Known across the western United States for its blizzards, high-altitude surroundings, and never-ending skiable terrain, you are guaranteed to have the time of your life on its bountiful slopes. Check out the Olympic-calibre ski touring spots in Squaw Valley, Kirkwood Mountain and its region-best snow fall, or head to Truckee and let the snow choose for you; you can’t go wrong in when you ski at Lake Tahoe.
Lake Tahoe is one of the most iconic ski destinations in the United States. Located along the border between California and Nevada in the north of both states, it features unbelievable scenery. The lake itself is one of the largest in the country, behind only the massive Great Lakes, but the surrounding wilderness is where the region’s true magic exists. There are national forests to the north and south (Tahoe and Eldorado, respectively) that keep its remote atmosphere intact. Reno is about thirty minutes to the northeast, so getting there is simple. Resorts have made the area infamous since the mid-20th century when Squaw Valley hosted the 1960 Winter Olympics. Since then, Tahoe has served powder hounds with epic terrain, phenomenal snow quality, and a huge community devoted to the culture of backcountry skiing.
Lake Tahoe is the perfect storm - literally - of dry heat in the summer and cold, snowy winters. The continental climate of Tahoe does provide chilly nights even in the summer.
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Getting to Lake Tahoe is pretty straightforward. You can fly into Reno-Tahoe International Airport, which has many direct flights connecting major cities like Los Angeles, New York, and Dallas. You can also take a ski bus from as far away as San Francisco. Sacramento is also just two hours of Lake Tahoe, so catching a Greyhound or other bus is reasonable. There is also the California Zephyr, a train with a scenic route, that runs from just outside of San Francisco - a five or six hour ride to Truckee.
Backcountry skiing is a winter sport, so the best time to hit the Tahoe slopes is from late December and January into March.
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