View Lake Tahoe as the face of a clock. What's terrific about skiing here is that at nearly every hour, there's a different local lifestyle to try on. During your first Tahoe visit, you'll quickly learn that you run out of time before you run out of options.
Heavenly, Tahoe's largest resort, rises out of the heart of South Lake's casino district. Stateline, Nev., and South Lake Tahoe, Calif., bookend South Lake's Vegas-style strip. An hour's drive from South Lake, Kirkwood offers a slower pace and a wilderness feel. Homewood boasts the best lake views—along with abundant intermediate skiing. Locals head to Sierra-at-Tahoe's sheltered runs when big snows close neighboring lifts.
Handsome and homespun, Alpine Meadows is popular with families because the terrain welcomes all abilities and temperaments. Squaw Valley is the supermodel of the neighborhood: 1960 Olympic host, 4,000 acres, 2,850 vertical feet and the area's best technical terrain. Sugar Bowl skis like a mini-Squaw and is a favorite escape for both Bay Area hipsters and local racers. Donner Ski Ranch offers old-style Tahoe family fun. A former railroad town, Truckee is the heart of the full-time local community. If you've planned a family Tahoe trip, chances are you'll end up at Northstar sooner or later. Tahoe City is the retail hub of the North Shore. Incline Village is Tahoe's swankiest address. Reno residents' favorite, Mt. Rose conveniently serves up surprisingly tough terrain.
Intermediate Diamond Peak is minutes from the Hyatt Regency. Lake Tahoe and Truckee-Tahoe airports cater to private flights. Most visitors fly into Reno, 45 minutes away.