Snow time 2023: Get ready for another epic season at Tahoe and beyond

There’s so much new! Now that the pandemic fear has subsided, California ski resorts are looking forward to another epic year, one that will extend the ski season until midsummer. The snow is already falling, an El Nino event is expected to bring massive precipitation this season, and resorts are preparing for anticipated opening dates before Thanksgiving.

Of course, opening dates are determined by Mother Nature, as well as increasingly sophisticated snow-making operations. But go ahead and say it: Prepare to ride by waxing and tuning your boards.

Meanwhile, there’s non-ski news all over the lake, including the much-anticipated rebranding of South Lake Tahoe’s former Embassy Suites/Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel to the Margaritaville lifestyle brand — a nod, of course, to the late Jimmy Buffett. Down the road in Stateline, Nevada, the new Tahoe Blue Event Center is making a name for itself in the meetings and events industry, hosting everything from lectures and conferences to concerts and even the Harlem Globetrotters. Have you ever tried curling? Learn to curl – or just watch – at Stateline’s two-lane, year-round Epic Curling Club.

“It was an incredibly long season.” People will be talking about it for decades,” says Mike Reitzell, president of Ski California, a non-profit trade organization with 35 member snow resorts. He’s referring to the 8 million or so skier visits expected during the 275-day season of 2022-2023. Plus, 723 inches of snow buried houses in Tahoe, created 20-foot drifts on the sides of roads, and forced the closure of highways and resort operations on multiple occasions.

“A normal snow year would be great for everybody,” Reitzell says, despite the incredible snowfall.

This year’s “what’s new” focuses on facility renovations and enhanced visitor experiences rather than new lifts and runs. Pay close attention to new paid parking procedures and transportation options aimed at reducing traffic congestion.

Lift tickets: Forget about daily passes; at some resorts, they cost more than $150 per day, which is comparable to a day at Disneyland. Consider 3- to 4-day tickets and midweek season passes, which will get you on the slopes for less than $100 per day. Buy ahead of time online to get the best prices. Check resort websites for details and sign up for notifications, as promotional deals change throughout the season.

Now, for a quick “what’s new” update on Tahoe resorts.

Boreal/Woodward Tahoe: The nearest Interstate 80 resort to the Bay Area has a downhill ski area that has long been popular with families, as well as an indoor “bunker” with foam pits, skateboard ramps and drops, and other indoor fun equipment. It is the only Tahoe resort that offers night skiing and riding on a regular basis. Visitors can choose when they want to begin by purchasing “Go Time” tickets with variable pricing. “Play Forever Fridays” are held once a month and cost $25.

Diamond Peak: On the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe, this Incline Village resort has redesigned its food court and upgraded its grooming equipment. It has 655 acres of ski terrain with 28 developed trails, 13 named tree skiing/riding areas, three terrain parks, and stunning views of Lake Tahoe. In February and March, Last Tracks Wine and Beer Tasting events are held on Wednesdays.

Donner Ski Ranch has taught generations of California children to ski and ride at what is possibly the most affordable resort in the Tahoe area. It offers “Old School Days” with $59 lift tickets on Tuesdays through Thursdays beginning Jan. 10, excluding holidays. Do you still have your 205s and one-pieces? Bring them out and have some fun!

Granlibakken Tahoe: The main winter attractions at this family-friendly West Shore conference center/visitor destination are sledding and snow play. There’s also a small downhill ski and snowboard area, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing right outside the door, and lessons are available.

Homewood Mountain Resort: The management has changed — Discovery Land Company is the new owner — but there have been no major on-slope changes, despite large development plans on the horizon. Lake Tahoe has some of the best views of any regional resort. Simply fly up to mid-mountain, grab a seat, sip a beverage, and be amazed.

Palisades Tahoe: Palisades Tahoe is an umbrella name for the two resorts formerly known as Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows. The Base-to-Base Gondola debuted last year, connecting the two base areas while keeping traffic off the roads. A reserved parking system will be implemented this year. “We’re very confident that this will help reduce traffic craziness,” says Patrick Lacey, a resort spokesman. The new policy will be in effect on the season’s 46 busiest days. Visit to create an account and learn more.

Check out the Gold Cost Lodge renovations and several new dining options at Palisades. Also, mark your calendar for the Stifel Palisades Tahoe Cup, which takes place Feb. 25-26 and features some of the world’s best slalom and grand-slalom men skiers. Tickets are already available for purchase. has it all.

Mammoth Mountain: Yes, it’s a long drive from the Bay Area, but it’s worth it. Mammoth, on the other hand, is mammoth, with over 3,500 skiable acres and 150 trails winding down from an 11,000-foot summit. Mammoth Lakes is a completely engaging community with numerous lodging and activity options. For next summer, expect new lifts, lodge renovations, an alpine coaster, and summer tubing lanes.

Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe: With the highest base area in Tahoe (8,260 feet), Rose is frequently the first ski area to open (the target date this year is November 7). Guests will appreciate the new deck, improved grooming, and renovated food venues.

Sierra-at-Tahoe: Sierra continues to resurrect itself after the devastating 2021 Caldor fire, thanks to an incredibly loyal fan base. Repaved roads, parking lot improvements, the return of day-care services, and a new “Earn While You Turn” season pass option are all on the way.

Sugar Bowl is 85 years old this year, with a long history that includes Walt Disney as an investor and California’s first downhill ski lift. This season, look for anniversary celebrations, a new ski-racing venue, a warming hut, special events, and “sweetened” offerings at the Sugar Rush tubing and snow-play park. Look for “calendar-based lift ticket pricing” to get the best deals on your ski

Soda Springs is a small but oh-so-cool town with major sledding and tubing venues for families (Tube Town and Planet Kids). “Play Forever Fridays” are held once a month, with lift tickets costing $25 and 5% of the proceeds benefiting local nonprofits. It’s also not far away; just take the Soda Springs exit off Interstate 80.

Tahoe Donner: This popular cross-country destination isn’t just for residents of the same-named community north of Truckee. Its Cross-Country Center is one of the best in the country, with over 100 kilometers of ski and snowshoe trails spanning 2,800 acres. There’s also a small but fun downhill ski area.

Vail Resorts: This season, Vail’s three Tahoe Area resorts — Heavenly, Kirkwood, and Northstar — will share new technology. The My Epic app allows guests to store their pass on their phone, keep the phone in their pocket, and be scanned hands-free without having to wait in line at the ticket window.

The big Toyota Air & Apres event will take place March 1-3 at Heavenly, with professional athletes performing tricks and stunts on a 45-foot jump visible from the California base area. Check out the monthly food, drink, music, and beer tastings at Lakeview Lodge’s new Brews & Views apres experience. Vous, Northstar’s new bar and restaurant, will be open from first run to last call. Kirkwood will also feature some of the community’s favorite events, such as Banked Slalom and Vertical Drop.,,

But wait… there’s more… Of course, mountain resorts in California extend beyond the Tahoe area. features resorts such as Mt. Shasta Ski Park, Dodge Ridge, China Peak, Big Bear, Bear Valley, and others.

Snowshoe tours: There are numerous guided snowshoe tours in Tahoe, but Tahoe Adventure Company’s Full Moon Treks, which depart near Truckee, stand out. Participants will learn about natural history and astronomy, as well as moon facts. Suitable for all skill levels;

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