Palisades Tahoe Ski Resort

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In the whiteroom at Palisades Tahoe | PC: Jeff Engerbretson
In the whiteroom at Palisades Tahoe | PC: Jeff Engerbretson
Palisades Tahoe aerial tram at sunset | PC: Grant Kaye
Palisades Tahoe aerial tram at sunset | PC: Grant Kaye
Palisades Tahoe is great for families | PC: Tom Zikas
Palisades Tahoe is great for families | PC: Tom Zikas
The main village has a variety of condos for vacation rentals
The main village has a variety of condos for vacation rentals
The Resort at Squaw Creek is a separate base area with ski-in/out access
The Resort at Squaw Creek is a separate base area with ski-in/out access
There is plenty of natural features to jump off | PC: Jeff Engerbretson
There is plenty of natural features to jump off | PC: Jeff Engerbretson
The terrain is diverse and there is something for all abilities
The terrain is diverse and there is something for all abilities
Palisades Tahoe has a terrain park
Palisades Tahoe has a terrain park
The aerial tram landing at High Camp
The aerial tram landing at High Camp
High Camp has a heated public outdoor pool which is popular in spring
High Camp has a heated public outdoor pool which is popular in spring
No words required | PC: Kate Abraham
No words required | PC: Kate Abraham
Perfect groomers at Palisades Tahoe | PC: Palisades Tahoe
Perfect groomers at Palisades Tahoe | PC: Palisades Tahoe
Palisades Tahoe can get pretty lively, especially in spring | PC: Tom O
Palisades Tahoe can get pretty lively, especially in spring | PC: Tom O'Neill
Plumpjack Bar is one of several cozy bars
Plumpjack Bar is one of several cozy bars
Palisades Tahoe has night skiing
Palisades Tahoe has night skiing
There are a few shops but it is no Aspen for shopping
There are a few shops but it is no Aspen for shopping
Palisades Tahoe comes alive in spring time | PC: Palisades Tahoe
Palisades Tahoe comes alive in spring time | PC: Palisades Tahoe
Freedom Festival  | PC: Jeff Engerbretson
Freedom Festival | PC: Jeff Engerbretson
The pond skim is possibly the best in the world
The pond skim is possibly the best in the world
Bluebird action | PC: Palisades Tahoe
Bluebird action | PC: Palisades Tahoe

Palisades Tahoe Ski Resort

Readers Ratings

Palisades Tahoe

Palisades Tahoe3/517
Palisades Tahoe3 out of 5 based on 17 reviews
  • Recommend
    59%
  • Would Revisit
    65%

Palisades Tahoe Ski Resort

Palisades Tahoe is a phenomenal all-rounder ski resort near Lake Tahoe in California, yet in recent times it's been very well known for the wrong reasons. The Palisades Tahoe Ski Resort was formerly and unfortunately known as Squaw Valley, with the name change announced in September 2021 to remove the potentially racist and misogynistic slur.

Despite the new name, it seems that many folks can’t decide what the nomenclature includes. Sometimes the resort uses the term Palisades Tahoe to include Alpine Meadows Ski Resort as well as the former Squaw Valley side, because the two ski areas are on one lift pass and are interconnected via a gondola (from the 22-23 season). In this instance, trail maps reflect that the area formerly known as Squaw is now known as Olympic Valley, reflecting that the ski resort hosted the 1960 Winter Olympics. At other times the resort uses the new name to just refer to what was known as Squaw Valley.

We’ve separated the information on the two sides, with Olympic Valley content here and separate info for Alpine Meadows.

