With the largest concentration of ski resorts in North America, Lake Tahoe is California's best skiing destination. The ski season typically lasts from November to May and frequently extends into the summer. Lift tickets range from $44 to $82 per day for adults, and from free to $39 for children, with special rates for seniors. Ticket prices rise every year, but bargains are available, particularly midweek. Many resorts, hotels, and motels offer ski packages. Contact the visitor centers to look for these values. The resorts offer instruction for adults and children, equipment rental, special courses for snowboarding, and restaurants. Most have free shuttles.

Cross-Country Skiing -- In addition to the major resorts, here are some excellent establishments: Royal Gorge Cross-Country Ski Resort, Soda Springs, near Sugar Bowl (tel. 800/500-3871 or 800/666-3871), is one of the largest and best cross-country resorts anywhere, with 90 trails, including 28 novice trails and four ski lifts. For North Shore visitors, Tahoe Cross Country Ski Area, 925 Country Club Dr., Tahoe City (tel. 530/583-5475; www.tahoexc.org), is a small (14 trails) full-service ski center run by a nonprofit community group. A quiet, full-service ski center off the beaten path, Spooner Lake Cross Country Ski Area, near the intersection of Hwy. 28 and U.S. 50 on the East Shore (tel. 775/749-5349; www.spoonerlake.com), offers some of the most scenic skiing at the lake.

Snowmobiling -- Snowmobile rental and tours are available at several locations in the Lake Tahoe Area. Call ahead for reservations and directions. The Zephyr Cove Snowmobile Center, 760 U.S. 50, about 4 miles northeast of the casinos (tel. 800/23-TAHOE [238-2463] or 775/589-4906; www.laketahoesnowmobiles.com), offers several exhilarating tours daily for all experience levels. The cost for a 2-hour tour is about $119 for a single rider, $159 for two. Lake Tahoe Snowmobile Tours (tel. 530/546-4280; www.laketahoesnowmobiling.com) offers 90-minute to 4-hour backcountry tours from Brockway Summit, about 3 miles north of Kings Beach on Hwy. 267; prices start at $120 for one, $150 for two.


Snow Play -- For snow play beyond the resorts, try the North Tahoe Regional Park, at the top of National Avenue off Hwy. 28, Tahoe Vista (tel. 530/546-0605). This ultimate snow-play hill charges a $5 fee for a choice of sled, tube, or saucer. Taylor Creek SNO-PARK off Hwy. 89 in South Lake Tahoe is run by the U.S. Forest Service. Bring your own equipment for sledding and tubing. For information about California Sno Park locations, call the SNO-PARK Hot Line at tel. 916/324-1222.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.