Family friendly, small, uncrowded, epic view
kids and newbies everywhere, sun exposure
I've probably logged 50+ days at this mountain this season. When I bought my pass at the beginning of the season, I was a beginner. I was attracted by the proximity to my house (less than 5 minutes), the beginner-friendly atmosphere, and of course, the views. The view from Diamond Peak is arguably the best that Tahoe has to offer.
For a small mountain, the vertical feet is respectable. The absense of lift lines, even on many weekends, is a definite plus. The utter beginner might find Schoolhouse, the bunny hill, a bit frustrating as it's extremely flat. Fine for skiers, I supose. Snowboarders are better off starting on the next run up because you'll be logging more hours kneeling, sitting, unstrapping, crawling, laying on your back in utter despair, etc, than actually learning to ride. Personally, I recommend starting on a black diamond because figuring your way down one way or another is the best way to learn. At least on a snowboard, because you can always just slide back and forth on your heel edge if it's too steep. But I suppose that's not for everyone. The next run up from the bunny slope is Lodgepole, and some first-timers find it too challenging. Diamond Peak is a small mountain, which means that the runs, as well as the terrain parks, lack somewhat in progression. When learning to ride jumps, I went from a 6 foot kicker to a 30 foot kicker in one day. There was nothing in between, so I cased the big one, split my lip on my own knee and gave myself whiplash. I'm told it was entertaining to watch, but the value of progression for learners became painfully obvious to me. It might not be the best place to learn park riding, but I think it's a good place to learn everything else. I started out as a newbie and now I can point it and tear down any groomed run on the mountain with ease.
For the intermediate/advanced downhill skier/rider, Diamond Peak offers some pretty good terrain. The runs have natural angles and rollers in them that are more interesting than your typical flat groomer. The tree riding could be better. The trees are dense, so it's not a good place to learn how to ride the trees. For the advanced tree rider, however, there are lots of obstacles to play on. This season has been pretty pathetic as far as snowfall, so there have only been a few days where tree riding was even possible without destroying your equipment. We got some great snow a couple weeks ago, but the warm weather and sun exposure on Diamond Peak tends to melt fresh powder down to ice within a coulple days.
With respect to the crowd, you'll find it pretty chill. There are the locals, who are generally polite, usually retirement age or empty-nesters with vacation homes here. I am definitely in the minority as a middle-class worker living in this area. Diamond Peak brings in a lot of tourists from the lovely Hyatt near the beach. This group includes a lot of beginners and tons of children. The ski pole stabbings can grow tiresome...guard your board and your eyes. lol Especially on the weekends, you just have to be really careful and ride slow because the ski-school kids (not to mention the ones whose parents endeavor to instruct them) will be in your way. Even when their lines make absolutely no sense, they still have the right of way!