Palisades Tahoe is an internationally renowned ski resort in North Lake Tahoe, California. It spans more than 6,000 skiable acres after the two ski resorts joined forces in 2011. The ski resort features 42 lifts and 270 trails as well as the European-inspired Village at Palisades Tahoe featuring nearly 60 restaurants, bars, boutiques, and art galleries.
Palisades Tahoe ski area snowfall averages 450 inches each season, offering skiers and riders one of the longest ski seasons in Lake Tahoe (often through the 4th of July) and establishing the mountain as a top destination for spring skiing and boarding. Palisades Tahoe also boasts one of the region’s only mountain-top beginner areas and several intermediate skier havens, including Shirley Lake and the newly renamed Pacific Crest Bowls.
Palisades Tahoe has everything from groomers to chutes, and visitors are guaranteed to find something suitable for their skill set. Access either mountain's base by hopping aboard the free Palisades Tahoe/Alpine shuttle between ski resorts.
Reno-Tahoe International Airport is 42 miles away and offers direct flights from Chicago, Houston, Dallas, Denver, Seattle, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Minneapolis and more, served by American, United, Alaska, US Airways, Southwest, Delta and Continental airlines. Sacramento International Airport is 96 miles away and offers nonstops from Washington, DC, New York, Atlanta, Detroit, Honolulu and more, served by United, Frontier, Delta, Hawaiian, US Airways, AeroMexico, American, JetBlue, Continental, Alaska and Southwest airlines.
North Lake Tahoe Express (530-584-3922) offers shuttles from Reno-Tahoe airport for $40 one-way, $75 roundtrip. For faster service try Fast Taxi Airport Shuttle (530-583-6699). Reno-Tahoe has eight rental car agencies including Hertz, Enterprise, Budget, Avis and more. Resort at Palisads Tahoe offers a free shuttle for its guests.
It’s possible to stay in the base village and walk everywhere, though Tahoe Area Regional Transit (TART) runs to the nearby tourist towns of Truckee and Tahoe City for those who want to get out and about.
Ski in-out condo-hotel luxury accommodations. Forty hotels within eight miles of Palisades Tahoe. Overnight facilities in Tahoe City six miles, Truckee nine miles; RVs welcome at resort but no hookups.
Located in the base village a short walk from the lifts, Mountain Nectar offers fresh-squeezed juices and smoothies, as well as coffee, tea, bagels, wraps and tables for sitting down with children.
For a fast cup of coffee and a muffin, Starbucks is located in the base village, with the world's first ski-through location on the mountain as well.
The Arc in the Gold Coast mid-mountain lodge is the place to gather without leaving the slopes. The menu features Kobe beef burgers, Asian bowls, soups and more.
PlumpJack Café is located a short walk from the lifts and village lodging. The menu changes seasonally, with a focus on local ingredients and novel wine pairings chosen by the sommelier. Daring foodies will go for the crispy veal sweetbreads, while meat lovers will enjoy the ribeye with bacon confit potatoes and haricots verts.
Located in the Resort at Palisades Tahoe, Six Peaks Grille features biodynamic seafood and produce. Starters include the wine-braised short ribs with black truffle cheese, and mains featuring a variety of heritage meats and a uniquely prepared Columbia River sturgeon.
22 Bistro is located in the village near the KT-22 lift. Specializing in tapas and social plates, as well as reasonably priced salads and burgers, 22 has a children’s menu and a to-die-for dish of potato-bacon donut holes.
Fireside Pizza in the base village serves up gourmet pizza and pasta and is ideal for budget-conscious families. Fireside is known for its sourdough crusts, and their signature pie is the pear and gorgonzola.
With a large outdoor seating area, Le Chamois is the main gathering spot for beer drinkers and is one of northern California’s largest sellers of Budweiser. Regulars buy the $40 Buddy Pass, good for 20 pints of Bud.
Duck inside to warm up and sit down in the Loft Bar, which is decorated with ski schwag from the 1970s and earlier eras.
