Lake Tahoe is home to 9 world-class ski resorts stretched across 22,000 acres of fresh powder. If you’re seeking the largest concentration of cross-country ski areas in all North America, you’ve come to the right place. Lake Tahoe skiing offers something for everyone, from the party animal who loves to gamble, to the foodie who enjoys a good show, and even the recluse who prefers little to no human contact.
Lake Tahoe has opportunities to ski just a few steps away from civilization or venture off into remote backcountry where you’re more likely to see wild animals than other humans. You can rent a cabin, stay at a resort, or stick to the basics and go winter camping.
With so many options to choose from, where should you stay, ski, and explore? The answer to those questions boils down to your preference for adventure. Before you pack your bags and load your skis up on your Roof Rack Crossbars, let’s find out if the North or South Shore of Lake Tahoe is more suited to your style.
North Lake Tahoe Vs. South Lake Tahoe
Lake Tahoe is often described as having two faces—a north and a south face, aka the North and South Shore. While both offer stunning scenery, adrenaline-pumping ski opportunities, and nonstop fun, the South Shore is the place to party while the North Shore offers a more peaceful nature retreat.
Destination: South Lake Tahoe
Perfect for: Anyone looking to party on the town after hitting the slopes all day.
Tahoe South is known as the “wild” side of Lake Tahoe. A place where you can ski or board all day and then top off the night with a game of blackjack, a thrilling show, or you can dance the night away with cocktail in hand.
Areas in South Lake Tahoe:
- Emerald Bay
- Zephyr Cove
- Heavenly ski area
Destination: North Lake Tahoe
Perfect for: a peaceful nature adventure without as much partying or as dense of crowds.
There are countless lake beaches, ski resorts and bike trails in North Lake Tahoe, which spans across the Nevada and California border. This location is becoming increasingly popular for events, festivals, and races. So, while it’s not as “wild” as the South Shore, there are still plenty of things to do.
Areas in North Lake Tahoe:
- Tahoe City
- Tahoe Vista
- Incline Village
- Kings Beach
- Squaw Valley
- Alpine Meadows
- Diamond Peak
- Donner Lake
- Mount Rose Ski Resort
What About Staying in Reno?
Reno is a lot of fun with endless hotels, restaurants, spas, bars and so much to do. But, if you’re mainly coming for adventure sports in the snow, Reno may prove too far of a drive. The closest ski resort is Mount Rose Ski Tahoe, which is still a 30-minute drive from most parts of Reno.
Lake Tahoe Skiing: Deciding the Details of Your Itinerary
I Want to Party After Skiing Lake Tahoe
The South Shore offers a lot of opportunities to kick loose and have a great time. The casinos and bars of Stateline and South Lake Tahoe host big crowds and big excitement. Grab some food and drinks at the Fire + Ice grill and bar located at Heavenly, and then head to the casino clubs to get your groove on.
I Want to Ski & Escape the World
Perhaps you prefer to interact with as few people as possible while on vacation, in which case you don’t want to be caught on the South Shore. Instead, the quieter villages of Tahoe Vista and Carnelian Bay offer more of the peaceful adventure you’re seeking.
I Want to Eat & Drink Like Fat is in Fashion
If you have a taste for fine wine and gourmet food, the North Shore is your go-to hot spot, especially near Truckee and Tahoe Vista. Some top-notch restaurants in the area include Jack Rabbit Moon and Stella at the Cedar House Sport Hotel. If you dig Italian dishes and long wine menus, you’ll love everything about Cafe Fiore, down to its cozy wood-paneled walls.
I Want to Ski Where the Wild Things Are
Kirkwood is located on the South Shore but it’s so far up in the mountains that it’s a good hour away from the waters of Lake Tahoe. So, unlike much of the South Shore, it’s a quieter place to escape. In fact, Kirkwood is among the most remote ski resorts in the area and it boasts some of the deepest snow—averaging around 600 inches per year.
I Want to Check Out Lake Tahoe’s Best Views
Emerald Bay, located on the South Shore in California, is heavily populated during the summer. Things quiet down in winter, revealing a serene piece of paradise populated by more Canadian geese than human beings. Strap on your snowshoes and enjoy a breathtaking hike down to the Vikingsholm Castle (Tahoe’s Hidden Castle) where you can indulge in the views of Fannette Island—the only island in Lake Tahoe.
Don’t Forget Your Skis!
Lake Tahoe skiing isn’t possible without a solid set of skis. Why not get your skis there in style using the number one best-selling roof rack crossbars on Amazon? Vault Roof Rack Crossbars are affordable, tough, and compatible with a wide range of accessories, from ski and bike mounts to kayak and canoe racks. That means you can use the same roof rack all year long, for just about all your adventures. Plus, the soft rubber padded clamps and cargo touch points are specially designed to protect your vehicle and your gear.
Adventure gear made for adventurers, by adventurers