Alpine Meadows Ski Resort

The relaxed pace and family-friendly environment at Alpine Meadows makes it a popular resort. Here you have the chance to enjoy the natural life while skiing some of the toughest terrain in North America. Little wonder that Skiing Magazine called Alpine Meadows "a mountain with a distinctly split personality: a mild side and a wild side."

Alpine Meadows keeps a low profile compared with some other ski resorts around Lake Tahoe, and you'll be mingling with lots of locals if you choose this one for your ski vacation. Steep chutes, gentle glades and endless cruisers have made it a firm favorite with local skiers. It is less expensive than some of the Lake Tahoe resorts and offers a quieter atmosphere off the slopes, as well as some good off-piste skiing and riding.

The resort shares an interchangeable lift pass with Heavenly, Kirkwood, Northstar at Tahoe, Sierra at Tahoe, and Squaw Valley. With 495 inches (1,257 cm) of snow per year, the snowmaking facilities, which operate on 12 of the 14 lifts, are required usually only during November; then the natural snowfall takes over.  The season is long, running from mid-November to the end of May or mid-June.

Alpine Meadows Ski Area

Alpine Meadows draws advanced and expert skiers and snowboarders from around the world to try its bowls, chutes, trees, and backcountry hikes.

Alpine Meadows is backed by giant volcanic rock sculptures. There's over 2,400 acres (971 ha) of skiable terrain, with a summit, Ward Peak, reaching 8,637 feet (2,633 m). You can ski either the front or back of the mountain, although beginners won't find anything for them on the back. Famous for its off-piste terrain and "adventure zones," which are all around the mountain, Alpine Meadows draws advanced and expert skiers and snowboarders from around the world to try its bowls, chutes, trees and backcountry hikes. But for families there's also a family ski zone off Hot Wheels Chair.

The interchangeable lift pass with Heavenly, Kirkwood, Northstar at Tahoe, Sierra at Tahoe and Squaw Valley provides access to 17,920 acres (7,252 ha) of skiing and boarding.

Alpine Meadows Ski Lifts & Lift Passes

Alpine Meadows has 13 lifts in total, including one high-speed six-passenger chair, one high-speed quad, four triple chairs, five double chairs and three surface lifts. The lifts are open from 9:00 am to 4.00 pm. The lift system is very efficient and waiting is not usually a problem.

Alpine Meadows Beginners

The best areas for beginners in Alpine Meadows are off Meadow Chair, Subway Chair and Hot Wheels Chair.

Around 25 percent of the ski area is graded "easy" for beginners, and the best areas are off Meadow Chair, Subway Chair, and Hot Wheels Chair, which are all easily accessible from the base area. There's a specially designated family ski area off Hot Wheels Chair, with green and blue trails.

Alpine Meadows Intermediate Skiing

Around 40 percent of the trails at Alpine Meadows are for intermediates, including the Roundhouse high-speed quad and the Sherwood high speed quad chair for the bowls on the back of the mountain.

Around 40 percent of the trails at Alpine are for intermediates. A good day's skiing would include the Roundhouse high-speed quad and the many blue trails on the front of the mountain, or the Sherwood high speed quad chair for the bowls on the back of the mountain. Also on the back of the mountain is Lakeview triple chair, for long, graceful and groomed trails.

Alpine Meadows Advanced & Expert Skiing

The best skiing for advanced skiers in Alpine Meadows is off Summit Six high-speed six-passenger lift on the front of the mountain and Scott triple chairlift on the back.

The best skiing for advanced skiers is off Summit Six high-speed six-passenger lift on the front of the mountain and Scott triple chairlift on the back. The most challenging terrain is Wolverine Bowl-steep and a consistent, sustained distance, although groomed. If you're looking for moguls, steep and deep, and couloirs head off to Keyhole, Idiot's Delight and Estelle Bowl, accessed via the Summit Six lift, or Promised Land off Scott Chair on the front of the mountain.

Powder searchers are in heaven here-you can find powder anywhere on the mountain. Alpine Meadows is a telemark skiing hot spot, provides lessons and high-performance equipment, and hosts many demo days. Because of its open boundary policy, ski touring is very popular and prevalent.

Alpine Meadows Boarding & Freestyle

Alpine meadows offers skiers and boarders a terrain park, halfpipe and since 2002 a Superpipe.

