Guide to Tahoe Skiing and Snowboarding
Whether you’re a novice skier or seasoned veteran, a weekend warrior or a midweek snow bunny, when you’re looking for places to ski and snowboard in Sacramento, the nearby Tahoe area beckons from just up Interstate 80. So the next time you’re planning a weekend ski getaway, a quick day trip, a family snow adventure, a place to mix and mingle with singles while you hit the slopes, or the perfect place to perfect your snowboarding technique, this Tahoe area ski and snowboard guide has you covered.
Best Winter Weekend Getaway
5001 Northstar Drive
Truckee, CA 96161
When you’re looking for the perfect weekend getaway, look no further than Northstar-at-Tahoe, where staying and playing are practically synonymous. With a winter season spanning mid-November to mid-April (weather and conditions permitting), a high-speed chairlift and two intermediate ski trails on The Backside of the mountain, and a new 22-foot half pipe designed by Shaun White, Northstar is a great place to hit the 95 ski trails spanning 3,000 acres, perfect for both alpine and Telemark skiing, as well as snowboarding, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and tubing. When you’re done, stay in the on-site lodging and visit the base area village with shops and restaurants, as well as a 9,000 square-foot outdoor skating rink. Season passes start at $379. Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort is located on Highway 267, just six miles north of Lake Tahoe and six miles south of downtown Truckee.
Best Day Trip
Squaw Valley USA
1960 Squaw Valley Road
Olympic Valley, CA 96146
Squaw Valley USA, host to the Olympic Winter Games in 1960, is located off Highway 89 between Truckee and Tahoe City, a mere 96 miles from Sacramento via Interstate 80. Head to Squaw for a day of skiing from November to mid-May, but leave early, because lifts open at 9 a.m. daily (night skiing is open Fridays and Saturdays until 9 p.m., and Monday through Thursday until 7 p.m.). Squaw’s 170 trails span 4,000 skiable acres, and their 33 lifts get you to all kinds of trails, as well as the 400-foot Riviera Superpipe’s 18.5-foot walls. Grab a quick bite at any of the on-mountain dining options, including Alexander’s, The Terrace Restaurant, Wildflour Too, Bar North, The Arc, 39° North, and Crossroads Café. End your day with dinner at the base village at Amigos Burritos, Tornino’s Pizza, Freshies Salads, Wok-About, Dave’s Deli, The Blue Onion Café, Mamasake Sushi, Fireside Pizza Company, or Soupa, and (if you’re not the designated driver) cap it off with a cocktail at Le Chamois & Loft Bar, Cornice Cantina, Twenty-Two Bistro & Bar, or Uncorked Wine Bar before you all head home.
Best for Families
Homewood Mountain Ski Resort
5145 West Lake Blvd.
Homewood, CA 96141
Homewood Mountain Ski Resort is the perfect ski and snowboard area to take the kids. Homewood’s family-friendly atmosphere is just one of the many reasons it was deemed the gem of Lake Tahoe’s west shore by SKI Magazine. Located at the shore of west Lake Tahoe via Interstate 80 to California State Route 89, this 1260-acre mountain offers unobstructed views of the lake and surrounding peaks. The mellow vibe makes Homewood a great ski and snowboard area for the whole family.
CBS Sacramento Insider’s tip: Pack a lunch for the family, because you can tailgate for lunch right next to Homewood’s lifts.
Best for Snowboarders
Boreal Mountain Resort
Boreal Mountain Resort is a snowboarder’s paradise, with 41 trails on 480 rideable acres, 100 rails, jumps and funboxes, and a 450-foot superpipe located off the Accelerator Express Quad Chair on the Race Course run. This Superpipe features 18.5-foot walls and a consistent slope grade of 15 degrees. (Fun fact: Boreal’s Superpipe has hosted two major U.S. pipe competitions—the U.S. Grand Prix Snowboard competition, and the U.S. Snowboard Association’s Snowboard Revolution Tour.) Boreal is up Interstate 80 about 80 miles at the Boreal / Castle Peak exit, and is open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. Season passes range in price from $25 for children under four years of age, to $279 for adults.
CBS Sacramento Insider’s tip: Save some money and buy a night pass for $129, which can be used from 3:30 p.m. – 9 p.m. and when night operations are not in session, typically early and late season.
Best for Singles
2600 Alpine Meadows Road
Tahoe City, CA 96146
Alpine Meadows is a great ski resort for singles, due in part to their party vibe courtesy of an eight-ton Bombardier BR 275 snow grooming machine that’s been converted into a 20-foot wide, 13-foot long rolling stage, which hosts performing bands, as well as the system’s iPod Touch 32 gigabyte music library. As if that’s not enough, Alpine also boasts three bars–the Ice Bar on the backside at the base of the Sherwood Chair; Alpine Bar at the lodge, which has six beers on tap, as well as the famous “shotski”, and pool, ping pong, and foosball tables on the mezzanine; and Last Chair Bar, where the classic Alpine Bloody Mary is quite popular. Alpine is located about 120 miles from Sacramento off Interstate 80 near Truckee, and offers more than 100 trails on 2,400 acres of terrain. Alpine Meadow’s passes include discounts for college students, with a $199 pass valid Monday through Friday.
Juliet Farmer was born and raised in Sacramento, where she resides with her husband, two cats, and rescued greyhound. She is a freelance writer who regularly writes about food, pets, health and wellness, entertainment, and more.