Pros and Cons of Palisades Tahoe

Pros 
  • Palisades Tahoe is a fantastic ski resort that caters generously to all levels.
  • The ski area is particularly renowned for its impressive terrain for experts and huckers.
  • With the combination of the Olympic Valley (Squaw Valley) side and Alpine Meadows side, it’s a big ski area.
  • The Village at Palisades Tahoe is big enough to be interesting without being overwhelming. The scene is rather diverse with upscale shopping and some immaculately dressed visitors, along with true ski bums who are just there for the terrain.
  • There is a good range of bars and restaurants that cater well to the diversity of visitors. Après ski festivities can be vibrant, particularly on the weekends when the Bay Area folks arrive.
  • The Palisades Tahoe lodging options are top class.
Cons
  • On powder days the place is a zoo and the lift line culture can be brutal. Road traffic can be a nightmare too. Everyone within a 200 mile radius knows that Palisades has amazing terrain, so there is some fierce powder day competition from a few thousand of the best skiers and rider congregated together.
  • Palisades Tahoe CA can be a little challenging for low end advanced riders. Firstly the pedigree of the riders at Palisades (and their attitude) can be intimidating, and the trail map or signage doesn’t differentiate between single black runs and lines that are truly frightening. And with minimal tree skiing, this can become rather challenging on low vis days to figure out where the cliffs are.
  • Like the other high profile Tahoe destination resorts, it can be pretty expensive. Lift tickets cost a pretty penny (unless you use your Ikon Pass), and most of the lodging is for an upper end budget.

Palisades Tahoe Skiing Terrain

Whilst the Alpine Meadows side has 2,400 acres of skiable terrain, the Palisades Ski Resort (ie the Squaw Valley side) has 3,600 acres which is spread over multiple peaks with 2,850 feet (870 metres) of vertical. The bowls near the top of the peaks are treeless, offering European style wide open spaces, rather than the traditional US named trails. The Palisades Tahoe Ski Resort also features some glades, groomed highways, steep chutes, and terrain parks.

Warren Miller bestowed the ski resort with notoriety when he filmed the exploits of daredevils jumping off cliffs in the early 1980s. The impressive pedigree of extreme skiers continues, and when you ride some of the chairlifts at Palisades Tahoe you can feel like you’re watching a live viewing of a Warren Miller movie.

Even though this is a mecca for extreme skiers, you don’t have to be a stunt skier to enjoy the terrain. Those that like to keep the sticks or board in contact with the snow can also take pleasure in it. There is terrain for everyone from gnarly to nice, from tough to tame, and from scary to sedate. Officially, intermediates and beginners get 45% and 25% of the terrain respectively, but there seems to be many more black and double black trails than 30% due to the classification blurring of piste and off-piste terrain.

Palisades Tahoe has a funitel (a wind-friendly gondola type lift attached to two cables), a cable car, four 6-pack fast chairs and various high-speed quads, making this one of the most advanced lift systems in the USA. And importantly there is the gondola that connects the Village at Palisades Tahoe with Alpine Meadows.

Palisades Tahoe Snow

In regards to the weather, the gods are generally kind. The resort boasts 400 inches of snowfall annually (albeit somewhat heavy at times and supplemented by snow-making) and the classic Californian sun that shines 300 days a year – perfect for the fair-weather powder hound (if they even exist?).

Where is Palisades Tahoe CA?

Palisades Tahoe Ski Resort is located about 8 miles inland of the town of Tahoe City (don’t be fooled by the name – it’s not a city) which sits on the northwest shore of Lake Tahoe in California. The town of Truckee is about 12 miles to the north of the ski resort.

The closest airport is in Reno Nevada which is 49 miles to the northeast; about a one hour drive. Palisades Tahoe Resort is 208 miles northeast of the San Francisco International Airport via Interstate-80.

Palisades Tahoe is one of many Lake Tahoe ski resorts, so you can sample various ski areas on your vacation.

Palisades Tahoe Lodging

The village at the base of the slopes in Olympic Valley is medium sized, and there are several luxury and deluxe priced condos and hotels. The ski-in ski-out Palisades Tahoe lodging at the Resort at Squaw Creek is also very popular. More affordable lodging options abound in nearby Tahoe City and Truckee.

Palisades Tahoe Accommodations Listings
Tours In/Near Squaw Valley

Cat Skiing Tours

Pacific Crest Day Cat Skiing
LAKE TAHOE | DAY CAT SKIING TOURS
8 - 12 Runs | Over 12,000 vert feet
Ability: Intermediate to Expert
Escape the crowds in Lake Tahoe & come and play in the 3,000 acre private powder playground with Pacific Crest Snowcats. Book a seat for yourself, a few of you or a whole cat for a private day with your ski buddies! Seats book out early so be sure to book soon.
Price p/p From price based on per person if booked 2 weeks prior to trip.
Base/invoice currency is in USD inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 399
View Details
 
See all Cat Skiing tours that visit Palisades Tahoe here
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