The Best Ski Resort In Lake Tahoe For Beginners & Families

by Frank V. Persall

Lake Tahoe is an almost impossible large lake on the border between Nevada and California. There are many things that attract people to this naturally stunning destination and while tourists do come to the area for a day trip, an entire vacation would be what is needed to fully enjoy everything it has to offer. 

In terms of skiing, sports enthusiasts are spoilt for choice when looking to hit the slopes around Lake Tahoe. Sitting at more than 1800 meters above sea level, it’s hardly surprising that skiing is one of the most popular activities around here. 

The problem is that there are so many Lake Tahoe ski resorts that it can be difficult to know which to check out. If you are a beginner or are looking for family-friendly Lake Tahoe ski resorts, you’re in the right place. Let’s take a look at what’s on offer. 

What Is The Best Ski Resort In Lake Tahoe
What Is The Best Ski Resort In Lake Tahoe

Best Tahoe Ski Resort For Beginners

When you are just starting your love affair with skiing; and believe us, it will be a love affair, you need access to pistes that are easier to handle. Beginner slopes are colored green and typically have a much wider and shallower surface compared to the expert equivalents. With that in mind, there is very little point in checking in to one of the Lake Tahoe ski resorts that don’t have beginner slopes. But the following are all amazing choices. 

1. June Mountain

June Mountain Ski Area
June Mountain Ski Area
Known as California’s family mountain, June Mountain is the ideal spot for beginners of all ages. If you’re looking for a ski resort that will offer so much more than a quick run down the slopes and its back home, June Mountain is an excellent option. 

The website features a ‘First Timer's Guide’ which details everything you need to know about getting started and this is a nice touch that not all ski resorts offer. In addition, new skiers will be able to take part in some of the best Lake Tahoe skiing lessons on offer with private and group classes for people of all ages and experience levels. 

Once you’ve gotten into the groove and want to set yourself a new challenge, the backcountry tours in June are second to none. The tours are given by experienced mountain guides but it is important to keep in mind that you will need to have reached an intermediate level for this activity. 

Back at the resort, there are lots to keep you entertained during your stay. With a massive range of shops and places to dine, June Mountain is the ultimate winter experience for those who are just getting into the sport. 

  • Ski Resort Details

Address

3819 Hwy 158

93529 June Lake

United States

Ski Slopes

Easy: 6%

Intermediate: 36%

Difficult: 58%

Total Ski Lifts

7

General Season

Mid December - Early April

Parking

Enough available, tarmac car park free of charge.


Average Snowfall

635cm

Day Pass Prices

Adult $129 - Youth $106

Website

www.junemountain.com


2. Mammoth Mountain

Mammoth Mountain
Mammoth Mountain
Mammoth Mountain claims to be the best skiing resort in California, and while it’s hard to pick a favorite, Mammoth certainly has a lot to get excited about. If you’re new to skiing, the resort provides a selection of lessons including 2 or 3-hour sessions for adults and hour lessons for younger skiers. 

However, since the resort has some very popular instructors, you’ll need to book in advance if you don’t want to be left disappointed. 

Lessons aside, if you want to start your skiing career off with a bang, Mammoth mountain will make sure of that. This isn’t called Mammoth for no reason, the peak is the highest lift-served mountain in the state and stands at an incredible 11,053 feet. New skiers will be amazed at the natural wonder and beauty of the area and that’s just as much of what the sport is about as the skiing itself. 

When the snow dissipates and the winter season is over, Mammoth Mountain remains a hot place to hang out with plenty of summer activities to enjoy. With everything from golf to mountain climbing, gondola rides to cycling trails, and everything in between, beginner skiers can continue to sate their desire to be active even when the weather warms up.

  • Ski Resort Details

Address

1 Minaret Road

93546 Mammoth Lakes

United States


Ski Slopes

Easy: 20%

Intermediate: 54%

Difficult: 26%

Total Ski Lifts

25

General Season

Early November - Early June

Parking

Enough available, tarmac car park free of charge.


Average Snowfall

1016cm

Day Pass Prices

Adult $209 - Youth $171 - Children $84

Website

www.mammothmountain.com

3. Granlibakken

Granlibakken Tahoe
Granlibakken Tahoe
If you are drawn to skiing for the natural winter beauty then there is no better place to get your first taste of the experience than Granlibakken. This is one of the most scenic and Alpine-looking Lake Tahoe ski resorts.

Equipment rental is very reasonably priced so if you still don’t have everything you need or don’t want to commit to splashing out until you’re sure skiing is your thing, this is an advantage. There are also many options when it comes to lessons from a single-hour session to an all-day class, and these aren’t as pricy as you might think with a full day costing around $400.

But there is so much more for everyone to enjoy at Granlibakken. If you’ve dragged the family to a ski resort because of your newfound love for the sport, you’ll be pleased to know that there’s plenty to keep them entertained. Snow play, sledding, and various other winter activities are available as well as food like the G Mobile taco truck and The Cedar House Pub.

  • Ski Resort Details

Address

PO Box 6329

725 Granlibakken Road

96145 Tahoe City, CA

United States


Ski Slopes

Easy: 50%

Intermediate: 50%

Difficult: 0%

Total Ski Lifts

2

General Season

Early December - Early April

Parking

limited amount available, tarmac car park free of charge.


Average Snowfall

200cm

Day Pass Prices

Adult $40 - Children $30

Website

granlibakken.com

4. Sierra-At-Tahoe

Sierra-At-Tahoe Resort
Sierra-At-Tahoe Resort
As a beginner, you need to be able to practice as much as possible if you want to hone your skills. The season passes at Sierra At Tahoe make this simple even if you cannot stay at the resort every time. It boasts a massively convenient location and can lay claim to being the nearest ski resort to the Bay Area and Sacramento which is incredibly convenient. 

Furthermore, Sierra offers a selection of skiing lessons from kid's classes to adult private sessions. Skiing and snowboarding combined and adaptive lessons for clients with disabilities. Even better, when taking lessons, you get priority ski lift access and a world of other handy perks.

But that is by far from the only thing on offer at this diverse ski resort. If you’ve had enough of skiing or the kids want something else to do, there are activities such as tubing and snow play on offer. The mountain tours are a great way to see the natural beauty of the area and happen every weekend from 10 am.

When you’re all tuckered out from having fun on the mountain, Sierra At Tahoe has a wide choice of places to eat and hang out. From the hearty food at Mama’s Kitchen to the Corkscrew Bar for a few cocktails and everything in between; there is something for everyone. 

  • Ski Resort Details

Address

1111 Sierra-at-Tahoe Road

95735 Twin Bridges

United States


Ski Slopes

Easy: 26%

Intermediate: 49%

Difficult: 25%

Total Ski Lifts

14

General Season

Early December - Mid April

Parking

Enough available, tarmac car park, gravel car park free of charge.


Average Snowfall

1168cm

Day Pass Prices

Adult $115 - Youth $105 - Children $55

Website

www.sierraattahoe.com

5. Mount Rose

Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe
Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe
For those staying on the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe, Mount Rose is just a 25-minute drive from Reno. While Mammoth might have the highest lift-served summit, Mount Rose boasts the highest base elevation at a whopping 8260 feet! The benefit of this is that year-round snow is much more likely. Even during the warmer spring months, the resort has a light fresh dusting on the slopes. For beginners, this gives the ideal opportunity to practice, practice, practice!

What’s more, the resort prides itself on being easily accessible. If you decide to take an early day from work and want to get onto the mountain, that might not be possible in other places. At Mt Rose, the parking lot is just a stone’s throw away from the lifts so you can get your skis on in no time.

There are a lot of lessons on offer including private and group sessions. The first time packages are a great way to get to grips with the basics and are available for adults and kids over the age of 12. Furthermore, if you forget anything or aren’t sure what equipment to take, the 431 sports store on site is a great place to stock up on your ski gear.

  • Ski Resort Details

Address

22222 Mt. Rose Hwy

89511 Reno

United States


Ski Slopes

Easy: 20%

Intermediate: 30%

Difficult: 50%

Total Ski Lifts

8

General Season

Mid November - Late April

Parking

Enough available, tarmac car park free of charge.


Average Snowfall

889cm

Day Pass Prices

Adult $145 - Children $75

Website

skirose.com

6. Homewood Mountain Resort

Homewood Mountain Resort
Homewood Mountain Resort
What we love about Homewood Mountain is that it really does have something to offer everyone. Whether you are a complete beginner or someone who has been skiing for years, you’ll find pleasure here. Moreover, for families with children who are looking to learn to ski, there are lots to see and do. 

Much like June Mountain, Homewood’s website has a great beginners guide that tells you everything you need to know from clothing to what to do when you arrive at the resort. It also gives you a lot of details on the skiing lessons offered at the resort which include group and private lessons for all ages, some of which are child specific. 

There’s the option to get stuck into some snow play or sledding and when you’ve tired yourself on the mountain, you’ll find a wealth of places to dine and drink. But one of the biggest draws of Homewood Mountain is the stunning view from the top. 

Some of the Lake Tahoe ski resorts don’t get excellent lake views but by ascending the 280 steps to the viewing point, you will be treated to breathtaking views across the water and beyond. While you’re on the mountain, you will be able to check out the variety of terrain parks here, even for beginners, there is something. Happy Park is the most basic and easy of all the terrain parks at Homewood and gives those who are new to the sport an opportunity to grips in a safe and controlled environment. 

  • Ski Resort Details

Address

5145 Westlake Blvd.

96141 Homewood

United States


Ski Slopes

Easy: 30%

Intermediate: 65%

Difficult: 5%

Total Ski Lifts

8

General Season

Early December - Mid April

Parking

Usually enough available, gravel car park free of charge


Average Snowfall

1143cm

Day Pass Prices

Adult $TBA - Children $TBA

Website

www.skihomewood.com

7. Tahoe Donner

Tahoe Donner Downhill Ski Resort
Tahoe Donner Downhill Ski Resort
If you are just starting to learn to ski, the last thing you want is to be forking out hundreds or thousands of dollars on ski days only to find out that it isn’t for you (although, we’d bet our bottom dollar you’re going to enjoy every minute.) But the great thing about Tahoe Donner is that for more than fifty years, the resort has prided itself on providing affordable skiing. 

There are some excellent areas of gentle terrain for the novice skier and the resort offers lessons to new skiers as young as three years old. What really draws newbies to the slopes at Tahoe Donner, however, is how quiet it is. Unlike some of the more commercial resorts, Tahoe Donner has much clearer slopes where you can practice in relative peace. 

Being a much smaller ski resort, Tahoe Donner has a much more hands-on approach with its clientele so if it is a personal experience you are looking for, this is where you will find it. There aren’t as many attractions as some of the bigger parks but you’ll find a golf course and bike trails for the summer months which is great for keeping up your outdoor activities.

  • Ski Resort Details

Address

11603 Snowpeak Way

96161 Truckee

United States


Ski Slopes

Easy: 43%

Intermediate: 57%

Difficult: 0%

Total Ski Lifts

4

General Season

Early December - Late April

Parking

Enough available, tarmac car park Free of charge.


Average Snowfall

889cm

Day Pass Prices

Adult $89 - Youth $79 - Children $59

Website

www.tahoedonner.com

Best Tahoe Ski Resort For Families

People with children will need to consider what is on offer at any of the top Lake Tahoe ski resorts that become a potential vacation. Things like child-friendly skiing and plenty of other forms of entertainment are a must. Fortunately, there are many ski resorts to choose from. 

1. Kirkwood

Kirkwood Mountain Resort
Kirkwood Mountain Resort
Kirkwood is one of the most well-known family-friendly parks around the Lake Tahoe area and it certainly has a lot to offer. For families with young children who are just starting their skiing journey, the enhanced learning terrain is the perfect location for a spot of practice. However, once you and your loved ones get to grips with the sport, Outlaw Park is a great place to show off your skills. 

Kirkwood prides itself on bringing nature and adventure together in a family vacation that won’t soon be forgotten. This is echoed by the gorgeous mountain terrain and stunning views as well as some of the best snowfall in the area. 

There are plenty of places to eat and drink here but what makes this such a wonderful place for families is that the resort plays host to year-round events. Whether your family is into music, food, or sports, there will always be something to keep you entertained. 

There is a good choice also when it comes to accommodation with some lodges being located further away yet within walking distance and others boasting a ski-in and ski-out location. For families with younger kids, this is a great option thanks to how close all the amenities are. 

  • Ski Resort Details

Address

Vail Resorts, Inc.

1501 Kirkwood Meadows Drive

95646 Kirkwood

United States


Ski Slopes

Easy: 23%

Intermediate: 46%

Difficult: 31%

Total Ski Lifts

12

General Season

Late November - Late April

Parking

Enough available, tarmac car park, gravel car park free of charge.


Average Snowfall

889cm

Day Pass Prices

Adult $119 - Youth $107 - Children $87

Website

www.kirkwood.com

2. Soda Springs

Soda Springs Mountain Resort
Soda Springs Mountain Resort
Soda springs are definitely as fun as its name would suggest. For families looking for a memorable skiing vacation, this is one of the top spots in Lake Tahoe. Rising more than 7700ft above sea level, the summit at Soda Springs is ideal for skiing especially when you couple it with the 400 inches of annual snowfall. 

Of course, while you head off on your skiing adventures, your kids might have other ideas, but the choice of things to keep them occupied is second to none. The Mountain Adventure is the best place to start and is your family’s ticket to ultimate snow-filled fun. The pass includes activities like tubing and sleigh rides as well as giving access to the kid's ski area.

At the Woodward start part, young skiers have the perfect place to learn the skills they need to become expert skiers on terrain that is perfect for beginners. When you’re done enjoying everything the mountain has to offer, Soda Springs has a cafe located at Planet Kids and another on the main resort where you can kick back and relax. 

  • Ski Resort Details

Address

P.O. Box 39

96160 Truckee

United States


Ski Slopes

Easy: 30%

Intermediate: 50%

Difficult: 20%

Total Ski Lifts

6

General Season

Early December - Late April

Parking

Enough available, tarmac car park free of charge.


Average Snowfall

400cm

Day Pass Prices

Adult $54 - Youth $49 - Children $44

Website

www.skisodasprings.com

3. Diamond Peaks

Diamond Peak Ski Resort
Diamond Peak Ski Resort
While a lot of the Lake Tahoe ski resorts are big commercial businesses, Diamond Peaks is a little more laid back since this is a community-owned resort. If you are a young family that doesn’t want the kids to become overwhelmed at some of the bigger resorts, the uncrowded slopes at Diamond Peaks might be perfect for you. 

But that isn’t to say that there’s not a tonne of things to do here. You can’t go to Diamond Peaks without taking in the incredible views. If you want your little ones to develop a passion for nature, there is no better place to start.

What is special about Diamond Peaks is the resort's child ski center that is designed specifically for younger skiers. But if the adults want to hone their skills, there are plenty of adult skiing lessons to be had here. 

The resort doesn’t overcharge which is great for families who are looking for an affordable day out on the slopes; we all know how pricey things can start getting when there are children involved. The park is also home to a variety of places to eat, drink, and be merry so when the ski lifts close at 4 pm, there’s still plenty to explore. 

  • Ski Resort Details

Address

1210 Ski Way

89451 Incline Village, NV

United States


Ski Slopes

Easy: 10%

Intermediate: 44%

Difficult: 46%

Total Ski Lifts

7

General Season

Mid December - Mid April

Parking

Enough available, tarmac car park free of charge.


Average Snowfall

300cm

Day Pass Prices

Adult $109 - Youth $89 - Children $49

Website

www.diamondpeak.com

4. Northstar California

Northstar California Resort
Northstar California Resort
While there are many excellent family-friendly ski resorts around Lake Tahoe, we have to admit that Northstar California has one of the best arrays of things to do in the area. Whatever you’re into, you’ll find so much more than just skiing here. 

Of course, getting out onto the snow is one of the main reasons for booking a skiing vacation and you won't be disappointed by the ancient mountain that was once a volcano; although it hasn’t erupted in more than 2 million years so it’s plenty cool enough for skiers and snowboarders now!

There are Lake Tahoe several terrain parks meaning that, even if you have family members with varying abilities, they’ll all be able to find suitable terrain. Not only this but the terrain parks here have won various awards including the ‘best terrain park in North America.’ That’s no mean feat. 

When you’re finished on the slopes, there are yoga classes, a spa, places to dine, and plenty of retail outlets giving you much to keep yourself entertained when the slopes close for the day. 

  • Ski Resort Details

Address

Vail Resorts, Inc.

5001 Northstar Drive

P.O. Box 129

96161 Truckee

United States


Ski Slopes

Easy: 26%

Intermediate: 46%

Difficult: 28%

Total Ski Lifts

20

General Season

Mid November - Mid April

Parking

Enough available, tarmac car park, gravel car park for a fee, US$ 14,- / per day.


Average Snowfall

889cm

Day Pass Prices

Adult $170 - Youth $139 - Children $100

Website

www.northstarcalifornia.com

5. Sugar Bowl

Sugar Bowl Resort
Sugar Bowl Resort
Sugar Bowl is one of the oldest ski resorts in Lake Tahoe having been founded in 1939. Owing to the vast experience, you can bet your last that they know what families need and this is perfectly demonstrated by the variety of things on offer here. But let’s start with what’s most important; skiing. 

There are two terrain parks; The Caboose park which is ideal for younger skiers and those with less experience and then there is the Coldstream park that features medium-sized rails and rollers that intermediate skiers will love. In terms of trails, there are four peaks to explore but the slopes on Mount Judah are known to be the best for families to explore. 

There is the option to take part in cross-country skiing and a plethora of places to dine. Moreover, no member of the family will be bored when you consider the number of annual events that go on here including a summer camp for the little ones. 

If you’re local and want to make the most of learning to ski with your family, there are season-long programs although there are single lessons available for kids both big and little!

  • Ski Resort Details

Address

629 Sugar Bowl Rd

95724 Truckee

United States


Ski Slopes

Easy: 17%

Intermediate: 45%

Difficult: 38%

Total Ski Lifts

12

General Season

Late November - Mid April

Parking

Enough available, tarmac car park free of charge.


Average Snowfall

1270cm

Day Pass Prices

Adult $125 - Youth $103 - Children $73

Website

www.sugarbowl.com/home

6. Squaw Valley

Squaw Valley Resort
Squaw Valley Resort
Squaw Valley ski resort markets itself as being one of the best ski resorts in Lake Tahoe and we can’t say that they’re wrong. For people looking for an exciting family vacation, there are not many places that are as suited as this. 

One of the most outstanding things about this resort is that it played host to the 1960 winter Olympics so there is a real ski culture here. If you’re looking to meet other winter-loving families, then you’re in the right place. 

The beauty of such a well-established resort is that there are skiing areas for all ability levels. If you’ve been skiing for a while, you’ll appreciate the speedy chutes and deep ski bowls whereas if the little ones are keen to learn, the park is renowned for its excellent beginner terrain and learning zones. 

The slopeside lodges provide quick access to the mountain and the ski village where you will find lots of things to keep the family happy. And if you happen to have had enough of skiing, there is a very stunning view that can be gained over the mountain from one of the scenic aerial tram rides of this Lake Tahoe ski resorts. 

  • Ski Resort Details

Address

1960 Squaw Valley Road

96146 Olympic Valley

United States


Ski Slopes

Easy: 25%

Intermediate: 45%

Difficult: 30%

Total Ski Lifts

34

General Season

Mid November - Late May

Parking

Tarmac car park free of charge.


