Do you want to get on the slopes this holiday season, but don’t want to deal with the crowds and pricetags of some of the major resorts? Don’t get us wrong-we love all of the resorts here in Tahoe, big and small, but sometimes it’s worth going to a smaller, lesser-known mountain for affordable, approachable skiing. Check out a few of our favorite hidden gems below, and we’ll see you on the slopes this winter!
Diamond Peak is a gorgeous, fun, and family-friendly resort located just 30 minutes from The Franciscan Lakeside Lodge. Don’t be distracted by the views-some of the runs make it feel as though you’re about to ski or ride right into Lake Tahoe. A world-class grooming and snowmaking system, great lesson packages, perks (free skiing on your birthday and 50% off tickets when you show your pass to another mountain are a couple of our favorites), and terrain for all abilities make Diamond Peak a great place to spend the day. They also host a number of fantastic events–try the Last-Tracks Beer & Wine Tastings or the Dummy Downhill-that are fun for the whole family.
You may have passed Sky Tavern on Highway 431 and not even known it. This small resort just a few miles from Mt. Rose boasts of America’s oldest non-profit ski and snowboard lesson programs. It’s a great place for kids to learn to ski or ride, without paying the high prices of other resorts.
Homewood Mountain Resort
Another mountain with stunning Lake Tahoe views, Homewood is known for its laid-back vibe, stashes of deep powder, and approachable terrain. Skip the crowds at other nearby resorts on a powder day and ski laps on Quail Bowl, an easy hike from the Ellis Chair. Looking for even more powder? Homewood also offers snowcat tours that offer exclusive and safe access to Tahoe’s backcountry. If you’re a beginner, Homewood is a great place to learn, with a great beginner area and lessons and rentals onsite. Check out their $69 beginner package–which includes rentals, a lesson, and a lift pass.
Granlibakken Tahoe is a historic, family-owned ski and sled hill located just south of Tahoe City. Lift tickets start at just $25/day, and all full-day lift tickets include sledding, a great deal for those kiddos (or kids at heart) with a short attention span. Lessons and rentals are available onsite at affordable rates. The ski and sled hill is intimate, approachable, and can all be viewed from the ski lodge deck.
Tahoe Donner Downhill Resort
Tahoe Donner is known for it’s approachable, family-friendly vibe. It lives up to its slogan as “the best place to begin” with 40% beginner terrain, affordable lesson options, and lessons available to all ages 3+. Also onsite is a cross-country center, dining, sledding, rec centers and gathering areas, and more. Tahoe Donner also hosts some awesome family-friendly events for the holidays and throughout the winter season.
Donner Ski Ranch
Donner Ski Ranch is a family-owned ski resort located on Donner Summit. This historic resort offers over 500 acres of terrain for all ability levels, affordable lift tickets (starting at just $18 for kids!), and panoramic views of Donner Pass. Get a learn-to-ski package for under $100. More advance skiers will appreciate the fresh, untouched snow on the backside, and short lift lines accessing some of the best freshies in the area. Be sure to check out Donner Ski Ranch’s Old School Days-where they offer old-school ski lift ticket pricing on certain days.
Sugar Bowl Resort
More snow, less crowds. Simple, unassuming, and loads of fun. That’s Sugar Bowl in a nutshell. This historic mountain located on Donner Summit was a favorite of Walt Disney’s (make sure you ski or ride the iconic Disney Bowl while there), and remains a favorite among locals and visitors who know what’s what. Sugar Bowl has one of the highest base elevations in the region, and offers easy access to amazing terrain. Whether you’re an advanced skier or rider or a beginner, Sugar Bowl has something for everyone.
Boreal Mountain Resort offers fun terrain for all abilities. Known for its world-class terrain parks, convenient location right off of Highway 80, and night skiing, Boreal is a great place to ski or ride, day and night. Are you learning to ski or ride? Purchase three lessons at Boreal and get a season’s pass out of the deal! Want to warm up for a day of skiing and riding? Head over to the indoor Woodward Facility, which offers foam pits, trampolines, and practice areas designed to help athletes improve their skills.
Want to ski or ride at one of these hidden gems? Book a stay at The Franciscan Lakeside Lodge to enjoy unparalleled access to both Lake Tahoe and the surrounding mountains. Book today>>