The Best Lake Tahoe Ski Resorts

The Best Lake Tahoe Ski Resorts
Lake Tahoe, which straddles the California-Nevada border west of Reno, Nevada, offers a terrific selection of snow sports resorts that can be generally divided by their northern or southern locations. They range in size from sprawling, world-famous resorts to intimate smaller areas, all of which are suitable for alpine and nordic skiing and snowboarding.

Squaw Valley USA

Starting with the northern Lake Tahoe resorts, this world-famous ski area between Tahoe City and Truckee, California, was the location of the 1960 winter Olympics. It is unique in that it has so many ski runs (more than 170) on its spacious 4,000 acres that the ski area tends to be oriented around its 34 lifts. It is one of the more challenging snow sports areas with 80 percent of its runs designated for intermediate or advanced skiers and boarders.

1960 Squaw Valley Road
Olympic Valley, California 96146

Alpine Meadows

Overshadowed by its famous neighbor, this resort is smaller than but similar to Squaw Valley with a whopping 100-plus runs on 2,400 acres serviced by 13 lifts. It is a favorite among those who like forested terrain, and its angular layout gives the clusters of runs grouped around isolated lifts a secluded feeling.

2600 Alpine Meadows Road
Tahoe City, California 96145


Northstar is a family-friendly area between Truckee and Kings Beach, California, with 75 percent of its runs designated intermediate or beginner. It has 89 runs serviced by 17 lifts on about 2,900 acres on the flanks of 8,612-foot Mount Pluto, which affords impressive views of Lake Tahoe from its summit. The remote northwest lift offers the resort's most challenging terrain.

100 Northstar Drive
Truckee, California 96161
(800) GO-NORTH

Mount Rose

Although the smallest of the north Lake Tahoe ski areas, Mount Rose is the most challenging. While it has only 60-plus runs on 1,200 acres serviced by 8 lifts, fully half of them are designated advanced terrain. Located between Incline Village and Reno, Nevada, it is oriented to the northeast, facing away from the lake.

22222 Mt. Rose Highway
Reno, Nevada 89511
(800) SKI-ROSE


The largest and best-known of south Lake Tahoe's resorts is Heavenly, which is aptly named because of the breath-taking panoramic views of the lake visible from a majority of its 95 runs. The area straddles the California-Nevada border on its 4,800 acres of terrain. It has 30 lifts, one of which ends directly on the state border. It offers a good mix of runs with 45 percent designated intermediate skiers and riders. It is immediately south of South Lake Tahoe, California.

Corner of Wildwood and Saddle
South Lake Tahoe, California 96150


While still considered part of the Lake Tahoe area, Kirkwood is about a 35-minute drive south of South Lake Tahoe. It offers 65 runs on 2,300 acres serviced by 12 lifts. A formidable ski area, 85 percent of Kirkwood's runs are for intermediate or advanced abilities.

1501 Kirkwood Meadows Drive
Kirkwood, California 96120

Article Written By Gary Olson

Gary Olson is a freelance writer, editor, photographer and designer with 34 years of experience. His work has appeared in such publications as Sailing, Northwest Living, 5280, The Arizona Republic, The Denver Post and many other newspapers and magazines. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota.

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