Palisades Tahoe: Olympic Valley, formally known as Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, is a bucket-list ski destination. The former 1960 Olympic host mountain spends millions of dollars on its facilities to give you the grandeur-Esque atmosphere of your dream ski resort.

No ski resort in California stands a chance against Palisades Tahoe: Olympic Valley, especially since sister ski resort Alpine Meadows was connected by a cable tram, and you can now ski both on the same lift ticket. All levels shred here, and shredders will be tested to their max level. Whether this is your first ski trip or a regular stop for your snowboard competition team, Olympic Valley brings it on.

Views of crystal blue Lake Tahoe will be caught throughout your ski day; breathe it in. The mountain has a perfectly split mix of beginner, intermediate, and advanced terrain. The grooming and snow-making at Palisades are first-class.

The world knows they must visit, as this resort attracts 600,000 visitors a season. So planning this trip a year in advance or more is necessary. Crowds are manageable here due to the massive acreage and high-speed lifts. Expect heavy traffic on and off the slopes on weekends. The spectacular resort reminds you why the crowds are here.


Things we like:

  • check-mark
    Beautiful scenery accompanied by the finest facilities and amenities
  • check-mark
    Family-friendly, inclusive environment and activities
  • check-mark
    Terrain geared toward every level of rider to get them stoking
  • check-mark
    Good match for the “fair-weathered skier”

Things we don't like:

  • check-markCrowded, crowded, crowded
  • check-markSnow conditions can follow the “Sierra-Cement” pattern of hard-packed, firm snow
  • check-markExpensive lift tickets, lodging, and apres scene

Where to Book:

Palisades Tahoe For Beginners

Palisades Tahoe Ski Resort

Specs & Features

  • Chairlifts: 29 (1 Aerial Tram, 1 gondola, 4 express six-seater lifts, 3 express quad lifts, 1 fixed-grip quad, 9 triple chairs, 5 double chairs, 3 surface lifts, 2 magic carpets)
  • Vertical: 2,850ft
  • Avg. Snowfall: 400in
  • Season: November to Mid-May
  • Runs: 170+
  • Beginner: 25%
  • Intermediate: 45%
  • Expert: 30%
  • Kids Ski School: Yes
  • Accommodations: Yes
  • Daycare: Yes
See the complete list of the best Ski Resorts here!


Recently purchased by Alterra Mountain Company, Palisades Tahoe resorts operate within the Ikon Pass. This pass allows riders to rip at 43 ski resorts across North America. With a few years of new ownership, it is apparent to visitors that money has been pumped into Palisades Tahoe. The already impressive Olympic host site just got that much better.

The aerial tram connecting the big mountain beasts is a quick 10 minutes, giving you time to stretch after you rushed to get first chair of the day at Olympic Valley. They are collectively known as Palisades Tahoe. Ski BOTH mountains in one day with the same lift ticket.

With 400-plus inches of average snowfall a year, Palisades Tahoe: Olympic Valley empowers skiers to take it to the next level, whatever that level may be. With 3,600 skiable acres, 6 peaks, 3 terrain parks, 29 chairlifts, 170+ runs, and jaw-dropping views of Lake Tahoe, it is a no-brainer to visit as there will be terrain suited for you.

Palisades is the spring skiing capital, often the last mountain open during the summer months in the Tahoe region. Bring your jorts (jean-shorts) and sunscreen as you shred the perfect corn snow, dance at the music festivals, try your shot at pond skimming, and earn your goggle tan.

The sun shines on Olympic Valley for 300-plus days a year. Layer appropriately; two layers are often all you need. Bluebird days will bless your holidays. Unless you come during a storm, the powder will be epic, and senders will be sending. Storm days do roll in, as the astounding 400in yearly average snowfall has to happen somehow.

Palisades Tahoe Resort

Wind does tunnel through the Sierra Nevadas and slams into this destination. Thankfully there is a front, back, side, other side, top, and bottom part of the mountain to help shield you from the icy “breeze.” Do not forget all the different sides of Alpine Meadows mountain as well. The expansive skiable acreage will give you options to avoid any pesky windy weather pattern.

The only funitel lift in North America is here. Known as the Gold Coast Funitel, it can sometimes be referred to as a gondola. A funitel is a cableway similar to a gondola, but the car has two arms attached to two parallel overhead cables instead of one. This is to compensate for high winds. A four-million-dollar upgrade to the funitel plaza will be available in the 2022-2023 ski season, making it faster, safer, and more comfortable.

