Skiing with Young Children in the North Lake Tahoe Area
Tahoe has plenty of family friendly resorts that offer group ski lessons specifically designed for children. The adults can ski on their own while the kids are in ski school. Later, parents and kids can ski together or they can choose one of the many other activities offered by the resorts.
The following resorts in North Lake Tahoe all offer accommodations as well as lessons and kid-sized equipment rentals. They differ in size, price, and non-skiing activities. Some even offer child care.
Tahoe Donner Ski Resort
Tahoe Donner is a small, friendly resort that is quite manageable for families with young children. The wide open bowls, uncrowded slopes, and beginner-friendly terrain make it a great place for young children to learn how to ski. Children six and under ski free at Tahoe Donner.
Tahoe Donner’s Snowflakes School takes kids between the ages of three and six and features instructors trained in teaching children. Two and a half hour sessions (including equipment rentals) each cost $70, the morning session from 9:30 am until noon and the afternoon one from 1:00 pm until 3:30 pm.
Sugar Bowl Ski Resort
Sugar Bowl is the closest Sierra Nevada resort coming from Sacramento and points west, making it a mere three hour drive from San Francisco (if there is no traffic). The 1,500 acre property has a separate area for children called The Den that has lessons and equipment rentals for kids as well as games, personal cubbies, videos, hot meals, and a rest area.
Their ski and board school offers two types of group lessons for children ages four to twelve (seven and up for snowboarding): some lasting two hours and some lasting a full day (9:00 am until 3:30 pm plus lunch – reservations required).
Northstar at Tahoe Resort
Northstar is a huge resort that feels like a European ski village with restaurants and cafes, a 9,000 square foot ice skating rink, snow tubing, bungy trampoline, plenty of shopping, and craft activities (such as pottery and candle making).
Their Ski and Board School for children takes ages three to twelve and offers half day ($109 regular/$119 peak)) and full day lessons that include lunch ($139/$159 peak) as well as private lessons. They also offer child care for non-skiing children age two to six.
Squaw Valley Resort
The site of the 1960 Winter Olympics, Squaw Valley is another huge resort that has plenty for skiers as well as non-skiers. A scenic aerial cable car travels 2,000 feet up the mountain to their beginner snow terrain (at 8,200 feet in elevation), their Olympic Ice Pavilion (which offers ice skating with amazing panoramic views) and their Olympic Museum (with info on the 1960 Winter Games). Squaw also offers snow tubing, bungy trampoline, and a climbing wall.
Squaw Kids ski program starts at age three. Reservations are recommended for all morning and full day programs; their afternoon program (drop off by 1:00 pm; pickup at 3:45 pm) is sold on a Walk In basis only. Rates for half day sessions are $89 ($129 peak time) plus $23 for equipment rental and $129 for full day plus lunch ($169 peak time) plus $29 equipment rental. Private lessons are also available.
Alpine Meadows, a small resort that is a favorite with locals, gets the most annual snowfall of all the Tahoe resorts.
They offer lessons for children from age three to twelve. Half day ski lessons for kids cost $113 ($117 peak); full day costs $143 ($147 peak). Each of Alpine Meadows’ ski school students gets tracked via a small GPS device that offers an additional element of safety and allows participants to later view the trails skied that day on the website.
North Lake Tahoe is a Great Place for Kids to Learn to Ski
Whichever resort parents choose, they will get to enjoy a few hours of great skiing while their children have fun learning the sport.