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Sierra-at-Tahoe

Sierra is Lake Tahoe skiing at its cheapest and its friendliest, both fantastic for first-timers and home to out-of-this-world off-piste. Whether you base yourself in a quiet cabin by the lake or slap bang in one of the casino towns, holidays here are just what you make them. When you’re this close to San Fran and Sacramento, potentially one heck of a road trip.

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

At a glance: • Snowsure • Tree runs

Great for: • Beginners • Families • Snowboarders

Sierra is Lake Tahoe skiing at its cheapest and its friendliest, both fantastic for first-timers and home to out-of-this-world off-piste. Whether you base yourself in a quiet cabin by the lake or slap bang in one of the casino towns, holidays here are just what you make them. When you’re this close to San Fran and Sacramento, potentially one heck of a road trip.

Sierra-at-Tahoe Resort

Massive Lake Tahoe is ringed by 9 super ski resorts and this one, 30 minutes from its southern shore, mixes a small mountain vibe with big mountain skiing.

It feels like you’ve “snuck away” to Sierra, where a day lodge provides most of the off-slope entertainment and life is lived unostentatiously. It’s a shame there aren’t yet any hotels by the base station, but don’t let that stop you from checking out this place out. It’s got plenty worth a trip up Route 50 for, like awe-inspiring off-piste and tree runs guarded by ancient, moss-covered red firs that’ll make you feel warm and fuzzy even at minus degrees.

All this can be skied for lower prices than anywhere else in Tahoe. But take the Grandview chair to the top of the 8852ft Huckleberry Mountain and you still get the million dollar views of the cobalt lake.

How your week shapes up depends where you choose to hang your bobble hat. South Lake Tahoe City and Stateline are the ones for in-your-face après and glittering casinos, while quieter and closer spots line the lake and the forested road down to it. This close to honeypots like San Francisco (3.5 hours drive), Palo Alto and the Yosemite National Park, you could always use the dollar you save at Sierra to split the week between great American slopes and great American cities.

Stats & FAQ

Location:

Established:

Open: November - April

Downhill: 2000 acres / 46 runs

View our detailed Sierra-at-Tahoe snow forecast or snow report and see all live webcams, piste maps, road and travel maps and lift pass prices. For a picture of historic snow conditions see the snow depths month by month with our Sierra-at-Tahoe snow history.

Nearest Airport & Transfer Time:
Reno–Tahoe International Airport (RNO)74 miles, 1 hour 40
  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced
  • 25%

  • 50%

  • 25%

Top Altitude:8852ft / 2698m
Bottom Altitude:6640ft / 2020m
Resort Altitude:7300ft / 2225m
Longest run:2.5 miles / 4km
Slope Orientation:N W S
Vertical Drop:2212ft / 674m
Skiable Vertical:
Night Skiing:No
Glacier:No

Snow Report

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  • cm
  • Base
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  • Forecast
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Web Cam

Sierra-at-Tahoe web cams
Downhill Runs:2000 acres / 46 runs
Beginner slopes:25%
Intermediate:50%
Advanced slopes:25%
Lift Pass Price: $97-101 (adult single day pass)
Nearby resorts: Lake Tahoe, Heavenly, Squaw Valley

Skiing/BoardingSkiing in Sierra-at-Tahoe

With 2000 acres and 46 trails, Sierra’s a little smaller than the average Lake Tahoe resort – but that’s not saying much. This is a region known for its super ski areas, and 2000 acres should have lots to keep you happy, especially when it’s buried in an average 480 inches of natural snow a season.

With 100 acres solely for beginners and 4 beginner-only conveyor belts, the figures for beginner skiing here speak for themselves, and many call this a beginner’s mountain. Sculpted “Smart Terrain” is where the resort’s certified PSIA instructors will take you first. To get you started without shelling out an arm and a leg, book in for one of their First-Timer packages. Once you’ve outgrown this area, 2.5-mile Sugar N’ Spice is considered possibly the best beginner slope in Tahoe, with plenty of space to practice linking those turns.

Officially 50% of the trails are for intermediates and West Bowl especially has some gorgeous tree-lined cruisers where you can rack up laps on the speedy Express lift. Cruise Beaver down to the Baja Grill for Tijuana dogs and beers on the deck. When it’s time to move on, a few of the “advanced” trails are also intermediate-friendly, like Clipper in the West Bowl. When snow is good, an upper intermediate will have a whale of a time on the blacks from Grandview.

Spanning a 2212ft vertical, adrenaline junkies won’t have to search too long and hard for a hit at Sierra. This resort’s perhaps best known for Huckleberry Canyon, 320-acres of gated backcountry area within the resort boundary, an experts-only treasure trove of steep bowls, chutes, pillows, cornices and cliffs and a thrill from start to finish.

