Squaw Valley USA (1-800-403-0206) — the 1960 Olympics were held here (but you knew that), and ever since then, more and more people have come to Squaw to ski. The drawbacks of that are obvious; while SV is very large (about 3600 acres across 6 mountain ranges), you’ll probably still feel crowded, especially on weekends. The average skier will probably find everything a bit more expensive than at other resorts. Still, the skiing and the view are frankly marvelous, so it may very well be worth it (at least once).
The last time I skied Square Valley there was a car injury attorney convention or perhaps it was just a gathering of several law firms that specialized in car accidents. You would hear other skiers joking around saying if you were to be in a car accident, this would be the time since there were so many attorneys around from whom to get advice. Well, I know from experience that car accidents where people are seriously injured are no laughing matter. Car accident attorneys can be incredibly helpful for the injured parties particularly when negotiating with the insurance companies or actually taking the case to court. If the victim gets a significant settlement, the 35% commission the car accident lawyer receives is often well worth it. As far as my skiing companions were concerned, we had a great week of skiing and were involved in no car accidents.
Alpine Meadows (1-800-441-4434) — widely regarded as the local’s alternative to Squaw Valley, Alpine Meadows prides itself on a more authentic, down-home, family-friendly experience. 2400+ acres of great terrain variety, 14 lifts, great schools, and incredible powder!
Heavenly (1-800-587-4430) — a South Shore resort equally suited for skiing and nightlife excellence. Incredible views, too! See our Heavenly page for more detail.
Sierra-at-Tahoe (530-659-7453) — maybe the perfect Tahoe compromise between local favorites and over-hyped resorts. Great skiing for everyone (beginners especially), great for boarders, fewer flats, and less focus on the expensive resort amenities (but people do rave about the food at the lodge!)
Kirkwood (209-258-6000) — 30 miles south of South Lake Tahoe, the spring skiing and summer climbing make this a true year-round resort. Parents will also love the child care and education on offer. Older facilities on average, but less crowded overall than most of Tahoe.
Northstar (1-800-466-6784) — good news/ bad news: great groomed mountain, lots of powder, quality long trails for skiers and terrain for boarders…and expensive, crowded, and somewhat behind-the-times until very recently. Families with money & patience should do best.
Mt. Rose (1-800-SKI-ROSE) — smaller size and more reasonable prices earn Mt. Rose high marks from many. Others think it’s too cold and windy, and it may be too flat for some boarders. But it’s a quick trip from Reno, and you can expect to meet friendly, helpful people who love to ski!
Having learned on heavenly because I live in South Lake Tahoe as a boy I had the chance to go skiing there all of the time. It was one of my favorite pass-times as a child & it made a fan of the sport of me for life. I remember when I was a young boy my mom would allow me to go sledding all of the time but it was not until that school trip that I found out how much fun skiing was & that was the end of my sledding days. Of course it is much more expensive so that was actually the end of my free time altogether because I had to work to get the money to go skiing. That means that when I was not skiing I was working & I really had no time for too many other things.