Lake Tahoe is usually a snowy paradise featuring spectacular resorts filled with fun adventures for the entire family. With between 300 to 500 inches of snow in many years, this family-friendly ski destination is always ready to be enjoyed all season long. As California’s premier ski destination, there is no shortage of stunning scenery and world class resorts ready to welcome your family and their love for snow sports. However, it is important to remember that while most resorts welcome kids and offer skiing for children, there are some that are able to cater to specific needs better than others. To help ensure that your family enjoys a memorable vacation in the mountains, we’re highlighting some of Tahoe’s favorite family ski resorts.
Resorts for Families with Younger Children
If you can’t wait to get your little one on skis for the very first time, a number of the Tahoe ski resorts offer schools for the tiniest of tots. Squaw Valley Resort features a program that can teach kids as young as three. Each child learns on the flats and is in a class that has 3 students for every teacher. As learning can be tiring, it is recommend to only enroll your child for a half-day and then place them into daycare for the rest of the day while you enjoy personal time on the slopes. When it comes to daycare, it’s hard to beat Minor’s Camp at Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort. Not all resorts offer on-site child care in Tahoe and Northstar’s Minor’s Camp accepts children between the ages of 2 and 6. The facility is licensed by the state and boasts a ratio of 1 adult to every 5 children. There are plenty of activities for the children and the best part is that parents can get a free adult lift ticket when they book their child for an entire day. In addition to Northstar, the Child Ski Center at Diamond Peak Ski Resort teaches kids between 3 and 7, also at a ratio of 5 kids to each instructor, and their separate learning area with a surface lift is a great place to learn. They’ll also have access to activities only available in the Child Ski Center, like tubing, sledding, crafts and fun games. If your children are younger than 2, the only childcare available is at Heavenly Ski Resort in South Lake Tahoe, which will accept children 2 months and older.
Resorts for Learning to Ski
When it comes to teaching kids how to ski, parents have two choices: to enroll in ski school or teach their own kids. If you want a school that is cost-effective and offers good value, Alpine Meadows Ski Resort is a great place to go. Located on the North Shore of Lake Tahoe, this smaller resort has a great program for kids learning to ski. The full and half-day programs at Alpine are designed for children as young as three years old. The cost is highly affordable relative to other resorts in the area with lunch and kid’s ski equipment rentals included and the resort itself is less crowded, creating a comfortable environment for families. Each child is also tracked with a Falk GPS tracking device to ensure that they never go missing.
If you would rather teach your own kids to ski, Soda Springs Resort is not a bad place to start. Designed with children in mind, this resort features an area known as “Planet Kids” for children 8 and under that enables parents to coach their kids as they learn to ski or snowboard. The area features a number of small bunny slopes and the best part is that it comes with a magic carpet that will slowly and safely take your kids back to the top of the hill. It’s incredibly affordable and if your child gets bored of skiing, there are snow tubes and the popular tube carousel to enjoy.
Resorts for All-Inclusive Family Adventures
Although it’s likely the most expensive ski resort in Lake Tahoe, Squaw Valley Resort is a favorite among families for the stay-and-ski experience offered. The best part for most families is that it’s a one-stop-shop filled with upscale stores, restaurants, luxury hotel rooms and plenty of snowy adventures. Once you arrive at the resort, you never have to leave…except to visit Tahoe Mountain Sports and get an up-close view of the lake, of course! The entire experience in all aspects of resort life is consistent with what you would expect at a luxury hotel. Families have a number of activities to enjoy including ski school, ice-skating, hot tubs, and a heated pool. There is also the ever-popular tram (cable car) ride that boasts incredible views of Squaw Valley and even a climbing wall.
Resorts with Fun for the Whole Family
If you’re looking for a resort that can offer a great time for all members of the family, Heavenly Ski Resort is a good choice for your family. You won’t need any divine intervention to enjoy this resort that boasts the highest elevation and most vertical feet of any ski resorts on the West Coast. For the younger children, skiing and snowboarding lessons are available while others can check out the wide array of other snowy activities including snowshoeing, snowmobiling, tubing, and snow-biking. The Gondola is a highlight for almost everyone featuring amazing views of Lake Tahoe from a fully enclosed lift. In addition, there are plenty of intermediate runs for families to enjoy skiing and snowboarding together as well as the only day care that can accommodate children as young as 2 months old. The daycare also features ski-play programs for children that need to be gradually eased onto the slopes. Although there is no accommodation on-site, there are plenty of dining choices scattered along the mountainside including healthy options, gourmet cuisine, and tasty burgers. The staff bring the resort to life while the competitive prices make it affordable for many families, leaving plenty of opportunities for wintry adventures in 2014.
Tahoe is just filled with family-friendly ski resorts that offer something for your entire group of loved ones. For those that want added adventures in the snow beyond traditional snowboarding or skiing, there are always plenty of places to check out, including snowmobiling at Kirkwood Mountain Resort as well as tubing and sledding at Boreal Mountain Resort. It’s just a few of the many reasons to come on a ski vacation in Tahoe this year!
Smith Zoom Helmet – Kid’s
Gordini Gore-Tex II Glove – Boy’s
SmartWool Wintersport Flower Patch Socks – Kid’s
Adam Broderick manages the web content at Tahoe Mountain Sports. When he is not in the office, he tries his best to be in the field doing something awesome.