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North Lake Tahoe has long been one of the most iconic winter destinations in the world, highlighted by its location in the High Sierra on the north side of North America’s largest alpine lake. North Lake Tahoe’s first ski resort, Olympic Hill (which later became Granlibakken), opened in 1924, making it one of the oldest ski areas in America. It was just three decades later, in 1960, when North Lake Tahoe hosted the Winter Olympics. Today, North Lake Tahoe has established itself as an unparalleled ski destination, home to the largest concentration of ski resorts in North America.
Off the slopes, North Lake Tahoe is dotted with 12 unique towns, incredible restaurants and waterfront après-ski experiences, and tons of outdoor adventures. Discover five ways that winter in North Lake Tahoe wows.
World-Class Ski Resorts
An impressive 11 ski areas are spread across North Lake Tahoe. This includes Palisades Tahoe (formerly Squaw Valley), which was home to the 1960 Winter Olympics. Its Base to Base Gondola was a game changer when it opened in 2022, connecting the two ski areas of Olympic Valley and Alpine Meadows, and giving skiers and riders access to a massive 6,000 skiable acres.
Nearby, Northstar California offers family-friendly world-class terrain. Other ski resorts, like Diamond Peak and Homewood, are known for their incredible Lake Tahoe views, while Mt. Rose’s Chutes are some of the steepest and longest inbound slopes in America.
Après-ski is nearly as important as skiing, and it doesn’t get any better than in North Lake Tahoe. Unique on-resort après-ski experiences abound, including Northstar California’s tōst pop-up champagne bar off the East Ridge run and the 50-year-old Le Chamois (a.k.a. The Chammy) at the Village at Palisades Tahoe.
Après-ski continues off the slopes, as North Lake Tahoe’s lakefront is lined with great restaurants and bars. The lakefront and mountain views are as good as the food and drinks at Jakes on the Lake, Lone Eagle Grille, Jason’s Beachside Grille, and Whitecaps Pizza.
12 Unique Towns
Dotting North Lake Tahoe are 12 distinct towns across two states consisting of Alpine Meadows, Carnelian Bay, Crystal Bay, Donner Summit, Incline Village, Kings Beach, Northstar, Olympic Valley, Tahoe City, Tahoe Vista, Truckee, and West Shore. Charming waterfront towns like Tahoe City and Kings Beach are lined with boutique shops, restaurants, museums, and waterfront activities. Crystal Bay welcomes guests to try their luck at casinos like Jim Kelley’s Nugget and Crystal Bay Club, while the town of Incline Village is home to one of the most beautiful sections of Lake Tahoe and has a number of charming restaurants and shops.
The villages at Northstar and Palisades Tahoe are like their own towns, where after a day on the slopes, you can walk to après-ski, dinner, and your accommodations without even getting in your car. Whatever your vibe is, you’ll find it in one of North Lake Tahoe’s 12 towns.
Craft Food and Drinks
While North Lake Tahoe has historically been known for its skiing, its food and drink scene is just as alluring, from award-winning craft breweries and fun wine bars to cozy bistros and fine dining restaurants. Great date night spots include Soule Domain’s upscale, cozy cabin in King’s Beach, the Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe’s mid-mountain restaurant, Manzanita, and Tahoe City’s Christy Hill, sitting on Lake Tahoe’s shoreline with panoramic views paired with Mediterranean-inspired dishes. Families, meanwhile, have a lot to choose from in the ski resort villages, and any of North Lake Tahoe’s 12 towns.
North Lake Tahoe has such a great craft drink scene beyond the resorts. Wine lovers have plenty of options, including Glasses Wine Bar in Incline Village, Tahoe Wine Collective in Tahoe City, and Uncorked, with locations in Tahoe City, Truckee, and Olympic Valley. Craft beer enthusiasts will find numerous craft breweries, including Tahoe National Brewing in Tahoe City, multiple locations of Alibi Ale Works, and Bear Belly Brewing in Kings Beach.
Off-Slope Outdoor Adventures
North Lake Tahoe’s abundance of adventures extends off the slopes. Many ski resorts have rental shops that rent cross-country skis and snowshoes, while some resorts and tour providers, like Tahoe Adventure Company, offer guided snowshoe tours. Tahoe Donner Cross Country Ski Center (TDXC), one of the top cross-country centers in America, spans more than 2,800 acres, and offers snowshoe and cross-country ski rentals, and cross-country ski lessons.
For a more off-the-beaten-path adventure, try snowmobiling with any number of snowmobile operators in North Lake Tahoe. If you’re traveling with kids, Homewood Mountain and Granlibakken Tahoe are great options for sledding, while North Tahoe Regional Park in Tahoe Vista offers a variety of wintertime activities, including a sledding hill and 124 acres for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
Start planning your North Lake Tahoe trip at gotahoenorth.com.
Know Before You Go
- Midweek travel discounts. Weekdays are the best days in North Lake Tahoe. Many ski resorts and lodging properties offer discounted lift tickets and rates, while some restaurants and bars also offer weekday deals. Not to mention wide open slopes and shorter lift lines.
- Accessibility. North Lake Tahoe is committed to accessibility in all of its many forms. Achieve Tahoe, for example, is among the organizations that’s making winter sports more accessible in the region, offering private adaptive ski and snowboard lessons.
- Free TART Connect on-demand shuttle service. TART Connect is North Lake Tahoe’s free curb-to-curb, on-demand shuttle service, offering service to restaurants, shops, and more. Many ski resorts also have their own free shuttle services.
- Fly into Reno-Tahoe International Airport. Many travelers fly into San Francisco or Sacramento and drive. Flying into these, however, can make for a long drive, especially on a holiday weekend. Reno-Tahoe International Airport, on the other hand, is 45 minutes from North Lake Tahoe.
- North Lake Tahoe Traveler Responsibility Pledge. North Lake Tahoe invites travelers to be stewards of Lake Tahoe by taking the Traveler Responsibility Pledge.