Vacationing in Lake Tahoe in winter will leave you inspired, energized and rested.
Caressed by the Sierra Nevada mountain range, Lake Tahoe straddles the borders of the ‘Golden State’ California and its ‘Silver State’ neighbor Nevada.
Its unique beauty, climate and generous ski season make Lake Tahoe a world-class destination for winter vacations.
With its freshwater lapping at a shoreline that teems with endless nature parks and ski resorts, this earthly year-round paradise offers a vacation like no other.
Read on to discover the top winter activities that make Lake Tahoe your number one winter playground.
We offer a wide range of rental accommodation in Lake Tahoe, from cosy cabins to luxury chalets. Treat yourself and reconnect with family and friends on a vacation to remember!
Skiing in Lake Tahoe
The top-rated ski resorts in all of California can be found in Lake Tahoe. With over a dozen here to choose from, there is a pristine ski slope to suit every beginner, family group and adrenaline junkie!
Lake Tahoe in winter sees the ski resorts usually open in time to welcome the first skiers for Thanksgiving holiday weekend (mid-November).
From then, winter sport enthusiasts enjoy an extended ski season up until the mid to end of April.
South Lake Tahoe is home to the Heavenly Mountain ski resort, the Sierra at Tahoe and the Kirkwood ski resort. North Lake Tahoe boasts the ski resorts of Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, Northstar California and Sugar Bowl.
For those looking to get out and enjoy some cross-country skiing, North Lake Tahoe boasts a world-class ski area of 50+ km, with plenty of Nordic ski trails to inspire and challenge you!
The best Lake Tahoe ski resorts
Heavenly Mountain Ski resort South Lake Tahoe
The largest ski resort in Lake Tahoe, with an impressive 5.5-mile ski run, this lively base village offers a truly inclusive winter experience, with all the amenities you could dream of, including the ultimate après ski!
For beginners looking to ski, 20% of the Heavenly Mountain ski resort is dedicated to wide, forgiving slopes. Intermediate skiers will relish the 45% of lengthy runs, which have been generously set aside.
Expert skiers and the most advanced in the group can take on the 30% advanced and 5% expert ski slopes. The biggest challenge here are the Double Black Diamond runs.
Off the slopes, there are plenty of winter activities to kick-start your vacation. From taking a ride on the Mountain Coaster, to Snowshoeing, Ice Skating, Tubing with the kids, taking a ride on the scenic Gondala or taking a guided UTV tour.
Aside from its winter-friendly appeal and vibrant nightlife, those in search of glitz and glamour during their vacation can strike it lucky at one of the South Lake Tahoe casinos nearby.
Reconnect in Lake Tahoe this winter – book your vacation home here!
Sierra Ski Resort South Lake Tahoe
This fantastic family-friendly resort is ideally placed for those arriving from Sacramento and the Bay area. The big pull here is Sierra’s dedicated Snowsports School, which is dedicated to beginners and novices of all ages.
The specialist learning terrain better known as Easy Street boasts an 11-acre site of pristine terrain, complete with conveyor lifts to take you back up the hill.
On the way down, the gentle slopes and shaped turns encourage skiers and snowboarders to build up their confidence.
Aside from learning to ski or snowboard, Sierra at Tahoe also offers opportunities for mountain Tours, Snow Shoeing, Tubing, and those classic moments of snow play.
The ski resort also offers an inviting array of restaurants and shops to reward you after a day on the slopes.
Kirkwood Ski Resort South Lake Tahoe
This year-round ski resort provides the perfect distraction for skiers and hikers alike. It is in winter though that Kirkwood truly comes into its own.
Across its 2,300-acre terrain, you will find a comforting 12% of beginner-level trails, 30% intermediate, 38% advanced and 20% advanced.
Famed for its deep snow, this resort is a popular choice for those seeking to enrol in one of its signature programs.
From free-ride workshops and 1 to 2-day clinic and camps, to progression sessions for skiers and snowboarders, dedicated kids programs and even avalanche and back country education programs, Kirkwood provides an inspiring backdrop for honing your skills.
Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows Ski Resort North Lake Tahoe
A true champion for winter activities in Lake Tahoe, this scenic alpine resort has been voted North America’s best ski resort for 3 years in a row.
With the longest ski and snowboard season around, you can be sure of outdoor amusement from early winter to late spring.
Squaw Valley ski resort is the 2nd largest winter resort in Lake Tahoe (after Heavenly Mountain).
Located within Olympic Valley, the resort famously hosted the 1960 Winter Olympics and today boasts 3,600 acres for avid skiers, snow boarders and winter sport fans to enjoy.
Its gentle learning zones (which include 14 beginner trails) contrast well with the resort’s exciting offering of more advanced trails, chutes and bowls which exist to test the metal, of avid skiers and snowboarders’ alike.
Those looking to admire the mountain scenery from a different angle will relish a dog sled ride or the liberating rush of a snowmobile tour.
Northstar California Ski Resort North Lake Tahoe
This popular ski resort takes kids and adult ski and snowboard lessons to a whole new level! Northstar California is home to the world’s only Burton Academy (a dedicated snowboard school).
Perhaps you are seeking a one-to-one private lesson, or you would love a group lesson with friends and family, the ski resort’s Signature Program caters for all.
For an exclusive way to learn to ski and snowboard, the Platinum Guides and Multi-Day experiences (complete with Platinum privileges) are available to book and enjoy.
Off the ski slopes, there is plenty to enjoy in the Northstar California resort village, from dining and shopping to indulgent spa treatments and Yoga.
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Sugar Bowl Ski Resort North Tahoe
If you are seeking a fun and varied winter vacation, then the Sugar Bowl ski resort and its 1,650-acres of skiable terrain will not disappoint.
Its beginner-friendly slopes are excellent for those starting out, whilst the Double Black Diamonds promise a challenging experience for advanced-expert level skiers and daredevils everywhere.
There is also a great offering of resort eateries, bars and fireside restaurants to quench the thirst and warm you up after a captivating day out in the open.
Lake Tahoe in winter for families
Off the ski slopes, Lake Tahoe boasts a wealth of winter activities to keep kids and parents equally amused. Ice Skating is a popular way to let off steam, with a host of options to enjoy.
The popular South Lake Tahoe Ice Arena is indoor for when the weather turns, whilst at the ski resorts, the open skating rinks at Northstar Village and Heavenly Village promise the perfect way to take in the ambience of the resort day or night.
The Lake Tahoe Snow Parks have become a huge attraction too, so if you’re with the kids sure to check them out. They offer the perfect area for Tubing, Snow Shoeing and Sledding to Snowmobiling and of course the classic snowball fight!
Lake-based activities in Lake Tahoe
Away from the world-class ski resorts and cross-country parks, another popular winter activity in Lake Tahoe is freshwater fishing. From December to April, there are numerous local fishing charters which operate in Lake Tahoe.
At Tahoe City Marina you can enjoy a private tour with Captain Chris’ Fishing Charters, whilst Carnelian Bay is the spot from which Mickey’s Big Mack Charters start out.
The fishing guides at Sierra Fin Addicts, based in Incline Village boast over 2 decades experience of fishing Lake Tahoe, so you can be sure you’ll be fishing with the experts.
If you are looking to catch some fresh fish to enjoy back at your Lake Tahoe vacation home, then all these charters will happily clean and filet your ‘catch of the day’ for you too!
Book your cosy Lake Tahoe cottage here
Whether you are flying solo, or are with your partner, family and friends, a winter vacation in Lake Tahoe invites you to do so many things.
You may be looking to reconnect with the great outdoors, re-ignite your passion for winter sports or to take some quality time out for yourself, whatever your vacation craving, you will find it all here!
Disclaimer: Please check individual ski resorts and winter activity centers for their current availability and winter season opening dates.
Where to stay in Lake Tahoe
Of course, nothing quite says Lake Tahoe in winter than taking a moment to relax by the fireside of your very own vacation home.
From scenic cabins complete with ambient fireplaces to peaceful pet-friendly hideaways and luxury vacation homes with hot tubs to chalet-style retreats in world-class ski and golf resorts, the high-quality accommodation on offer here is reason enough to vacate on Lake Tahoe in winter!
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