Hit the Slopes at the Best Lake Tahoe Ski Resorts

Ready to hit the slopes? Between the north and south ends of Lake Tahoe, the best resorts offer more than just mountains and skiing.

Lake Tahoe resonates with visitors from around the world, thanks to a pure and organic connection to nature. The destination, which straddles the border of Nevada and California, truly seems to have it all, from sandy beaches to clear blue waters and mountain trails for hiking and biking. Its greatest draw, however, is as a ski destination with resorts for guests of all levels scattered around every part of the lake. Yet the athleticism of winter sports is only part of the appeal. In between runs, you may want to warm up by the fireplace with a cocktail or cup of hot chocolate. Add in sweeping waterside views, exceptional dining and boutique shopping, and you’ve got the complete package for an alpine vacation getaway.

The diversity of activities is one of the reasons I love roaming the streets of South Lake Tahoe. There’s so much to do in one place. Heavenly Village has a certain energy that’s hard to duplicate. Gondola cabins fly on cables overhead, back-and-forth to the mountain top, while families munch down on snacks, play games and listen to live music. I like to soak in the atmosphere and then wander over to Artemis, a Mediterranean cafe that serves food and drinks on a patio by the lake.

The great thing about Lake Tahoe is that you can craft your vacation to match your own preferences. Enjoy the luxury perks of a lavish suite or spend most of your time racing down the mountain. It’s up to you. The following Lake Tahoe ski resorts know how to put the pieces together in all the right places.

Feel at home at Northstar California

Northstar California is designed to be a home away from home. A place that delivers on nostalgia, welcoming frequent visitors who enjoyed family vacations there as children. A mixture of private residences and public rentals, the property almost feels like a maze of tall hotels and townhouses, but if you get lost, just look for the large ice rink in the center. The 2 p.m. daily champagne toast has been a tradition for years. So is ordering a slice at the Rubicon Pizza Company, which is so popular, gift certificates are frequently circulated among Truckee locals.

The slopes are great for newer skiers and the resort has an excellent training school. Northstar accepts the Epic Pass, which is good at other ski resorts around the country, including Heavenly and Kirkwood at Lake Tahoe. The Autumn Food and Wine festival is a huge annual draw and the blowout of the year, featuring large crowds enjoying California labels that aren’t always easy to find in stores.

Northstar Lodge by Welk Resorts

Top rated
8.9 Excellent (1764 reviews)

Indulge in luxury at the Ritz-Carlton

The Ritz-Carlton is next to Northstar and almost feels like a sister resort, but with a far greater emphasis on luxury. Small but indulgent perks include pre-warmed boots and frequent champagne pours. There’s even a roaming s’mores cart with a “marshmallow-ologist” to explain the history of the snack.

The Ritz is one of the few resorts with direct ski-in and ski-out access. Finish up your run, ski up to your door and simply take off your boots. An in-depth kids program offers plenty of fun activities, including indoor camping inside your hotel suite. Overall, accommodations are spacious, elegant and full of high-tech features. Expect to rub shoulders with high-income families from Silicon Valley who want an elevated experience, but still like to keep things fun and family-oriented. It’s also very dog-friendly, which isn’t common at ski resorts.

The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe

Top rated
9.0 Excellent (618 reviews)

Relax by the water at Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe

A can’t-miss jewel by the water at Incline Village, the Hyatt Regency is a longtime favorite of both locals and tourists. It sits right on the lake, where catamaran rides are popular during the summer. Just hang out on the mesh and enjoy some champagne. The resort has an austere lodge feel with open beams and fireplaces, but without grandiose trappings. The Lone Eagle Grill is the flagship restaurant and where acclaimed Reno chef Mark Estee built his reputation. If you can’t wait to eat, ask for a complimentary s’mores kit at check-in and look for the nearest fire pit.

The Hyatt Regency offers a free shuttle throughout Incline Village and has a strong working relationship with the Diamond Peak ski slopes just minutes away. Two golf courses are also nearby and there are plenty of restaurants within walking distance. No matter where you go, expect high prices. There’s a reason locals call it “income village.” Parking at the hotel is notoriously tight, so take advantage of the valet to avoid any headaches.

Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort, Spa and Casino

Top rated
Incline Village
9.1 Excellent (2424 reviews)

Relive Olympic history at Squaw Valley

Squaw Valley is definitely geared toward ride-or-die hardcore skiers. The resort was the site of the 1960 Winter Olympics and has a museum dedicated to the games. There’s a certain prestige in the air and the village is modeled after European architecture and atmosphere. It’s a vibrant shopping destination with boutiques and dining options, including the Auld Dubliner Irish pub. The resort operates year-round and taps into the spirit of the scenery with Wanderlust Yoga Studio, which coordinates a popular annual festival in the summer. The Plump Jack Squaw Valley Inn is a seperate boutique hotel just steps away that’s a favorite of wine lovers.