Just around the corner from Chamois, PlumpJack Bar located at PlumpJack Café has a daily happy hour from 3 to 6 p.m. for those seeking a more formal setting.
Cornice Cantina is a great option for après on the sundeck or late-night drinks indoors. DJs spin dance music on Friday and Saturday nights, making the “Cantina” a favorite local hangout for off-duty patrollers and Palisades Tahoe employees. It’s located in the middle of the East parking lot, a five-minute walk from the base village lodgings.
In the heart of the village, the Auld Dubliner is modeled after a rural Irish pub and features live music on weekends as well as a large beer and whiskey selection.
Palisades Tahoe can look intimidating to beginners due to the steep terrain right out of the village. The High Camp Cable Car, also called the Tram, rises up and over the Tram Face, virtually un-skiable terrain where Palisades Tahoe holds an extreme competition yearly for the world’s elite. But don’t be fooled: there are fantastic beginner runs located at mid-mountain.
Take a leap of faith and ride the tram to High Camp, where four lifts offer mellow groomed beginner and intermediate trails. The payoff is extraordinary lake views as well as the feeling that you are high in the mountains and away from the run-of-the-mill, lower-mountain slopes that most ski resorts provide for newbies.
Palisades Tahoe will never win any awards for its tree skiing - there simply isn’t that much due to the mountain’s vast open expanses - but those who seek a forested environment should head to the Palisades Tahoe and Red Dog lifts as well as the lower sections of Granite Chief.
High Camp is a mountaintop meadow tucked between high peaks where experts can get an adrenaline fix before meeting up with less skilled family members for lunch. High Camp has a swimming pool and skating rink as well as outdoor seating, providing an inspiring setting for all ability levels.
For young children, the Papoose beginner’s area is on the far eastern side of the parking lot beside the SnoVentures Activity Zone, where you will find mini snowmobiles for kids and snow tubing for all ages. This is the learning ground for first-timers, complete with free hot chocolate.
For intermediates, Palisades Tahoe offers uncrowded runs and beautiful lake views, with groomers that loop down to the Resort at Palisades Tahoe on the far looker’s left of the resort. Palisades Tahoe offers classic American skiing, with trails cut through the trees—something you don’t get much of in the wide-open expanses of Palisades Tahoe.
Skiers and riders can access upper-mountain intermediate terrain via the Shirley Lake Express, a fast, six-pack chairlift perfect for doing laps. The Gold Coast six-pack lift provides advanced intermediate runs. Round out the day with some laps on the Solitude lift, which drops down from High Camp into groomed and ungroomed intermediate runs, glades and tree islands.
For skiers who like to hike, Palisades Tahoe has bountiful options. Granite Peak, accessed via Granite Chief, is the ski resort’s highest point at just over 9,000 feet, so it loads well on powder days and offers lots of secret stashes days after a storm. Hidden Bowl features steep wide-open terrain and tree shots, making this area prime for exploration.
The Palisades chutes are some of the most infamous “Squallywood” terrain, featured in countless ski films. If you go big here, lots of chairlift riders will be watching and cheering. Access Palisades expert terrain via the Siberia Express, but be prepared to handle a cornice drop. Lesser-seasoned skiers should stick to the easiest of the Palisades chutes, National Chute to looker’s left. Named for Olympian Jonny Mosely, Mosley's Run is a severely steep bump run that Jonny credits with giving him the skills to handle the world’s toughest moguls competitions.
Big Blue is pure bliss for true beginners or for those who need to warm up before hitting it big. The terrain is easy to access using the Aerial Tram up to High Camp. From there, visitors can access the gently sloped terrain of Bailey’s Beach and Gold Coast. The Big Blue area even offers the Belmont terrain park designed to introduce beginner and intermediate skiers to park ski and riding.
The terrain on the Alpine Meadows side of the ski resort consists of wide-open bowls, long groomed slopes and abundant natural features within its 2,400 skiable acres. The ski area’s front and backsides boast plenty of beginner, intermediate, and advanced options.
