Lake Tahoe

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The nation’s largest concentration of ski areas covers nearly 25,000 acres in a region that averages 50 inches of fluffy stuff and 274 sunny days per year. There's terrain for all abilities – tight glades to expansive bowls – and, naturally, stunning lake views. Lift ticket prices are steep, but resorts sometimes have deals.

Lake Tahoe Ski Resorts

Alpine Meadows

Although Alpine Meadows sits back-to-back with Squaw, its atmosphere couldn’t be further from that of its flashy neighbor. This ski area has no wine bars, the lodge’s dining area resembles a high school cafeteria, and roughly 70 percent of its 2,400 acres go ungroomed. But hard-core skiers and snowboarders (largely locals) don’t come to sip cabernet. They come for the thrilling backcountry-type terrain devoid of crowds.

2600 Alpine Meadows Rd., CA, 800-949-3296, www.skialpine.com
Tags: family | ski resort | skiing | outdoors

Heavenly Mountain Resort

Located smack on the California-Nevada border in South Lake Tahoe, Heavenly does everything big. Its gondola lift ascends nearly 3,000 feet, providing one of the region's best vistas of 193-square-mile Lake Tahoe and the snowy peaks surrounding it. Skiers and snowboarders have access to 4,800 acres (some on the Nevada side). With peaks soaring more than 10,000 feet, this is Tahoe's highest ski area.

End of Ski Run Blvd., CA, 800-432-8365, www.skiheavenly.com
Tags: family | ski resort | skiing | outdoors

Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort, Spa and Casino

While Alpine’s stripped-down appeal means no slopeside accommodations, the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort, Spa and Casino, 15 miles east in Incline Village, Nevada, offers two-day ski-and-room packages (from $299) that include shuttle service to the slopes. Following an extensive 2004 renovation, its standard rooms boast velvety fabrics, pillow-top mattresses, overstuffed armchairs, and black granite bathrooms. Staying at the 24 lakefront cottages, with their river stone fireplaces and Italian leather furniture, is a smart splurge. The Hyatt houses a restaurant, The Lone Eagle Grille, which is one of the best restaurants in all the Sierras, serving fare like seared elk chop with pear-parsnip puree and a poivrade sauce.

111 Country Club Drive, Nevada, 775-832-1234, www.laketahoe.hyatt.com
Tags: moderate | spa | casino | ski resort

Kirkwood

Inside California’s Eldorado National Forest, Kirkwood is the most remote of the major Tahoe resorts. It lies 35 miles southwest of the lake’s southernmost shore town, South Lake Tahoe, California, but is well worth the trip. Since the ski area runs along the Sierra Crest, the ridgeline connecting most of the range’s highest points, the resort is in a prime position to benefit from winter storms. Each year the snowfall averages 600 inches, more than any other Tahoe resort.

1501 Kirkwood Meadows Drive, California, 209-258-6000, www.kirkwood.com
Tags: ski resort

Mt. Rose – Ski Tahoe

Tahoe's highest ski area (base elevation: 7,900 feet) provides Sierra Nevada, Tahoe, and Nevada desert views, great snow, and extreme terrain, with sustained pitches of 40+ degrees for over 1,000 feet.

22222 Mt. Rose Hwy., NV, 800-754-7673, www.skirose.com
Tags: ski resort | skiing | outdoors

Northstar-at-Tahoe

The development plan for Northstar seems to have followed a simple rule: Offer guests everything they need so they never have to leave. The five terrain parks and two pipes will occupy even the most enthusiastic jibber (that's a trick-pulling skier or snowboarder, for the uninitiated). The ski area's management spent $13 million last year expanding the runs and snowmaking capacity. The completely overhauled Village at Northstar complex staged a grand reopening in January.

Hwy. 267, CA, 800-466-6784, www.northstarattahoe.com
Tags: family | ski resort | skiing | outdoors

One Village Place

One Village Place (in the village, of course) offers one- to three-bedroom suites equipped with top-of-the-line kitchens, giant Jacuzzi bathtubs, and slate floors. The mountain’s gondola runs quietly from its lobby. Northstar-at-Tahoe also offers three-night condo-and-ski packages (from $108/night per person in units just outside the village). Also try the Village’s Chocolate Bar which specializes in handcrafted truffles and uses only Grand Cru chocolate. The Mayan hot chocolate, made with three types of milk and a spicy chili reduction is one of the most popular treats.

9001 Northstar Dr., CA, 530-550-3370, www.onevillageplace.com
Tags: moderate | all-suite | ski resort

Sierra-at-Tahoe

Sierra's 2,000-acre, three-mountain expanse of wide-sweeping bowls, top-to-bottom groomed runs, and lake views are divinely deserted. For powder stashes and glades, ski Castle off the top of Grandview Chair or rolling Preacher's Passion.

Twin Bridges, CA, 530-659-7453, www.sierratahoe.com
Tags: views | ski resort | skiing | outdoors

Squaw Valley USA

Located just northwest of the lake near Tahoe City, California, Squaw has a rough glamour, thanks to its mix of dirt-under-the-fingernails pros and upscale clientele (eliciting the nickname Squallywood). The ski area, which hosted the world’s first televised Olympics in 1960, is still where many snow enthusiasts test their mettle. In recent years extreme skiers have redefined the boundaries of the sport (and sanity), turning nearly every cliff into a launching pad.

Olympic Valley, CA, 800-403-0206, www.squaw.com
Tags: family | ski resort | skiing | outdoors

The Ritz-Carlton Highlands, Lake Tahoe

The Ritz-Carlton Highlands, Lake Tahoe will be the Tahoe area’s first newly constructed resort in decades. Planners intend the 170-room hotel resort to be Tahoe’s premier property with a position midway up the mountainside, so guests can literally ski in and out. The hotel’s restaurant Manzanita, to be run by James Beard Foundation award winner Traci des Jardins (of San Francisco’s Jardinière and Mijita), will serve French-inspired California cuisine derived from sustainable meat and produce.

13005 Ritz-Carlton Highlands Drive, CA, 530-562-3000, www.ritzcarlton.com/laketahoe
Tags: luxury | ski resort | skiing | resort

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