Lake Tahoe Ski Information 2020/2021
Lake Tahoe Ski Information
The weather at Lake Tahoe has allowed for an extended and absolutely beautiful Indian Summer. The forecast over the next few weeks shows a weather front that will be keeping moisture at bay.
Over the last weekend however, the temperatures dipped down, allowing for snow making at the local ski resorts. Many resorts are scheduled to open around Thanksgiving in 2020.
This is a La Nina year, which bodes well for a great ski season. La Nina usually produces more snowfall and precipitation in the Pacific Northwest. For comparison, La Nina years were 1998–99, 2000–01, 2008–09, 2010–11 and 2016–17, which were all epic ski seasons.
Changes to the 2020/2021 Ski Season
If you are planning to purchase a season pass for the 2020/2021 Lake Tahoe ski season, there are a few changes. Many resorts are limiting the sale of season passes, and combining multiple resort access to alleviate crowds and to promote social distancing.
All will be implementing new safety measures that include social distancing, and mandatory masks while riding lifts and gondolas. Many have changed ticket sales to online only, and even food purchase must be bought online.
Several resorts are requiring advance reservations to ski. A few require skiers to lodge in their cars while eating since indoor dining is not available. While Lake Tahoe is gearing up for a fantastic ski season, it is important to know there will be many changes.
I’ve listed each resort below, along with their opening dates and links to purchase passes and tickets. You can also read how each resort is approaching safety practices during the pandemic. It is important to know before you go so you can enjoy a day of skiing without any hassles.
Northstar is scheduled to open on November 20th. They are getting a jump on the season with top of the line snowmaking equipment. Face coverings will be required while in lines, and during the unloading and loading of chairs.
This resort has implemented a reservation system and passholders will receive priority for booking dates. Lift tickets won’t be sold in-person and need to be purchased online. Gondolas, chairlifts and ski lessons will also have capacity limits.
Northstar is also returning to free parking this season at its Village View parking lot. Safety measures include seating only related parties skiing and riding together. They are limiting how many people can be on a lift to encourage social distancing
For 2020, Northstar now offers the Epic Pass, which gives you access to many other popular ski destinations, such as Beaver Creek, CO, Vail and Whistler. They are still offering the Tahoe Local Pass, with additional access to Heavenly and Kirkwood. You can explore your options and choose your pass here.
The 2020/2021 season at Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows opens on Wednesday, November 25th. You can find comprehensive information about their safety practices for the 20/21 ski season here.
Like Northstar, Squaw/Alpine will be limiting capacity and controlling visitation by temporarily limiting walk-up ticket sales. The resort will be limiting advanced purchase of lift tickets, while also implementing social distancing protocols like restricting the number of skiers on lifts.
Ticket and pass holders at Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows can still enjoy access to both mountains via a shuttle. The bad news is that they are no longer offering the Tahoe Super Pass. Instead, in 2020, they offer the Ikon Pass, which gives you access to their resort along with 42 additional ski destinations. The pass is more expensive this year, but comes with all the benefits of the old Super Pass.
Homewood Mountain Resort is still your best option when skiing with beginners or children. Located on the West Shore, Homewood Mountain Resort is scheduled to open on December 11th, 2020. They are limiting the number of skiers by reducing the number of season passes sold. They are also limiting the amount of skiers on the hill each day.
Like other resorts, Homewood has an interaction free ticket system where guests can redeem tickets for the mountain or parking at kiosks. Food and beverages purchases will also be online in order to better utilize the resort’s lodging space. They expect guests to use their cars as a lodge this winter to minimize social interaction in-doors.
Boreal is offering special deals to those who purchase their pass prior to October 31st. Located at the top of Donner Summit, Soda Springs and Boreal Mountain have set opening date on November 23rd.
Boreal Mountain Resort and Soda Springs are promoting efforts to get skiers and riders on the mountain early in the season. Rather than rush to open, they will be opening conservatively, to preserve their operations for the entire season. They plan to remain open until the snow melts.
In an effort to reduce crowding, they are having guests choose skiing and riding times. Like all other resorts, they will also implement ‘hands-free’ ticketing. You can explore your pass options here.
Sugar Bowl plans to open on November 28th, weather permitting. They are also located at the top of Donner Summit and Sugar Bowl is popular with day trip skiers from Northern California because of its easy access from Highway 80. This year, they will be implementing a reservation system for lift tickets and rentals. There will also be no walk-up purchases and no indoor dining this season.
Currently, they have halted the sale of season passes for the 2020/2021 season. They may offer them at a later date, once they gauge congestion and safety. Masks will be required when not skiing or riding. Find lift ticket information for Sugar Bowl ski resort here.
Mount Rose is located in between Reno and Incline Village. They usually open before most resorts, but this year, they are schedule to open November 4th.
Like other resorts, they will limit the number of season passes sold, and will implement a reservations system for daily tickets. When the mountain opens, initial access will be limited to season pass holders.
The 2020/2021 ski season at Mount Rose will be enhanced with new snowmaking capabilities. Explore pass information here.
Another great ski resort for beginners, Tahoe Donner Downhill Ski Resort is set to open on December 11th in 2020. They are implementing the same social distancing and mask requirements as other resorts.
Tahoe Donner will utilize online ticket sales for both the downhill and cross-country ski areas. Unfortunately, there will be no indoor dining this season so be sure to pack snacks and even lunch to enjoy in your vehicle. This is another resort that may not offer indoor dining. This should be announced later. Explore tickets and passes here.
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