Skiing with a Tween at Sierra-at-Tahoe

This post was originally published as part of our Home (Away) for the Holidays series.

It’s easy to find kid-friendly skiing in Tahoe, but what about those hard to please tweens and teens? I spent an extra day at Sierra-at-Tahoe last week with Nate, during which we noted what worked for his age group (middle school) and ability level (advanced).

Terrain parks are located all over the mountain.

Sierra at Tahoe is not too big, and not too small…it’s just right! Because of its manageable size and centralized layout, it’s easy for older kids and teens to split off with friends or siblings and meet back up with parents. All runs end in a major lift, lodge, or restaurant, a design element that would give me the confidence to let him explore a bit without an adult.


It’s challenging. I love that Sierra intermixes beginning runs with intermediate and advanced; it allows all members of a family to ride the lift and spend the majority of their day together. But the best part of this feature is the way terrain parks, trails, and tree skiing branch off from easy and intermediate runs. I don’t know how it is in your family, but my older kids love these features, and it’s nice that they’re so accessible. Each terrain park at Sierra is clearly marked as containing Small, Medium, or Large elements, and each place we cut off a run to powder ski through trees fed easily into a trail or run below. Nate and I especially loved exploring the Huckleberry Gates section of the mountain, a truly challenging series of back-country chutes that felt like an entirely different experience every time! This area is not open all day, so be sure to check signage or ask lift operators for updates.

Sierra at Tahoe powder skiing

It knows how to feed your tween. Ski resort food is expensive, and tweens and teens can eat their weight of it after hitting the slopes all morning. I loved that Sierra at Tahoe offers affordable options. We ate at the 360 Degree Smokehouse BBQ at the Grandview Lodge, which was great for several reasons. First off, due to its location at the top of the mountain, it was easy to access and uncrowded. Secondly, the food was fantastic, and generously portioned (my two younger kids could have easily shared an entree). Better yet, if you’re feeding the entire family, their Family Meal Deal is truly a deal for $45. Families pick three types of BBQ meat entrees, then get four huge sides and four drinks. (We ate at the tasty Aspen Cafe in the Main Lodge during our first ski day, and paid over $50 to feed the same amount of people.) Best of all, this top of the mountain lodge offers complimentary boot warming while you eat. Just hand the attendants your boots on the way in, grab a pair of cozy slippers to wear in the restaurant, and trade them back in when you’re ready to head back outside. Great, right? Yeah, we could hardly believe it, either!

Grab a pair of slippers…they have your size!

It’s clear to us why we kept hearing the same thing from Sierra guests while riding up the chair lifts and hanging out in the lodges…that Sierra at Tahoe truly is a local favorite: it has just enough of everything–at a decent price–to keep everyone in your group happy, including those notoriously hard to please teens. What’s more, during our time enjoying their slopes, we never came across a Sierra employee who wasn’t cheerful, helpful, and willing to go out of his or her way to make sure we were having a good time. I can see why locals and traveling guests alike feel they’re getting a lot of value for their vacation dollar here. And best of all, when paired with one of the HomeAway vacation properties right at the base of the mountain, you can forget the commute: you’re only five minutes away from Sierra at Tahoe!

As stated previously, Sierra at Tahoe generously hosted us during this portion of our Tahoe Holiday. This compensation came with no expectation of a positive review. Read all our articles in our Home (Away) for the Holidays series!