Alpine Meadows offers some of the best skiing and riding in Lake Tahoe with the Pacific Crest Bowls, offering backcountry access to expert skiers with the proper equipment. Take the short (or long) hike or traverse out to one of these bowls, and then end up back at a high-speed chairlift. From the summit of Ward Peak, visitors can take in spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and Lake Tahoe.
Beginner and intermediate skiers have numerous terrain options on both sides of Alpine Meadows ski area. The front side is home to long groomers and some excellent intermediate runs off Roundhouse and Hot Wheels chairlifts. Then, take Rays Rut around to the backside, where you’ll access some of Alpine’s best intermediate/advanced runs.
The first lifts to open are usually the Red Dog and KT-22 lifts. KT is the most coveted, and people line up at 6:30 a.m. to be the first to reach The Fingers, which encompasses amazing expert terrain when covered in deep snow, but sketchy once skied out. Nose to Fingers is considered one of the best lines on the mountain. Access Nose by skiing looker’s right of the KT-22 lift towers. The Fingers are a band of rocks about midway down the mountain.
To avoid the charge up KT-22, take the Red Dog lift instead. Its terrain is less skied but equally as challenging without the crowds. Poulson's Gully, to skiers right of the lift towers, and Heidi’s Rock are favorite steep and deep runs from Red Dog. Heidi’s Rock requires a short hike and is reached by disembarking toward Red Dog Ridge. If the snow falls all day, head back to KT, which provides so much expert terrain that it hardly matters where you go because there are so many premier lines.
The Funitel (don’t call it a gondola!) will typically open next. Ride it to High Camp and ski down to the Siberia Express lift, which whisks you to the ridgeline and the top of Siberia Bowl. On big snow days, the lifts typically open from looker’s left to right, with Granite Chief often last to open. Granite Chief is located on the far boundary to looker’s right, providing a bevy of unnamed runs and expert terrain where the crowds are often minimal—perfect for an afternoon expedition on a powder day.
The resort is home to some great terrain for the powder lover. When snow is in the forecast, head to the lifts early to make sure you get fresh tracks. Hop in line at the Summit Express, as this is one of the first lifts that will be open. Just off the top of Summit lift, the Ds are a great first choice powder run, named for an old D8 tractor that accidentally slid over the edge while trying to clear a road to the summit.
The Ice Bar is a local’s favorite situated at the base of the Sherwood Bowl. Here, you’ll find quick bites and cold beers in a beach-like setting. Stay ‘till happy hour on the Alpine Sun Deck, and catch some great live music in the spring.
The Nordic Center at the Resort at Palisades Tahoe offers approximately 11 miles of groomed trails that wind through the stunning Palisades Tahoe meadow and surrounding hillside. The trails are 70% beginner, 20% intermediate, and 10% advanced, and nordic equipment rentals are available. All trails originate at the Resort at Palisades Tahoe, just a short (free) shuttle ride from the Palisades Tahoe Parking Lot.
Take an Aerial Tram ride to see memorabilia at the free Olympic museum from when the resort was the host of the 1960 Winter Olympics.
Enjoy a soak surrounded by 9,000-foot peaks at the heated pool and hot tub complex at Palisade's Tahoe High Camp. (Non-skiers can access this via the Aerial Tram.)
Stroll around Palisades Tahoe's engaging and family-friendly base village, buzzing with live music, a bungee-jump tramp for the kids, and countless tail-wagging dogs.
Play at Palisades Tahoe's SnoVentures zone, where kids ages 6 to 12 can tube, roast marshmallows, and steer mini snowmobiles on a groomed track. SnowVentures also has a live DJ and glittering LED lights on select weekend nights for an all-ages Disco Tubing party.
Palisades Tahoe is the place to be in the springtime. Enjoy free live music every spring at The Village at Palisades Tahoe. And don’t miss the Annual Cushing Crossing, the original pond skimming event that started a spring resort ritual.
Both Palisades Tahoe and Alpine Meadows offer a variety of ski and snowboard lesson options for any skill level. They even have advanced-level mountain guide programs for those who want to enjoy the best of Lake Tahoe's skiing and snowboarding.