Of course Northstar at Tahoe Resort has skiing, but its range of offerings make the longtime Truckee fixture a four-seasons must visit. With upgrades, remodeling and the addition of a mid-mountain Ritz Carlton hotel, Northstar has upped its game in recent years. Considered to be the resort for families looking to ski on the North Shore, there is now more challenging terrain to be had amongst the resort’s 3,100 skiable acres, 100 trails all serviced by 20 lifts. Nine advanced runs have been created on the backside of Northstar, which is called, yep, The Backside. There are seven snowboarding terrain parks and pipes to give beginner and advanced riders more room to shred. Of course there is a world-class view of Lake Tahoe from atop the mountain’s 8,600-foot summit. But not all the fun is had on the slopes. There is a 9,000-square-foot ice rink in the middle of the village accompanied by live music, snacks and beverages for those not into skiing. Visitors will find dozens of places to eat and shop from sushi and pizza to Patagonia and The North Face. There is even a movie theater for visitors and locals alike. For those into hiking in the snow and skinny skis, there are 35 km of groomed and tracked trails for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. The fun doesn’t end when winter does, however. Northstar features one of the earliest — and now most extensive — lift-assisted mountain bike parks in the country. Northstar features an 18-hole golf course and has a variety of lodging options from luxury hotels, condos and home rentals.
The sprawling Tahoe Donner subdivision and its 6,000-plus homes above Truckee is many things to lots of people. For some it is their home neighborhood; for others it’s where they rent a house for a few days in winter or summer. Locals and visitors all take advantage of the Tahoe Donner Association’s 7,000 acres and equally vast amenities available to homeowners as well as to the public. The association’s clubhouses are members only, but the public can experience Tahoe Donner for free or pay-to-play at top-notch offerings such as the 18-hole golf course, the equestrian center for riding lessons, the cross-country ski center and its 100 km of groomed trails and kid-friendly snow-play area. The downhill ski center is ideal for little kids (and adults) to learn skiing and snowboarding. More than 60 miles of trails and fire roads wind through nearly 3,500 acres of open space and can be explored for free on foot, bike or snowshoes. And after all that exploring, Tahoe Donner has a variety of places to dine. The Lodge Restaurant and Pub has indoor and outdoor dining next to the golf course. Pizza on the Hill also offers other fare plus a full bar and game room for the kids. Also keep an eye open for events open to the public held at various times in the season.
The Village at Squaw Valley is northern California's example of a ski hamlet, offering a little bit for everyone. The rooms all have views of the mountains and are located a few steps from the various base area ski lifts. Rooms are situated above the plethora of shops and restaurants with balconies looking out over the hustle and bustle below. The variety of restaurants and shops is created to connect with the needs and wants of the variety of guests that visit the area. For example, for the 20-somethings there are three different bars that are busy on weekends and holidays. For couples, there are romantic restaurants and couples activities like sleigh rides to inspire connection. For families, there are a variety of restaurants and shops that keep all ages occupied plus a museum highlighting the area's ski heritage, miniature golf, climbing walls, the Trilogy Spa, Sky Jump (an acrobatic bungee play gym for all ages) and the Wanderlust Yoga Studio. The Village is also the launching place for the aerial tram, which flies another 2,000 vertical feet up, to High Camp located at 8,200 feet. Here you will find hiking, disc golf, the High Camp Pool & Hot Tub as well as dining and bar options. In February, the Village is host to a week-long, kids-focused event, Kid-O-Rama. The non-stop fun that focuses on youngsters offers fire trucks, snowplows and grooming equipment plus dancing to street concerts and children-centric concerts, or they can get artistic at the craft and game room. The entire Village becomes a virtual ghost town during mid-October to early-November. If quiet doesn't bother you, this is an excellent time to get incredible discounts on rooms.
