Lake Tahoe’s Best Ski Resorts

Lake Tahoe’s top ski resorts have some of the best skiing in the western USA. The huge lake straddles the border between California and Nevada and presents amazing skiing opportunities at ski resorts at both North Lake Tahoe and South Lake Tahoe. Both sides of the lake have family-friendly resorts with excellent ski schools, wide-open beginners’ runs and advanced skiing with spine-tingling black and double-black gems. Here are our picks for Lake Tahoe’s best ski resorts and what you can expect at each one.

Lake Tahoe has some breathtaking ski resorts on both the north and south ends of the massive lake that straddles the California/Nevada border.

Sugar Bowl

Sugar Bowl gets ample snowfall and has been a favorite ski getaway for families for years. It is often overshadowed by its nearby neighbors Squaw Valley and Northstar-at-Tahoe at North Lake Tahoe. The ski resort, located on the northwest side of Lake Tahoe, is just north of Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows and west of Northstar-at-Tahoe.

The trails at Sugar Bowl are geared for intermediate skiers, so it’s the perfect ski destination in California if you want to ski intermediate trails. The resort has more than 100 named trails and more than 45 percent are for intermediates while another 38 percent is for advanced skiers. (Leaving about 17 percent for beginners.)

Sugar Bowl has a relatively inexpensive lift ticket compared to some other area resorts. A single-day adult lift ticket purchased at the window will run you about $125. It’s not cheap, but it’s considerably better than Northstar-at-Tahoe and Squaw Valley, both of which exceed $165 per day for a similar lift ticket.

You can find ski deals at Sugar Bowl here that can save you money on lift tickets, so you don’t have to pay full price. While you’re at it, check our ski rental specials, lodging deals and more so your vacation to Sugar Bowl doesn’t cost so much.

Sierra-at-Tahoe

Sierra-at-Tahoe is a pure-mountain escape. You won’t find luxury shops or fine dining – there’s just epic skiing with incredible dumps of snow all season long. The resort is almost perfectly located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains on the southwest side of Lake Tahoe and just north of Kirkwood Mountain. The ski area at Sierra-at-Tahoe offers some unbelievable tree runs, thrilling steeps and prime backcountry skiing opportunities. The resort has a near-perfect mix of terrain that draws all levels of skiers.

Sierra-at-Tahoe and has the most affordable lift ticket right now for skiing South Lake Tahoe. Of the three resorts in the region – Heavenly, Kirkwood and Sierra-at-Tahoe – the cheapest single-day adult lift ticket is sold at Sierra-at-Tahoe for $125. (But Kirkwood is close at $129.)

Never pay full ticket price! Check our website here, first, and view Sierra-at-Tahoe deals that include lodging, lift tickets, ski rentals and delivery, and transportation while you’re at the resort. Whatever you need, you might as well save! You’ll appreciate the extra cash in your wallet when you hit the nearby casinos after a day on the slopes.

Kirkwood

Kirkwood is just south of Sierra-at-Tahoe, tucked away from the regular hustle and bustle of South Lake Tahoe. It’s often called the hidden gem of the region – with optimal snow conditions and some of the most robust snowfall in the Sierra Nevada.

The ski area has a heavy split of terrain that favors advanced skiers. Half of the terrain is marked as intermediate and another 35 percent is advanced or experts only. While on 15 percent of terrain is for beginners, the resort is surprisingly popular among families and first timers, namely due to the excellent ski schools on site and that beginner terrain is mostly wide-open and easy to navigate.

Lift tickets at Kirkwood run $129 for a single-day adult pass – one of the more affordable options on this list. If you’re looking for something different on the south side of the lake with big snow and no lift lines, this might be your resort.

At SkiCoupons.com, you can find specials that will save you money off the full lift ticket price. Never pay full window-sticker price before you check for a deal online! We often have promo codes and exclusive links that can save you huge!

Squaw Valley

A pretty good indicator of a world-class ski resort is if it has ever hosted an Olympic Games. Squaw Valley at North Lake Tahoe was home to the 1960 Winter Olympics and the resort and been thriving ever since. With a high elevation and north-facing slopes, the skiing and snowboarding at the resort is a one-of-a-kind ski experience chock-full of terrifying steeps, narrow chutes, tight tree skiing and progressive terrain parks.

