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Guess How Much It Will Cost To Ski in Tahoe Over the Holidays?

Written by Sarah Wright and Maryann Jones ThompsonPublished Dec. 22, 2022 • 11:00am
Mist from snowmakers sprays water next to a chairlift as the Caldor Fire approaches the Kirkwood ski resort in Lake Tahoe on Sept. 1, 2021. | Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

With several hefty storms already under our belts this winter, which helped resorts open earlier than usual, you may be tempted to break out that snow gear that’s been gathering dust in your garage and head up to Tahoe over the holidays to catch a few runs. 

But if you didn’t snag an Ikon or Epic pass for the season, watch out: The sticker shock is real, especially during the holiday season. But how much could one day of fun on the slopes really cost?

These days, lift ticket pricing at most resorts is dynamic. That means the most popular days of the year are likely going to be even more expensive than in the past. It also means you have to pick a specific day to compare prices.

The Standard went for the gold: The Saturday between Christmas and New Year’s, which this year lands on New Year’s Eve. The result? Palisades Tahoe charges top dollar, with a lift ticket running $256 for Dec. 31, 2022.

There’s no doubt that if you are looking for bang for your skiing buck, Palisades is worth every penny. The merger between Alpine Meadows and the resort formerly known as Squaw Valley resulted in Lake Tahoe’s largest ski area by a longshot. And just last week, a long-awaited gondola opened to connect the two mountains, making getting around the mountains that much easier.

Palisades runs are wide open and packed with snow on Dec. 21, 2022. | Keaton Fargo

Running right in the $200 neighborhood, Northstar and Heavenly lift tickets are also on the high-end, yet both provide the rare “resort” environment that most other Tahoe mountains lack.

At the very least expensive end, Granlibakken only offers one bunny hill, but parents know it is the go-to spot for getting tiny ones up on skis without breaking the bank. With condos right across from the tow ropes, you can head back for cocoa after a couple of runs if your young one is still too young to schuss.

Regardless of when or where you ski, remember that post-Covid, most resorts do not sell lift tickets on-site; many must be bought online. 

And if you want to get up to the Sierras to enjoy some of this season’s early La Niña snowpack for the holidays, be sure to buy that lift ticket now because the busiest days could sell out!

More flexible about your ski trip to Tahoe? Check The Standard’s tips for how to save on lift tickets this season.

Shelley D. Fargo contributed additional research for this story.

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