Ski, Ride, and Apres at the Best Ski Resorts in the West

While the majesty and splendor of the Cascade Range and the Sierra Nevada Mountains are enough to please anyone, the West also offers some of the best resort experiences in North America. Whether it be basking in California comfort at Northstar, or soaking in the tranquility of Stevens Pass, there is plenty to do off-mountain at the resorts in the West.

Family skiing in Kirkwood, CA.

Explore the Best Mountain Resorts in the West

The West Coast of the United States has some of the most beautiful landscapes in the entire world. From ancient old-growth forests to jagged peaks and cascading rivers, the states of California and Washington exemplify the American West.

During both summer and winter, Lake Tahoe and the Cascade Range attract outdoor enthusiasts from the world over. From mountain biking to rock climbing and powder skiing, the Western United States is synonymous with adventure.

In California, Heavenly has attracted families, as well as pro skiers and riders, to the Lake Tahoe region for decades. Further south of Lake Tahoe, Kirkwood offers a remote Sierra Nevada ski experience with fewer crowds than most ski areas.

Ski and Ride the Day Away

A ski and ride vacation to the West is an unforgettable experience. Whether it be deep powder snow, steep chute runs, or endless views of Lake Tahoe, this region does not disappoint. Even better, each resort in the West caters to families and children, so everyone is guaranteed a good time.

California’s Lake Tahoe Ski Areas

Lake Tahoe is renowned for incredible skiing and riding, unforgettable scenery, and perfect weather. North Lake Tahoe offers quick access from I-80 in either direction, so you can easily get to Northstar from Reno, Sacramento, or San Francisco. South Lake Tahoe is home to Heavenly and Kirkwood, as well as incredible casinos, nightlife, and ski apres options.


Heavenly is the most iconic ski area in the Lake Tahoe region. With over 4,800 skiable acres, Heavenly offers incredible terrain for skiers and riders of all abilities. Even more, Heavenly is the only ski resort that operates across state lines in both Nevada and California.

Heavenly boasts a world-class terrain park that is great for both skiers and riders. Beyond the park, Heavenly has some of the best big mountains and extreme skiing anywhere in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. With over 350 inches in annual snowfall and intense backcountry terrain, expert skiers and riders find all the challenges they need at Heavenly.


Northstar is widely renowned as Lake Tahoe’s premier resort. With convenient slope-side lodging, boutique shops, and incredible terrain parks, Northstar will keep you entertained both day and night. Between long groomed runs and off-piste bumps, Northstar is the full package for California skiing and riding.

Because Northstar has one of the best ski and ride schools in the world, a trip to this resort will really sharpen your family’s skills. Northstar also boasts 6 incredible terrain parks - offering countless features for skiers and riders. If your kids ski and ride the park at Northstar, it’s likely they can watch professionals train at these world-class facilities.

Best of all, one of Northstar’s most unique features is our Mountain Guides. Our Mountain Guides curate experiences for skiers and riders of all levels - whether it’s your first time on the slopes, or you’re an expert looking for your next challenge.


Kirkwood is one of the most unique skiing and riding experiences in the Lake Tahoe region. Located high in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Kirkwood is located near the incredible expanses of the Desolation Wilderness. Because it is located off the beaten path, Kirkwood is home to a unique ski and ride culture all its own.

With a 2,000 ft. vertical drop, as well as 5 different peaks to ski and ride from, Kirkwood has something for beginners and experts alike. Kirkwood provides near-endless groomed runs for beginners and families, as well as off-piste options for more advanced skiers and riders. In fact, Kirwood is renowned among skiers and riders for cliffs, chutes, and big mountain lines.  

Group of Skiers and Riders on South Divide at Stevens Pass

Washington’s Stevens Pass

Stevens Pass in Washington state is one of the oldest ski areas in the country. Located just a short 90-minute drive from Seattle, WA, Stevens Pass is a totally unique ski and ride experience deep in the Cascade Mountains. Surrounded by thousands of acres of National Forest, Stevens Pass has a local community vibe and incredible ski culture - all set amongst the tranquility of the Pacific Northwest.

The Cascade Range is world-famous for abundant powder snow, as well as amazing skiing and riding conditions. In fact, Stevens Pass boasts a 100 inch base for much of the ski and ride season. Stevens Pass also offers night skiing. These added hours of operation give visitors and Seattle residents alike more options for getting on the mountain.

Apres the Night Away

While world-class skiing and riding in the West might bring you to California and Washington, ski apres options will keep you coming back. From late-night shows in South Lake Tahoe to slope-side food and drinks in Stevens Pass, ski apres options on the West Coast are diverse and abundant.

Once done with skiing and riding, your day in the western mountains is far from over. In fact, the base areas of ski resorts in the West offer incredible ski apres options:

  • Fire pits
  • Live music
  • Ice skating
  • Apres-ski cocktails
  • Sleigh rides

South Lake Tahoe has some of the best apres entertainment in the world. When visiting Heavenly and Kirkwood, you can take the whole family into town for dining, shows, and concerts. Adults have the option to visit one of the many casinos in the area, while kids will be blown away at arcades and mini-golf.

At your slopeside condominium or mountain chalet, the whole family can enjoy the pool and hot tub. There’s nothing better after a long day of skiing and riding than soaking in the hot tub and breathing the cold mountain air.

Ski, Ride, and Apres at the Best Ski Resorts in the West

Luckily, you have a ton of great options when booking your ski and ride vacation in the West. Whether it be purchasing an Epic Pass or booking directly through the resort, you can save big on lodging, food, rentals, and more.

Epic Pass holders enjoy unparalleled access to skiing and riding in the West. If Lake Tahoe is your chosen destination, an Epic Pass will get you on the mountain at Heavenly, Northstar, and Kirkwood - you can even ski and ride at multiple resorts in a single day if you wish! Stevens Pass also makes a great stop when visiting the top ski and ride destinations in the United States.

Besides 20% off lodging, food, and rentals, Epic Pass holders receive a ton of extra perks with Epic Mountain Rewards. These include:

  • Epic coverage
  • Discounts on lodging, food, rentals
  • Ski with a friend
  • Buddy passes
  • World-class ski and ride destinations
  • Unparalleled flexibility

With all the uncertainties in the world, Epic Coverage will help ensure your ski and ride trip is insured in the event of an emergency.

To get the very best deals at ski resorts in the West, book directly through the following websites: