Best Ski-in Ski-Out Resorts in Lake Tahoe
Lake Tahoe & Mammoth are my top two favorite ski spots in California ~ & Tahoe may edge out Mammoth simply for its lake views. In this post, we’ll discover all the “Best Ski-in Ski-Out Resorts in Lake Tahoe,” where you can literally drive up, drop off your skis or boards, & basically NEVER have to get back in the car again! We’ll tour the lake, checking out five of Tahoe’s finest ski resorts: Heavenly, Kirkwood, Squaw Valley, Homewood, & Northstar.
And luckily, there’s a ski-in/ski-out option at all of them…
Overview of Lake Tahoe Ski Resorts
- Heavenly: Spectacular views, terrain for all levels ~ but can get really crowded.
- Kirkwood: TONS of advanced terrain & the best powder in Tahoe; 45-minute drive from lake.
- Squaw Valley/Palisades Tahoe: Olympic heritage & notorious steeps, with a killer base village & some of Tahoe’s most lux resorts. (Note: Squaw Valley was re-named Palisades Tahoe in 2021.)
- Homewood: Smallest ski resort with mainly advanced & intermediate terrain; great lake views.
- Northstar: Best intermediate terrain in Tahoe & good wind protection; great for families.
The Ridge at Tahoe (Heavenly)
Mountain Club at Kirkwood
Resort at Squaw Creek (Squaw Valley)
One Village Place (at Northstar)
West Shore Cafe & Inn (at Homewood)
1) The Ridge Tahoe, at Heavenly
Heavenly is the 5th LARGEST ski resort in North America!! It’s HUGE!!! Some locals give it a bum rap for its crowds & “pretentious” vibe (since it was bought by Vail Resorts) ~ but to me, the views at Heavenly win out. And if you like to party & have a few after-ski drinks, South Tahoe, where Heavenly is located, gives you the most nightlife options. The only ski-in/ski-out resort at Heavenly is The Ridge Tahoe ($119+). You’re minutes from the slopes & have two restaurants, a spa, screening room, indoor & outdoor pools, tennis courts, & a mini-golf course to keep you busy.
Heavenly is Perfect For = Skiers & boarders who love VARIETY!! You could spend a week at Heavenly & never ski the same run. And you’ve got lots of dining & nightlife options here.
Check out South Tahoe’s best brunch spots here…
Other Ski-in/Ski-Out Resorts at Heavenly = The Ridge Tahoe is the only on-mountain resort, but nearby options include Tahoe Summit Village & Tahoe Seasons Resort.
2) Mountain Club at Kirkwood
Kirkwood is THE best mountain in Tahoe for killer conditions: there’s deep powder here more often than anywhere on the lake, & because it’s 45-minutes from South Tahoe ~ it’s not as crowded. Kirkwood gets the third highest amount of snowfall of any resort in North America, which is why conditions are so amazing. Locals love it here: you’ll see more of them than tourists.
As for ski-in/ski-out options at Kirkwood, you’ve got two choices: 1) Mountain Club at Kirkwood, & 2) The Lodge at Kirkwood. Neither are too glamorous ~ but let’s face it, no one’s coming to Kirkwood for glamour. Kirkwood is for die-hard ski lovers who want to be on the mountain ALL. DAY. LONG.
Kirkwood is Perfect For = POWDER lovers & those who love skiing & boarding in pristine, uncrowded conditions!
3) Resort at Squaw Creek
When we were kids, my parents dropped us off at Squaw Valley (which is now known as Palisades Tahoe) to ski ~ & they took off to play golf in Nevada! So, while Squaw is known for killer steeps & a MASSIVE amount of terrain: it also works for beginner & intermediate skiers. Squaw’s got around 4,000 ski-able acres across 6 peaks, making it the largest ski resort in California. And though it gets crowded, nearby Alpine Meadows is much quieter, with better protection from the wind.
