Choosing where to ski or snowboard at Lake Tahoe, home to more than a dozen resorts, can be overwhelming. For some, size matters, while for others, it’s location or whether a mountain participates in a certain season pass. Here, we’ve summarized the top six Lake Tahoe ski resorts to help you decide.
Heavenly Mountain Resort
With nearly 97 trails, 4,800 skiable acres (1942 hectares), 28 chairlifts (including a scenic gondola), and 3,500 vertical feet (1067 meters), Heavenly is one of Lake Tahoe’s biggest resorts. It sits on the Nevada–California border, meaning you to ski two states in one day. Heavenly is in South Lake Tahoe, a main tourist destination near the casinos of Stateline, Nev. It's part of Vail Resorts, along with neighboring Kirkwood and Northstar resorts, also in Lake Tahoe; you can ski all three with Vail Resorts’ Epic Pass. For big groups with varying ages and skill levels, this is a top choice.
Kirkwood Mountain Resort
Known for getting more annual snowfall than most Tahoe resorts, Kirkwood is 35 miles (55 kilometers) south of South Lake Tahoe and features 86 runs and 15 lifts across its 2,300 skiable acres (930 hectares), with a vertical drop of 2,000 feet (610 meters). It’s a member of Vail Resorts and can be skied on the Epic Pass. Its isolated location off the shores of the lake make it a favorite with advanced skiers.
Northstar California Resort
One of Tahoe’s top family resorts, Northstar has a convenient location between Interstate 80 and the north shore of the lake, 7.5 miles (12 kilometers) from Truckee and 17 miles (27 kilometers) from Tahoe City. Skiers and riders get plenty of variety on Northstar’s 100 runs across 3,170 skiable acres (1283 hectares), with 20 lifts and 2,280 vertical feet (695 meters). With its village amenities such as outdoor ice skating, restaurants, and shops, plus a Ritz-Carlton hotel, Northstar is an ideal choice if your group includes those who aren’t skiing.
Squaw Valley–Alpine Meadows
Made up of two separate mountains, Squaw Valley–Alpine Meadows boasts a combined 230 runs, 42 lifts, 6,000 skiable acres (2428 hectares), and 2,850 vertical feet (869 meters). While Alpine Meadows is a local favorite for its laid-back atmosphere, Squaw Valley is Tahoe’s legendary mountain that hosted the 1960 Winter Olympics and features dramatic, challenging terrain. Together, they have something for everyone, but often with traffic and long lift lines. The two mountains sit next to each other off Highway 89, between Truckee and Tahoe City in North Lake Tahoe. A complimentary shuttle makes regular trips between them. Squaw–Alpine is often included in multiresort passes such as Mountain Collective and IKON Pass, which allow you to ski at top resorts around the country.
With its location just off Interstate 80, 15 miles (25 kilometers) west of Truckee, Sugar Bowl Resort is the closest major resort to San Francisco and Sacramento, and it’s popular with visitors and locals who don’t want to deal with the crowds and traffic that often accompany the resorts closer to the lake. Its 1,650 skiable acres (668 hectares) feature 100 runs, 12 lifts, and 1,500 vertical feet (457 meters). It’s also one of Tahoe’s oldest ski resorts, giving it a classic vibe that many longtime skiers love.
Diamond Peak Ski Resort
The smallest resort on this list and the only one fully in Nevada, Diamond Peak Ski Resort is known for its family-friendly features and great views of the lake. Its 655 skiable acres (265 hectares) are home to 30 runs, seven lifts, and 1,840 vertical feet (560 meters). With its interchangeable parents’ pass—where two parents can share one lift ticket—Diamond Peak is ideal for families with small children. The Incline Village resort is particularly convenient for those staying at Hyatt Regency, one of Tahoe’s most popular lakefront hotels.