Squaw Valley is located northwest of Lake Tahoe near Alpine Meadows and Sugar Bowl just off Interstate 89 north of Tahoe City. While some of the previous resorts have been no-frills, Squaw Valley has everything you’d expect from a major ski area. There’s a sprawling European-inspired base village, more than 4,000 acres of terrain spread over six mountains, in excess of 170 trails and more than 2,500 feet of bone-chilling vertical feet.

Single-day adult lift tickets will run you about $169 if you purchase at the ticket window the day of. Before you head to the resort, check our site for Squaw Valley deals on lodging, lift tickets, ski rentals and off-mountain activities like dining and snow tubing. Find a deal for everything and build a whole vacation where you save on every part of it!

tahoe's best ski resorts
Ski resorts around Lake Tahoe have a variety of runs for skiers and snowboarders of all ages and abilities, from wide-open trails for newbies to more challenging trails for advanced skiers.

Alpine Meadows

Alpine Meadows is an idyllic winter resort that offers world-class skiing in a warm and friendly, mom-and-pop environment in North Lake Tahoe near Tahoe City. The front-side of the ski area is ideal for beginner and intermediates and the backside the geared toward advanced skiers. It’s a great mix – newer skiers can hone their skill on the less-intimidating front side while intermediates and experts can rip it up on the backside.

Alpine Meadows has a day lodge at the resort with all the proper amenities, including food, ski storage, an indoor kid’s area and a sundeck. The family-friendly resort is a hit with skiers of differing abilities because of the excellent variety of terrain and patient ski school.

A single-day adult lift ticket is $169 but grants access to more than 2,400 acres, 100 named trails and seven unforgettable bowls. Alpine Meadows gets plenty of snow annually – about 500 inches – so powder days are abundant the deep, pristine powder is a regular.

On our site, we have deals that can save you money of everything for your ski outing – rentals, lift tickets, etc. – and hotels, condos, dining and more!

Heavenly

Yes – the resort has angelic skiing so the name fits. But what’s not to love about Heavenly, the premier ski resort in South Lake Tahoe near the California/Nevada state line. (The resort straddles the state line.) The local’s favorite has grown to a worldwide destination over the years, and it’s no wonder considering there’s over 400 inches of snow and 300 sunny days served up annually. Bluebird skies and lots of pow-pow? Where do we sign up?

Heavenly has a cool split when it comes to beginners versus advanced skiing at the resort. The California side of the resort is filled with excellent runs for beginners and intermediates while the Nevada side is steeper and ideal for advanced and expert skiers. Newbies will love the easier California side while experts will salivate at the steep glades, powdery bowls and heavily wooded areas on the Nevada side.

Lift tickets at Heavenly will run you about $174 currently, but you can snag a deal for savings off our site that should push that price down considerably. We’re consistently running promotions for savings, so it you have a favorite resort, bookmark it on our site and check back consistently for deals. You can even sign up for our newsletter to stay in the loop.

Northstar-at-Tahoe

Northstar-at-Tahoe covers more than 3,000 acres and descends more than 2,200 vertical feet – so it’s both massive and epic. Skiers and snowboarder have lots of options, from more than 90 runs, seven terrain parks, a handful of indomitable gladed trails, 300 acres of backcountry bliss and more than 20 miles devoted strictly for Nordic. The ski area is at North Lake Tahoe near the town of Truckee.

It’s going to cost you $179 to walk up and by a lift ticket at the window on the day you want to ski. That’s one of the heftiest lift prices in the Golden State, but honestly the skiing and snowboarding are worth every penny. But don’t pay full price under any circumstances before you check our site for lift ticket deals at Northstar-at-Tahoe. You might be able to score free lodging with lift tickets or other deals and discounts that can really make a difference in your budget.

Consistently rated as one of the nation’s best resorts, the versatile ski area has a little something for everyone. The resort is a popular ski destination for families because of its elaborate base village area, long list of amenities, convenient location, fine skiing and frequent powder dumps. Northstar-at-Tahoe is a sight to behold on a powder day for sure.

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