North Lake Tahoe, California is the ultimate winter enthusiast destination. The incredible variety brings opportunities at every corner and from beginner skier to expert ripper, there is a swath of terrain for everyone. Don’t ski or ride? No problem. Tahoe boasts world class snowmobiling, hiking, cross country skiing, and fat tire winter cycling. While these activities just scratch the surface of what is possible in the Tahoe area, here is some basic resort knowledge for planning your next trip.
Northstar California — Family Skiing Paradise
Boasting some of the most luxurious accommodations in the entire industry, Northstar is the ultimate family ski destination. The terrain at Northstar is approachable for all ability levels and you’ll never find yourself in a situation that even the most novice skier or snowboarder can’t navigate out of. They have a great variety of sweeping groomed runs and mellow gladed trails. For those looking for a little bit more pitch, the steeps on the Backside and on Lookout Mountain offer up a challenge for the more advanced. Since Northstar caters to the casual skier, the bonus is that there is often plenty of fresh powder hidden in the trees, even days after a storm. In summation, Northstar is a family destination with a luxurious touch, beginner to intermediate terrain, and some unbeatable accommodations.
Squaw Valley USA — Extreme Skiing and Adventure Seekers Only
Squallywood, as it is affectionately referred to by locals, is a powerhouse in the industry. If you include neighboring Alpine Meadows, this mega resort weighs in at 6,200 acres of skiable terrain making it one of the largest resorts in North America. Squaw is known for its gnarly steeps, incredible vistas, gritty local culture, and amazing apres ski options. Find yourself on KT22 on a powder day and you’ll be shoulder to shoulder with Olympians, professional big mountain skiers, and local legends. Head up the brand new Siberia Express and you can get a front row seat to one of the most legendary zones in all of skiing: The Palisades. Professional skiers and snowboarders can be seen “sending” it off the large cliffs and navigating the tight couloirs. While Squaw and Alpine are intimidating mountains, there is something for everyone tucked into their massive acreage and the resort is constantly upgrading the experience for guests with new lodging options and restaurants. For a local feel, be sure to check out Le Chamois for a slice of pizza and a fizzy yellow beer while rest your tired legs.
Sugar Bowl and The Royal Gorge — No Lift Lines, Massive Amounts of Snow, and a Local Feel
Perched high atop Donner Summit, Sugar Bowl Resort presides as the first resort in California to install a chairlift and is the average snowfall breadwinner in North Tahoe, boasting an average total of 500 inches per year! It is often considered a hidden gem and offers a wide variety of terrain, however it is considered more of an advanced skiers paradise. Within the boundaries of this resort are a multitude of steep lines and deep snow. The best part? No lift lines. Even though Sugar Bowl is closer to the San Fransisco Bay Area than the rest, it rarely attracts a large crowd and you can often ski right onto the chair on any given day. Not into downhill skiing, the resort recently revamped its incredible cross country ski and snowbike terrain. The Royal Gorge is home to absolutely spectacular views and world class XC Skiing. Sugar Bowl is close to downtown Truckee, up historic Donner Pass road. They also boast the only “snowbound” village in North America. You can only access the accommodations here by snowmobile or gondola. If you are looking for a unique and memorable experience with a local feel and tons of snow then Sugar Bowl is your destination.