Ride the Funitel up to High Camp, regardless of being a skier or boarder, to gander at the stunning resort, see the lake buried under snowy summits, and the sister resort, Alpine Meadows.

Palisades Tahoe is not just a ski and snowboarding mecca. There are ample entertainment opportunities: ice skating, snowshoe tours, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, tubing, sledding, dining & apres, and high-end shopping! Regardless of your activity status, Palisades Tahoe is for you.

One will find all their desires for apres and shopping within The Village at Palisades main base area. The base of lifts and the funitel will be located here. Parking will surround this location as well. The village seems to sparkle with shopping and dining extravagance.


Getting There

Reno-Tahoe International Airport will be closest to Palisades Tahoe, about 45 minutes away. This airport has a decent amount of direct flights from major hubs. From Reno, one can transport by taxi, uber, or shuttle to Olympic Valley. We recommend the North Lake Tahoe Express shuttle to transport you to/from Reno International and Palisades.

Suppose you are planning on crossing one of the big ponds; Sacramento International Airport may be a more convenient option, with fewer connecting flights. The city of Sacramento has a public Amtrak train that stops at Truckee Amtrak Station twice daily with a 2 ½ hour travel time. Other transportation methods from Sacramento to Tahoe include private shuttles, taxis, and city buses.

If you are driving to Olympic Valley from San Francisco, buckle up for a 3 ½ hour drive. The scenic drive will set the tone for your perfect ski weekend.

Upon arriving, there are several parking areas, some with a rumored $30 a day fee…yeesh. However, if you come with three or more passengers, you can park free at the Protect Our Winters Carpool Parking lot; there are 800 spots.

Palisades Tahoe Getting There


Palisades Tahoe at Olympic Valley offers luxurious hotels, condominiums, and vacation rental properties. There are ski lodging package deals for Ikon pass holders if you book early or are a large group reservation.

The Village at Palisades Tahoe Hotel, located in the main base area, bestows slopeside action, lap of luxury shopping, and a delightful apres scene. Walk footsteps from your suite to sit on a high-speed ski lift. Highlighted amenities include full kitchens, gas fireplaces, 8 hot tubs, fitness facilities, and a billiards lounge. Ikon pass holders receive a 25% discount at this hotel. If you are not a pass holder, you can purchase discounted single-day lift tickets if you stay here. If you are looking for package deals with skiing, this will be your go-to destination.

Another option is to stay at the cushy 4-star slopeside Resort at Squaw Creek. This hotel has an on-site spa, repeat, on-site spa. There are also three restaurant options: Six Peaks Grille, Sandy’s Pub, and Cascades Restaurant. With a more low-key atmosphere, this Resort is located at the base of the Resort Chair in a separate area from the main base. Here, one has ski-in/ski-out access to heated pools and hot tubs; be sure to take advantage of this and pack your swimsuit in your day ski bag. Note there is no accessible beginner terrain from this location.

If you want anything from more affordable to exclusive and private options for your visit, check out the nearby vacation rental properties and condominiums. Some even have ski-in ski-out access and hot tubs. Depending on your lodging inclinations, this option goes from most affordable to most expensive.

The shuttle service at Palisades Tahoe is reliable and convenient. The shuttle offers continuous transportation between the Village at Palisades and Alpine Meadow Lodge during opening times in the winter months. SnoVentures Shuttle connects the Member’s Locker Room to the SnoVentures Activity Zone.

Other shuttle services provide access to Truckee, Tahoe City, and Reno.

Palisades Tahoe Accommodation


Drive up to Palisades Tahoe: Olympic Valley in a cold car, and leave in a warm car after parking all day in their heated underground lot. So, let’s just say things are nice here…

The on-mountain facilities are superb. Expect the best; you will get the best– Palisades is determined to be the most up-to-date Lake Tahoe resort. Olympic Village’s funitel services 4,000 people an hour, including non-skiers and handicapped patrons. Everyone in the family can enjoy the Gold Coast Funitel, unlocking head-swiveling views of Lake Tahoe and the Sierra Nevadas.

