Best Ski Resorts in Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe is popular among tourists for its favorable skiing conditions, the unbeatable snowfall, and the gorgeous scenery that surrounds this place. So, if you’re looking for cozy skiing resorts, large snowfall, diverse terrain, and beautiful views, then the following resorts located in Tahoe are the perfect option for you. 

Suitable for families, couples, and even larger gatherings, these resorts promise lots of fun on the slopes, comfortable accommodation options, and the friendliest of staff.

Heavenly Mountain Resort

Just like the name suggests, this resort is a dream come true for anyone who enjoys skiing and mesmerizing wintery scenery that overlooks Lake Tahoe. Located on the California-Nevada border in South Lake Tahoe, the Heavenly Mountain resort offers plenty of activities, both during the winter season and summertime.

Pros

  • Wonderful scenery
  • Great prices
  • Plenty of things to do for non-skiers
  • Friendly staff

Cons

  • Can be busy during the weekends

Famous for: beautiful views overlooking Lake Tahoe, cozy accommodation.

Town

The city that’s close to the Heavenly Mountain Resort is South Lake Tahoe. This picturesque city is ideal for those who like to spend their time outdoors with its many trails and historical sites to explore. If you do decide to spend a couple of hours here, don’t forget to visit the Lower Eagle Falls or the Van Sickle Bi-State Park. Beaches are a great option too, and you have plenty to choose from. Our personal recommendations are Pope Beach or Lakeside Beach.

Ski Terrain

If you go to Heavenly Mountain Resort with the intention to have a whale of a time skiing, then you won’t be disappointed. With a whopping 97 runs in total, many of which are suited for beginners, there are plenty of slopes to explore and enjoy. The skiable area is 4,800 acres, and the views won’t disappoint either. There are three terrain parks and the snowfall averages around 360 inches.

Crowd Density and Ski Lifts

Since this is such a popular resort, you should expect it to get a little crowded during the weekends, as well as the holidays. That being said, there are plenty of runs, so the skiing area usually doesn’t get so crowded that it interferes with your skiing plans. You may encounter lines in front of the ski lifts, so be wary of that. The resort is quite large, so even if there are many people visiting at one time, it never feels claustrophobic.

There are thirty lifts in total in the Heavenly Mountain Resort: one high-speed gondola, one aerial tram, two high-speed six-passenger chairs, seven high-speed quads, one fixed-grip quad, six triples, two doubles, six surface, and four magic carpets. You can purchase lift tickets on their website, and the price is usually around $140 for a daily adult ticket.

Accommodation

Their accommodation options are diverse in nature. For instance, you could choose to spend a couple of nights at Lakeside Inn and Casino, and the cost of one night is around $110. If you want fancier options, Marriott Grand Residences is a great place, averaging around $570 per night. There are more expensive options if you’re interested, like Gondola Vista, which costs around $700 a night.

Verdict

Heavenly Mountain Resort really does live up to its name. There are many things tourists enjoy on this location, particularly the beautiful views overlooking Lake Tahoe, the friendly staff, and the incredible 4,800 acres of skiable area as well as the 97 runs which are suited for many different levels of skiing experience.

Sugar Bowl Resort Tahoe

Featuring four mountain peaks, this resort offers both skiing and snowboarding options for their guests. It has great historical value since it featured the first gondola and the first chairlift in the country. Even though it’s not as big as some of the other resorts on this list, it’s a perfect option if you’re looking for a family getaway. Experienced skiers will especially enjoy the more challenging slopes, of which there are plenty to be found.

Pros

  • High snowfall
  • Great peaks
  • Family-friendly
  • Helpful personnel
  • Reasonable prices

Cons

  • The skiable area isn’t as big
  • Short vertical drop of around 1,500 ft

Famous for: some of the highest snowfall in the area, great for families.

Town

The town of Norden is only a six-minute drive from Sugar Bowl Resort Tahoe. This town offers many attractions and sights which are definitely worth the visit, such as taking a lake tour, visiting the local restaurants, or simply enjoying a peaceful walk on the lakeside. If you want a change of scenery, then consider visiting Norden, even if only for a couple of hours.

Ski Terrain

This area offers 1,650 acres of skiable terrain. What makes this place unique is the large snowfall which is around 500 inches – something that’s definitely impressive for Lake Tahoe. There are 103 runs in total, and while some of them are suitable for beginners, advanced skiers will find more options than those who are just starting out with skiing. The longest run is three miles long, and even though the vertical drop isn’t as impressive, the number of runs available definitely compensates for it.

