members receive discounts, but the resort and its amenities are open to the public. Tahoe Donner’s uncrowded, friendly atmosphere is the perfect place for family fun and learning. The small, Truckee-based, 5 lift resort puts an emphasis on teaching newbies to ski and board. Tahoe Donner also has terrain parks from beginner to advanced. The motto is, “Tahoe Donner- the best place to begin.”
What’s New: Tahoe Donner received approval from the Town of Truckee to upgrade their Downhill Ski Lodge, construction will begin Spring 2024. The current ski lodge was originally built as a real estate sales office in 1971. Shifting from real estate transactions to ticket, rental, food and beverage transactions, this once-great building is now creating a consistently poor experience for members and guests on most weekends and holidays.
Best Place: Drop down Backslide, Firebreak or Skip’s Plunge for some fun tree runs! But keep up your speed (hint hint snowboarders) as you meet Mile Run that can be slow getting you back to the chair.
Don’t Miss: Tahoe Donner’s Annual I-Did-A-Run Dog Race! This hilarious annual event is part of Tahoe’s Snowfest! The resort is full of playful pups waiting their turn to compete in a dog pull race on the snow. Tahoe Donner hosts other great events throughout the year, take a peek at their event calendar!
PLEASE NOTE: 2023.24 Resort Guide is coming soon – some resorts have not announced their daily rates for the upcoming season.