Innovative terrain parks are kind of Sierra’s thing. There are in fact 6 here, with a clear path of progression. This is why Transworld SNOWboarding ranks Sierra among the world top 10 for boarders.

Sierra-at-Tahoe Apres Ski

When the hotels to drag yourself back to are a 30 minute (albeit scenic) drive away, it’s probably wise that après takes a sedate line. A Bloody Mary at the River Shack will quench thirst and the Sierra Pub above the Main Lodge has the live music and happy hour specials to get the stories flowing. Stay on the hill a few times for pulled pork or smoked brisket with jalapeno slaw and cocktails at the summit’s 360 Smokehouse, scoffed while watching the sunset over the lake (keep an eye out for Tessie, Tahoe’s very own Loch Ness).

Fun for families, Blizzard Mountain near the base has 2 lift-served tubing hills, fire pits and a snow play area. To get to know the resort, strike out on 3 miles of snowshoe trails or enjoy an introduction to local lore and meet your fellow skiers on a free interactive tour through the hills on weekend mornings.

Depending on where you’re based, the options open up dramatically or focus on good food and a warm bed. The party never ends at Casino Corridor, while South Lake Tahoe mixes classic fun like sledding and sleigh rides with quirkier stuff like Human Sled Bowling, Snowball Fight Flash Mobs and Snow Unicorn Contests… Tahoe’s known for the sheer variety that it manages to fit around one lake, and skiing Sierra frees you up to pick somewhere that feels made to measure.

Best time to go

Best time to ski Sierra-at-Tahoe

When is the best time to ski Sierra-at-Tahoe?

Sierra hasn’t done too badly for itself in the geographical stakes. With around 480 inches (12.2 metres) of snow a season, it’s above average for the major Tahoe resorts. This resort’s massive red firs protect it from winds, so the snow doesn’t blow away too easily and skiing can be possible even on severe storm days. The Grandview and West Bowl lifts are both northwest facing, preserving snow longer still.

Not feeling it necessary to pour money into snowmaking means this is one of the last Tahoe resorts to open for the season – for some perspective, this is still usually late November, still before most other winter resorts in the world.

March is a particularly great month to ski Sierra, when visitors are fewer, weather warmer and snowfall at its heaviest (averaging 215cm), plus events like the Sierra Grub Tour and Huck Cup qualifiers roll into town.

Peak Dates

Santa hits the slopes at Christmas in Sierra at Tahoe and encourages you to snap selfies with the hashtag #SantaShredsSierra... Spend a day bumping into him on the slopes, then enjoy festive fun like ugly sweater parties and story time for the kids.

Live music on the slopes gears snow lovers up for New Years in Sierra at Tahoe before it’s time to head down to VIP celebrations at the casinos and champagne dinners at the restaurants. Alternatively, just get reflective strolling along the lake, head to bed early, and be the only one on Huckleberry Mountain in the morning.

The fact the US doesn’t do this school holiday makes skiing Half Term in Sierra at Tahoe even more of a relaxing retreat. It’s strange that at the snowiest time in the season the pistes are usually deserted - but we’re not going to question it.

As California sunshine works its magic, Easter in Sierra at Tahoe will send you home with a nice even farmer’s tan, as you sip beers on the Baja patio. Snow on north-facing West Bowl and Grandview usually still holds up nicely, and if it all gets a bit slushy, taking the day to explore the lake and local towns won’t leave you feeling short-changed.

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Families in Sierra-at-Tahoe

With its extensive beginner skiing, “Go Slow” areas, and Learn-to-ski packages, Sierra is a top spot for families with a kiddo who’s learning to ski. Children have their very own trail map here, marked with special adventure zones like Tee pee town, where smoke signals and sound effects come into play as kids carve between native American tents.

Off the slopes, Blizzard Mountain is a family fun area where you’ll race down tubing hills in giant doughnuts, enter snowmen competitions or eat s’mores around fire pits.

If your little ones aren’t ready to hit the slopes, a licensed childcare centre at the base of the mountain will keep kids from 18 months to 5 playing all day, and can be booked for a full day, half day or hourly. This will make sure they get out and enjoy the winter wonderland outside, with adventure walks, climbing tunnels, snow painting. They don’t even need to be potty trained to join the fun, a rarity in ski resort childcare.

GroupsGroup Holidays Sierra-at-Tahoe

With off-piste skiing as good as Huckleberry Canyon’s and prices as low as these, groups are instantly attracted to Sierra. Whether you’re tucking into the steeps through the backcountry gates, or doing laps in the sun over on the Backside, you can meet in the middle for a BBQ at the 360 Smokehouse. At the end of the day, happy hour specials at Sierra Pub will make it cheaper to get a round in before the trip back to the crazy fun on casino corridor, or perhaps your own private parties in a condo by the lake.

As a group of 20 or more, you can even save on lift tickets, rentals, lessons, food and drink.

More Sierra-at-Tahoe Holiday Resources


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