Happy Valentine’s Day <3
Love is like snowboarding: the rush you get when your falling is unexplainable…
You can also find my article here on bayarea.com: Best Tahoe Resorts for Snowboarding
Want to have a family-friendly visit to Lake Tahoe? No problem! Find my travel guide here:
Snowboarding isn’t for everyone and definitely not for the faint of heart. It’s the kind of sport that you have to really commit to because there’s so much involved: a board, boots, bindings, helmet, goggles, pants, jacket, lift ticket — you name it, the list goes on. And sure, you can try it out over a weekend, but to truly appreciate the rush of snowboarding down a mountain and improve your skills, you need practice. This winter season is the perfect time to head up to Lake Tahoe whether you’re an accomplished boarder or if you’ve just always wanted to give it a go. Some Lake Tahoe resorts are better suited for snowboarders than others, so here’s a list, written by a snowboarder herself, of the best resorts in Tahoe for snowboarding.
BEST POWDER: KIRKWOOD MOUNTAIN RESORT – KIRKWOOD
About 40 miles south of Lake Tahoe is Kirkwood Mountain Resort. Kirkwood is a hidden gem compared to the other Lake Tahoe resorts. With its small town feel, Kirkwood is said to have the best powder because of its location atop the Sierra rim. With over 80 different trails and 15 lifts, this is a perfect destination for all boarders, especially those that are experienced and love the black diamond trails. If you’re just starting out on a board, the conditions here are perfect for lessons because when — not if — you fall on your ass, Kirkwood’s powdery snow is much softer to fall on than the icy, hard snow that you’ll find elsewhere in Tahoe.
BEST TERRAIN PARK: NORTHSTAR RESORT – TRUCKEE
Northstar literally has everything for anyone who wants to spend time in the snow. There are restaurants galore, an ice skating rink, a gondola to enjoy the views, and plenty of places to have a drink, but if you are a snowboarder and ready for the next step (or jump), this place is for you. With a terrain park and 18′ half pipes, this resort will challenge boarders at every level. If you’re a beginner, Burton Progression Park in Northstar has smaller features, so you can practice your jumps on rails, boxes, and more.
If you’re looking for snowboarding lessons, Northstar has a one-of-a-kind program called the Burton Snowboard Academy. Each student of the academy has access to the exclusive Burton Academy lounge located at mid-mountain, which comes complete with hot cocoa, fire pits, and some QT with your snowboard instructor. If you’re not quite ready to cough up the dough for lessons, don’t fret, there’s plenty of space to go on your own or with your buddies on 20 lifts and approximately 100 different runs.
BEST VIEWS & LONG RUNS: HEAVENLY – SOUTH LAKE TAHOE
It’s always a good time in South Lake Tahoe with the hustle and bustle of the casinos, but if you’re a snowboarder, Heavenly is your kind of place. Sure, it’s a giant resort with a ton of people, but that’s because Heavenly has so much to offer. Your time at Heavenly starts with the Gondola ride up the mountain, and trust me when I say the views from your chairlift are breathtaking. Heavenly may not have the most runs available for beginners, but if you are at all experienced, you can get some epic trail runs on your board. With amazing views, incredible runs, and the chance to be in California and Nevada in the same day, Heavenly is an amazing destination for snowboarders. You’ll love it so much, you’ll almost forget about all the money you spent on lift tickets and equipment rentals.
BEST VALUE: BOREAL MOUNTAIN RESORT – SODA SPRINGS
Hear me out on this one: Boreal may not have all the bells and whistles that some of the bigger resorts do, but if you don’t want to spend your entire paycheck on a lift ticket and still be able to go snowboarding, this is your place. And if you’re really tight for cash, try the night boarding experience as Boreal stays open until 9 p.m. for a fraction of the price. But seriously, Boreal has everything a seasoned or novice boarder could need: lessons, five different terrain parks for every level, a half pipe, a wave pool, and over 30 various trails ranging from easy to expert, all at a reasonable price. What’s even more awesome is that they’ve partnered with Neff Headwear to create a pirate-themed terrain park called Neff Land which has 30 different features, including cannons you can jump off of and 10-foot tables.
BEST OVERALL RESORT: SQUAW VALLEY – OLYMPIC VALLEY
If you’re looking for a resort that incorporates all the amenities needed for a snowboarder to have an awesome time, Squaw Valley checks off all the boxes. Considered one of the best ski resorts in Lake Tahoe, Squaw was made famous in 1960 when it hosted the Winter Olympics. It has one of the longest seasons of all the resorts and has over 6,000 acres to cover, so you’ll never get bored, especially on the progressive trails. In addition to its many trails, Squaw also has great terrain parks (which may still be covered in snow, so check the website for updates), night boarding, which includes their long 3.2 mile mountain run from 3 p.m.to 7 p.m. at a lower rate, lessons for all levels, and amenities from lodging to dining and lots of other winter activities in between. You definitely can’t go wrong with Squaw Valley.