Basking in 274 sunny days and America’s longest ski season, oozing relaxed, adventurous and friendly California charm, North Lake Tahoe is the laid-back alternative to big, crowded Rockies resorts, especially during Spring. It offers something for all ages and abilities and promotes equal opportunity for skiers and boarders alike! It boasts a ski season that keeps on giving – from late Oct to May/June (or July 4 in 2017!) and with 12 resorts, North Lake Tahoe is the largest combined ski playground in North America!
And the two jewels in the North Lake Tahoe crown would have to be family favoured, Northstar, and the advanced skier paradise of Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows.
Insider Tip, Mick from Blue Powder says: “North Lake Tahoe is a fantastic destination whether it’s a 100% ski holiday, or you add some wine tasting in the Napa Valley, driving the California coast or exploring San Fran or LA on the way”.
For a mix of laid-back and luxury ski holiday, it’s impossible to go past Northstar.
With its amazing skiing, accommodation options, gorgeous village at the foot of the mountain, and range of off-ski adventures and entertainment, the resort is guaranteed a nomination in your favourite family holiday category for years to come.
From the shopping, dining and accommodation to the incredible on-slope fun for every level and age, there’s a lot to love about Lake Tahoe’s premier luxury snow sports destination.
Insider Tip, Mick from Blue Powder says: “Take the whole family for a run down the 2km Logger’s Leap. And try the mile-long runs on the back of the mountain where there are no lift lines.”
The Best Things about Skiing Northstar:
- Celebrate an average of 9m snowfall each season
- 1300ha skiable terrain, 100 trails, 20 lifts (9 express)
- 13% beginner, 60% intermediate, 27% advanced
- Amazing beginner teaching area featuring sculpted Smart Terrain
- World class terrain parks and pipes
- Incredible tree skiing
- Ski cross country or snowshoe over 30 kms of tranquil, perfectly groomed trails weaving into the forest
- Oodles of advanced terrain at The Backside, Lookout Mountain, Sawtooth Ridge and the five glades
- Epic Local pass holders can now ski Whistler Blackcomb and the Best of Tahoe resorts, including Northstar.
Unique Snow and (Champagne) Experiences
Adventure Guiding and Learning Centre
- Take an early morning small group tour before lifts open to the public
- Hop on a guided full day tour to the most serene locations on the mountain
- Enjoy private access to freshly groomed runs and sparkling powder
- Relax in the lounge with fresh espresso and custom equipment fitting
- Finish with a well-earned champagne toast.
Platinum Season and Day Pass Holders enjoy:
- Access through private gates at the front of each lift line
- Exclusive, premium conditions on the Platinum Piste trail
- Location-rotating runs of powder or immaculate corduroy on Saturdays
- Platinum Lockers featuring private boot warmers and house-made sweets
- Platinum tōst, a European-style lunch paired with Veuve Clicquot off East Ridge Run.
Burton Snowboard Academy
- For snowboarders of all levels
- Ripperoo Riglet Park for kids
- Adults progress on five nationally-renowned progression parks or off-piste
- The lounge at Mid-Mountain offers one-on-one time with Burton-certified instructors, hot cocoa and fire pits.
- Ice skate under the stars and lights around fireside cabanas and boutiques
- Reward your body with a treatment at Tahoe Spa, Yoga and Wellness
- Sample a fusion of Hawaiian and Japanese – and a jaw-dropping wine selection – at the Yamakai Fish and Sushi Co
- Cosy up at Petra with tapas, wine and fireside indoor and outdoor seating
- Experience reimagined fireside ski lodge dining and Gin ‘n Tonic at Tavern 3660’
- Learn about the skies on a Star Gazing Snowshoe Tour
- Pack a Copper Lane Café & Provisions picnic for your own snowshoeing adventure to Sawmill Lake.
- End your day with a complimentary champagne or sparkling cider at East Ridge Run
- Head to nearby Truckee for dog sledding, snowmobiling and tubing
- Visit Tahoe City for elegant boutique shopping, art galleries, museums and more
Insider Tip, Mick from Blue Powder says:“The wagons at Northstar are life-savers for families. You can load your skis, boots, extra layers, coats onboard and pull it to the locker area then straight to the gondola.”
Because You’re Worth It
- Indulge in the Mountain Table Dinner Series private dinner and surprise transportation twist featuring SIMI, Prisoner, Charles Krug and Rodney Strong Vineyards.
- Book in early for “Chef’s Table,” “Chef’s Tasting Counter” or “Catch & Cook” at Manzanita in the Ritz Carlton
- Fuel up for the slopes of ski school with breakfast at Inxspot.
