The lowdown on some of our favorite resorts

Sugar Bowl

Sugar Bowl

ALPINE MEADOWS: A local favorite

Alpine Meadows’ seven powder bowls, summit-to-base groomed slopes, and authentic hospitality are among the many attributes that have made the resort a favorite of the local community and visitors alike. Alpine Meadows offers skiers and riders access to more than 100 trails across 2,400 skiable acres serviced by 13 lifts. With its high annual snowfall, the resort boasts one of Tahoe’s longest skiing and boarding seasons.

BEAR VALLEY: The friendliest mountain in the west

Bear Valley Mountain is located in the Central Sierra between Yosemite and Lake Tahoe on National Scenic Byway Highway 4. Bear Valley is known for its warm, welcoming staff, affordable ticket prices, a variety of terrain, and a commitment to providing the ultimate mountain experience. The ski and board area offers 1,680 acres of varied terrain, more than 70 trails, two terrain parks featuring more than 18 features, and 1,900 vertical feet.

BIG BEAR MOUNTAIN: The People’s Park

Recently named one of the best parks in the country by the TransWorld SNOWboarding Magazine Resort Poll, Bear Mountain is a nearly 200-acre winter playground. In addition to the massive Red Bull Plaza, the mountain offers over 165 beginner to advanced jibs including a variety of rails, boxes, walls, over 100 features of all shapes and sizes, and 4 pipes – including Southern California’s only Superpipe. Bear Mountain offers some of the region’s most diverse and popular terrain parks for riders of all skill levels.

BOREAL: A mountain ready to be ridden

Value, easy access and family-focused fun is what Boreal Ski Area is all about. Programs to make skiing both affordable and intimidation-free abound at Boreal. Six lifts service 41 trails and Boreal’s popular Playland snow tubing area. There are more than 100 assorted jumps, rails and other features spread over three terrain parks, including a Transworld Snowboarding Top 10-rated Superpipe.

China Peak

China Peak

CHINA PEAK: A big Sierra experience close to home

The biggest surprise about China Peak is the quality of the terrain, which is atypical of resorts so close to major metro areas (60 miles from nearly 1 million people). In size and overall experience we compete with all but the largest in Tahoe. We overlook Huntington Lake, and are one of a handful of resorts in the west family owned & operated, a very friendly vibe. This is the resort’s 55th season.

DIAMOND PEAK: Less is more at Diamond Peak

A true Tahoe experience awaits you at Diamond Peak Ski Resort, located in Incline Village, North Tahoe. Diamond Peak offers 655 skiable acres, 1,840 feet of vertical, uncrowded slopes and vast views of Lake Tahoe, just 35 miles from Reno–Tahoe International Airport. Diamond Peak features six chairlifts and 30 runs that rival other resorts, but with more affordable prices, breath-taking lake views and an atmosphere the whole family will enjoy.

DODGE RIDGE: Founded in core family values

Dodge Ridge was founded on the ideals of family. Beginning with the Purdy family and continuing on today with the Helm family, core family values remain the foundation of Dodge Ridge. Over the last 37 years the Helm family has dedicated themselves to the continued growth of Dodge Ridge. The most recent expansion is the Doppelmayar T-Bar T643 installed in the summer of 2011. T-Bar 643 gains access to the second summit, doubling the length of the shots.

DONNER SKI RANCH: Family owned and operated

One of California’s last family owned and operated ski resorts. For years, Donner Ski Ranch has offered a simpler skiing experience. Located on Historic Route 40 high atop Donner Summit, you will find an atmosphere that is relaxing and carefree. With 6 chairlifts and 2 moving carpets accessing 500 + acres, there is a variety of terrain for all abilities. Visit Donner Ski Ranch for close, affordable, fun.

Unbuckle at Heavenly s Tamarack, rated as the No 1 apres ski party in North America by Forbes.  Photo courtesy of Heavenly

Unbuckle at Heavenly’s Tamarack, rated as the No 1 apres ski party in North America by Forbes. Photo courtesy of Heavenly

HEAVENLY: Inspiring scenic beauty, 4,800 acres of varied terrain and rockin’ nightlife

Unbuckle at Tamarack, rated as the No. 1 après ski party in North America by Forbes and confirmed by CNN Travel. Lake Tahoe’s highest elevation après ski party features music, drinking, dancing and the lovely Heavenly Angels – ripping skiers by day and go-go dancers when the sun dips below the Sierra. The party takes place daily from 3:30-5:30 p.m. with a live DJ, half-priced drinks, giveaways, food specials, lots of dancing and, exclusively on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, the Heavenly Angels. This season, Heavenly is elevating Unbuckle once again, by taking the party out onto the patio at Tamarack Lodge and by featuring special guest DJs. So, unbuckle those ski boots and snowboard bindings, and take your après game to the next level!

HOMEWOOD: Unbeatable views and uncrowded slopes

Homewood Mountain Resort, founded in 1961, is one of California’s first winter recreation resorts and also the winner of the 2013 National Ski Areas Association Golden Eagle award for environmental stewardship. Locals know Homewood offers unbeatable views of Lake Tahoe from every run – ranked #1 scenic view in North America by Liftopia – as well as uncrowded groomed slopes and incredible tree skiing and riding on 1,260 acres of terrain. Visitors in the know enjoy après-ski and/or stay across the street at Homewood’s West Shore Café and Inn – an intimate lake-front restaurant and inn.

