Editor’s note: This story first appeared in 2015-16 winter edition of Tahoe Magazine, a product of the Sierra Sun, North Lake Tahoe Bonanza, Tahoe Daily Tribune and Lake Tahoe Action. The magazine is available now on newsstands throughout the greater Reno-Truckee-Tahoe region.
Snowball fights, snow tube rides and the sound of children laughing all await families and friends as the ski season hits Lake Tahoe. Several resorts already have plans and events set up for the merry crowds, from skiing to ski lessons.
Below are our picks for family fun on the north and south shores of Lake Tahoe this winter:
Heavenly Mountain Resort, South Lake Tahoe
As one of South Lake Tahoe’s ski resorts turns 60 this year, it continues its tradition of fun, including ski lessons and tubing for adults and children at Adventure Peak.
Take the Gondola at Heavenly Village for a 2.4-mile trip and get a great view of the lake during the ride up.
Heavenly’s Tubing Hill offers four lanes of 500-foot-long with a 65-foot vertical drop for people who want to tackle tubing. People must be taller than 42 inches tall.
Heavenly offers skiing lessons for children, whether those training to be future Olympians or just wanting to have a fun time.
Heavenly kicks off its opening season with its “Winter Ignite” to celebrate 60 years from Dec. 4-12. The two-week celebration includes on-mountain activities such as pop-up DJ Cat parties and Unbuckle après kick-off parties, as well as off-mountain concerts at the casinos and a free headliner concert in Heavenly Village on December 12.
Heavenly Holidays, from Dec. 19-31, transforms Heavenly Village into a holiday winter wonderland with lights, decorations, magicians, jugglers, ice sculpting, a Ripperoo Parade and more. It cumulates on New Year’s Eve, with a live band and a brightly lit gondola that descends over the crowd.
Sierra-at-Tahoe, Twin Bridges (near South Shore)
Sierra-at-Tahoe comes packed with family options, with no shortage of fun for kids and adults.
Blizzard Mountain offers snow play and tubing activities for children. The tubing area, shaped like a giant doughnut, offers a gentle ride.
Sierra Resort’s SMART TERRAIN® Program also offers beginners an opportunity to learn the sport of skiing or snowboarding in an environment best suited for learning and improving skills.
Burton Progression Park on Easy Street offers a low-to-the-ground option for freestylers to get comfortable with the feel of jumps, jibs, and rollers.
Squaw Valley | Alpine Meadows, Olympic Valley
Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows in Olympic Valley has plenty to offer the family, including aerial tram rides, ice skating, snow tubing, mini snowmobiling, pools and hot tubs, snowshoeing, dog sledding, cross-country skiing, a climbing wall and more.
Tahoe Fun Facts Map introduces kids to an educational experience that includes locations of the mountain. Facts found on signs in key locations allow families to explore the mountain and learn about snow, Lake Tahoe, animals, trees of the region, and much more.
New terrain park features at Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley include a small bordercross course with gently banked turns, small rollers and jumps.
Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows continues to offer skiing lessons, snow play and tubing activities. Snow tubing is located at the SnoVentures Activity Zone, which also offers kids a chance to use mini-snowmobiles.
Don’t forget to lace up the ice skates and hit the ice at the Olympic Ice Pavilion on Squaw’s upper mountain.
From Feb. 18-21, Squaw Valley | Alpine Meadows comes alive with a weeklong kid’s extravaganza. Kid-O-Rama offers non-stop fun for kids of all ages, including activities like night-tubing, mini-snowmobiling, and climbing.
Northstar California, near Truckee
Northstar California Ski Resort in Truckee offers up a variety of activities on and off the snow for the upcoming winter. Skiing, tubing and snow-shoeing activities abound. Kids and adults can tackle the 200-yard-hill halfway up the mountain.
The Cross Country, Telemark and Snowshoe Center offers plenty of classic and skate skiing, snowshoeing, packed with daily lessons, tours and over 21 miles of carefully groomed trails.
The Northstar Villager Candle Shop allows people to explore the creative side with pottery painting, candle making and stuffed animals.
The Burton Snowboard Academy snowboard offers full-day lessons for all ages in small groups.
S’mores O’clock! offers families, children and parties to gather around firepits near the skating rink in the Village every day at 3:30 p.m. for treats.
And Family Après Snow Play offers an interactive arena for building snow sculptures and features with Northstar’s professional instructors, music and a festive atmosphere.
Holiday festivities include a Tree Lighting Ceremony on the weekend after Thanksgiving, including S’mores, sleigh rides, holiday music and the lighting of the Holiday Tree.
The second annual Northern Lights festival, on Dec. 12, includes entertainment, live music and a fireworks show.
Noel nights, occurring four evenings in December, invite families and friends to partake in classic holiday celebrations and activities — such as horse-drawn sleigh rides, holiday caroling, ice skating, photos with Santa Claus, special shopping and dining events and more.
Northstar Village offers plant of opportunities off the snow as well. Shop, dine, or take in a movie at the resort, as well as ice skating.