The Village at Squaw Valley is one of the most fun base areas, with lots of great apres-ski spots. And you’ll find plenty of luxury lodging options here too. The top ski-in/ski-out at Palisades Tahoe is undoubtedly the Resort at Squaw Creek ($160+) ~ which sits on 200 prime acres at Squaw’s base, with the ski lift just steps from the lodge. You’ve also got a first-class spa, championship golf course, activities for kids, heated pools, & a delicious breakfast buffet.
Squaw Valley is Perfect For = Terrain is great for pretty much everyone ~ but the village excels for those seeking high-end lodging options.
Other Ski-in/Ski-Out Hotel Options in Squaw Valley/Palisades Tahoe: The Squaw Valley Lodge ($150+) & the Red Wolf Lodge at Squaw Valley ($124+). But if it’s a home rental you’re really after: check out your ski-in/ski-out options on VRBO for Squaw.
4) West Shore Cafe & Inn, at Homewood
Homewood is the smallest ski resort on this list, with 85% of the mountain intermediate to expert (+ 5 terrain parks)! So it’s not the best spot for beginners ~ though they do have a long, 2-mile beginner run called “Rainbow Ridge.” But you’ll have more fun at Homewood if you’re at least an intermediate skier…then you’ll really be able to appreciate those gorgeous lake views!
In keeping with the intimate vibe, you’ve got one ski-in/ski-out option here: West Shore Cafe & Inn, which is located right across the street from Homewood’s ski base. You’re right on the lake here, & their lakeside restaurant is wonderful. Perfect for romantic getaways ~ less for families.
Homewood is Perfect For = Those seeking a more intimate ski experience, with mainly intermediate & expert terrain.
5) One Village Place by Welk, at Northstar
Finally, we come to Northstar, which is the best ski resort in Tahoe for families: 60% of the mountain’s 100 runs are intermediate! There are also 8 terrain parks, & if you hate skiing in poor conditions: nowhere in Tahoe is better protected from the wind. Throw in an ice skating rink & tons of dining options in the base village, & Northstar is a family-friendly winner.
There are four ski-in/ski-out hotels at Northstar, but my top pick is One Village Place by Welk. Rooms are upscale & spacious villas, with kitchens & living rooms ~ & the gondola is literally 20 feet from ski storage: & it’s all enclosed & covered…making for an uber-easy ski-in/ski-out experience!
Other Ski-in/Ski-Out Resorts at Northstar = Constellation Residences at Northstar ($1,000+), Timber Creek Lodge ($255+), & Northstar Lodge by Welk Resorts ($349+).
GREAT photos and great post!! Super helpful for planning our family trip to Tahoe this winter/spring. From your break-downs, it’s looking like Northstar is the best bet for us: we can get lake views and ski our hearts out on intermediate runs, and it seems like there are the most options for ski-in/ski-out resorts. And the fact that it’s so well-protected from the wind is a HUGE plus that I didn’t know about! Great article.
Thanks, Sally! Glad you guys have honed in on the best Tahoe resort for your trip! No wind is a HUGE plus ~ skiing in bad conditions can be a pain in the booty ; )! xoxo
Just wanted to reach out and say thanks for this great overview of Tahoe ski resorts. After reading, my wife and I decided that Homewood looked best for a nice, romantic ski getaway (we’re both advanced skiers). The West Shore Inn that you recommend was a wonderful escape from everyday life in Sacramento, and coming back to that lakeview after a long day of skiing was unbelievable. Highly recommend Homewood for couples and those looking for a more intimate ski getaway at Tahoe. Cheers!
Thank you so much for your comment, Allen. I could not agree more that Homewood is THE place for a romantic ski weekend at Tahoe ~ especially when you enjoy skiing intermediate & advanced runs. The intimate feel of both the slopes & the small town are very condusive to romance & re-connecting. Thanks again for your comment, it will help others determine which Tahoe ski resort is best for them! xoxo Noelia