The crisp mountain air, the spectacular vistas, the clear blue of the water I can’t resist it. Sun, snow, warmth, deep freezes, the Lake Tahoe area has it all, sometimes on the same day! Initially a summer destination, with entertainers, casinos, and lake activities, the average 450 inches of annual snow makes for a winter wonderland. It always hits – the urge to head for the 12,000 foot peaks of the Sierra Nevadas, attach a long skinny object to each foot, and slide for my life.
There are dozens of ski and snowboard resorts throughout Tahoe, from small family establishments like Homewood and Donner Ranch to the majestic sprawls of Heavenly Valley and Kirkwood. Each has its own personality. One of the best is Alpine Meadows, a picturesque location founded in 1961 on Lake Tahoe’s North Shore near Truckee. Its 2,400 acres and 1,800′ vertical drop allow for everything from dedicated beginner parks to wide-open bowls to expert level steeps. It’s particularly well known for its children’s programs on squawalpine.com.
Ever since it emerged from obscurity to host the 1960 Winter Olympics, its abundance of terrain and sheer size has kept it among the top winter resort destinations in the country. 3,600 skiable acres spread across six peaks, 30 chairlifts, and 2,800 feet of vertical drop give it unmatched variety for all. Wide open bowls collect deep powder, while sheer granite cliffs create unique steeps for expert skiers, headlined by the world-famous KT22, favorite of local Olympic gold medalist Johnny Mosely. For us mere mortals, many of the steeper runs end in wide run-outs, and the terrain parks are fun also. My favorite is the 3.2 mile run! And of course the hot tub at High Camp lodge on the upper mountain.
Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows now share ownership, allowing a single ticket to access both resorts. When they finish the cross-mountain gondola, skiers and riders will be able to do both resorts without leaving the slopes. I’ll be the first one in line.