The Snow Report
The biggest thing to know about Alpine Meadows, other than that it’s a casual Northern California favorite, is that last year it merged with the number-one resort on this list, Squaw Valley.
It’s been treated to $24 million in improvements since then, $15 million of which went to the base area and on-mountain improvements. The rest went to expanding Alpine’s two terrain parks, a new high-speed lift, and to snowmaking efficiency. (This being California, other eco-measures have been in place for a while, including a recycling program, biodiesel buses, and energy-saving lighting.)
A hundred runs keep all skill levels entertained, and a laid-back vibe permeates 2,400 skiable acres. A thousand winter staffers, including a full-time safety manager, work to make sure guests are having a blast, whether that be grooming a slope from summit to base or tapping microbrews at the on-snow Ice Bar.
The instructors here are Level 4-equivalent, and many are PSIA-AASI trainers, which means they teach ski and snowboard teachers how to teach skiing and snowboarding. Alpine offers a few female-specific learning programs, such as for-women-by-women camps, as well as ladies-only morning skiing on certain days.
There’s no lodging to speak of at the resort, but you can camp at Granite Flat or Goose Meadows (four and six miles away, respectively), and the Tahoe area is rife with lovely hotels—the newly redone Hyatt Regency is right on the lake, elegant PlumpJack was founded by Gavin Newsom (California’s lieutenant governor), and at the AAA 4-Diamond Resort at Squaw Creek, Six Peaks Grille serves satisfying regional cuisine complemented by its namesake view of a half-dozen Sierra summits.
CONTACT: (800) 403-0206, skialpine.com
SEASON: Mid-November to mid-April
TICKETS: General: $96, children: $41, ages 65 and older: $78, ages 4 and younger: free