The hotels and vacation rentals get the hint that snow makes people want to soak in hot water. Now is your chance to show off your “winter bod” in the abundant nearby steaming jacuzzis.

If you need to escape the family fun, the Palisades Yoga studio will help you relax and rejuvenate. No other independent gyms exist apart from the fitness centers in the surrounding lodging options.

Palisades Tahoe Facilities

Family and Kids

Palisades Tahoe Olympic Valley is a paradise destination for a family vacation. Anticipate an eye-opening arrival to Olympic Valley; it seems to sparkle under the sunny blue skies. The shops glisten, the snow radiates, and the restaurants and bars are too inviting to pass by without stopping and filling up.

Opportunists should take advantage of the Ski School at Palisades. The School is located just outside The Village at Palisades. Nearby is the SnowVentures Activity Zone; there is a magic carpet, an x-small terrain park, and tubing! There is even a cute lift called “First Venture” to help first-time riders acclimate to the chair lift experience.

Daycare is available through private companies, not through the Ski Resort. Palisades recommends All About Kids Babysitting Referral Service; call +1(530) 386-0765 for your child care needs. If your child is three or older, Ski School is another option.

Group and Private lessons sell out a season in advance, with limited spots open. So be sure to book your ski and snowboard lessons way ahead of time; talk about having an organized life; good on ya.

Families can take private group lessons for ages seven and up for up to five people. Parents can also drop their kids off at a full-day lesson; kid’s lessons feature ages 3-13. 14-year-olds participate in adult programs. There is a special little tyke program for toddlers, 3-4 year olds, to snowboard or ski for a half-day lesson.

Palisades has created special lessons to cater to more advanced riders. These lessons include The North Face Guide, women’s clinics, ski teams, and ski team parents.

For a fun night out with the family, stay tuned to find out which special nights have Disco Tubing! Slide down in the dark with fun colored lights, music, and memories to last a lifetime. Other holiday events will be ongoing during the winter season.

Palisades Tahoe Disco Tubing

For Beginners

Excitingly, a large beginner area is featured at the top of the mountain, unlocking stellar views of the beautiful Lake Tahoe. The Funitel lift services this elevated beginner terrain. No worries, you will not have to take the black diamond runs down, as the Gondola can be round-trip.

If you are not “lift ready,” Palisades has got your back with three magic carpet lifts at the front of The Village at Palisades. Magic carpets are helpful for those who need more preparation before exiting a ramp of a ski lift. The only downside of their magic carpet beginner area is that it is a high-traffic area, so you will have many spectators as you slip and slide down the hill.

Due to the heavy crowds, knowing the mountain safety code will save you and the one’s around you. People ahead of you have the right of way; not hitting them is your responsibility. Please look uphill before merging onto a new run. Read and respect the posted signs. And do not stop in a spot where you are not visible from above.

Palisades Tahoe For Beginners

For Routine Skiers

Crowded! But utilizing both mountains, expert runs, terrain parks, trees, and weekdays will make your routine ski delightful. The sun will be shining on you most of the season, so soak it up and transmit radiating vibes while slicing your way down the gnarly descents.

Most days, this resort will have tolerable queues at lifts due to the modern high-speed chairs. If you do not want to be bothered by an overwhelming amount of ski pedestrians, skip the weekends and do a different snow sport like snowmobiling, snowshoeing, ice skating, or cross-country skiing.

Routine skiers have package deal opportunities with the Ski School to ensure they stay up to par. This mountain supplies expert terrains with chutes, cliff-dropping, and backcountry off-piste skiing opportunities that will be attainable through lessons.

If wormholes are your boogie— aka tight chutes that are more like cliff drops, then head over to Center Line Wormhole on Chimney run. Sending this means 50ft of a fall through a tight crevice of snow and rocks. You will find this wild ride near Palisades Peak at 8,885ft; some hiking will need to take place.

Another expert run is right off Silverado lift; Tram Bowl brings forth world-class chutes and cliffs for the super senders. Silverado Canyon is there to test your ridge jumping skills. If you wanted, you could attach wings to yourself and paraglide from this location; not sure if that is allowed in the resort, though… Basically, a skier will need to HUCK themselves from the top of this cliff to make it. Check out this 100+ foot drop from Gunner Newquist; this was a full send.

