The feel of the cool wind on your face, the rush of snow beneath your skis, the feeling of freedom as you slide off your favorite jib: only a few activities can match the thrill and excitement of skiing or snowboarding in a terrain park. We've compiled a list of the best terrain parks in Tahoe to help you make an informed decision when choosing the place to go.
Terrain Park Video - Just TOO cool !
Heavenly Ski Resort
Located on the California-Nevada border in South Lake Tahoe, Heavenly offers a unique experience for everyone. Ski in Nevada on one run, then California the next. It is 56 miles away from Reno Airport and 200 miles from San Francisco Airport.
Aptly named after its views, Heavenly Ski Resort offers a wealth of scenic views, making it really special. On one side you get breathtaking views of the beautiful Lake Tahoe with the surrounding snowy mountains and forest. On the other, you have views of the vast desert.
Heavenly boasts of 97 trails ranging from wide-open cruisers to plunging 1,600-foot chutes. There are 28 chairlifts around the mountain, nine of which are high-speed. This resort has 4,800 skiable acres (1,942 hectares) to ski and snowboard, and 3,500 feet (1,067 meters) of vertical to play with.
This resort has four base lodge area. The first one is Heavenly Village, just a few minutes to the casinos. This base is perfect for skiers and non-skiers as there are many activities to enjoy. The California Lodge has direct access to advanced runs and offers plenty of parking spaces. The Boulder Lodge is off the main road and offers access to easy runs. The StageCoach lodge also offers beginner runs and is quite close to Boulder Lodge.
Heavenly Resort has everything for everyone whether you're a speed skier, a beginner or an intermediate. It is a favorite of intermediate skiers and snowboarders. There are four terrains in Heavenly.
Groove Park is a smaller park but its great terrain to warm up before you go to the other terrains. This is the most popular park in Heavenly. It features various boxes, rails, wedges, and smaller jumps, perfect to help you practice and advance your skills.
Re-Mix is Heavenly's new terrain park that features freestyle terrain.
Northstar California Resort
Set close to the northwest shore of Lake Tahoe is Northstar California, a resort that's one of the consistent players in the best terrain parks in North America. What was once a lumber site is now a famous ski resort, visited by thousands of people every year.
Did you know that Northstar was awarded by Transworld Snowboarding at the Second Best Terrain Park in North America? USA Today named it #3 in its list of Best Terrain Parks. Newschoolers gave it the fifth spot in the list of Best Terrain Park. In 2017, Ski Magazine's Best in the West awarded Northstar the 11th spot in the Best Terrain Park.
This multi-awarded resort must definitely be on your bucket list of places to visit!
This resort has undergone major improvements since 2002. Between 2011 to 2012, new high-speed chairlifts, a LEED-certified lodge, a 70-seater restaurant, and a 22-foot half pipe were added.
Northstar's terrain parks are specially designed and constructed to cater to all levels, from amateurs to pros. The terrains are spread over 3,170 acres. There are plenty of jibs, jumps, and street rails to add fun and challenge for intermediate skiers.
This resort offers a hundred trails, 20 lifts, and two gondolas.
It also boasts of the following parks:
- Burton Progression Park
- The Straits Park
- The LilLil' Stash
Squaw | Alpine Ski Resort
An internationally renowned ski resort in North Lake Tahoe, Squaw Valley Lake is the second large ski-area in Lake Tahoe, second to Heavenly. This resort was the host of the 1960 Winter Olympics. In 2012, it joined with Alpine Meadows.
Squaw Valley is located in the Sierra Nevada and offers 6,000+ acres, 42 lifts, and 270 trails. It crosses six peaks, topping out at 9,050 at Granite Chief. Take the tram to the top of the mountain and dare yourself to ski downhill! It's actually the steep terrain that makes this resort more attractive.
If that's too advanced for you, don't worry. There are plenty of ski runs that are perfect for beginners and intermediate levels. There's a terrain for everyone.
Kirkwood Mountain Resort
Kirkwood Mountain Resort is a hidden gem, a park where you can get great snow, amazing terrain, and get in lots of turns on every type. You may not have the gorgeous views of Lake Tahoe like in other terrain parks, but Kirkwood offers many bonuses such as one of the highest resort snowfalls in the world, and that compensates for the views. The snow on this resort is also of better quality because the top and base elevations are the second highest in Lake Tahoe.
People come to this resort for its skiing and boarding terrain which is perfect for advanced to expert riders. Kirkwood Resort offers 87 marked trails, 2,000 feet of vertical drop, and 2,300 skiable acres. This resort has many interesting terrain features. There's plenty of ridgelines, rock features, and cornices.
Kirkwood Ski Resort is located 34 miles south of Lake Tahoe.