Palisades Tahoe Ski Resort Review

Formerly known as Squaw Valley & Alpine Meadows, Palisades Tahoe is now the resort name for both “Olympic Valley & Alpine Meadows”

Palisades Tahoe is Ranked #1 Ski Resort in Lake Tahoe

Olympic Valley Trail Map
Alpine Meadows Trail Map

Olympic Valley (formerly Squaw Valley) is the home of the 1960 Olympics and is considered to be Tahoe’s premier destination for top skiers around the globe. The name and landmark of the Palisades are the iconic cliffs found at the top of Headwall and offers Expert to Extreme skiing for those seeking the ultimate test of their skills. Legends like Scott Schmitt and Glen Plake launched their professional ski movie careers careening 50+ feet off the massive cornice on the top.

The Palisades are one of the most Iconic extreme skiing fun zones in the Tahoe region

This year Olympic Valley and Alpine Meadows will be connected with a “Lodge to Lodge” gondola enabling skiers to traverse these two massive mountains. This is great for those staying at the Olympic Valley Village, enabling you to spend a full week or three exploring all the great runs, aspects, and hidden gems of both mountains. It will be interesting to see if each resort maintains their unique vibe. Historically Alpine Meadows attracted a low key, family oriented, and more “crunchy” crowd, where “Squaw” has been the more iconic, extreme skiing, Warren Miller Movie, US Ski Team breading ground for a pure “Rock and Roll” level ski vibe.

Personally I have always loved both resorts and each is worth exploring to a great extent. The Alpine Meadows side has always received about 25% more snow and has some of the best powder skiing in North Lake Tahoe. There are great powder bowls, cutes, and hidden grooves off of most all chairs at Alpine. Olympic Valley is more known for its steeps, cornices, cliffs, and terrain parks. Olympic Valley completely “goes off” on a powder day and you’ll see all the big leapers go for it off the Palisades, KT22 Fingers, Mainline Pocket, and Granite Chief Peak.

KT 22 defines Olympic Valley with big bowls, steep chutes, cliffs, and tree cut mogul runs

There is plenty to do at the Olympic Valley Village with shopping, restaurants, lodging, ice skating, and cross country skiing. Also, you can visit or stay in Truckee or Tahoe City just 10 minutes away where you’ll find more dining and lodging options. It’s very much worthwhile hitting up Tahoe City which sits on the shores of Lake Tahoe – the views are amazing and town has a fun and vibrant ski scene.

Olympic Valley Terrain

Olympic Valley Resort is broken out into four distinct skiing areas stemming from 6,200′ ft base, and 8,200′ mid mountain lodge. From the 6’200 base area skier generally flock to KT 22 where you can access the Olympic Bowl, Mosleys, the Saddle, Cute 75, and the Fingers. Red Dog lift offers great groomed runs and tree skiing alike. The other main area rises up from Squaw Creek where you’ll find some incredible tree skiing and tight cutes as well as some long and meandering groomers.

Up at 8,200′ ft the snow gets colder and deeper and offers skiing for all abilities. You can take a ride on the majestic Tram or shoot up the Gondola taking you up top. Upper Olympic valley is mostly devoid of trees and offers wide open groomed runs for beginners and intermediates, as well as access to the Headwall, Sun Bowl, and Palisades for advanced and expert skiers. 8,200 offers a backside which is one of the most popular areas of the mountain with fun groomers on Shirley Lake and Solitude, and advanced, expert, and extreme skiing off of Granite Chief.

Alpine Meadows Terrain

Much like Olympic Valley, Alpine offers many unique skiing zones, Summit Chair, and Scott Chair are where the advanced and expert skiers can challenge themselves on their steepest slopes. Alpine Bowl and Sherwood Forrest offer amazing wide open groomed runs for intermediates, as well as some of the best powder skiing for the advanced and expert skiers. Beginners are generally sequestered to skiing off the lower slopes, but runs are wide open and very approachable for those learning to ski. On a powder day there each lift offers a great diversity of wide open bowls, cutes, and trees – generally favoring those willing to traverse far left and right or hike to get lap after lap of deep snow.

Palisades Tahoe Ratings

Palisades Tahoe Overall Ratings