Alpine Meadows Review

Alpine Meadows, California

We used to ski at Alpine every year or so when the kids were learning to ski.  When we were going there they had some great lift ticket deals for kids, so it was popular with families.  They would also often stay open into late May or June, so we did some late Spring skiing there.  We haven’t been back in a number of years since we now have a house in South Lake Tahoe.

Alpine Meadows is part of Palisades Tahoe, and as of the 22/23 season they are connected via a gondola.  You can’t ski between them so the gondola is just for transportation on the Alpine Meadows side.  The stats below are just for the Alpine Meadows side.  The combined stats are shown on the Palisades Tahoe page where we give the combined resort a 4-star rating.

Alpine Bowl at Alpine Meadows, March 2001

Alpine Bowl at Alpine Meadows, March 2001


Real Vertical ? 1,802′
Size 2,400 Acres
Annual Snowfall ? 402″ claimed / 363″ actual
Lift Pods ? 9
Distinct Trails ? 100
Review Date (multiple visits from 2001-2014)
Number of visits 8 +-
Resort website
Alpine Meadows Trail Map

Alpine Meadows Trail Map

Alpine Meadows Review

Although we are not Alpine regulars, we have always had a great time there.  It is a very interesting area with a nice variety of steeper blue and black runs, and a large open bowl on the back side called Sherwood.  They do some steeper grooming than a lot of places do.  There is some great easily accessible side-country that attracts a lot of experienced locals, much like Kirkwood does.  In fact Alpine and Kirkwood are very similar in many ways, with a similar vibe about the place.

The good

  • There are plenty of steeps to be had on just about every aspect of the mountain, so this is a great place for experts.
  • Advanced skiers will enjoy the steep groomers and bumps.
  • There is some easily accessed sidecountry.
  • Actual reported snowfall is in the top 10 for North America.

The bad

  • Long lines at the Sherwood chair on weekends
  • Getting to the resort on a powder day is impossible with long backups from Truckee
  • Some of the other chairs like Lakeview and Scott could use updating
  • There is only 1800 vertical, and much of the top is steep so long blues are absent, and most of the runs will be top-to-bottom runs, which feels a bit limiting at times
  • The elevation is too low and the snow quality suffers because of it

The bottom line

Alpine is a great resort and if we lived in the North Lake Tahoe area it would probably be one of our regulars on a rotation along with the Palisades Tahoe Olympic Valley side and Northstar.  However, we chose to live in South Lake due to the better overall skiing experience (for us) at Kirkwood and Heavenly so it doesn’t really end up on our list of resorts to ski any more.  In recent years the traffic situation has gotten notoriously bad which is the biggest factor in the 4 star rating for the combined Palisades resort instead of 5 stars.

Alpine Meadows summit

Alpine Meadows summit March, 2001

One thought on “Alpine Meadows Review

  1. jay furman

    Tired of Heavenly, I and Cousins of my Wife skied there some years ago. I was with some Black Diamond folks so I drifted away til Sundown. Fun day, Steep in history and a great afternoon in the Sun.


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