Which Season Pass Works for You?
First snow of the season has already happened and skiing and boarding will soon commence. But before that happens, you must decide which season pass to purchase. Tahoe is home to more than 15 resorts and 6 of those surround Truckee. It can be intimidating choosing from one of them because each have their own personality and niches. To ease the pain, here is a comparison of each resort around Truckee.
Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows
The historic, and best voted ski resort by USA Today, Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows are offered on the same pass. Together, the resort duo boast 6,000 acres, 270 trails, and 19 bowls with a vertical of 2,850. Most the terrain is classified as intermediate (40-45% of the mountain), though Squaw’s reputation holds that the terrain is challenging and accented by many treeless cliffs. There are three types of season passes: gold at $979, silver at $739, and bronze at $529. The main difference in pass lies within the blackout dates. Gold does not have blackout dates, silver has ten, and bronze is limited to non-holiday weekdays. The gold pass will also get you 50% off lift tickets at any Mountain Collective resorts. All passes include discounts for all Squaw Valley Alpine Meadow owned shops.
Ski “The Way It Should Be” at Northstar California. The resort offers 3,170 acres, 2,280 foot vertical, and 100 trails that are mostly intermediate (60% of the mountain). There are three different passes that include Northstar (Vail resorts offers more options): the Tahoe Local Pass at $589, the Tahoe Value Pass at $499, and the Epic Pass at $899. The Local pass gives skiers and boarders access to Northstar, Kirkwood, and Heavenly with limited restrictions as well as five total days with limited restriction to other Vail Resorts. The Tahoe Value Pass gives you access to Northstar and Kirkwood every day except Saturday and access to Heavenly 7 days a week. The Epic pass that gets you unlimited access to all Vail resorts, including 30 international resorts. All passes come with 6 discounted lift tickets for friends and family and the Epic Mix, an activity tracker.
Sugar Bowl Resort
Sugar Bowl Resort, located at the top of Donner Summit, has 12 lifts, 1650 skiable acres, 1500 vertical feet, 103 trails, with the majority landing in intermediate terrain (45% of the mountain) and the lest in beginner (17%). A season pass can be purchased with the option for access to Royal Gorge, North America’s largest cross country Ski Resort. For Sugar Bowl only, the passes lie in three categories: Unrestricted at $769, slightly restricted at $579, and midweek at $349. With the addition of Royal Gorge, the prices increase to $919, $729, and $499 respectively. The Unrestricted Pass has no blackout dates and includes 3 50% unrestricted lift tickets for friends and family. The Slightly Restricted pass is valid 7 days a week, but is blacked out on holidays. It comes with 2 non-holiday 50% off tickets. The Midweek pass is only valid on non-holiday weekdays and comes with 1 midweek, non-holiday 50% lift ticket option. All passes come with monthly passholder exclusive discounts on food and beverage, retail items, group lessons, and rentals.
Donner Ski Ranch
Donner Ski Ranch comes in with the cheapest lift tickets and season passes. There is only one option for a season pass, $299 adult pass. The passes have no blackout dates. The resort prefaces that they aren’t “fancy” but that they might be “the perfect destination for advanced skiers and riders who want to escape the crowds and enjoy untouched lines.” They offer more than 500 acres of terrain with 1,000 feet of vertical, 6 lifts, and 2 carpets.
Tahoe Donner Ski Area
Although one of the areas smaller ski resorts, Tahoe Donner Downhill Ski Resort offers 120 acres, 17 runs, 2 chairlifts, 3 conveyor lifts and one of the best learn to ski programs. Their terrain is 40 percent novice, 60 percent intermediate. They offer one unrestricted pass for different age groups at different price points for Tahoe Donner members and non-members. Public adult passes are $314, member passes are $194 and children under 6 ski for free! We couldn't agree more, that Tahoe Donner is “The best place to begin.”
Boreal Mountain Resort
Boreal Mountain Resort is popular for their 8 terrain parks and their night riding. They offer 34 non-terrain-park runs, ranging in abilities and accessible by 6 lifts. They have two season passes: All Day and Night Riding. An adult All Day is $299 and the Night Riding is $149. Both have the option to upgrade to access to Woodward Tahoe, an indoor training facility for snowboarding, freeskiing, skateboarding, BMX, freestyle MTB, scooter, digital media, and cheer.
*Prices subject to increase.