Crowd Density and Ski Lifts

Despite being located in a popular location, this resort isn’t nearly as crowded as some of the other ones on this list, which makes it ideal for larger groups of people and families who have a hard time finding available space. Since it’s not as crowded, you can enjoy line-free lifts and uncrowded terrains. 

There are 13 lifts available: five high-speed quads, three regular quads, two double chairs, one gondola, and two surface lifts. The tickets cost around $115 for a day pass for adults and $70 for children. Young adults and seniors can enjoy tickets for around $100.

Accommodation

Because Sugar Bowl Resort Tahoe is partnered with quite a few accommodations, you have various lodging options. The prices per night vary depending on which resort you choose to go to. One of the most popular options is The Hotel, the price of which is around $300 for a midweek night. Other options include vacation rentals and various lodges that are located outside Sugar Bowl Resort Tahoe.

Verdict

Sugar Bowl Resort Tahoe is a wonderful option for a family trip, especially if you want to avoid crowds and lift lines. Despite the fact that it’s not a big resort, there are plenty of things to do and explore, and the ski conditions are spot on.

Alpine Meadows Ski Resort

This well-known resort located in Alpine Meadows is famous for its long snow season and perfectly tailored trails. With around 2,400 acres of skiable terrain, it promises fun for every single level of expertise in regards to skiing. If you’re an experienced skier, this resort provides many challenges and steep terrains. If you’re a beginner, you can get your gear on and start practicing on many of the beginner-friendly trails.

Pros

  • Easy to navigate
  • A variety of runs
  • Heavenly views
  • Friendly staff
  • No long lines

Cons

  • Lift systems are quite outdated
  • Low vertical drop

Famous for: long snow seasons, diverse terrain.

Town

Wondering what major city is located near Alpine Meadows Ski Resort? Well, it’s actually Tahoe City! This town promises a good time, and you have a variety of options to choose from in regards to popular tourist attractions and must-see stops. Choose from one of the many trails like the Eagle Falls Trail or Truckee River Bike Trail to see nature’s best. If you like staying indoors, you can always opt for some of the museums and restaurants.

Ski Terrain

With such a large skiable area at your disposal, you’re bound to find a trail that’s specific to your needs and goals. The snowfall averages around 400 inches, which is pretty adequate. You’ll be able to enjoy not only the trails and snowfall but also the breathtaking views from the top!

Crowd Density and Ski Lifts

Crowd-wise, this resort isn’t as crowded as the more popular ones on this list, especially considering the fact that another ski resort is quite nearby. There aren’t any long lines in front of the lifts, and there is usually always a place to stay at, making it a go-to for family holidays or work trips.

There are thirteen lifts available and six terrain parks. With around 100 runs to choose from, this terrain is suitable for beginners, intermediate, and advanced skiers. One of the downsides to this resort is that some of the lifts are quite outdated, so if you think that’s going to be a problem for you, then you might want to consider another resort for your next holiday. The average price for a ticket is from $150 – $170 for all-day adult tickets during the weekends, and $100 for children tickets.

Accommodation

There are multiple accommodation options available, but most of them are further from the base. The closest option offered on their website is The Village at Squaw Valley. For those who prefer staying in a suite, this is good news. The rates for The Village at Squaw Valley per night average around $600.

Verdict

If you don’t like big crowds of people or waiting in insanely long lines, this is the resort for you. You should keep some things in mind before making the reservation, like the fact that some of the lifts are seen as outdated or that there aren’t as many accommodation options available, unlike some of the other resorts.

Diamond Peak Ski Resort

Located in Incline Village, this resort offers splendid views of Lake Tahoe. Due to its diverse range of terrain, it’s quite popular among beginners and families. Children seem to particularly enjoy this resort, which is why it’s a top destination for family getaways.

Pros

  • Beginner-friendly
  • Local feel
  • Not overly crowded
  • Great views of Lake Tahoe
  • Helpful staff

Cons

  • Not very suitable for advanced skiers
  • Smaller hill

Famous for: stunning scenery, family-friendly.

Town

The nearest town to Diamond Peak Ski Resort is Reno, which is about a 50-minute drive away from the resort. If you want a break from the snow and the skies, then Reno is the place to go. It offers many restaurant chains and indoor activities like the Nevada Museum of Art or the Eldorado Showroom. If you happen to arrive there on a day when the weather is nice, feel free to enjoy some more picturesque spots like the Rancho San Rafael Regional Park, the Idlewild Park, or the Virginia Lake Park.

