Best time to visit California

Skiing at Lake Tahoe in California

Magical sparkling scenery and a wide range of activities attract people to Lake Tahoe each winter

Best time: late November–late April (best in February)

Skiing at Lake Tahoe
Skiing at Lake Tahoe
Skiing at Lake Tahoe
Lake Tahoe view from Heavenly Ski Resort
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Lake Tahoe is one of the most popular winter destinations in the West Coast. Majestic scenery and diverse terrain make it an ideal spot for skiers and snowboarders. The wide range of runs, suitable for every skill of rider, attracts lots of visitors annually. Ski slopes are complemented with night-time entertainment on the Nevada-California border: casinos, nightclubs, and trendy restaurants.

Best time to ski at Lake Tahoe

Ski resorts at Lake Tahoe usually open after Thanksgiving, in late November, and close in late April. However, February offers the best skiing conditions and is usually the snowiest month at Lake Tahoe.

Ski resorts of Lake Tahoe area

Lake Tahoe boasts six resorts, both in California and Nevada. Heavenly is the most popular resort with the best terrain, offering about 100 trails ranging from wide-open cruisers to plunging 1,600-ft (490-m) chutes. The resort offers backcountry skiing with lake and alpine views you'll never forget! Kirkwood is more of a family-oriented resort with shorter lift lines and a cozier atmosphere. It is also known to receive more snow than other resorts of the region. Expert riders should try The Wall on Chair 10, known for its steep ridgeline and long chutes. Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe is Lake Tahoe’s highest base elevation resort with about a six-month snow season and the legendary terrain offering an impressive vertical drop of 1,800 ft (548 m). Northstar California Resort is a luxury destination with upscale stores and five-star accommodation along the slopes. About 2,000 acres (800 ha) and 2,212 vertical feet (674 m) of varied terrain with panoramic views of Lake Tahoe can be enjoyed at Sierra-at-Tahoe Resort. Skuaw Valley and the neighboring Alpine Meadows hosted the 1960 Winter Olympic Games. It boasts 6,000 acres (2,400 ha) of terrain with 14 mountain zones accessed by 42 lifts. Skiing season opening and closing dates differ in each resort, so we suggest checking their official websites for up-to-date information.

Cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, as well as dog sledding, are offered at most resorts as well. The mid-mountain ice-skating rink is another great attraction. On-mountain zip lines, tube runs, and scenic gondola rides are available to those looking for a natural escape.

After a day of skiing or snowboarding, you won't find anything more delightful than a relaxing dip into one of the supersize hot tubs. Choose one of the most suitable resorts for you and enjoy the beauty of the winter landscape at Lake Tahoe.

Practical info

What is the best time of the year to visit Lake Tahoe for skiing?

During late November through late April is the best time to visit Lake Tahoe for skiing. February is the snowiest month and tourists should remember that Ski resorts at Lake Tahoe have different opening and closing dates. Hence it is advisable to check their official websites for current information. Show more

Which ski resort is best suited for expert skiers?

Kirkwood resort is the recommended ski resort for expert skiers. It is famous for its challenging runs and great snow. The Wall on Chair 10 has a steep ridgeline and long chutes for adrenaline seekers to experience. Additionally, other great options include Heavenly resort which plunges 1,600-ft chutes and provides backcountry skiing with lake and alpine views. Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows offer a combined 6,000 acres of terrain with 14 mountain zones accessed by 42 lifts. Show more

What other winter activities are offered at Lake Tahoe besides skiing?

Besides skiing, tourists can participate in various winter activities at Lake Tahoe. They can opt for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, dog sledding, mid-mountain ice-skating and scenic gondola rides. On-mountain zip lines, tube runs and backcountry skiing are also worth trying. The resorts offer facilities such as high-end stores, five-star accommodation, and trendy restaurants, which are other activities to relish while visiting the area. Show more

Where can I find luxury accommodation around the slopes at Lake Tahoe?

Luxury accommodation is available around the slopes at Northstar California Resort. It provides a luxurious five-star experience with ski-in/ski-out access and is located next to an active alpine village. Upscale stores and a cinema are situated nearby. The Ritz-Carlton Lake Tahoe offers guests a luxurious stay with stunning views of the surrounding mountain landscape. Vacation rentals, bed and breakfasts, and resort hotels are also available around the area. Show more

When are the opening and closing dates for ski season at Lake Tahoe resorts?

Late November through late April is when ski season starts and ends at Lake Tahoe resorts. However, the opening and closing dates differ from one resort to another. For example, Heavenly resort opens around mid-November while Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows open earlier, usually in late October or early November. Snow season at Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe lasts for approximately six months and checking with each resort for details is advisable. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin