^they normally only close half of the road around the lake (the part around Emerald Bay is generally shut down all winter and never plowed) the East Side of the lake road is always open.
though, agreed, you don't really want to be driving back and forth from NS to SS.
here's the basic break down:
South Shore you have Sierra at Tahoe, Kirkwood, and Heavenly. Both S@T and KW are a ways out of SLT proper, while Heavenly is smack dab in the middle of the casinos. There is no street parking during the day time in SLT around Heavenly, so either you need to be at a hotel/motel with a shuttle or pay for parking (unless you drive to the free lots @ Heavenly). S@T has a shuttle that runs from SLT to the mountain. I don't think KW does. Both are a bit of a drive if you decide to ride them and are staying in SLT (which is really the only place to stay).
North Shore you will have the option of accessing a lot more hills.
Sugar Bowl, Boreal (mostly park skiing here), Alpine Meadows, Squaw Valley, Homewood, and Northstar, also a short jog to Incline.
In terms of where to stay you have Truckee, Tahoe City, and Kings Beach.
While there are casinos on North Shore, they aren't as glitzy (though this is a relative term since none of the casinos in Tahoe/Reno are as glitzy as Vegas) and are further away (i.e. you'll have to drive 30-45 minutes from either Truckee or TC). That said, they offer some cheaper lodging options (though you will be further away from the hills, so you get what you pay for).
In terms of how all the resorts weigh out, Heavenly, Squaw, and Northstar are set up more as "destination" resorts with villages at the base and all the amenities you would expect. KW, AM, SB, HW are a bit more local and presently set up for day trading only (i.e. ski in for the day, drive out).
In terms of size, Squaw and Heavenly are definitely the BIG boys with the most acreage. Then you'd probably have North Star, followed by KW, AM, S@T, and SB.
Lodging options are probably going to be greater and overall cheaper in SLT and you could easily spend 3 days trapsing around Heavenly and still not hit everything, then take day trips to S@T and KW to round things out. If you want it to stay mean and lean and compact, that's probably the way to go.
If you want to ski at a different slope every day, then I'd go Nort Shore, stay in Truckee and hit Sugarbowl, Alpine Meadows, and Squaw, and then maybe Northstar (trick is to ski the backside here or you'll get stuck in gridlock on the frontside blues) or Homewood (which is small, but friendly).