Before Lake Tahoe was world famous for bold-named winter resorts, it was a collection of fun, funky ski areas that blended into the amazing natural terrain and made everyone sliding on snow feel welcome. Sierra-At-Tahoe was one of these areas, and maybe that’s why it became a hub for snowboarding in the sport’s infancy. Today, that vibe is as strong as ever, and the place is crawling with snowboarding parents introducing the sport to their kids, as well as in-the-know locals who come for a terrain park and some of the region’s best backcountry access.
Where to Ride
The masterminds at Sierra-At-Tahoe have laid out multiple parks, mixed in with a variety of hill bomb sections down the mountain that has become referred to as “The Circuit.” Starting at the top of Grandview Express, you hit the groupings of features found in Upper Snowshoe terrain park. Next is a steep hill-bomb section that leads to a “Y” in the trail. Go left for the Ally Park or go right and get progressive on the small-to-medium-sized features found in Upper Main. Following Upper Main is the nationally recognized halfpipe. Boom — you just did The Circuit. Hit the Grandview chair and do it again.
It will be tough to miss all the geared-up riders heading out a series of backcountry gates to the Huckleberry Bowl. As always, don’t even think about this stuff unless you have the gear, the training to use it, and are riding with someone who knows where they’re going. If you don’t? There’s plenty of great inbounds tree riding at Jack’s Bowl.
Sunny spring days are best spent riding Sugar N' Spice, aka "Side Hit City." Sugar N' Spice starts at the top of Grandview Express and snakes down the entire mountain. Don't let its rating of green circle fool you — this run is littered with frontside and backside hits that range in difficulty and size. Sugar N' Spice also doubles as one of the best runs to take new or learning riders on. Its forgiving angle and soft snow will keep even beginners stoked from first to the last chair.
Where to Eat
Sierra’s on-hill food options cover everything from Southern-style BBQ to juicy burgers, and soul-warming chili, to ancient grain rice bowls, surf tacos, and Spanish-style bocadillos. You won’t go hungry anywhere on the resort, and the large variety of options is sure to keep even the pickiest riders satisfied.
For an unusual ski resort eating experience, try Solstice Eatery and Bar, which sources most of its ingredients from local suppliers in the Tahoe region, including the wine. If you’re more interested in comfort food, the 360 Smokehouse on top of the resort and features views of Lake Tahoe from the patio–try the bluebird sandwich or, if you want a backup, the 360 Platter or Tahoe King. Both will feed a small family for a few days.
On your way down the hill, join the locals at Divided Sky just off Highway 50 near Meyers. A bar, restaurant, and cafe, Divided Sky is an old school aprés scene with live music and a crowd still windburned from riding, all of which pairs perfectly with Sierra-At-Tahoe’s vibe.
Where to Stay
Part of Sierra's charm is that the base area hasn’t been transformed into a village–the mountain has everything you need for a day of great riding and nothing you don’t. That said, there’s plenty of lodging just down the road from the lifts.
The Strawberry Lodge has been around since 1858 and maintains all of its original rustic charm. A bit further down the road and up the price range, you’ll find Aston Lakeland Village, which is an upscale condo resort with suites and townhouses and all your standard amenities, like hot tubs and an in-house rental shop.
What You’ll Pay
All those families are at Sierra-At-Tahoe for a reason: If you book online ahead of time, you can get up to 50% off the Learn to Ski/Ride package, and the First Time Group Lesson Special includes a limited-access ticket, rentals, and a two-hour lesson. By a 3-PAK and ride for just $76 a day with no blackout dates. Their day ticket prices fluctuate, but you can get them for as low as $72 midweek. And if you want to demo some new gear, the demo 3-PAK comes in at $68/day, whereas a single day is $62 for just a board and $83 a day for board and boots.
If you’re traveling with kids and just need to stow them somewhere so you can make some adult-sized turns, Sierra-At-Tahoe offers daycare in the mid-mountain lodge, so you can keep an eye on the kids without leaving the hill.