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The Best Least Expensive Ski Park at Lake Tahoe, California

Updated on March 13, 2009

 There is no question that if you are strapped for cash and yet need to ski the best place at Lake Tahoe, California is at the Homewood Ski Park, which located on the west side of this huge pristine lake.

Yeah, I am sure others will disagree because of the other top ski parks that surround the lake, like: Squaw Valley (home to the 1960 Olympics), Northstar, Alpine Meadows, Boreal and others. But Homewood Ski Park offers you the same awesome, breathtaking views and vistas for about half the price. It is also less crowded. Homewood offers you many ski runs, some 65% of them are for beginners or intermediate level. The remaining are for the pros. More than challenging. There are more than 60 trails.

From the 7880 ft. level, the Rainbow Ridge run is wide and its panoramic vista covers most of this lake. Being centrally located on the west side, the views are better than the resorts much further towards the north end. 

And the prices?

  • Lift Tickets: $40 all day, if you time it right, the cost is $29!
  • Ski rental:   $28 for half day, $35 all day
  • If you ski two consecutive days, the lift ticket is $35.

Compare these prices to those of other "elite" ski resorts which all range from $55-75 for a lift ticket.

Granted, skiing is not cheap, but the few days one can go is well worth it. Learning to ski is not hard. At Homewood, they offer an all day class that many kids take and by the afternoon, they are zig-zagging down some of the intermediate slopes-no kidding. An adult can learn the basics in four hours time, at least I did. Then, I took the lift to the top and slowly went down as the pros whizzed by me. The views are simply spectacular!

The one thing hard to get down is dismounting from the lift. It sounds easy, but depending on the location of the dismount, even the best can fall during the dismount. It is one of those things that you simply must do until you get over the fear factor and learn from others: on approach, ski tips up, drag the back of the skis when the ski touches snow, scoot forward in the seat and be ready for dismount, let the chair push you away. Jumping ahead of time will cause a disaster. Since you cannot use your poles in a dismount, you have to balance and stop in a short time, as the lift continues on and others will be getting off. Once you have done this a few times, it is easy.

As a beginner, you fear is going downhill on an icy slope. Just do what we all do, you zig-zag from right to left down the slope at a pace that is one you can handle. If you must stop, turn the tips of the skis inwards. The real rush is when you are streaking downhill and are confident you can stop on a dime by digging the skis deep into the snow at an angle. Nothing like it.

Beginners always have an issue with turning. The trick is to lightly raise one ski and shifting your weight in the direction of the turn while preventing the skis from crossing one another, which means, crashing.

Another reason why Homewood is good is that there are numerous small cottages to stay at, like Tahoma Meadows Cottages, about 10 min. south of the ski park. These are wonderful, fully modern, yet rustic one-two bedroom cottages right along the lake. They provide a free breakfast to some, depending on the cottage you stay at. Prices are higher than some at $200 a night. Most have their own kitchen. They are also pet friendly, unlike many others.

Tired of skiing? Check out Sugar Point State Park. Visit the fascinating mansion built there in 1910. How they did this is beyond me, but walking through it is like visiting that time period. In the summer, it is a wonderful place to kick back and sit on the beack. Even in winter or spring, with the snow covering it, it remains awesome. The hill near the house is excellent for serious sledding, just don't end up in the lake!


Midway up at Homewood

Going to the top

Homewood base

At sugar point park


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