A Guide to Tahoe Ski Resorts

A Guide to Tahoe Ski Resorts

There are 14 ski resorts in the Tahoe area! 14! That is a ton of rideable terrain! Tahoe really is a winter sports paradise. Each resort around the lake has its own specialties and charm, and no matter your skill level from beginner to expert there is perfect terrain for you.

Resorts by experience level

Beginners: Boreal, Tahoe Donner, Donner Ski Ranch, Soda Springs

Intermediate/Advanced: Northstar, Heavenly, Alpine Meadows, Sierra at Tahoe, Diamond Peak, Homewood

Expert: Kirkwood, Sugar Bowl, Squaw Valley, Mount Rose

Passes

Vail’s Epic Pass covers Northstar, Heavenly, and Kirkwood

The Ikon Pass covers Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows

One Pass covers Boreal and Soda Springs, also gives you access to Woodward training center

Powder Alliance Membership comes with the highest level of season passes at Sierra at Tahoe and Sugar Bowl giving you 3 days to ride at any of their 18 partnering resorts.

Diamond Peak and Homewood season passes work at each others resorts

Make sure to pack your warm stuff for winter here’s an easy Packing List

Skiing & snowboarding in Tahoe
Skiing & snowboarding in Tahoe

Resorts Around The Lake

Skiing & snowboarding in Tahoe
Skiing & snowboarding in Tahoe

North

Northstar:

  • Day Lift Ticket: $170 day of at the window / $153 online at least a day in advance.
  • Terrain: Lots of intermediate and advanced groomer runs, not a whole lot of beginner runs or off trail terrain, and a huge terrain park. There is 3,170 acres of skiable terrain and 2,280 ft vertical elevation from peak to base.
  • Fun stuff & other info:
    • Champagne toast at the Tost Bar (located at the top of Rendezvous lift) everyday at 2PM, get there early to get your free glass of champagne!
    • Northstar’s base village is beautiful with an ice skating rink in the center and plenty of amazing restaurants, bars, and shopping all around.
    • It has the reputation for being a little ritzy and it definitely has an upscale vibe.

Boreal:

  • Day Lift Ticket: $84 day of at the window / $54-$80 online at least a day in advance.
  • Terrain: Lots of beginner and intermediate runs, a few advanced runs, and a few terrain parks including a beginner terrain park. There is 380 acres of skiable terrain and 500 ft vertical elevation from peak to base.
  • Fun stuff & other info:
    • Boreal has night skiing! Riding at night under the lights is definitely a unique experience, and your night riding ticket starts in the late afternoon so you can catch the sunset from the slopes.
    • Feel Good Fridays are an awesome deal where certain Fridays during the season lift tickets are only $25! And $5 of that goes to charity hense the good feels.
    • Boreal as known for being a good place to learn to ski and snowboard, the reasonable lift ticket price and easy terrain are perfect for someone just getting started in snow sports.

Tahoe Donner:

  • Day lift ticket: $69-$89 at the ticket window / there are no online purchase options.
  • Terrain: Lots of easy and beginner runs as well as a few intermediate and expert runs. There is 120 acres of skiable terrain and 600 ft vertical elevation from peak to base.
  • Fun stuff & other info:
    • Tahoe Donner is technically a homeowners association and private community of which the ski mountain is one of the amenities for members – luckily it’s also open to the public for everyone’s enjoyment.
    • It’s a great place for families, kids, and beginners.
    • It’s a small mountain and lesser known resort, so the crowds tend to be a lot smaller too.

Donner Ski Ranch:  

  • Day lift ticket: $75 fixed rate / there are no online purchase options.
  • Terrain: Lots of beginner and intermediate runs and a few expert runs as well. There is 500 acres of skiable terrain and 1,000 ft vertical elevation from peak to base.
  • Fun stuff & other info:
    • Donner Ski Ranch is a family owned and operated resort which gives it a fun, comfortable and homey vibe.
    • Donner Ski Ranch is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year, making it one of the oldest ski resorts in California.
    • Old School Days are week day (Tuesday-Thursday) discounted lift ticket prices in celebration of the resorts 80th anniversary. At $40 a ticket it should remind you of the “good ‘ol days”.