KIRKWOOD: Steep and deep

It’s the mountain, the community and the people that make Kirkwood such a special place. It is quite the mountain; you can get everything you want here. From Steeps & Chutes that will challenge you, to open bowls and gladed tree skiing – our terrain is diverse. A little known fact is that Kirkwood also has some of the best beginner terrain in the Sierra’s as well as an 80k Cross Country center that serves both sides of SR88. Kirkwood is a place for passion and people to come together at 7800’.

JUNE MOUNTAIN: Kid-centric

June Mountain opened in 1961 as a sister mountain to the larger Mammoth Mountain Ski Resort, located just 20 minutes north. With 1,400 acres, there’s terrain available for all abilities. New this season, children 12 and under ski free, NO STRINGS! The resort will be family-focused with industry leading lesson programming accommodating the youngest of mountaineers. Children’s animation will also be a hit with Bucky’s Saturday Bonfires, and Enhanced Terrain Features such as Silverado’s Fun Zone and Bucky’s Adventure Zone, giving children and parents an easy introduction into progression.



MAMMOTH: Big snow and long season

The biggest characteristic that sets Mammoth apart from other ski resorts is our big snow and long seasons. At 11,053 feet, Mammoth boasts the highest summit of any California resort, making for deeper, higher quality snow, and beautiful views. On average, Mammoth receives 400 inches of snow annually with seasons lasting from November to June. Not many ski resorts can boast such a long season. At that time of year, we’ll do a “triathlon”… Ski, bike, golf all in one day! Mammoth’s long seasons and big storms mean snow enthusiasts can spend more time enjoying their favorite sport 8 months out of the year. Only in Mammoth!

MT. ROSE: Lake Tahoe’s closest Skiing to Reno

Just 25 minutes from Reno, Mt. Rose – Ski Tahoe’s convenient location and outstanding terrain make it a locals’ as well as visitors’ favorite. Rose can boast Lake Tahoe’s highest base elevation at 8,260 feet ensuring supreme snow conditions even on the warmest spring days. The resort’s 1,200 acres feature an ample variety of runs ideal for every level of skier & snowboarder. The legendary Chutes offer 1,500 vertical feet of extreme terrain with some of the longest continuous vertical in North America (40 to 55 degree runs for over 1000’).

NORTHSTAR: Five-star experience with a California vibe

Northstar’s laid-back, welcoming California vibe, thoughtful, friendly service, incredible on-mountain experience and sophisticated alpine village offer guests the ultimate luxury ski experience without pretense. Northstar offers 97 ski trails spread across 3,170 acres, award-winning terrain parks and snow sports including alpine and Telemark skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and tubing.

Sierra-at-Tahoe boasts 2,000 acres and 2,212 vertical feet of dynamic terrain.  Photo courtesy of Sierra-at-Tahoe

Sierra-at-Tahoe boasts 2,000 acres and 2,212 vertical feet of dynamic terrain. Photo courtesy of Sierra-at-Tahoe

SIERRA-AT-TAHOE: A bastion of the authentic California ski experience

Sierra-at-Tahoe Resort boasts 2,000 acres and 2,212 vertical feet of dynamic terrain with panoramic views of Lake Tahoe from the summit and one of the deepest snowpacks in the region. Access to expert off-piste terrain in Huckleberry Canyon, incredible tree runs, a commitment to consistent, quality grooming and excellent beginner programs, make Sierra Resort a favorite Northern California resort. Easy to get to and always welcoming, Sierra-at-Tahoe Resort is located just 12 miles from South Lake Tahoe and offers Ski & Stay packages with local resorts and casinos. Known as the“locals spot”, Sierra Resort is a bastion of the authentic California ski experience.

SNOW SUMMIT: The Ultimate Destination for Family Fun

Snow Summit is the ideal place to spend the day carving on picturesque slopes. A huge variety of interconnecting runs allows skiers and snowboarders to explore the entire mountain without ever returning to the base area. Extensive snowmaking capabilities at Snow Summit means superior snow conditions every single day throughout the season. Snow Summit is also home to some of the best park night skiing and riding in the world.

SQUAW VALLEY: Internationally known winter recreation resort

Host of the 1960 Winter Olympics, Squaw Valley is internationally renowned for legendary terrain that spans 3,600 skiable acres, six peaks and 30 chairlifts, and ranges from an expansive mountaintop beginner area to unrivaled expert steeps, trees and bowls. Off the mountain, families relax in The Village at Squaw Valley around the cozy fire pits or enjoy a host of restaurants, bars, boutiques and art galleries. Guests can stay in one of The Village at Squaw Valley’s one, two or three bedroom suites, each with a fireplace, kitchen and balcony, for the ultimate slopeside lodging experience.

SUGAR BOWL/ROYAL GORGE: Steeped in tradition yet modern in amenities

Long a favorite of Nor Cal skiers & riders for its close proximity to the Bay, Sugar Bowl has been serving up high-alpine adventures since 1939. The new Crow’s Peak chairlift offers lift-serviced access to the previously hike- to terrain of Strawberry Fields, and some of the finest tree skiing in the region. An open boundary makes this 1,650 acre resort seem infinitely bigger, with certified guides at the Backcountry Adventure Center to show you the way. And just last season, the resort that’s deep in snow (500” per year) and light on lift lines acquired Royal Gorge, North America’s largest XC resort, complete with snowkiting and fat tire snowbiking.

Sugar Bowl acquired Royal Gorge, North America's largest XC resort.  Photo courtesy of Sugar Bowl

Sugar Bowl acquired Royal Gorge, North America’s largest XC resort. Photo courtesy of Sugar Bowl