Truly the crown jewel of the High Sierra, Lake Tahoe strategically straddles two states bringing together California’s laidback vibe with Nevada’s anything goes attitude. One of the most beloved ski regions on the planet, Lake Tahoe boasts fifteen downhill resorts and seven cross-country areas, more resorts in close proximity than any other winter destination in North America.

It’s easy to start tossing around superlatives when it comes to describing Lake Tahoe, just take a look at recent accolades bestowed on the region by trusted ski and travel authorities. USA Today voted it “America’s Best Lake” while Travel + Leisure christened Lake Tahoe the “Most Beautiful Lake in America.” It’s perennially been on the New York Times list of “Best Places to Go” and Powder Magazine named it “the most iconic, influential ski region in North America.”

Home to the 1960 Winter Olympics, Lake Tahoe’s storied history has included many colorful, celebrity figures that helped carve its prominent place in ski lore: Frank Sinatra owned a casino, Stein Eriksen served as a regional ski school director and Hot Dog the Movie was actually filmed on the slopes of Lake Tahoe. Don’t be surprised to be sharing a chairlift with an Olympic gold medalist as the list of professional athletes who call Lake Tahoe home reads like a “who’s who” in the sport: Jonny Moseley, Julia Mancuso, Glen Plake, Jamie Anderson, Shane McConkey, Jeremy Jones, Scott Schmidt, Shaun Palmer, David Wise…and the list goes on and on.

So just what is it that makes Lake Tahoe one of a kind? Beyond its obvious natural beauty and pristine mountain setting, Lake Tahoe also benefits from reliable snowfall without too many grey skies: more than 450 inches of annual snowfall while still seeing close to 300 days of sunshine. The region also offers an endless variety of winter vacation experiences both on and off the slopes, uniquely including Vegas-style gaming and entertainment. Factor in the convenience of the Reno-Tahoe International Airport – which has yet to close due to snow – and you can quickly see why Lake Tahoe sits atop of most people’s “must-ski” list.

Breath-taking natural beauty

Once described by Mark Twain as “the fairest picture the whole world affords”, nearly every moment spent in Lake Tahoe is worthy of a postcard. The cobalt blue waters of Lake Tahoe itself serve as an infinite reflecting pool with 72 miles of circuitous shoreline ringed by the snowcapped peaks of the Pacific Crest and Desolation Wilderness.

Very few destinations can rival Lake Tahoe’s setting. Skiers and snowboarders can take in unimpeded views of the Sierra Nevada from lift-served peaks of more than 10,000 feet and still spend the afternoon boulder hopping in Sand Harbor to gaze down into the crystal clear waters of Lake Tahoe. No need to choose between beach or mountains, Lake Tahoe has it all.

Lake Tahoe’s unique geology instantly captures the imagination of the snow-minded as the granite faces and volcanic buttresses turn into massive playgrounds on a powder day with pillow drops, narrow chutes, and finger-like spines all providing for pure bliss. Wide open bowls and picturesque cirques on the upper mountains quickly give way to perfectly-spaced tree skiing lower down as old growth forests still hide the occasional Ponderosa and Sugar Pine.

The perfect blend of sun and snow

The chairlift towers at Lake Tahoe resorts must be made of snow magnets. Powerful storms regularly peel off the Pacific Ocean dropping snowfall measured in feet rather than inches followed by predictable periods of sunshine – the perfect recipe for a bluebird powder day.

Last year’s “Godzilla” El Niño season had chairlifts turning in Lake Tahoe from early November to the end of May with multiple storms cresting the four-foot mark. Given the bullish forecast for the upcoming 2016-17 winter season, resort operators are targeting opening dates in early November. To hedge their bets, the resorts have invested millions of dollars in state-of-the-art snowmaking systems, the largest such systems on the West Coast, ensuring reliable early season coverage on most major runs.

Endless variety both on and off the slopes

Beyond its 125 chairlifts, 500 breath-taking runs and 22,000 acres of legendary terrain, Lake Tahoe is home to a vibrant nightlife and entertainment scene with eclectic restaurants, boisterous bars, intimate live music venues and refined art galleries topping the list of things to do. Thanks to extensive base area renovations, the ski resorts themselves now boast pedestrian-friendly, modern mountain villages that serve as beehives of activity long after the chairlifts stop turning.

Families will find no shortage of way to create lasting memories during a Lake Tahoe vacation. Beyond the traditional winter activities such as ice skating and tubing, the resorts have broadened the on-mountain experiences to include zip lines, mountain coasters, bungee trampolines, even mini-snowmobiles. For the truly adventurous, sign up for a scenic helicopter tour, mush a dogsled team or take a paddlewheeler cruise to Emerald Bay, one of the most photographed spots in the world.

Vegas meets the High Sierra

How about paying for your entire trip with the single roll of the dice? Lake Tahoe is the only domestic winter destination to offer Vegas-style gaming at the base of its slopes. The boundary-pushing nightclubs housed in the casinos stay open long after the last call in California with world-renown DJs, aerial silk artists and body-painted dancers setting the mood for all-night celebrations. Fitting of a town known as the Biggest Little City in the World, nearby Reno venues regularly book headlining musical acts and live performances from big-name entertainers.

Make turns right off the tarmac

Less than an hour drive from most major resorts, the Reno-Tahoe International Airport continues to make the slopes more accessible with new non-stop flights being added this season from New York, Atlanta, Dallas, Orange County and Los Angeles. Named one of the “Best Airports for Skiers” by SKI Magazine, RTIA now offers nonstop service to more than 23 major cities and one-stop service to almost anywhere in the world. The airport has yet to experience a closure due to snow and more than $27.5 million in recent renovations are waiting to welcome destination travelers.

To reserve the ultimate ski or snowboard vacation this winter season, simply click on the “book now” button on the right side of this page to access further trip planning details and web-only deals for the individual Ski Lake Tahoe resorts.