Tahoe: 7 Family-Friendly Spots for Snow Play, Ski and Snowboard Lessons

By Michelle Kopkash

Wondering where to take your family for the ultimate ski, snowboard or snow play experience? Take a gander below at these awesome local spots.

  1. Soda Springs — Soda Springs is great for families looking to introduce their kiddos to the magic of winter and the fun of snow. It offers the unique experiences of Planet Kids and Tube Town, as well as ski and snowboard lessons at Woodward Tahoe. Planet Kids, which is a snow playground for children ages seven years and younger, is the perfect spot to introduce kids to the snow. It has a variety of activities, including tubing and mini tubing, snow angel and snowmen building zones and ski/snowboard lessons. It’s just a hop, skip and snowflake away from Sacramento.
  2. Boreal — Local Placer and Sacramento County residents can easily visit Boreal for half-day ski and snowboard trips throughout the season. Recognized for its high quality beginner ski lessons, Boreal has a great deal on lessons that parents might be interested in—the “Take 3, Ride FREE” program includes three single-day, half-day lesson packages and a free unlimited season pass on the fourth visit. Expert skiers and snowboarders won’t be too challenged on this mountain, but it’s great for beginners and families who want go to the snow more often without the hassle of a long drive.
  3. Donner Ski Ranch — This family operated, kid-friendly ski resort provides great ski and snowboard lessons and also has an awesome snow tubing area. It’s closer than other Tahoe ski resorts and just as beautiful. And, it may be less crowded than some of the other bigger ski resorts that out-of-towner’s frequent.
  4. Mt. Rose — Mt. Rose offers affordably priced ski and snowboard lessons for kids ages four to nine years old. It’s smaller than some of the giant resorts and offers an array of terrain park experiences for snowboarders who want something more than fresh powder. Mt. Rose has a snowboard team and a ski team for children as well. The mountain is located 10 minutes from Incline Village and 25 minutes from Reno and is Tahoe’s highest base resort.
  5. Northstar California— As one of the West Coast’s premier ski resorts, Northstar offers the ultimate experience for families of all ages. From ice skating and tubing, to world class ski and snowboard lessons—not to mention a wide variety of luxury accommodations—there are fun opportunities to be had for all snow bunnies. Lessons feature the Northstar Teaching System and are provided by top instructors, and there is a great area for little children to learn. Families can also take private lessons so that all members learn at the same time. Though prices are steeper than some of the other Tahoe resorts, you’re paying for the experience.
  6. Heavenly Ski Resort — Families will love this world renowned ski resort, located in South Tahoe, because of its quality lessons, numerous winter activities and awesome terrain that satisfies all levels of skiers and snowboarders, from beginner bunnies to the most expert level snow devils. They’ve got awesome instructors and when families aren’t skiing, they’ll find plenty of other fun adventures, including the mountain roller coaster that soars through forest and natural rock formations, coaster sleds, tubing areas and more.
  7. Sugar Bowl — Located atop Donner Summit, this charming resort is one of the oldest ski resorts in the country. It is close to Sacramento and offers terrain that accommodates beginners and advanced skiers and snowboarders. With 13 lifts and 500 inches of yearly snowfall (on average), families will find snowy terrain to suite all skill levels.

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