With ski-tan smiles and serious gear propped in the racks, Lake Tahoe’s Palisades Tahoe (formerly Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows) attracts elite skiers and their families, with all ages welcome on and off the slopes. Long-time fans, many of whom have skied here since they were tiny, think of Palisades as “their” mountain, a perfect club for top skiers such as Olympian Jonny Moseley.
Palisades has two base areas: Olympic Valley, about seven miles northwest of Tahoe City, and Alpine Meadows, just down the road, tucked between Truckee and Tahoe City. Families and savvy powder-seekers will appreciate this approachable mountain, which features more than 100 trails on its 2,400 acres of terrain, ranging from easy groomed runs to wide open bowls that offer views of Lake Tahoe below.
In addition to its famous terrain, Palisades boasts a few other differentiators. The resort was the host of the 1960 Winter Olympics—take an Aerial Tram ride to see memorabilia at the free Olympic museum—and often holds elite competitions throughout the season. It’s not uncommon to see past and future Olympians training on the mountain.
Palisades Tahoe has also set itself apart with a focus on sustainability. In the near future, the resort plans to run 100 percent on renewable energy sources, making it the first major ski mountain in the U.S. to do so. As a visitor, you can spot signs of the sustainable efforts, from the electric car chargers at the base to the lack of single-use water bottles.
For spring skiing, Palisades Tahoe is one of the most popular places to be, snow permitting. The heated pool and hot tub complex at High Camp lets you soak surrounded by 9,000-foot peaks (non-skiers can access via the Aerial Tram). Down at the base, get a massage at Resort at Squaw Creek’s posh spa; treatments include access to swirling outdoor whirlpools.
Throughout the resort, there’s an easy, relaxed feel at the end of the day, and the après ski offerings include the outside deck at the Village at Palisades Tahoe at the KT Base Bar, with tilt-your-head-back views of legendary KT-22. On the Alpine Meadows side, another great après-ski destination is The Chalet, a Bavarian-style beer garden that specializes in not just delicious brews but that ultimate of winter dishes, raclette (melted Swiss cheese).
The Village at Palisades Tahoe is engaging and family-friendly, buzzing with live music, a bungee-jump tramp for the kids, and countless tail-wagging dogs. Let your pint-size racers play in the SnoVentures zone, where kids ages 6 to 12 can tube, roast marshmallows, and steer mini snowmobiles on a groomed track. SnowVentures also gets pumping with a live DJ and glittering LED lights to host the all-ages Disco Tubing party on select weekend evenings. Another local favorite is the ultra-low-key Le Chamois (“The Chammy”), a nearly half-century base-village institution that serves pizza and beer in a lively après atmosphere. Locals also love to stop by Wildflour Baking Company for warm-from-the-oven cookies.