Average Snowfall

1143cm

Day Pass Prices

Adult $209 - Youth $188 - Children $146

Website

www.squawalpine.com

7. Heavenly Mountain

Heavenly Mountain Resort
Heavenly Mountain Resort
As the largest ski resort in Lake Tahoe, Heavenly Mountain has much to offer anyone who pays a visit. For families, this is an ideal location as there is much more to do here than just skiing. Of course, you will want to get your kids involved in the mountain action, and where better to start than the peak itself?

There are two terrain parks and as many as 97 skiing trails so no matter what your age or experience, there will be something for you to enjoy. What’s more, if you aren’t sure where to begin, Heavenly Mountain links up with Emma, the mountain assistant, so that you have all you need to know on the go right in the palm of your hand. Of course, if any of the family needs to brush up on their skiing skills, Heavenly offers a variety of lessons with some of the world’s most renowned instructors. By taking part, you will not only learn some valuable skiing tips but your guide will help you to discover the very best that the mountain has to offer. 

When you’re done skiing, why not hop onto the gondola for a scenic view across the mountain? At the top, you will find the Tamarack lodge where there are places to eat and drink, shops, and much more.

  • Ski Resort Details

Address

3860 Saddle Road

96150 South Lake Tahoe, CA

United States


Ski Slopes

Easy: 19%

Intermediate: 45%

Difficult: 36%

Total Ski Lifts

28

General Season

Early November - Late April

Parking

Limited amount available, covered car park for a fee, US$ 10,- / per day.


Average Snowfall

914cm

Day Pass Prices

Adult $164 - Youth $134 - Children $90

Website

www.skiheavenly.com

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the biggest ski resort in Lake Tahoe?

The current biggest ski resort in Lake Tahoe is the Heavenly ski resort which boasts more than 4800 acres of dedicated skiing terrain. Moreover, it features 97 trails that are served by 28 ski lifts. 

Where should I stay in Lake Tahoe to ski?

There are many wonderful places to stay for skiing in Lake Tahoe but many of those who frequent the area would agree that the Olympic Valley is superior. Here, you will find many close skiing trails, and the accommodation is based around both snowboarding and skiing so you’ll never be too far from the action. 

Which is better: South or North Lake Tahoe?

What you are looking for on a vacation will depend on whether you prefer North or South Lake Tahoe. South Tahoe is home to many bars, clubs, restaurants, casinos, and other entertainment venues. It typically attracts a much livelier crowd and is ideal for people who want fun, music, and all-night entertainment. 


North Tahoe, on the other hand, contains many places of historical interest, walking trails, and museums. This might be what some would refer to as a more cultural getaway and would suit those looking for a more relaxed and subdued vacation. 

How many ski resorts are in Lake Tahoe?

There are, according to Ski Resort Info, 15 resorts across the area of Lake Tahoe. Each one has its own draw and will attract a different type of person. Our in-depth guide on some of these resorts will give you a good idea of which is right for you. 

Conclusion

Lying on the boundary between California and Nebraska is the world-famous Lake Tahoe. This area is an attraction to all kinds of people whether you are looking for fun in the sun, partying all night, nature trail, and everything in between. But what brings a lot of visitors to the area are the many ski resorts. 

For families, places such as Heavenly Mountain resort offer much more than just skiing to keep the little ones entertained. With gondola rides, ski lessons, and even daycare so you can hit the slopes alone, families are perfectly catered for. 

Moreover, if you are a new skier and want somewhere scenic to practice your skills, Lake Tahoe has a variety of excellent resorts like Sierra At Tahoe which is the perfect location for skiers staying around Sacramento.

We imagine that, after reading all about these amazing places, you are keen to pack up your skis and get on with your adventure. But before you do, make sure that you check out as many of our top skiing tips as possible to make your vacation a memorable one. 

Who Owns Aspen Ski Resort

About Frank V. Persall

Originally from the UK, Frank has a passion for skiing and anything snow related. He is currently on a never ending mission to visit the best ski resorts across the USA and the the World. Frank is happiest when he is on ski slopes with his wife and three children.

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