Winter Kids Snow Activities in Lake Tahoe

Four Year Old Skiing

Four year old girl riding the ski lift up the mountain at Alpine Village Ski Resort in Lake Tahoe.
Four year old girl riding the ski lift up the mountain at Alpine Village Ski Resort in Lake Tahoe.

5 Things to do in Lake Tahoe During the Winter

  • Hire a babysitter to watch the kids. NorthStar has baby sitting services at the golf course. The kids are pretty young here, but our daughter hurt her foot and couldn't ski. She's six. She watched movies and played. Thought it was great, but wasn't sure if she wanted to do a second day. The rest of the family skied.
  • Ski. Kids can start to ski around age three. Private instructors are available at the resort and experts can be hired for less through Craigslist. Even if you ski with the kids, having an extra set of expert hands goes a long way. Ages 3+.
  • Dog Sledding. The golf course at Squaw Valley becomes a dog sled track. Great for all ages.
  • Tubing and Sledding. Available at most resorts. Kids 2+ can do this.
  • Snow mobiling. There are tours to snow mobile. There are wieght limits for kids, so most likely your child needs to be 7+ years old.

Ski With the Kids

We have spent a lot of time in the Snow at Lake Tahoe. The good news is there are tons of activities to do with kids, but very few activities you can do with children under two.

For kids that are ready to ski, Northstar is the most family friendly ski resort I've found in lake tahoe. They make it extremely easy to access ski rentals, lessons, and even have baby sitting options for kids over two. Our seven year old loved the lessons, learned to ski after one day and by her third day, she could slowly ski down blue runs. She loved it. The only downside is the cost. It's well over $100 a day for a child to ski, rent skis and get lessons.

I also taught our three year old daughter how to ski.

Sledding and Tubing is Great for Young Children in the Snow

Activity number two for kids we did was tubing and sledding in Lake Tahoe. While there are resorts that have places designed for sledding, we opted for a nearby hillside from the house we rented in NorthStar. On another day, the older kids skied Granlibakken, which is much less expensive than Northstar, but is also pretty fun for a more casual atomosphere. At Granlibakken, I did sledding with our one year old daughter. She loved it until I put my feet down while we were going really fast (to slow us down) and snow shot up and sprayed her in the face. After that. "No sled no more." - Lila Edmondson one year old.

Sleding and tubing can be done for free by finding a hillside or just sliding down the driveway after a good dump of snow.

Dog Sledding is a great thing to do in Lake Tahoe with young children

Siberian Husky mixed breed sled dogs
Siberian Husky mixed breed sled dogs
The team of sled dogs that pulled us on the track
The team of sled dogs that pulled us on the track
The homemade dog sled by the Lake Tahoe Wilderness Tour Group
The homemade dog sled by the Lake Tahoe Wilderness Tour Group
My young kids just before we went dog sledding
My young kids just before we went dog sledding
The dogs pulling the sled
The dogs pulling the sled
View from the sled is the Squaw Creek Golf Course and the Squaw Valley Ski Resort
View from the sled is the Squaw Creek Golf Course and the Squaw Valley Ski Resort
The ten dogs pulling the sled
The ten dogs pulling the sled
More sled dogs
More sled dogs
Dogs and view
Dogs and view
Julia driving the dog sled.  The guide was super nice to the young kids
Julia driving the dog sled. The guide was super nice to the young kids
The three of us in the dog sled.  Very comfortable.
The three of us in the dog sled. Very comfortable.
One more picture of the dog sled and the sun going down.
One more picture of the dog sled and the sun going down.

Dog Sledding with the Kids

So skiing and tubing are great, but what activities do you do with kids under two? You can't take them to Northstar for daycare while you ski until they are at least two. Ahh, take them dog sledding at the Squaw Creek Resort. My wife and I were taking turns staying back with our youngest children and I really wanted to get out of the house. I looked up snowmobiling, which sounds super fun, but you have to be five years old, so I couldn't bring the kids and I don't think my wife would be happy if I went and left the little kids in the car. But, I kept looking around and found out about dog sledding.

There are wilderness tours through the Squaw Creek Resort that will take you dog sledding. About ten Siberian husky dogs that are mixed with setter and hound - to lean them out, so says the guide, will pull you in a sled. Apparently, they are similarly bred as the dogs used in the world famous iditarod. These dogs are about 40 lbs and they pull hand made dog sleds across a track that is a golf course in the dry season, but it makes a scenic dog track or cross country ski track in the winter. The best part about dog sledding in Lake Tahoe, is that it's a great activity for young children. The sled is dry and they provide a blanket, although you'll want to dress appropriately for the winter and have gloves. The guides that give the tour know a ton about sled dogs as you might imagine. I learned that they poop about three times a day - I think I saw every dog do it at least once. I'd say this is the only downside of the trip as you will get several strong whiffs of dog poop. During the winter, when the dogs are pulling the sleds, they eat about 6000 calories a day. Their diet has added chicken and beef fat. They can easily pull 500 lbs which is the max weight of the sleigh, but the guide says that they can pull up to 1000 lbs. They also have amazing stamina as they can do several miles a day.

If you do go for the dog sledding trip, you can get about four average sized people in a sled. Two adults and two kids. The price is pretty expensive. For a 45 minute dog sled ride, it was $165 for the three of us. They didn't charge me for the one year old. And, the ride is pretty, but it's a fairly flat ride that goes a bit in a circle through the golf course. The ride is mellow with a top speed of maybe ten miles per hour, so it's plenty safe for small children, but large kids might get a little bored after the first twenty minutes. Other than that, little kids will love it, and it's a nice way to get out and do an activity with young children.

Sled Dog Quiz

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Comments 9 comments

amulets profile image

amulets 6 years ago from Singapore

Sounds like a nice place for a holiday. I have heard of Lake Tahoe and with your description, it will be fun to have vacation with family. Next holiday plan will try to visit Lake Tahoe.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States

Paul, That sounds like a great place for a family vacation in the winter. We were there in the summer with out children and it is one of the most beautiful areas anywhere.


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

It looks so lovely and it must a great holiday to have there. Thank you.


Ten Blogger profile image

Ten Blogger 6 years ago

Good one ! I like the pics. We love the Sierra Ski resort too.. They have all day program for kids as well.


ethel smith profile image

ethel smith 6 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

A long way for me but glad you all had fun


TahoeDoc profile image

TahoeDoc 6 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California

Nice. I live in South Lake Tahoe, and it really is tough to do a lot with very young kids, especially if you don't have a sitter with you. If you are in South Lake, the resorts here also have some child care and ski programs. There is an ice-skating rink at Heavenly village and some good hills for sledding. One of the casino/hotels has an indoor playground (kind of like a McDonald's playland thing) and an arcade. I'll try to find the best things for little ones and, as I discover them, add to my hubs too.


Ski Vacation 5 years ago

Skiing is an outdoor adventure during winter that the whole family will enjoy.


TJ 5 years ago

I am planning to go to Lake Tahoe sometime in the last wk of December for about 1 or 2 days, from San Francisco. Would one day be enough? Which day should I select? My kids are 12 and 6.


Paul Edmondson profile image

Paul Edmondson 5 years ago from Burlingame, CA Author

Id suggest staying two nights. In December there is s ton to do if the snow is good. Worst case you feel like you need to come back.

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