Soda Springs:

  • Day lift ticket: $60 day of online or at the ticket window / $30-53 at least a day in advance online.
  • Terrain: Mostly beginner runs with a few intermediate and advanced runs. There is also a huge snow tubing hill and a snow playground for more fun snow activities. There is 200 acres of skiable terrain and 550 ft vertical elevation from peak to base.
  • Fun stuff & other info:
    • The hill is open Thursday through Monday (closed Tuesday & Wednesday).
    • Great for kids with the Planet Kids snow playground, which includes snow tubing, snowman making, tube carousel, snowsports and lessons.
    • The mountain itself is pretty small but is a good introduction to snowsports and activities for kids and families.

Sugar Bowl:

  • Day lift ticket: $120 day of at ticket window and online / $69-$89 at least 3 days in advance online.
  • Terrain: Lots of intermediate and expert runs as well as backcountry access, and a few beginner runs. There is 1650 acres of skiable terrain and 1500 ft vertical elevation from peak to base.
  • Fun stuff & other info:
    • Sugar Bowl has 8 backcountry access gates if you are looking for some challenging terrain and fresh lines. The best part is you can take the lifts up so you don’t have to do too much hiking and still get the backcountry experience. Like with regular backcountry endeavours you should still have all the equipment (avy gear) and skills for it.
    • The mountain gets an average of 500 inches of snowfall a year making it powder heaven!
    • Sugar Bowl is home to California’s very first chairlift!
Skiing & snowboarding in Tahoe
Skiing & snowboarding in Tahoe

South

Heavenly:

  • Day lift ticket: $164 day of at the ticket window / $123-146 at least one day in advanced online.
  • Terrain: Mostly intermediate, advanced, some expert runs, and only a few beginner runs. There is 4,800 acres of skiable terrain and 3,500 ft vertical elevation from peak to base.
  • Fun stuff & other info:
    • Heavenly’s Monument Peak is the highest of any resort in Tahoe at 10,067 feet, and has a 5 mile descent, the longest on the west coast.
    • You get epic views of Lake Tahoe and the Tahoe Basin from many of the runs.
    • Heavenly is in both California and Nevada, the resort goes over the state line and you can ride or ski from state to state.
    • There are four different bases to access the mountain, two in California – The Heavenly Village Gondola, and Cal Lodge, and two in Nevada – Boulder and Stagecoach Lodges.

Sierra at Tahoe:

  • Day lift ticket: $110 day of at the ticket window / $77-$100 at least a day in advanced online.
  • Terrain: Lots of intermediate and advanced runs, and a decent amount of beginner runs and a few terrain parks. There is 2,000 acres of skiable terrain and 2,212 ft vertical elevation from peak to base.
  • Fun stuff & other info:
    • They offer a 3-Pak lift ticket for $228 ($76 per day) perfect for a long weekend a or a midweek getaway.
    • If you are coming from South Lake, Sacramento, or the Bay Area Sierra offers shuttle services {link} so you don’t have to deal with driving.
    • You can get a tour around the mountain and learn the history of the area with a mountain tour, it’s free with your ski pass or day ticket!

Kirkwood:

  • Day lift ticket: $124 day of at the ticket window / $92-$109 at least one day in advance online.
  • Terrain: Lots of advanced and expert runs, a good amount intermediate runs, and not too many beginner runs. There is 2,300 acres of skiable terrain and 2,00 ft vertical elevation from peak to base.
  • Fun stuff & other info:
    • “The Wall” is famous for being one of the hardest runs around. If you go up The Wall chair there is no easy way down which I learned by being young and dumb and not paying attention to the signs at the bottom of the lift some years ago.
    • Kirkwood is known for being a no frills kind of place, the people who go there love to ski and ride and that’s all they want to do.
    • If you aren’t feeling like down hill skiing Kirkwood also offers cross country skiing and snowshoeing. They have a ton of groomed trails in the valley and even offer lessons.
Skiing & snowboarding in Tahoe
Skiing & snowboarding in Tahoe

East

Diamond Peak:

  • Day lift ticket: $89-109 day of at the window / $84 at least one day in advance online.
  • Terrain: Lots of intermediate, advanced, and expert runs, with a few beginner runs and a small terrain park. There is 655 acres of skiable terrain and 1,840 ft vertical elevation from peak to base.
  • Fun stuff & other info:
    • If you have a season pass from any other ski resort you can get a discount on day lift tickets.
    • Diamond Peak is located right in Incline Village, being right in town makes it convenient to get to.
    • Diamond Peak allows “Uphill Access” so if you’d like to skin, snowshoe, or hike up the hills you can. You do need an Uphill Access Pass which is free from guest services.

