This fun, accessible ski resort on the way to Lake Tahoe has every right to crow, yet it’s something of a local’s secret. Accolades are showered on Sierra-at-Tahoe by a flurry of gold-medal-winning snowboarders and freestyle skiers, including Hannah Teter, Jamie Anderson, and Maddie Bowman, who’ve carved up these slopes. Yet you won’t find any big banners or flashy signs trumpeting the mountain’s top-notch fans. That might be one reason they love this resort—at “Sierra,” as it’s known, it’s all about the snow and the mountains.
Super-sweet groomers, plus a few surprisingly long runs like the 2.5-mile/4-kilometer Sugar ’N Spice, make beginners and intermediates happy. Fourteen chairlifts access 2,000 skiable acres, and five backcountry gates lead to Huckleberry Canyon’s expert’s-only paradise of trees, glades, cliffs, and big fat pillows of puffy snow—everything a big-mountain diehard dreams of.
Another big draw is Sierra’s collection of six hand-sculpted terrain parks and pipes. Those features make this resort a fun day-trip even if you don’t ski or board: you’ll get a slope-side view of the world-class athletes who train here. That tangle-haired young woman clomping around in her boots in the lodge might have a closet full of gold back at her ski cabin.
Parents looking to introduce their kids to snow fare well at Sierra, too. The Blizzard Mountain snow-play area delivers snow-tubing thrills and plenty of space to build snowmen and nosh on s’mores around a roaring fire pit.
After a morning of ripping up the slopes, stop in to the mountaintop 360 Smokehouse BBQ for a pulled pork lunch with a Lake Tahoe view. Or relax at the mountain’s base in Solstice Plaza, a 30,000-square-foot sun deck, and tuck into a meal at Solstice Eatery for a relaxed après-ski experience. The menu is geared toward healthy eating, and you can sip on a cocktail from the indoor/outdoor Corkscrew Bar.
Insider tip: During ski season, a free shuttle runs between Sierra-at-Tahoe and South Lake Tahoe.