Spot Check: North Lake Tahoe

In my efforts to uncover the mysterious draw Lake Tahoe seems to have onsnowboarders, I‚ve found there‚s more there than a few resorts and some snow. Though the beauty of the saphinre blue “Lake of the Sky” could be enough on its own, the truth is nowhere else can a snowboarder find sixteen resorts in one region. And that‚s not even mentioning the unlimited and easily acessible backcountry terrain. The Sierra Mountains surrounding the lake offer everything from steeps to cliff drops, to halfpipes and parks.

Though the northern part of the lake is home to several resorts, I visited three over a three day span. The differences between Northstar-at-Tahoe, Alpine Meadows, and Squaw Valley, are as broad as their names. Northstar, for example, prides itself on catering to families. Though it‚s been cursed with an unflattering nickname (Flatsar) the resort makes up for its lack of steeps with a variety of other fun stuff.

Of these three resorts, Alpine Meadows can be considered the most rootsy andown-home of the three. It does have its fair share of high-speed chairs and a fully stocked lodge,yet the general atmosphere surrounding Alpine is the terrain comes first, amenities second. Not in a bad way, in a way that gives the resort a reputation for having insane steeps, tree runs, and more. And with someone like Tom Burt, a fourth generation Lake Tahoe local, as a resort spokes-rider, it appears Alpine is popular for many reasons.

“Sqwallywood” might be a bit drastic a term to use when describing the largest and most world-renowned resort in north lake, but Squaw Valley definitely is the most developed. Between the plush Resort At Squaw Creek, the numerous shops and cafes around the base of the resort, it appears any non-rider could find entertainment. But it‚s the terrain and reputation for great lines that keeps snowboarders coming back. From the hero-cliffs called the fingers just under the KT22 Chair, to the illustrious Pinnacles, its apparently the terrain that draws riders in to call Squaw their home mountain.

These three resorts are by no means the end of Lake Tahoe‚s offerings, but hopefully this brief insight gives you a peek into the world of options this area holds.