What’s new at Tahoe Downhill Ski Resorts for the 2023/24 winter

Kayla Anderson / Special to the Sun

Local ski resorts are ramping up to provide a memorable experience for skiers and snowboarders that rival the last brumal season. Here are the new features/events/offerings/opening dates and parking changes to pay attention to at Tahoe’s downhill ski resorts in the 2023/24 season:

Now Open: Mt. Rose- Ski Tahoe

Boasting the highest base elevation of any resort in Tahoe (8,260′), the snow tends to fall (and stick) first here. With its 1200 skiable acres and 200-plus acres of black diamond and double-black diamond Chutes, Mt. Rose is a favorite amongst Renoites and advanced/expert skiers and riders. New this year, guests may notice a remodeled food court area in Lodgepole Café and great daily lift ticket deals for ladies, locals, and couples on Two ‘fer Tuesdays. Mt. Rose also just introduced $69 lift tickets on Mondays for hospitality and service workers and a partnership with the Tahoe Fund in which someone has the option to tack an extra dollar onto their daily lift ticket price to go towards the nonprofit.

Northstar California (Undetermined)

The place that’s a downhill biking haven in the summertime turns into a downhill skiing/snowboarding refuge in the wintertime (right there on SR-267 between Kings Beach and Truckee) is now open, and people can go straight to the lifts without standing in line with the My Epic App. You don’t even have to take your phone out of your pocket for it to be scanned; Bluetooth Low Energy technology detects it. This feature is provided at Kirkwood and Heavenly, too, as well as a combination of paid parking at the Lower Village and Lower Village lots.

Free parking is still available at the Castle Peak lot or vehicles with four or more people in them. Northstar also took over the former Starbucks and turned it into the Vous Café. Open 7 a.m.-7 p.m., Vous serves Lazzara coffee and breakfast items in the morning and specialty cocktails in the afternoon. If Vous is anything like Bourbon Pub or Wild Pine- Northstar’s other restaurants- then visitors are in for a treat.

Heavenly Mountain Resort (Undetermined)

Over on the South Shore, Heavenly with its 4800 skiable acres that spans two states has a lot going on in both Nevada and California. The biggest thing to note is that paid parking reservations are mandatory at the California base on weekends and peak holidays, but parking will still be free at the Boulder and Stagecoach lots. Heavenly is also hosting a Toyota big air contest in the beginning of March. Heavenly also just replaced its fixed grip North Bowl triple chair with a high-speed detachable quad.

Nov. 22: Palisades Tahoe

Along with hosting the Audi FIS World Cup in late February and the WinterWondergrass Festival in April, Palisades Tahoe has a lot happening on and off the mountain. Five new PistonBully snowcats ensure perfectly corduroy runs, and a new Japanese restaurant has opened in the Village. Palisades Tahoe has also implemented a paid parking reservation for the weekends and holidays in both Olympic Valley and at its sister resort Alpine Meadows, so it’s better to take the TART in or take advantage of its free Mountaineer shuttle with expanded service. It also just bought two hotels in Tahoe Vista to house employees.

Tentatively Nov. 17: Boreal Mountain Resort

Boreal is a park rat haven with its eight terrain parks, halfpipe, and majority of blue square runs within its 380 skiable acres. Located off I-80, Boreal is unique in the sense that it is one of the only resorts open for night skiing and rather than selling an all-day or half-day ticket at a set price, you’re charged based on what time you show up. The later in the day you arrive, the better the lift ticket price is going to be…and the resort is open until 8pm. Boreal also sells $25 lift tickets on select Fridays throughout the season with $5 of that being donated back to a local nonprofit.

Nov. 24: Sugar Bowl

The resort that was built in 1939 off I-80 with almost as many vertical feet as it has skiable acres gives intermediate and advanced skiers and riders plenty of room to roam on its two sides of the mountain. New this season, Sugar Bowl has a new ski racing speed course, a new warming hut, and snow grooming equipment. Sugar Bowl also just opened a 10-lane tubing park last season. Since this is a popular place to stay the night during a blizzard, too, its main Dining Room will be open for lunch and dinner.

Dec. 1: Kirkwood Mountain Resort

Located off SR-88 out in the Mokelumne Wilderness, it always seems like Kirkwood always has its own cloud system dumping feet of snow consistently over its 2,300 acres. With its 58 percent advanced and expert terrain, this is where the big dogs go to get avalanche certified and test their big mountain skiing or snowboarding skills. New this season, Kirkwood will have a combination of free and paid parking on weekends, holidays, and peak periods, so be sure to plan accordingly. It’s also bringing back its Slush Cup, Banked Slalom, and Vertical Drop events in the spring.

Dec. 7: Diamond Peak Ski Resort

Offering unparalleled views of Lake Tahoe and more than 600 skiable acres on the East Shore of Lake Tahoe, all runs flow down into the base area making it easy for families and friends to meet up with each other (the base lodge behind the Lodgepole chairlift is also the best place to watch the Dummy Downhill- a popular springtime event in which the whole community gets involved). Speaking of the base lodge, Diamond Peak just remodeled its food court, creating better flow and ease when lunchtime comes around. Diamond Peak has an incredible snowmaking system that allows it to open early, but still relies on sustained cold temperatures to open its lifts.

Mid-December: Homewood Mountain Resort

Now managed by the Discovery Land Company, resort officials say that they will remain open to the public this winter, selling daily lift tickets and season passes as usual. They still have their eye on making big mountain improvements and real estate developments, but nothing that will be implemented this year. You’re required to have a pass to park at Homewood, so be sure to buy yours ahead of time.

Dec. 2: Sierra-at-Tahoe

Still recovering from the 2021 Caldor Fire that burned 1600 acres of its terrain, Sierra-at-Tahoe is mainly focused on getting as much of the resort open as possible but its 2000 skiable acres, 14 lifts, and 6

terrain parks plan to be available. It built a new maintenance shop and the main road entering the resort has been repaved, but the real perks come with its season passes…Sierra-at-Tahoe passholders can get 20% off lessons/retail/rentals/food/drinks, free lift tickets for friends and family, and free lift tickets at 21 other ski resorts that are part of the Powder Alliance. Sierra-at-Tahoe is also offering a special season pass rate for first responders (EMTs, law enforcement, firefighters, etc.) starting at $199, but it’s only valid until December 1- the day before the resort opens.

Dec. 9: Tahoe Donner Downhill

Known as one of the best places to begin, this resort is a favorite for families up in Truckee within the Tahoe Donner neighborhood. The 17 easy and intermediate trails here include a mix of wide-open groomers, tree runs, and cat tracks. New this year, Tahoe Donner will have more kids ski programs and a seniors race program, so that kids of all ages have a reason to stay in peak form through the chilly months. Ski with Santa on Christmas and catch a fireworks show on New Year’s Eve at the resort.

Notable Mentions:

Granlibakken- Appealing to families who want to enjoy a quiet winter haven right next to the slopes, Granlibakken has a few ski runs and tubing park that keeps the same people coming back year after year. New this season, Granlibakken is also introducing night sledding over the holidays where guests can sled under the lights and enjoy hot chocolate or mulled cider between turns.

Donner Ski Ranch- Not only has DSR extended its season pass sale through Thanksgiving, but it’s bringing back its Old School Days where daily lift tickets are only $59 for adults ($39 for kids) Tuesdays-Thursdays beginning January 10.

See you on the slopes!

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