Skiers and boarders alike can use the terrain park and halfpipe off the Kangaroo double chair from the base area. For boarders it's easy to access non-hike terrain, but a little more effort is required to access hike-to destinations. The terrain park and halfpipe are sometimes open at night for special events. In the 2002/03 season a new 600-foot long (180 m) Superpipe was installed, with walls that are 17 feet (5 m) high.

Alpine Meadows Mountain Restaurants

Alpine Meadows base lodge, the Chalet restaurant at the front of the mountain and the base of Sherwood Chair offer good places to eat.

At the base lodge there's a full-service restaurant, cafeteria, deli, boulangerie and large sundeck. The Chalet Restaurant on the front of the mountain has a full-service restaurant. At the base of Sherwood Chair in the back bowls, the Ice Bar offers a snack bar, music and a pleasantly laid-back atmosphere in the cocktail lounge.

The Village

Tahoe City has a community feel, fine dining and live jazz, in contrast to the bright lights of Lake Tahoe's south shore.

Tahoe City is one of the main cities on the California side of Lake Tahoe. It has a community feel, with smaller restaurants than nearby cities. Although the Lake Tahoe area is well known for its busy casinos, mostly to be found in South Lake Tahoe at the other end of the lake, guests who visit Alpine Meadows can enjoy fine dining, drinks at the locals' pub by the fire, live jazz or up-and-coming bands from San Francisco, sushi (brought in daily from San Francisco), and also get a good night's sleep for great skiing and snowboarding the next day.

The town of Tahoe City grew up as an historic crossroads where tourists disembarked from the train that connected Lake Tahoe and the main rail route through Truckee, then boarded ferry transports to other points around the lake. Today, most travelers arrive by road.

Alpine Meadows Bars & Restaurants

Alpine Meadows resort is home to three bars; Tahoe City, North Lake Tahoe and Truckee offer more entertainment slightly further afield.

Tahoe City has a community feel, with smaller restaurants than nearby cities, fine dining and sushi brought in daily from San Francisco. Jake's on the Lake is a waterfront grill, seafood bar and lakefront deck; Rosie's Café offers lots of charm and a friendly atmosphere, with live music and dancing on Tuesdays. Za's has Italian cuisine that warms the soul. Big Water Grille in Incline Village has Californian cuisine in a beautiful mountain setting. Christy Hill (Californian cuisine and panoramic lakeside dining) and Wolfdale's (east/west fusion) are two good restaurants offering extensive wine lists. If you can't find what you want in Tahoe City, there are over 160 restaurants in North Lake Tahoe and Truckee.

There are three bars in the resort. The Ice Bar on the back of the mountain is the best bar, with reclining sunchairs, beautiful views, microbrews, BBQ and music. The Compactor Bar and the Alpine Bar and Grill are in the main base lodge. The minimum age for consuming alcohol is 21 and if children accompany their parents in bars and other places serving alcohol they cannot sit at the bar.

Tahoe City

In Tahoe City there's plenty to entertain you. Jake's on the Lake is a waterfront grill, seafood bar and lakefront deck; Rosie's Café offers lots of charm and a friendly atmosphere, with live music and dancing on Tuesdays. Za's has Italian cuisine that warms the soul. Big Water Grille in Incline Village has Californian cuisine in a beautiful mountain setting. Christy Hill (Californian cuisine and panoramic lakeside dining), and Wolfdale's (east/west fusion) are two good restaurants offering extensive wine lists.

North Lake Tahoe and Truckee

If you can't find what you want in Tahoe City, there are over 160 restaurants in North Lake Tahoe and Truckee. Truckee also has plenty of bars, such as Bar of America, Moody's, Blue Coyote and the Squeeze Inn. Cottonwood has live jazz every Saturday. Bars close around 2:00 am. And if you want to have a flutter, there are casinos at the Cal Neva Lodge in North Lake Tahoe and at the Hyatt Regency in Incline Village.

Alpine Meadows Rating
  • Ski Area star rating
  • Snowsure star rating
  • Advanced star rating
  • Intermediates star rating
  • Beginners star rating
  • Ski Lift System star rating
  • Lift Queues star rating
  • Scenery star rating
  • Resort Charm star rating
  • Apres Ski star rating
  • Non-Skiers star rating
  • Getting There star rating
  • Alpine Meadows Statistics
  • CountryUSA
  • StateCalifornia
  • Beginner25 %
  • Intermediate40 %
  • Advanced35 %
  • Chairlifts11
  • Riders per hour16000
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