The Ski Mountain
The low-key hippie cousin to Squaw Valley, Alpine Meadows offers similar terrain with a quieter no-frills experience. Among its 2,400 skiable acres and 1800 feet of vertical drop, it’s newly renamed Pacific Crest Bowls shape the Alpine Meadows ski experience. The seven bowls offer terrain from mild to wild for intermediate to expert skiers. With no base village to navigate, skiers go straight from the car to the chairlifts. Having often the longest ski season of all Lake Tahoe resorts, for those fine with skipping the extravagant resort trappings, Alpine Meadows is the heart and soul of Tahoe skiing.
The Mountain Experience
The Alpine Meadows experience is about skiing and riding first. Don’t be afraid to explore off-piste to discover hidden stashes and new adventures. If you’re the type to forego a spa treatment and fine dining experience for as much time on the snow as possible, Alpine is for you. Cap the day off tailgating with locals around a sizzling grill and cold beers and you may have cracked the Alpine Meadows code.
Alpine Meadows Ski Terrain
• Beginner: Beginner terrain makes up 25% of Alpine Meadows and is easily accessible from the Subway and Meadow chairs located in the base area. Separated from the rest of the mountain, first-timers and newbies can enjoy building their skills away from heavily trafficked areas. ——————————————————————————————————————
Current Snow Conditions
• Intermediate: Much of the front side of Alpine Meadows is intermediate terrain with plenty of opportunity for skiers and riders to explore. Alpine Bowl offers several top-to-bottom runs. Another great option for intermediates is Lakeview Chair with its gentle groomers and stellar views of Lake Tahoe.
• Advanced: The Pacific Crest Bowls are the jewels in Alpine’s crown providing access to a variety of moderate to steep terrain, and making up much of the resort’s 35% of terrain rated for advanced skiing. The Pacific Crest North Bowls include Wolverine, Estelle and the Beaver Bowls while the Pacific Crest South Bowls are accessed by High T and Sherwood Express. Unlike most bowls, Estell is somewhat small and littered with tight trees that lead to the also small Lake Estell. The trek to Estell is longer than to the other Pacific Crest North Bowls but therein lies the reward: fewer people and more powder. The Beaver Bowls pack a steep drop in, but after a few hop turns the bowl makes way for deep buttery carving as you enter Wolverine. The steep open powder fields that make up the Pacific Crest South Bowls may require some hiking but are great for less advanced skiers who want to experience big mountain riding while making wide traverses down the hill.
Around the Mountain
• Terrain Park: In previous years, Alpine Meadows maintained its Howards Hollow park with a few medium to large jumps, but has upped its game adding Tiegel Park, a second area of equal to or greater jumps, boxes and rails.
Do a little hiking. Some of the best terrain takes a little more effort to find but is well worth it. With a little hike from the Alpine Bowl chair, you can access some of the most difficult terrain. The reward is powder-filled chutes, perfectly spaced trees and entry to the Sherwood Bowls. Or get your inside snow information from a guide with North Face Mountain Guides. They’ll show you where snow conditions are best and there’s terrain complementing your ability. Their cost includes line-skipping privileges and a Thermoball jacket from The North Face.
Alpine Meadows is a tailgater’s paradise. Bring a cooler of your favorite beverages and a grill to the parking lot and do introduce yourself to other skiers and their four-legged friends. If the sun’s not shining, locals head down the road for happy-hour specials at the River Ranch Lodge or the Crest Café. When temps heat up in the Spring, local bands play on the patio every weekend.
Nearest Ski Town
Lake Tahoe (South)
On the shore of the largest alpine lake in North America, an outdoor sports launching pad and mini-Las Vegas.
While there is no on-mountain lodging at Alpine Meadows, the nearby Village at Squaw Valley offers ski and stay specials with lift tickets valid at both resorts. A free shuttle runs between both Squaw and Alpine enabling guests to experience the best of both worlds. Use the “Explore Lake Tahoe’s Best Ski Lodging Deals” box above and right to find your best Lodging choices.
Skiing with Kids
Alpine Meadows offers private and group lessons for kids as young as three if they’re ready and willing to slide around on snow. Team programs start with the Mountain Rangers for kids as young as four. Kids ages seven and older can choose from programs with different focuses including racing, telemark, big mountain skiing and snowboarding and freestyle skiing and snowboarding.
Lift Tickets and Season Pass Cost
Season Passes have four tiers of pricing, so skiers and riders can choose a pass that fits their budget. Lowest price season passes are for the mid-week, non-holiday options, while most expensive is unlimited. All Season Passes provide access to both Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows. Special Deals: Present a same-day commercial airline boarding pass with a matching photo ID at the Guest Services and Sales Center and receive a free lift ticket good from 1 to 4 p.m.
By Jenn Sheridan