Is lake Tahoe worth the trip for people coming from the east coast vs. the other resorts like, JH, SLC and Col?
Or is more weekend getaway for people living in Cali.
It all depend on your timing & the snow conditions during your stay. Last season - definitely NOT due to an abyssmal snowpack. This season...quite possibly.
I'll take a smaller mountain with great powder over a resort with great terrain but crappy snow conditions anytime.
I haven't skiied the Tahoe area since I was a kid, but Alpine Meadows is one you should probably consider for a good balance between snow conditions, terrain and manageble crowds.
Locals, feel free to lend more definitive info...
If I were to travel from the east coast I would look somewhere in the Rockies since it would be a shorter flight and they generally have better quality snow. I'd take 4" of "champagne powder" over 12" of "Sierra cement" any day.
Sierra Cement? is that similar to the wet snow at Whistler?
SLC cheaper than Tahoe? I also thought of Tahoe as a cheaper and sleazier version of SLC.
Not a destination area for people from the East and the world IMO, no matter what the Squaw marketing folks would have you believe. Less vertical, poorer quality snow. In any given year though, it can be the best option.
However. I am very glad I experienced Squaw Valley. What an amazing place. I love the Rockies, and Utah, but if you get a chance and you hit it on a good year, Squaw is one of a kind. Just don't go on the weekend.
(I did hate the trail you had to take to get down though.)
Thanks to the MCP, I made it (Squaw) a destination for me from the east coast this year.
Though I've never been out there, the sheer number and size of slopes seems like a dream compared to the east coast (south of New England anyway). Northstar, Heavenly, Squaw Valley, Alpine Meadows, Kirkwood, Mt. Rose, Homewood, Sierra at Tahoe, Sugar Bowl - so many places so close to each other, kind of like Summit/Eagle CO. I'm not sure I care if it's not quite as nice as SLC or CO.
I suppose it needs to be a good snow/weather year, and I guess only Northstar, Heavenly, and Squalpine are really destination type resorts? I guess I'll get a taste of it in March and I hope I get a couple of good snow and good weather days.
I spent a winter in Tahoe. It was a very snowy winter. I do not know if it is always the case, but the December and January snow was decidedly lighter and drier than the February and March snow. Far from cement...not quite Colorado blower pow but there was a heck of a lot of it! If this is to be one of those Donner Party years, I suggest you go. Squaw is huge and holds plenty of challenge while having tons of good intermediate terrain.
Lake Tahoe should be in any skiers bucket list. Not a first, second or third top choice for we easterners, but, sooner or later, get there. In my only experience, the snow was very easternish for the first 2 days, then, the snow began to puke, so, we got lucky. As said above, don't go there in a poor snow season. Ski Heavenly on a clear day, the lake views are to die for.
FWIW, my wife and I have skied over 50 different ski resorts around the world (80+ for me) and decided Tahoe is the place we have the most fun. We travel to ski a lot and are always happy to get back to Tahoe. Yes, we go through droughts and rain, but even during last year's horrible snow we had a ton of fun skiing groomers in the sun. This year has been spectacular. It's dumping again right now as I write this. Having said that, as a practical matter it's a hard place to plan a trip to from the east coast. You might get rain, wind, or spring conditions.
I lived in Colorado for 8-years and the skiing can be great, but I'm done flying into Denver in the winter. NEVER. AGAIN. :) Telluride is incredible though, and is our favorite resort. When we go we drive there rather than fly.
SLC is an easy flight and drive to the resorts. We had a place at the base of the Canyons for 10-years and love that area. So many fantastic resorts to choose from. It's cheap staying in SLC. The snow is great. If I lived on the east coast and could only take one trip it would be to there.