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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.