Off-Piste skiing at Palisades Tahoe will quench your quiver. Backcountry opportunities are accessible from in-bounds ski lifts. We recommend Alpenglow’s certified AMGA guides. These backcountry tours will provide you the skills to conquer the out-of-bounds, untouched snow for the rest of the season without guides. This is for intermediate riders and above.

Palisades Tahoe For Routine Skiers

For Snowboarders

Palisades offers snowboarding for all levels and styles of riders. Get stoked to shred at the three terrain parks laid out for the public at Palisades. Experts maintain the terrain park features, ensuring that the takeoff and landings are in the ideal position for your success.

Gold Coast at Palisades Terrain Park is for the big dawgs. Check out the medium and large jumps and rails scattered throughout this dope park. The possibilities to look steezy here are limitless.

If you are looking to enter into the frightening world of park riding, Olympic Valley will make your entry seamless. You will soon find that the once terrifying maneuver will be attainable after practicing at High Camp Start Park. This park features x-small jumps and boxes for an accessible introduction to the game.

After mastering the x-small terrain park, check out Belmont Terrain Park. Here, you can really start cruising. This park features small and medium jumps and rails to get you in your park groove. A half-pipe is featured here called Big Blue Pipe; take caution as falling from the top to the bottom hurts.

The ski school has a private terrain park with x-small features called SnoVentures Start Park.

Palisades Tahoe For Snowboarders


Having a lovely holiday at Olympic Valley can be done without ever buckling up your ski boots. The Apres Ski scene at Palisades has got you covered. Make sure you set aside a budget for meals and drinks, as this will be your opportunity to splurge. If you unbuckle your pants after eating, hide it; this is a classy environment.

The Rocker will fill your bellies with their famous nachos and beers on tap. Find this restaurant at the heart of the base area in The Village at Palisades Tahoe. The patio is perfect for afternoon sunning and relaxation during your ski day.

After your ski day, the Auld Dubliner (aka “The Dub”) Irish fare will hit the spot. Try the Fish and Chips or Shepard’s Pie for a hearty meal. There is a lively vibe with a spacious patio accompanied by a mighty selection of Irish Whiskey.

Even if it is a bit cold, the aurora at The Village at Palisades Tahoe will warm you up instantly. It helps that there are a plethora of warmers and fireplaces. Good portions, reasonable prices, and genuine hospitality are found at Olympic Valley.

Palisades Tahoe Apres Ski

History of the Name

Palisades’ previous name, “squaw,” has surfaced as an ethnic, racial, and sexual slur. The term stems from a derogatory word for the female anatomy of Native American women. Professor Vanessa Esquivido of American Indian Studies explains the slur “has morphed into a misogynist and racist term to disparage indigenous women.”

We will work together to correct our history’s wrongdoings, and Palisades Tahoe is giving just that message with the name change announcement in August 2020. The President and COO, Ron Cohen, included a heartfelt apology to their Native American allies after the milestone decision.

The Bottom Line

Palisades Tahoe: Olympic Valley will exceed your ski vacation expectations. Families will be treated like royalty, ensuring all their wants and needs are met. Individuals will find warm, welcoming staff and new friends waiting to be made on and off the slopes.

If your friends are bragging about their ski holiday to Olympic Valley a few years ago, they have got nothing on your future trip here. The super recent construction of the aerial tram connecting the two sister resorts with a ten-minute zip will make your ski trip double as cool as theirs.

The connection between the resorts means 6,000 skiable acres, 8 peaks, 42 lifts, 270+ trails, and over 50 shops and restaurants. Not to mention the ample amount of luxury accommodations; or affordable rates at vacation rentals and select hotels.

Whether it is your first day on the slopes or you have ridden every day of every season for the past twelve years, your thirst for adventure will be doused at Palisades Tahoe. Make a little room in the budget for this trip because the rewards you will find here will return your investment tenfold.


Things we like:

  • check-mark
    Beautiful scenery accompanied by the finest facilities and amenities
  • check-mark
    Family-friendly, inclusive environment and activities
  • check-mark
    Terrain geared toward every level of rider to get them stoking
  • check-mark
    Good match for the “fair-weathered skier”

Things we don't like:

  • check-markCrowded, crowded, crowded
  • check-markSnow conditions can follow the “Sierra-Cement” pattern of hard-packed, firm snow
  • check-markExpensive lift tickets, lodging, and apres scene

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