With the Sierra snowpack at close to 200% and more snow in the forecast, Lake Tahoe is experiencing its most epic winter season in years. With over 22,000 acres of skiable terrain, nine world-class ski resorts, and one unforgettable lake, there are countless ways to do winter at Lake Tahoe.
South Lake Tahoe, straddling the border between California and Nevada, is a city that never sleeps.
You could easily play outside all day and party all night and keep up the frenetic tempo for several lifetimes. The nearly ubiquitous views of Lake Tahoe, the largest alpine lake in North America, and the surrounding Sierra Nevada mountains stand as a near-constant reminder that there’s a legion of outdoor pursuits on tap here, from skiing and snowboarding in the winter to paddleboarding, trail running, backpacking, hiking, biking, and…pretty much everything the rest of the year.
Partner that outdoor hedonism with the city’s handful of casinos, which offers a different spin on indulgence, and expect to be wholly overwhelmed with options. Let us offer a few ways to navigate the 1,001 options for the winter months now upon us.
With a major ski resort right in town and two more just a 30-minute drive away, South Lake Tahoe is a snow sports paradise.
It is one of the few places in the world where you could be skiing in the morning, then boating on the lake beneath the warm afternoon sunshine.
Whether a beginner or an expert, Heavenly resort offers something for everyone on its 4,800 skiable acres–97 runs, including easy, intermediate, and advanced groomers, with backcountry-like terrain, tree runs, and four different terrain parks.
Or venture out a bit and head deeper into the mountains to visit Kirkwood, a more rustic resort with a base elevation of 7,800 feet and some of South Tahoe’s more extreme terrain. Skull-and-crossbone signs mark the more dangerous routes, and locals flock to this mountain on powder days.
Sierra-at-Tahoe, meanwhile, embraces the familial vibe, with a number of green runs all across the mountain, a Star Wars-themed Burton snowboard training school (kids only! Sorry adults.), and enough intermediate glades and terrain parks to keep advanced skiers looping until the lifts close.
Everyone’s favorite place to carbo load is Basecamp Pizza, with unique toppings like Thai curry and pear & gorgonzola. Nestled in a vintage Tahoe cabin, Evan’s offers more upmarket eats, including fresh seafood and venison. For lakeside views, head to Jimmy’s, with a unique menu of wood-fired Greek and regional California cuisine prepared by celebrity chef, Maria Elia.
The Brewery, Lake Tahoe’s original brewpub, makes a variety of handcrafted specialty ales including the signature brew—Bad Ass Ale. A large menu of burgers and sandwiches will help you soak up the suds at the end of a long day. Only at MacDuff’s Pub will you find Guinness on tap next to Pliny the Elder IPA. The menu is just as cross-Atlantic, with traditional pub fare such as shepherd’s pie and corn beef and cabbage alongside farmer’s market mixed green salads and wood fired pizza. For the best dive bar in town, look no further than Whiskey Dick’s, complete with live bands, pool table, shuffleboard, and even an electronic juke box.
The Grand Residence by Marriott, located within Heavenly Village and just steps from the gondola, offers studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom apartments. For a more Las Vegas-style vibe complete with gambling, head to Harrah’s just across the street and the border from the village. Much more hip and more affordable, Basecamp Hotel offers retro fun for both big and little kids alike–think forest wallpaper, fake campfires, tented beds, Coleman-style lanterns, steel bunk beds, Xboxes, and s’mores around the campfire after dinner.