Sierra at Tahoe Lifts & Terrain

Sierra at Tahoe Lifts & Terrain

Our Terrain Ratings

Powderhound rating = advanced/expert terrain + powder + freshies + uncrowded

Our Terrain Ratings

Powderhound rating = advanced/expert terrain + powder + freshies + uncrowded
Sierra at Tahoe Trail Map
  • Vertical (ft)
    6,640 – 8,852 (2,212)
  • Average Snow Fall
    480 inches
  • Lifts (14)
    3 high speed quads
    5 doubles
  • Ski Season
    mid Nov - mid Apr
  • Terrain Summary
    Runs – 46
    Size – 2,000 acres
    Beginner - 25%
    Intermediate - 50%
    Advanced - 25%

Sierra at Tahoe Resort

There are three main ski areas of the Sierra at Tahoe Resort. Grandview sits above the base lodge from 7,300 ft up to 8,852 ft at Huckleberry Mountain, providing 1,552 feet (473m) of vertical. Grandview offers mostly single black piste and tree skiing, and the name possibly exaggerates the vistas. Sure the views from the top are rather picturesque across to Lake Tahoe, but the lake is a fair distance away so it doesn’t quite offer the same grand killer views as Heavenly, Homewood and Diamond Peak. West Bowl runs from elevations of 6,640 to 8,054 feet (1,414 ft; 431m), with blue trails and tree skiing. The Backside is very sunny and offers a green run and a couple of blue runs.

Sierra at Tahoe Resort sits below the timberline and tree skiing is one of its strengths, but the off-piste terrain at Sierra Tahoe has multiple personalities depending on how much snow cover there is. The Grandview area has an abundance of boulders (on-piste and off-piste) as well as lopped trees, so when there’s not much cover the runs can be incredibly challenging. With a decent amount of cover, the terrain has pillows to launch off and other really interesting terrain features, but when there’s a lot of snow the terrain suddenly isn’t so exciting anymore.

Lifts

Sierra at Tahoe Resort has 14 lifts. Three express quads cover most of the terrain, and there are 5 double chair lifts, 1 triple chair, and a handful of surface lifts for the beginner areas. Two of the chairs are pretty much superfluous because they run parallel to two of the express chairs.

Lift Tickets

Lift tickets at Sierra at Tahoe Resort are a little cheaper than at the high profile Tahoe ski resorts, but still reasonably expensive. Two out of 3 day tickets make it more reasonably priced, whilst 3 day tickets provide significant savings.

Sierra is also generally accessible on the Lake Tahoe Six-Pack lift pass, providing access to several Tahoe resorts. Unfortunately this pass tends to sell out very early.

Sierra at Tahoe Snow and Weather Conditions

Sierra at Tahoe usually scores pretty well from Mother Nature, with an average of about 480 inches (12.2 metres) of snow per season, which is above average for the major Tahoe ski resorts. Sierra only has a tiny amount of snowmaking so sometimes it’s one of the last Tahoe resorts to open for the season. The resort is somewhat protected from winds, so at least the snow doesn’t tend to blow away too easily.

The Sierra at Tahoe snow quality is reasonably standard for a Tahoe resort. The top elevation is a little lower than the average for the main Tahoe resorts, and most of the resort has OK orientation although only a small number of slopes have a perfect north facing aspect. The Grandview and West Bowl lifts are both northwest facing and at least all the trees that have green moss growing on one side give an extra hint as to the aspect of the slopes on a dull day. Meanwhile the Backside doesn’t hold the snow well - undoubtedly the beginners who hang there enjoy the sun.

Ski Sierra Tahoe - for the Beginner

The Sierra at Tahoe Resort is a truly amazing hill for beginners and offers plenty of variety. A little fenced off area near the base lodge is for kids ski school and has a couple of magic carpets. The main novice area is on the other side of main lodge so parents can watch the kids from the comfort of one of the decks. Easy Street is definitely easy, whilst Broadway is definitely broad and delightfully mellow and is serviced by broad magic carpets as well as an express quad chair lift. There’s another beginners’ lift next door which is unlikely to have any hoons racing through it.

Beginners then can progress onto a handful of long green runs on the front side, or venture over to the sunny Backside.

Sierra Skiing for the Intermediate

Officially, fifty percent of the trails are for intermediates, but I can’t quite see how they made that calculation. The whole hill only has 46 trails, which might be part of the reason that there seems to be limited offerings for intermediates. And when we visited they hadn’t even groomed all the blue runs, even further reducing the trails available for cruising.

Lower Main was our favourite blue run. It has the best snow on the hill and a great pitch. It can be accessed via a couple of short blue runs that require a particularly painfully long loop off the Grandview Chair. Otherwise catch the slow Nob Hill chair lift, which is equally painful.

Most of the blue runs are accessed off the West Bowl express chair, so it’s good for some speedy laps. A couple of the black runs are not very steep, and could be managed by intermediates depending on the size of any bumps.

Terrain Parks & Pipe

The Sierra Ski Resort is pretty good for park dudes, with various small terrain parks for differing abilities to allow progression, as well as a halfpipe and boarder-cross course.

Advanced Skiing & Snowboarding

The black piste in West Bowl aren’t very steep and don’t have many boulders, so these are probably the easiest of the single black diamond runs. The cut runs off the Grandview chair lift are steeper and can be much more challenging if the boulders are not covered.

The real fun for advanced riders is the tree skiing when snow conditions are right. The West Bowl trees are delightful and have a range of spacing, and the pitch isn’t too steep with the exception of the trees near Sleighride.

Expert Ski and Snowboard Terrain

The tree skiing should also keep experts entertained depending on the snow cover. If all the terrain features in the form of fallen logs and rocks aren’t completely covered, then it’s an absolute playground of pillows and other delights.

The Huckleberry area is accessible via a handful of gates, but unfortunately it’s often not open due to avalanche risk or lack of cover. The Huckleberry area needs a massive base to open, mainly because the egress requires the creek to fill in to allow the formation of a cat track. It’s very steep at the very top where there are cliffs, rock features and cornices (once again depending on snow cover) for hucking, and further down are chutes, trees, and more dreamy pillows. The ski school offers tours of this area via a private lesson format, which includes provision of a shovel, probe, beacon and backpack.