Squaw Valley, Alpine Meadows, Northstar, Diamond Peak, and Mount Rose. These are five of the biggest names for skiing and riding on the north end of Tahoe, but each offer a unique experience that caters to certain skiers and riders. I’ve skied and boarded at all of these resorts several times and love each of them for different reasons.
Best for: Showing off your skills
Vibe: Full send fun
Ability level geared towards: While Squaw has terrain for all abilities levels, the bulk of the runs that set Squaw apart are best for Intermediate+ to advanced skiers and riders. Its nickname is “Squallywood” after all ;).
- Variety of advanced terrain like the famous KT22 and the Palisades.
- Awesome high camp with a large outdoor pool and hot tub.
- Historical significance – the 1960 Olympics were hosted here!
Village & Après: Squaw has a large village with a variety of restaurants and shops to choose from.
What I love about Squaw: Squaw is the spring skiing capital! Spring skiing and riding here is unmatched and on years where we get enough snow, you can ski on the 4th of July.
Best for: Getting vertical
Ability level geared towards: Alpine has a variety of terrain for all levels, but overall is a better option for intermediate skiers and riders compared to Squaw because of their ample long blue runs.
- Long open bowls
- The Summit Chair, which is a high speed lift that brings you from the base to the top in a single run.
Village & Après: Alpine doesn’t have a village, but has a main lodge with grab and go food and a bar. There is also a small place to grab food on the mountain by Scott Chair called “The Chalet”.
What I love about Alpine Meadows: Alpine has all the perks of large resort terrain with a much more laid back vibe.
Best for: Families
Vibe: Lux and family centered
Ability level geared towards: Northstar has a range of terrain for all ability levels with plenty of runs for beginner and intermediate skiers and riders.
- Several long groomed runs.
- The Burton Progression terrain park, which has several park features ranging from XS to XL.
- A complimentary champagne toast at 2pm everyday.
Village & Après: Northstar has a full village centered around an ice rink with lots of shopping, fire pits for roasting s’mores, and a variety of restaurants to choose from.
What I love about Northstar: Groomer days! If you want to cruise some groomers or practice laying down your edges, this is your mountain.
Best for: Feeling like a local
Vibe: Laid back, no frills
Ability level geared towards: Although a smaller resort, Diamond Peak still boasts some great terrain. Most of the terrain is accessible to intermediate to intermediate+ skiers and riders.
- Amazing views of the lake from the Crystal Ridge run.
- The smaller resort size = a smaller price tag and less crowded terrain.
Village & Après: Diamond Peak doesn’t have village. However, they do have food and drinks available at the base lodge as well as a patio restaurant at the top of the Lakeview chair with incredible views of Tahoe.
What I love about Diamond Peak: Wowing visitors with the views of Lake Tahoe, of course! Also, since Diamond Peak is a smaller resort, it tends to be a great escape from the crowds that the large resorts attract.
Best for: Early season laps
Vibe: Laid back
Ability level geared towards: Mt. Rose has something for everyone. They have a variety of terrain for all levels ranging from beginner runs to expert level chutes.
- Highest base elevation in Tahoe at 8,260 feet.
- Best early season skiing and riding because of it’s higher elevation compared to other resorts on this list.
- Closest to Reno so good for getting a few runs in before or after a flight.
Village & Après: Mt. Rose doesn’t have a village, but you can grab food or a beer at one of their two base lodges.
What I love about Mt. Rose: Early season riding here is my favorite. I had my first ever powder day on a snowboard at Mt. Rose the day before Thanksgiving, and it was incredible.
What other mountains do you love in the North Tahoe area? Let me know in the comments 🙂