north tahoe

A Weekend in…North Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe, which straddles the Nevada-California border, boasts 27 beaches, 15 ski resorts, hundreds of miles of trails and idyllic communities with fine dining and après-ski hotspots galore.

Given its sheer size, the lake and its surrounding area are divided into two distinct regions: Tahoe South and North Lake Tahoe. Those looking for casinos and a more raucous nightlife are best to choose Tahoe South. However, if looking for elevated outdoor adventure with fewer crowds and an overall more peaceful vibe, then North Lake Tahoe is for you. 

Blanketed by snow December through late April – often into May – North Lake Tahoe is a shimmering wonderland of the highest degree. The region, comprised of 12 distinct villages, is home to the largest concentration of ski resorts in North America, including Boreal Ski Resort, Diamond Peak Ski Resort, Donner Ski Ranch, Granlibakken Ski Area, Homewood Ski Resort, Mount Rose Ski Resort, Northstar at Tahoe Ski Resort, Palisades Tahoe, Soda Springs Ski Resort, Sugarbowl Ski Resort and Tahoe Donner Ski Resort.


Though each resort has its special charm, Palisades and Northstar are of particular note.

Home to the 1960 Winter Olympic Games, Palisades Tahoe (formerly known as Squaw Valley and more recently Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows until a 2021 rebranding to eliminate the cultural insensitivity in the name), is the largest ski resort in the region. There are 6,000 total skiable acres, 34 lifts, five terrain parks and more than 270 trails across its two mountains as well as 50 bars, restaurants and boutiques, many of which are locally owned and operated. There are ski and snowboard lessons – including private instruction – for all ages, as well as snowshoeing and cross country skiing. The resort also features a full child-focused zone and all-ages snow tubing, which is offered both during the day and on select nights with a colorful disco theme. During disco tubing, the trail is illuminated with LED lights and a DJ is spinning music to set the mood.

Dining options abound both on the mountain and in the surrounding villages. Among the area musts are: 22 Bistro, which has views of the KT-22 range along with a spectacular cocktail menu and New American cuisine; Rocker, which is named for the game-changing ski design invention created by area legend Shane McConkey and has more than a dozen regional draft beer son tap at any given time as well as sports and ski movies playing during all open hours; The Terrace Restaurant & Bar, which at 8,200 feet above sea level with floor-to-ceiling windows offers one of Palisades’ most breathtaking views; PlumpJack Café, widely regarded as one of Lake Tahoe’s premier dining destinations and known for its award-winning executive chef Jack Connell, farm-to-table organic menu and extensive wine list; and The Chalet at Alpine Meadows, an on-mountain Bavarian-style beer garden and restaurant that, in addition to regular dining options, offers a guided sunset snowshoe experience followed by wine pairing dinner weekly throughout the winter months.

The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe

For a more intimate winter adventure experience, Northstar has about 3,100 skiable acres with 100 trails, eight terrain parks and 20 lifts. The snow at the resort is known for being exceptionally pristine, and like Palisades there are plenty of options for those who wish to book ski or snowboard instruction, both in a group and on their own. The terrain parks, tailored to the more advanced skier or snowboarder, are especially well-designed and considered by many to be among the top 10 in North America. Expect challenging jumps, halfpipes, jibs, rails and kickers.

Northstar is also special as it is home to The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe, which is not only the first AAA Five Diamond resort in the region, but also the only ski-in/ski-out destination in all of Lake Tahoe. The contemporary mountain retreat features slope-side ski-in, ski-out access each winter and extensive mountain concierge services who can book wine-pairing dinners, nighttime snow adventures, private experiences and more. There are a total of 170 guest rooms and suites as well as 23 private Ritz-Carlton Residences on property, but if seeking to make a trip extra special, opt for the 1,900-sq.-ft. Ritz-Carlton Suite with mountain vistas and gas fireplace or a multi-room slope side residence with similarly mind-bending views as well as gourmet kitchens and ample outdoor living space. There are also several rooming options on the exclusive club level of the resort, which provide access to a dedicated concierge team as well as private lounge with a selection of wines, local beers, spirits, cordials and non-alcoholic beverages as well as snacks and sweets.


The resort is also home to Manzanita, Northstar’s premier fine dining experience, as well as multiple bars and casual eateries and the 17,000-sq.-ft. Ritz-Carlton Spa. An experience on its own, the awe-inspiring space features 17 treatment rooms, relaxation areas warmed by fireplaces, a dry-heat lodge, eucalyptus steam room and heated outdoor lap pool overlooking the slopes as well as healing treatments infused with CBD oil, collagen and more.

Bonus: while located at Northstar, The Ritz-Carlton is close to most other resorts, including Palisades Tahoe, allowing for the perfect luxury home base for your winter wonderland adventure.

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