Whatever your cup of tea is, you will find something to do whilst you’re in Reno.

Ski Terrain

Diamond Peak Ski Resort has 655 acres of skiable area, which you might notice is a lot less than some of the other places that are on this list. While this has its downsides, there are some benefits when choosing a resort like this, such as fewer crowds and a cozier, more local feel. The season lasts from December to April.

There are 30 runs in total, the majority of which are suitable for beginners and intermediate skiers. The longest run is 2.5 miles long and there is one terrain park. Unfortunately, this place doesn’t offer night skiing, so if that’s something you’re into, check out the other resorts we recommend.

Crowd Density and Ski Lifts

As you’re aware by now, this resort isn’t overly crowded due to its smaller size. For anyone who prefers avoiding crowds, this is incredible news. You can have the luxury of booking accommodation for the weekends or during the holidays without having to worry about witnessing large crowds of people.

This resort contains six chairlifts, which makes it pretty easy to navigate around considering the size of the terrain. You can find ski lift tickets on their website. When it comes to their price, a one-day lift ticket costs around $110 for adults and $44 for kids.

Accommodation

Popular among visitors of Diamond Peak Ski Resort is the West Shore Café & Inn, located across the street from the resort. Not only is its location amazing, but the views of Lake Tahoe and the mountains seen from the rooms are mesmerizing. If you opt for the rooms, the lodging price per night is more affordable. However, if you’d like a suite experience, the price is around $400 per night.

Verdict

Diamond Peak Ski Resort is a quaint and cozy place, perfect for a visit with your family. Beginners will enjoy the unchallenging terrain options, and everyone will enjoy the lovely views of Lake Tahoe.

Kirkwood Mountain Resort

Are you on the lookout for a resort that works year-round, providing you with lots of options for skiing and snowboarding in the winter and many trails for hiking and biking during the summer? Then look no further than Kirkwood. Located in Kirkwood, this resort contains some of the steepest slopes that can be found near Lake Tahoe. Needless to say, you will also enjoy breathtaking views of the lake while you’re there.

Pros

  • Friendly instructors and staff
  • Beginner slopes
  • Reasonable prices
  • Gorgeous scenery

Cons

  • Not many food options

Famous for: snowfall, year-round resort.

Town

Kirkwood is only a five-minute drive away from the resort. As you can imagine, this is an enormous plus. Whenever you feel like a change in scenery, all you need to do is hop in your car and drive for a few minutes. Kirkwood offers entertainment and stunning nature spots. One of the most famous spots is the Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center. 

Opt for Kirkwood Park for fun in the outdoors, or Emmenegger Nature Park. If you want to stay the night, you have the option of staying at the Save the Geyer Inn. If you have the time, stop at Kirkwood Farmers’ Market for some fresh fruits and veggies.

Ski Terrain

If you like having a large terrain space to choose from, then you will enjoy Kirkwood Mountain Resort’s 2,300 acres of skiable area. You can select from more than 65 runs, which offer beginner, intermediate, and advanced options. One of the most well-known facts about the resort is how steep the slopes are, which makes it a go-to for those who like the thrill.

The longest run is about 2.5 miles long. The snowfall averages around 500 inches. Sadly, you won’t have the option of night skiing, but the views more than make up for it.

Crowd Density and Ski Lifts

Luckily, this resort is less crowded than similar resorts located on Lake Tahoe. You won’t have to wait long lines in front of the lifts or book accommodation months in advance.

There are fifteen lifts in total in Kirkwood Mountain Resort, so you won’t have to worry about making your way around the resort. The cost for the ski lifts is around $80 for adults and $60 for kids. The ticket prices are susceptible to changes during the weekends. One thing to keep in mind regarding the ski lifts is that they can be quite slow at times, so you might need a bit more time to reach a certain spot.

Accommodation

You have the option of choosing between a couple of different lodging options, all of which differ in terms of prices. For instance, The Mountain Club is $310 a night, whereas The Meadows costs $241 a night, while the cheapest option is Sun Meadows for $214 a night.

Verdict

Kirkwood Mountain Resort is a great option for both beginner and advanced skiers. It’s not a very crowded resort, so if you want to avoid crowds, this is the place for you. Kirkwood is nearby, which offers a perfect chance for a quick change of scenery.

You can check out more on our USA Ski Resorts page.

Article by:
Abby Ward
Senior Content Writer at Bluehouse
Last Updated August 2020