Mount Rose:

  • Day lift ticket: $135 day of at the ticket window / $99 at least one day in advance online.
  • Terrain: Lots of advanced and expert runs and a good amount of intermediate and beginner runs as well. There is 1,200 acres of skiable terrain and 1,800 ft vertical elevation from peak to base.
  • Fun stuff & other info:
    • Mount Rose offers some awesome deals like Two for Tuesdays – get 2 lift tickets for the price of one! VIP Wednesdays – $200 for a VIP mountain experience including lift ticket, mountain tour, rentals, and lunch. Ladies Day Thursdays – Women get $49 lift tickets. Locals Sundays – $69 lift ticket and pizza with an ID that proves you live in the Tahoe/Reno area. And Ski The Day You Fly – Show your ID and boarding pass that shows you flew into Tahoe/Reno airport that day and get a $69 lift ticket.
    • The resort has the tallest base of any in Tahoe at 8,260 feet making the parking lots higher than the peaks of some resorts.
    • It is the closest resort to Reno, just 25 minutes away.
Skiing & snowboarding in Tahoe
Skiing & snowboarding in Tahoe

West

Homewood:

  • Day lift ticket: $109-$139 day of at the ticket window / $49-$80 at least one day in advance online.
  • Terrain: Lots of intermediate and advanced runs and a few beginner runs. There is 1,260 acres of skiable terrain and 1650 ft vertical elevation from peak to base.
  • Fun stuff & other info:
    • The resort is located right on the lake so you get epic views of Lake Tahoe and the basin for the runs.
    • Homewood offers backcountry snowcat skiing and riding, so if you are looking to get off the groomers taking a cat out into the backcountry is an awesome experience.
    • The West Shore Cafe does free s’mores on the lake from 4-4:30 every weekend in the winter. So you can go grab a sweet snack after hitting the slopes.

Alpine Meadows:

  • Day lift ticket: $179 day of at the ticket window / $89-$159 at least a day in advance online.
  • Terrain: Lots of intermediate and advanced runs, and a few beginner runs. There is 2,400 acres of skiable terrain and 1,802 ft vertical elevation from peak to base.
  • Fun stuff & other info:
    • Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley are now owned by the same company, so even though they are 2 different mountains they are essentially the same resort. Your lift ticket will work at either and you can take a shuttle between the two to be able to enjoy all the amenities between them.
    • Alpine Meadows has an old school ski chalet vibe that is super welcoming and friendly.

Squaw Valley:

  • Day lift ticket: $179 day of at the ticket window / $89-$159 at least a day in advance online.
  • Terrain: Lots of advanced runs, quite a few intermediate runs, and a couple beginner runs. There is 4,000 acres of skiable terrain and 2,850 ft vertical elevation from peak to base.
  • Fun stuff & other info:
    • In 1960 the Winter Olympics were held at Squaw Valley and you can see plenty of the memorabilia, photos, videos, and new articles at the Olympic Museum.
    • Get amazing views of Lake Tahoe and the basin from the Aerial Tram. You don’t have to be skiing to go up the tram and take in the views there is a sightseers price. You can enjoy scenic restaurants and bars at the top at High Camp.
    • If you are looking for some snow activities other than skiing or snowboarding Squaw Valley also has snow tubing, snowshoeing, and cross country skiing.
    • Squaw Valley is the birthplace of the Game of Gnar. PS I’m the best skier on the mountain!

So here’s to winter snow sports and all the fun to be had outside! Tahoe is the perfect winter playground for everyone.

Skiing & snowboarding in Tahoe

Map

Pack All The Warm Things!

READ MORE:
Packing for Winter in Tahoe
The Best Happy Hours in South Lake Tahoe

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A Guide to Tahoe Ski Resorts

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