While some skiers are here for the terrain, others are more intrigued by the social scene, adding up to a unique mix, especially during busier times of season. The chairlifts and cable gondolas provide impressive views of snow-covered mountains with the sister Alpine Meadows resort next door. The lack of trees near some of the peaks allow for wide-open European-style skiing in place of tighter tree-lined trails.

Resort At Squaw Creek 605 And 607

Meadows Of Dan
8.3 Very good (14 reviews)

The Landing mixes privacy and luxury by the water

Sitting right by the water of South Lake Tahoe, The Landing balances a fine line between a modern resort and cozy winter lodge. Tailored for the luxury customer, the hotel feels like an exclusive retreat, but is still close to the restaurants, shops and attractions along the main highway through town. An included shuttle will take you almost anywhere. The Landing brushes up to the edge of the state line, making it easy to reach the Edgewood Golf Course and handful of casinos on the Nevada side of the border.

It’s also incredibly convenient to Heavenly, the largest Lake Tahoe ski resort. When you’re done racing down the slopes, the Landing has everything to help you recharge for another action-packed day. The spa is elite level, ready to provide a variety of treatments, including a romantic deep-tissue massage for couples. The charm of the resort is especially felt at night, when the lights glow brightly against the darkness of the surrounding trees and lake. Dinner at Jimmy’s Restaurant is best enjoyed slowly, begin with a glass of wine on the lakefront patio, where dogs are welcome and fire pits provide crackle and warmth during the chilly winter season. The Landing also coordinates weddings on the beach, virtually guaranteeing photos that will dominate your Instagram feed for anniversaries to come.

The Landing Resort And Spa

Top rated
South Lake Tahoe
9.0 Excellent (2137 reviews)

Be close to the action at Marriott Timber Lodge

The popularity of the Marriott Timber Lodge helped boost traffic and activity at Heavenly Village, allowing the retail and entertainment district to bring in a greater, more diverse lineup of tenants. Your room is just steps from nonstop activities. It’s almost like staying inside a theme park. Enjoy the entertainment of live musicians or a surprisingly good magic show at The Loft.

The hotel has great rates, especially for those cashing in Marriott points. An outdoor heated pool is surrounded by hotel rooms. The sister Marriott Grand Residencies are a little higher-end and more exclusive. Lockers are available to store equipment year-round for regular customers. The real perk here is waking up and walking right out the door to the gondola that rides to the top of the Heavenly slopes, which are incredibly well-groomed and known for a high-vertical drop. It’s also where you’ll find one of the best ski schools for children, a plus for family-oriented customers at the Marriott Timber Lodge.

Marriott's Timber Lodge

Top rated
South Lake Tahoe
8.9 Excellent (255 reviews)

Bring the family to Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel

Formerly an Embassy Suites, the property has been dramatically upgraded under new ownership with rooms that are simple, but with a mountain feel. The Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel is right next to the state line, making it the closest California resort to Harvey’s, Harrah’s and other casinos. Horse and carriage rides begin and end right outside, led by friendly guides with extensive knowledge about the history of Lake Tahoe.

The hotel bills its rooms as “all suites” and while they aren’t lavish, have lots of space, making them attractive to families on vacation. Balcony suites with comfortable outdoor furniture and lake views are worth the upgrade. There’s a free breakfast in the atrium every morning for all guests. Walk to the shops and attractions of Heavenly Village right next door, along with gondola rides to reach the mountaintop. Like the name suggests, the Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel provides a basic experience, but is comfortable, clean and one of the best overall values in the area.

Margaritaville Resort Lake Tahoe

South Lake Tahoe
7.2(3622 reviews)

Enjoy a mountaintop experience at The Ridge

The Ridge lives up to its name as a scenic mountainside destination with an elevation of more than 7,000 feet. A popular timeshare property, it’s very locals-oriented and the location is perfect for those looking to avoid the large crowds of Heavenly Village below. Most of the rooms, which have a home-like condo feel, come with mountain or Carson Valley views. Full kitchens and fireplaces are great for those who aren’t looking to eat out all the time.

The Ridge is especially attractive for those who love sports. It has the only indoor tennis courts in South Lake Tahoe, allowing guests to play throughout the winter. The racquetball courts are also popular. The Ridge has its own tram, similar to a gondola but on a track, to take guests to the slopes of Heavenly’s Stagecoach Lodge. Ski direct to the tram from your room.

Holiday Inn Club Vacations - Tahoe Ridge Resort, An Ihg Hotel

8.0 Very good (1230 reviews)