Tahoe with kids: Skiing Alpine Meadows

Planning to go to Tahoe with kids? Alpine Meadows, located between Truckee and Lake Tahoe, California, has some of the best skiing in the Tahoe area. Plus, it’s rarely crowded and always easy to navigate with kids in tow. Often overshadowed by Squaw Valley, the two resorts are now on the same ‘team’; one lift ticket now allows families to explore both mountains (connected by 15 minute shuttle ride). While we love Squaw for its big mountain, expert terrain and village ambiance, Alpine Meadows wins for ease of use, gorgeous views, and family-friendliness. If you’re expert skiers, don’t worry: there’s still plenty of steep bowls to play in.


Tahoe with kids:

You won’t find a village at Alpine Meadows. No speciality shops or high-end apres ski dining. What you’ll find instead: a direct line from the parking area to 2,400 skiable acres, with over 100 trails and seven bowls. Families park in one central parking lot, and walk only a short distance to the base area lodge. There are lockers to rent, but you’ll see that skiers and riders feel comfortable hanging backpacks from lodge hooks, and stashing coolers in designated areas (it’s also easy to head back to the car for things).

From the lodge, beginners will find the learning area to the left, and experts will want to load Summit chair to the top for freshies on the Sherwood and Alpine bowls (you’ll get a bird’s eye view of both on the way up). Roundhouse chair takes families to mid-mountain, where they can head to Scott or Yellow chairs for fun intermediate and advanced terrain. In the morning, the front bowls will soften up first (avoid the Scott area until the shadows lift).


Families will find a small chalet to warm up in by the base of Scott chair (with food service), or–and this is the beauty of Alpine Meadows–it’s always easy to navigate to the base area to eat. While at Alpine, you won’t sacrifice terrain for the convenience of accessibility and lack of crowds: the bowls and bumps are among the best we’ve experienced anywhere. And the views…you’ll get lake views and mountain views in every direction on bluebird days.

There are really only two areas gravity will take you on Alpine’s front side (Scott chair and base area), which makes it a great area for adventurous teens. Once we were skied out, we sat on the sunny base area deck and watched as our boys took additional laps.


Date last visited:

December 2014

Distance from the interstate:

I-80 is a 10 minute drive (at Truckee).

Lift ticket cost:

Here in lies the rub: lift tickets to Alpine Meadows are now combined with Squaw Valley, bringing them up to $95/adults, $82/youth, and $55/children during non-peak days. You can use these tickets at Squaw, so definitely plan on multi-day tickets to take advantage of both mountains.


From Truckee (I-80), take CA-89 to Alpine Meadows (you’ll pass Squaw Valley first).

Disclosure: As we disclose whenever applicable, we experienced Alpine Meadows as guests of the resort, for the purpose of review. All opinions are own own.

About the author

Pit Stops for Kids AUTHOR: Amy Whitley is the founding editor of Pit Stops for Kids and content editor of Trekaroo. She writes on staff monthly at a number of travel publications, and contributes to OutdoorsNW magazine as an outdoor adventure traveler. Find Amy at Google.




  1. Looks so beautiful – what memories you’re creating!

  2. I can’t believe I’ve never skied Tahoe and it’s really not that far from us. Putting it on the list!

  3. You had me at “rarely crowded and always easy to navigate with kids in tow.” Sometimes a laid-back resort is just what we need.

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