“Diverse” is the operative word for Alpine Meadow’s terrain. It’s a place where all types of skiers find their niche. Thanks to Tahoe’s most famous open-boundary policy, there’s plenty of in-bounds, off-piste backcountry for adventurers. There’s powder for the powderhounds. There’s open-bowl skiing, heart-pumping steeps, a smattering of tree glades, and beautifully combed corduroy for the rest of us. For scenery lovers, the views are classic Tahoe. Can one ski resort offer something for every skier? Alpine Meadows comes pretty close.
Overshadowed by its more glamorous neighbor, Squaw Valley, Alpine Meadows is the kind of resort that first-time visitors might try out only because they got discouraged with the crowds at Squaw. They show up at Alpine by default and find great snow and lots of it (an average 450 inches per year), plus 2,400 patrolled acres with more than 100 possible runs. No, there is no boutique-filled village at this understated resort, no sushi restaurant, no wine bar, and no movie theater. For those, you go to Squaw, Northstar, or Heavenly. At Alpine, there’s just great skiing and lots of it. For lodging and dining, you’ll drive about five miles to Tahoe City or a little farther to Truckee, or you could stay at one of the resorts at neighboring Squaw Valley.
Located six miles north of Tahoe City and 13 miles south of Truckee off Highway 89, Alpine’s summit elevation is 8,637 feet with a base of 6,835 feet. The resort has 14 lifts, including one high-speed six-passenger chair and two high-speed express quads. Except for the busiest holiday weekends, lift lines are a non-issue. Take the six-seater Summit Six straight up to the summit and in six minutes, you’ll be enjoying some of the best terrain you'll find at Tahoe.
The variety of sun exposures at Alpine combine to offer some of the most dependable conditions on the North Shore, especially in late spring when the snow is getting dicey elsewhere. Of Alpine’s two mountains, Ward Peak offers good open-bowl skiing and Scott’s Peak offers more tree skiing for experts seeking to thread the needle. Intermediates generally stick to the front side, or the back side’s Lakeview Chair. The advanced Sherwood Bowl area offers the feeling of ‘out of bounds’ skiing while still being in-bounds. This is some of the best open powder terrain in the entire Lake Tahoe region. Mogul-lovers converge at Scott’s Chute for a bumpy ride.
All the services you’d expect from a medium-sized resort are available, including ski and snowboard instruction for adults and children, ski and snowboard rental and repair, guided out-of-bounds tours for skiers craving powder stashes and slopes less traveled, special clinics for the mogul-minded, a telemark ski camp, and plenty of on-mountain food service. (Don't miss the chance to eat at least one hamburger on the large sundeck at the Day Lodge, which overlooks the terrain parks.) Freestylers will enjoy the variety in the resort’s three terrain parks, which feature jumps, spins, flat rails, down rails, half-pipes, and table tops. A separate terrain park is just for kids. Alpine Meadows is also home to the Tahoe Adaptive Ski School, where people with various disabilities learn to enjoy the slopes. With all this, it's no wonder Alpine Meadows was rated one of America's top 25 winter resorts by Skiing Magazine.
*main photo courtesy of Alpine Meadows
From the Bay Area: Take Interstate 80-East to Truckee, California (about 200 miles from San Francisco). At Truckee, take the State Route 89-South exit, drive 10 miles, and take a right on Alpine Meadows Road. Follow this to the end (another 3 miles).
From Sacramento: Take Interstate 80-East to Truckee, California (about 120 miles). At Truckee, take the State Route 89-South exit, drive 10 miles, and turn right onto Alpine Meadows Road. Follow this to the end (another 3 miles).
From Reno: Take Interstate 80-West to Truckee, California (about 45 miles). At Truckee, take the State Route 89-South exit, drive 10 miles, and turn right onto Alpine Meadows Road. Follow this to the end (another 3 miles).
From Truckee: Take Highway State Route 89 south 13 miles. Turn right onto Alpine Meadows Road and follow it all the way to the top!
From N. Lake Tahoe & Incline Village: Take State Route 28 to Tahoe City, go straight through the light (at which point the road turns into State Route 89), follow for 3 miles. At the River Ranch, take a left onto Alpine Meadows Road and follow it to the end (3 miles).
From S. Lake Tahoe: There are two ways to get to Alpine from South Lake Tahoe. Route 1 (most scenic, but the road is narrower and more windy than Route 2): Take Highway 89 North to Tahoe City (about 28 miles) and take a left at the stoplight (you'll still be on 89). Follow 89 North for another 3 miles, and at the River Ranch, take a left onto Alpine Meadows Road and take it to the end (3 miles). Route 2 : (better when there's stormy weather) Take Highway 50 to the junction of State Route 28 (about 10 miles). Take 28 to Tahoe City (about 28 miles), go straight through the light (the road turns into State Route 89), follow for 3 miles. At the River Ranch, take a left onto Alpine Meadows Road and follow it to the end (3 miles).
From West Shore: Take Highway 89 North to Tahoe and take a left at the stoplight (you'll still be on 89). Follow 89 North for another 3 miles, and at the River Ranch, take a left onto Alpine Meadows Road and take it to the end (3 miles).
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Contact Info: 2600 Alpine Meadows Road, Tahoe City, 96145
Phone: 530-583-4232 Snow Report: 530-581-8374
Air Travel info:
Alpine Meadows and Lake Tahoe are conveniently located to four major international airports...Reno-Tahoe International (RNO) is the closest, followed by Sacramento International (SMF), Oakland International Airport (OAK) and then San Francisco International (SFO). Follow the driving directions below to get to Alpine from any of the four.