There is no missing Boreal Mountain Resort as its ski and snowboard runs are visible right off Interstate 80 at the 7,200-foot Donner Summit. It’s also hard to miss Boreal, as it is always proud to announce being the first Tahoe-area resort to open each winter. Boreal’s core customers are two-fold: terrain park shredders or those learning to ski or ride. With its modest vertical... read more
Diamond Peak opened in November of 1966 at the forefront of snow technology, being the first resort in the West to have a snow-making system. It is known for being affordable, family-friendly, uncrowded and – most of all – for its breathtaking views of Lake Tahoe. With 655 acres of useable terrain, including open glade, bowl and tree runs, it’s got a good mix of... read more
If theme park-like crowds and airport-like prices aren’t your ticket to a simple day on the slopes, then Donner Ski Ranch is your place. Nestled between the larger Sugar Bowl Resort just to the South and the terrain parks of Boreal Mountain Resort just to the north, Donner Ski Ranch sits on Historic Highway 40 and is a direct link to the golden years of... read more
Granlibakken is a little European hamlet tucked away in the forested hills framing Lake Tahoe. Located just a few minutes from Tahoe City, Granlibakken is a resort center that invokes the meaning of quaint hospitality while at the same time offering a plethora of options to create the perfect vacation. From a fine dining restaurant that serves culinary art to a conference center that holds... read more
Heavenly Resort is omnipresent at South Tahoe. Along with the casinos on the Nevada side of South Shore, the ski resort drives the economy of this small Sierra community. Heavenly’s California Lodge was the resort’s original mountain base area, located nearly a straight shot up the hill from the lakeside Ski Run Marina. Appropriate for skiers of all skill levels, just about all ski services... read more
Homewood Mountain Resort is a fabulous ski hill for beginners, intermediates and those who enjoy smooth groomers. Although Homewood may be small, it has some of the best views of Lake Tahoe, as it is located directly across the street from the lake. The airy view from the ski runs and lifts are unlike any other ski area in Lake Tahoe. Its tiny stature lends... read more
Kirkwood isn’t right adjacent to Tahoe, but instead is a bit of a hike from South Shore. Because it’s off the main path and people don’t just happen upon it, it has a more intense atmosphere than some of the other ski resorts in the region. This intensity is reflected in both the snow and the terrain at Kirkwood, and thrill-seekers will find lots of... read more
Originally established 1964, Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe as we know it today came about from the 1987 merger of two separate resorts, Slide Mountain and Mt. Rose. Separated by a steep, avalanche prone face that had been off-limits to snow-sports enthusiasts for decades, The Chutes officially opened in 2004 with the addition of the Chuter lift. Descending from the resort’s 9700-foot summit elevation, the 200-acre... read more
The nation’s largest cross-country ski resort sits atop Donner Summit out of view to most travelers. But for those in the know, Royal Gorge’s 200 km of groomed trails on 6,000 acres of stunning Sierra Nevada scenery is a veritable adventure Mecca. A recent land deal partnership with Sugar Bowl Ski Resort and the Truckee Donner Land Trust means the 45-year-old Royal Gorge resort will... read more
Sierra-at-Tahoe is a great choice for all-around family skiing, with about half of the terrain at the intermediate level and the remainder split fairly evenly between starter level and expert level. This still means plenty of fun for the hard-core snow enthusiasts, though, with some 320 acres of backcountry via the Huckleberry Gates. For the families, there's tubing and themed terrain zones for kids. The... read more
There are plenty of ski resorts catering to adults, so how does a small-mountain operation established back in the day survive? It caters to kids. Soda Springs Mountain Resort is all about families and snow. You won’t find a single double black diamond run or super pipe here. How about snow-tubing carousals, snow volcanoes and a mini-snowmobile track, you ask? Check, check and check. Soda... read more
It's safe to say with the 13 different ski areas in the Lake Tahoe basin, that the area is rich in ski and snowboarding options. But Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows has one thing that the others do not: long, steep runs. That is why Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows is the place that many skiers and snowboarders flock to to hone their craft on one plank or two. Squaw... read more
Sugar Bowl Ski Resort has attracted skiers and snowboarders to the top of Donner Summit for nearly 75 years. As a Tahoe-area resort that consistently collects great stashes of snow, Sugar Bowl not only boasts four distinct peaks and an open-boundary policy for backcountry access, but it is also privately owned and operated by the homeowners in the Village at Sugar Bowl. Other unique features... read more
Tahoe Cross Country Ski Area is a large, groomed cross-country ski zone that offers both traditional and skate ski options. Situated on Dollar Hill, just outside of Tahoe City, the location is excellent for getting views of the lake while enjoying the wilderness. There is a small ski school and youth ski program to help get the entire family outside. The area also has dog... read more