Sunny skies, gorgeous mountain scenery, and a relaxed California attitude make Lake Tahoe one of the most desirable ski destinations in North America. Add to that several world-class ski resorts with excellent snow conditions, extensive terrain, and state-of-the-art ski lifts, and it’s hard to rival this winter wonderland. Lake Tahoe has dozens of resorts, and several are world-renowned, such as Squaw Valley and Heavenly. Skiers of all abilities will find suitable terrain at all of the resorts, although some are better suited to certain skiing levels. Northstar and Homewood are great for intermediate skiers, while Kirkwood and Mount Rose challenge advanced skiers. If you are planning a day trip from San Francisco or Sacramento, then Sugar Bowl is the best choice as it’s the closest and most easily accessible. The other resorts are best for a weekend getaway or longer vacation, which is especially enjoyable when staying at one of Lake Tahoe’s cozy lodges or rustic cabins. Most accommodations have wood-burning fireplaces and forest views for a traditional alpine experience.
A world-renowned ski resort, Squaw Valley was the site of the 1960 Olympic Winter Games and offers some of the best ski runs in Lake Tahoe. The resort has 3,600 acres of skiable terrain, 29 ski lifts, and more than 170 trails, with the longest run extending for 3.2 miles.
Squaw is suitable for all skiing abilities. About 25 percent of runs are suited for beginners, 43 percent for intermediate level skiers, and 32 percent for advanced skiers. At an elevation of 6,200 feet to 9,050 feet, the Squaw Valley ski resort has good snow coverage, on average 450 inches in a season. Wide powdery slopes traverse the mountainside, lined by pine forests. Those learning to ski will appreciate the dedicated beginners’ ski area on top of the mountain (accessible by trams), and intermediates will find many lovely runs in the Shirley Lake and Pacific Crest Bowl skiing areas. Squaw Valley is also popular with snowboarders because of its steep slopes and long chutes, plus a halfpipe.
For those spending a few days in Squaw Valley, a highlight of vacationing here is the European-style village. With many restaurants, shops, and art galleries, the village offers a vibrant après-ski atmosphere. The resort also has an ice-skating rink as well as areas for snow tubing, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. For luxurious ski-in and ski-out accommodations with mountain views, the Squaw Valley Lodge is the perfect choice, just steps away from the slopes.
The Squaw Valley resort has a sister resort, neighboring Alpine Meadows. This picturesque, family-friendly ski resort has charming chalet-style lodges and runs for every ability level: 25 percent beginner runs, 40 percent intermediate runs, and 35 percent advanced runs. The resort covers 2,400 acres and boasts more than 100 trails accessed by 13 lifts. The terrain ranges from wide-open bowls to steep slopes for advanced skiers. From March 9-12, 2017 Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows is hosting the Audi FIS Ski World Cup.