How to Ski South Lake Tahoe

Tips, Tricks & Secret Stashes from Our Local Team

Whether you’re planning your first winter sports adventure or you are a veteran skier or snowboarder, there is always something new to explore at Lake Tahoe’s legendary ski resorts. South Lake Tahoe provides easy access to some of the best resorts in the west. And with an average of 300+ days of sun a year and 350 inches of snowfall, the conditions are optimal for the perfect winter adventure.   

Each resort has something unique to offer which is why we’ve created this Local’s Guide to South Lake Tahoe Ski Resorts. 

View of Lake Tahoe from Heavenly Ski Resort

Heavenly Mountain Resort  

Best for: views, families, other winter activities besides skiing/boarding

World renowned Heavenly Mountain is a one stop shop for winter fun. Not only can you get to the resort from both the California and Nevada side, you can ski across the state line, too. From the 4,800 miles of skiable acres to the 34 miles of groomers, it really is heavenly!  The ski school is great for all age-- from 3 years old  to senior-- with instructors available for all levels of skiers. For those who want to enjoy the winter fun but would prefer to stay off the slopes, Heavenly Village at Stateline offers many family friendly actitives. Ride up the Heavenly Gondola and witness some of the most spectacular panoramic views of Lake Tahoe or enjoy SLT's only outdoor ice-skating rink. Heavenly Village also offers an array of shopping and dining options.  


Our Favorite Run: The top of Sky Chair, on the California side of Heavenly offers endless views of the lake and Sierra Nevadas. 


Best Parking and Mountain Access:  Early bird gets the worm with parking at Heavenly! Parking around the Gondola is limited. There is ample parking at the casinos within walking distance for a fee. 


Money Saving Tip: Staying at Stateline makes access to Heavenly Village a breeze and saves money on parking and transportation to the slopes. Food at the lodge can be pricey. Pack your own lunch and snacks and you will save lots. 



Important: During the COVID-19 pandemic, Heavenly Gondola will be open for sightseeing only. Skiing and riding will be available from the California Lodge Base Area.


Enjoy the scenery from on high:

Even if you aren’t skiing or riding, you can still experience one of the greatest views of Lake Tahoe with a Scenic Gondola Ride. Get on the Gondola in the Heavenly Village and have your camera ready the 2.4-mile ride will leave you breathless. Stop at the Observation Deck for panoramic views of Lake Tahoe and the surrounding Sierra Nevada mountains.


The Heavenly Gondola will open on November 20, 2020, for sightseeing only. Operating from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm from November 20 through December 3rd. The ticket window will be open at 9:30 am. Please note there will be no online purchase option for sightseeing and guests much purchase at the Gondola Ticket Windows.


Beginning December 4th sightseeing will be open based upon availability determined the day-of. Sightseeing will have reduced hours of operation with day-of purchase beginning at 11:00 am to prioritize our skiers and rider

*The Ridge Rider Coaster, UTV Tours and snow tubing are currently closed.

Lake Tahoe Ski Resort in the Winter

Kirkwood Mountain Resort   

Best for: Adventure seekers, experienced skiers or boarders, and cross-country trails 

About 30 miles from South Lake Tahoe lies Kirkwood Mountain, one of North American’s most diverse mountain terrains. With a base elevation of 7,800-feet, this mountain brings in more annual snowfall than any other Tahoe ski resort. This remote, no frills resort is known from its pristine beauty and backcountry expeditions and also offers fun winter activities like snow shoeing and sled dog tours.  


Although “the wood” is a favorite among experts, beginners and intermediates skiers will have plenty to enjoy!  


Our Favorite Run:  The Wall (double black) is the best run on powder days. It's best to ride early in the day as it gets tracked out fast! Sentinel Bowl (black/double black) has some great hidden powder stashes that last all day. Backside, which you can access on chairs 3 & 4, has very diverse terrian with mixed difficulty levels. 


Best Parking and Mountain Access: Get to the mountain early on the weekends or powder days. If you aren't an early riser, there is a limited amount of overflow parking at the Kirkwood Inn    


Money Saving Tip: If you purchase an Epic Pass, you can use it to ski Kirkwood and Heavenly (plus Northstar on the north shore). For a ski break, head to 7800 for affordable happy hour specials and great food. There is also a Kirkwood general store for basic needs. 



Child Skiing in the Winter Lake Tahoe

Sierra-at-Tahoe Resort   

Best for: a local experience, ski lessons, the board terrain park

Sierra-at-Tahoe resort, located only 12 miles from South Lake Tahoe, is a favorite among locals. With state-of-the-art terrain parks, access to Huckleberry Canyon (320 acres of back-country), and wind-protected slopes it’s no wonder locals love it. Good vibes joined by the most trails of natural terrain make for the complete skiing and riding experience! 

There are also an amazing learn to ride programs for those who are trying their hand at winter sports for the first time. With classes and private lessons for anyone ages 3 years to adult it’s never too late (or early) to hit the slopes.   

For Sierra-at-Tahoe, protecting the pristine environment that makes up the resort is a year round job. From day-to-day operations to long term planning this resort is always taking seriously it’s responsibility to preserve and protect the environment  


Our Favorite Run:  The West Bowl is a mix difficulty run and a great for intermediate riders to ride on powder days. Sugar and Spice is a great beginners run which can be accessed via the Grandview lift. Bottom of the run can be a bit flat, so keep your speed! 


Best Parking and Mountain Access:  While parking is rarely an issue at Sierra, it's possible to hit traffic getting there especially on weekends. Avoid traffic by staying at a home near Pioneer Trail or in Meyers. You should have no issue with traffic or parking if you go mid-week. 


Money Saving TipIf you're at Sierra, you're already saving money as it one of the more affordable resorts. This is one of the best places to take a ski lesson, especially for kids. There are several green runs that are excellent for beginners. 



Homes Near South Lake Tahoe Ski Resorts