- Gorge on a Leige Waffle dotted with imported pearl sugar at Le Waf.
- Dig into creative pies and crisp salads at Rubicon Pizza Company
- Kids Adventure Zones, Skicology and Wagon Wheel, in the gladded tree zones.
- Slide down Snow Tubing hill individually or in a daisy chain
Insider Tip, Mick from Blue Powder says:“Make sure your kids are in town after ski school when S’mores Time descends upon the village with chocolate and marshmallow treats”
Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows
Lounging on the edge of turquoise coloured Lake Tahoe, beneath the towering Sierra Nevada peaks, Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows has been a North American winter favourite since hosting the 1960 Winter Games.
And while it’s swooning fans include many former and hopeful Olympians, it’s not just an expert’s paradise.
‘North America’s Spring Skiing Capital’ offers incredibly diverse on-slope adventures to advanced level couples, families and groups. But there’s also plenty for intermediates, beginners and non-skiers to love and explore in this stunning, powder white corner of California.
The Best Things about Skiing Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows:
- The two mountains offer 6000 acres, 16 bowls, 270 trails, 43 lifts, 10 terrain parks, all accessible on one lift ticket!
- The picturesque ski runs seen in so many films have earned it the nickname Squallywood
- Over 11m of snow per season – which was still falling on Lower Mountain in June 2017!
- Intermediates at Squaw have the Solitude chairlift and Shirely Lake Express to themselves
- Beginners can take the Gold Coast Express chairlift nearly all the way up 8,700ft Emigrant peak to a myriad of green runs
- First time adult and children skiers or snowboarders have two world-class beginner zones at the base of the resort
- Skiers and snowboarders can unleash at Gold Coast and Snoventures Start Park
- Alpine Meadows serves up over 100 trails of beginner, intermediate and expert slopes, open access side-country and terrain parks
- A free shuttle bus runs every 20 minutes connecting Squaw and Alpine Meadows
- Track your runs and challenge friends to steeper terrain using an app.
- Enjoy a unique on-snow experience skiing with Adrian Ballinger, world-class mountaineer and global adventurer. Join his new program for intermediate to expert level skiers exploring out-of-bound terrain at Squaw Valley.
Insider Tip, Mick from Blue Powder says:“Squaw and Alpine Meadows is one of the best ski areas in North America. It’s a very European experience with lots of good challenging skiing for advanced skiers.”
- Rock climb, snow tube, cross-country ski and dog sled
- Visit High Camp, the world’s highest elevation skating rink, outdoor pool, hot tub and Olympic Museum.
- Explore more than 60 unique restaurants and boutique shops
- Sooth the body and soul at the full-service Hawaiian style spa and candle making studio.
- Experience molecular gastronomy techniques to rival Europe’s top kitchens at Six Peaks Grille
- Take in the vista through huge floor-to-ceiling windows at Alexander’s Cafe.
- Fill up on buffalo wings and burgers at the Blue Coyote Sports Grill
- For soups, sandwiches and a quick turnaround, try The Terrace Restaurant
- Order a ‘Stabbin’ Cabin’ Amaretto and Irish cream at hot tub bar, Umbrella Bar
Insider Tip, Mick from Blue Powder says:“Make the most of the great Squaw après-ski scene. And in Alpine Meadows, head to the Last Chair and look after a friend on the ‘Pay It Forward’ drinking board”
North Lake Tahoe Winter Events
Whether you choose to stay in Northstar or Squaw/Alpine Meadows, North Lake Tahoe has some of North America’s best events on the winter wonderland calendar, such as:
- Tahoe Film Fest (November 30 – December 3)
- Christmas celebrations – nutcracker ballets, orchestra performances, Santa sightings, gingerbread towns, and more
- Alpenglow Mountain Festival (February 17-25) – beginner to intermediate backcountry tours, film events, demos and training ideas.
- SnowFest (March 2-11) – Parades, fireworks, concerts, a polar bear swim, the Great Ski Race, a broomball tournament and snow sculptures
- 2018 NASTAR National Championships (March 21-25) – race clinics, races, free concerts, autograph signings by U.S. Ski Team athletes and alumni.
- WinterWonderGrass Music Festival (April 6-8) – three-day bluegrass festival at Squaw Valley.
- Fly from Australia to San Francisco
- Drive from SFO (4.5 hours) or fly to Reno then it’s an easy 1 hour transfer or car to North Lake Tahoe.