December 2015 | Ski Lake Tahoe

North America’s Premier Destination

Experience Lake Tahoe, home to the largest collection of ski and snowboard resorts in North America, adding up to more than 22,000 skiable acres at 17 world-class resorts that offer the widest variety of terrain.

Tahoe Terrain

Located high in the Sierra Mountains of California and Nevada, Lake Tahoe is known as North America’s premier ski destination for its pristine ski conditions, epic views and wide variety of terrain. Blessed by Mother Nature each year with more than 500 inches of snowfall and 300 days of sunshine, Tahoe has near flawless ski weather and a season that can run from October all the way into July. Whether you are a beginner, novice or expert Tahoe offers skiers, snowboarders and cross country enthusiasts every kind of terrain, from smooth corduroy groomed slopes and bunny hills to backcountry forest runs, deep powder bowls and epic cliff drops.

Skiing at Heavenly Mountain Resort (3) copy

Heavenly Mountain

Situated on Monument Peak on the south shore, Heavenly Mountain is Lake Tahoe’s largest mountain resort. Straddling the California and Nevada state line, the mountain offers a massive 4,800 skiable acres, Tahoe’s highest peak elevation at 10,067 feet, the highest vertical drop at 3,500 feet and the longest run on the entire west coast at 5 miles. While the mountain statistics are impressive it is the quality and variety of terrain combined with jaw-dropping views that set Heavenly Mountain apart from the rest. To reach the 97 runs the mountain uses 28 lifts, an aerial tram and a high-speed gondola.

With 20 percent of Tahoe’s largest resort to explore, beginner skiers will find plenty of trails to suit their needs. Situated farther up the mountain rather than at the base, the beginners area provides a unique alpine experience with meandering runs, like Mombo Meadows and Maggie’s, that offer stunning views of the lake. More than 2,000 acres are listed as intermediate, meaning there is an ample amount of terrain to explore for days.

Start by taking the gondola halfway up the mountain where the Comet Express, Dipper Express and Tamarack Express chairlifts provide access to pristine groomed cruisers like the popular Orion and Dipper trails. If you’re looking for more of a challenge take the Big Dipper, a perimeter trail that runs all the way to the base of the mountain, testing even the strongest legs. Switch it up a bit, and head over to the Powderbowl Express chairlift, just below Ridge Run. In that area you’ll find Powderbowl Woods and Blue Square Glades, perfect tree runs that will have skiers grinning ear-to-ear. Expert skiers and thrill seekers will find that Heavenly Mountian has some of the most challenging terrain to offer, from double black diamond runs to the open powder of the Milky Way Bowl.

On the California side take the Sky Way Express to the summit at 10,067 feet where a multitude of options await. Dash through the pines of Ski Ways Glades or make a challenging mogul run down Ellie’s Swing. If jumps and acrobatics are your thing drop in at High Roller Park where a selection of ramps and rails can be found. On the upper Nevada side two gated areas, Mott Canyon and Killabrew Canyon, provide deep backcountry skiing and are chock-full of steep chutes that zig zag through the majestic pines. Be prepared to hike a little as these extreme areas require a short hike in.

Of course if you are not into strapping your feet onto a piece of wood and flying down the mountain there are other ways to enjoy the mountain. Ice skate at Heavenly Village and then take the gondola up to Adventure Peak where an observation deck and inner tubing can be found. For a hair-raising experience with a view strap into a harness and take a ride down both of the mountain’s zip lines. Hot Shot races 1,000 feet downhill while reaching speeds of 40 mph while the Blue Streak zip line covers 3,300 feet and tops out at an impressive 50 mph.


 More Slopes To Explore

Squaw Valley

Home to the 1960 Winter Olympics, Squaw Valley is one of Tahoe’s most legendary resorts. Beginners will find forgiving learning zones among dramatic alpine scenery, while varied trails, bowls and chutes mean that skiers and snowboarders will never outgrow the progressive terrain. With consistent snowfall that stays around well into spring, Squaw Valley boasts one of the longest ski seasons in the country.

Alpine Meadows

Renowned for its seven powder bowls, summit-to-base groomed trails and panoramic views of Lake Tahoe, Alpine Meadows offers some of North America’s most celebrated terrain along with a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere. Recently joining forces with nearby Squaw Valley, a ticket to Alpine Meadows now provides access to both resorts, allowing skiers to experience a whopping 6,000 acres, 42 lifts and more than 270 trails.


It’s not just the 600 inches of annual snowfall that Kirkwood is known for, but the type of snow. Resting atop the Sierra Crest at 9,800 feet, Kirkwood receives the lightest, driest and most plentiful snow in the Tahoe region. The resort combines big-mountain skiing with a small town ambience and offers terrain from calm beginner friendly trails to hair-raising cliffs and cornices with the most high-angle grooming in the area.

Sugar Bowl

Sitting atop Donner Summit, Sugar Bowl is considered the Grand Dame of Tahoe Skiing as it was the first resort to open in 1939. The four-mountain resort receives the most snow in the area and can also lay claim to the least crowded slopes, making it perfect for maximizing runs. Sugar Bowl is also one of the only resorts with an open boundary policy, which provides access to endless backcountry terrain.

Royal Gorge

If cross country skiing is your thing look no further than Royal Gorge. North America’s largest XC resort, Royal Gorge offers more than 120 miles of groomed trails across 6,000 acres of pristine terrain, on six distinct track systems featuring eight different warming huts. Head out to ski or snowshoe on scenic trails through ponderosa pine and white fir trees, cruise along open meadows and gentle rolling hills while enjoying some of the finest views in the Sierra.

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