South Lake Tahoe ski resorts are often overshadowed by the resorts in the north but there's one that even North Lake locals will drive to on a powder day: Kirkwood. In fact, with a jagged rocky profile, consistent steeps, and hidden ravines, the mountain's 2,300 skiable acres is so good that it rivals Squaw Valley. But Kirkwood regulars couldn't be happier for the oversight, as it remains one of the last Sierra resorts to resist a makeover and maintain its old-school scruffy vibe. It still runs on generators, and there's no gondola among its 15 lifts, but the skiing speaks for itself: Its lofty 9,800 elevation puts it right in the path of Sierra storms, so its unrivaled chutes and cornices are always in good condition. Lift tickets are about $80 (on a tier system); As a Vail resort, your Epic Pass works here, too.
Where to Stay: Kirkwood is nearly an hour south of Lake Tahoe, and so you're best off basing yourself slopeside at one of the resort's self-contained units (there are no hotel-style properties).
Insider Tip: The resort has capitalized on its unique terrain with the recent launch of Expedition Kirkwood, snowcat tours and avalanche awareness clinics for advanced skiers and riders into epic side- and backcountry terrain.
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