Guide to Truckee-Tahoe Winter Activities in 2020/21 (COVID edition)

The 2020/21 winter season may look different from what you’re used to but there is still plenty of fun to be had! Luckily for us, Truckee is full of outdoor adventures where you can social distance in the crisp mountain air. From downhill skiing to ice skating, use this guide to find out what winter activities are open in Truckee and Lake Tahoe during COVID-19.

Disclaimer: The information in this post is based on ski resort opening announcements and may change depending on the current Nevada and Placer County COVID status. Check ahead before visiting to stay up to date with the latest information.

Know before you go. Bookmark these key links for winter updates and information:

  1. Northstar California Resort
  2. Boreal Mountain California
  3. Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows: 2020/21 Winter Experience 
  4. Sugar Bowl Resort: Guide to the 2020/21 Winter Season
  5. Tahoe Donner Downhill Ski Resort: Winter Operations Update 
  6. Homewood Mountain Resort: 2020/21 What to Expect This Winter 

Where can I go downhill skiing and snowboarding without a reservation?

This winter, most ski resorts require reservations for day tickets. For the best availability, plan ahead and purchase your tickets early. Have a season pass? Most resorts are not requiring pass holders to make reservations, with the exception of Northstar California. Consider purchasing a season pass at your favorite resort for the most flexibility to ski and ride.

Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows – Day tickets must be purchased online. No reservations required for season pass holders. Tickets and passes.

Northstar California – Season pass holders will get priority access to reservations. Day tickets go on sale December 8th. A limited number of tickets will be available on the mountain. Purchase online or by phone. Tickets and passes.

Sugar Bowl – Day tickets must be purchased online, one day prior to arrival. No reservations required for season pass holders (subject to change). Season pass sales have paused. Tickets and passes.

Homewood Mountain Resort – Day tickets must be purchased online, along with a parking reservation. No reservations required for season pass holders. Tickets and passes.

Boreal Mountain California – Day tickets must be purchased online. No reservations for season pass holders.

Tahoe Donner Downhill Resort – Day tickets go on sale November 30th and must be purchased online ahead of time. No reservations required for season pass holders. Tickets and passes.

Soda Springs Mountain Resort –  Day tickets must be purchased online. No reservations for season pass holders. Tickets and passes.

Donner Ski Ranch – First come first served at ticket windows. Tickets and passes.

Where can I go sledding?

Families love winter vacations in Truckee for the endless sledding opportunities! With a little creativity, any neighborhood hill can become a winter fun zone for slipping and sliding on snow. Explore your rental home’s magical backyard to find your own personal sledding spot.

Where can I go tubing?

Several resorts in the Truckee/Tahoe region offer tubing for the 2020/21 winter season. Here’s a brief rundown on each.

Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows  – At this time, we have no definitive answers on the status of Snow Tubing at Squaw Alpine. Keep an eye on this Snow Tubing page for future updates.

Northstar California – Tubing closed.

Boreal Mountain California – Tahoe Tubing open at reduced capacity. Advanced reservations required. Face coverings and gloves must be worn at all times.

Soda Springs Mountain Resort – Tube Town open at reduced capacity. Advanced reservations required. Face coverings and gloves must be worn at all times.

Donner Ski Ranch – Tubing open. Learn more.

Tahoe Donner Snowplay – Tubing and sledding open starting December 18th (conditions permitting). Online reservations required, available to purchase starting December 7th. Learn more

Donner Summit SNO-PARK – Bring your own sled and tube and enjoy tubing at the scenic Donner Summit. Purchase a SNO-PARK permit ahead of time. 

Where can I go ice skating?

The Truckee Ice Rink, located at the Truckee River Regional Park, is scheduled to open on November 25th, conditions permitting. Make a reservation ahead of time online. All time slots are for 90 minutes. Book Now

The Northstar Village Ice Skating rink has closed for the start of the season but may open mid-December. 

There have been no announcements on ice skating at Squaw Valley’s High Camp. Check back to Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows’ Activity Finder for future updates. 

What do I need to plan ahead for?

Here’s a tip, this winter is all about planning! As resorts, restaurants, and businesses adapt to the evolving COVID situation, you’ll need to plan ahead and book early to secure tickets and reservations.  

Order takeout, curbside pickup or delivery for dining and groceries.

Indoor dining availability may change throughout the winter so plan to explore Truckee’s takeout food scene instead. Order in to enjoy farm to table eats from premier Truckee Tahoe chefs from the comfort of your rental cabin. Most restaurants, food shops, and groceries stores offer curbside pickup, and some even offer home delivery.

Looking for a quick takeaway lunch on your way home from the slopes? Try these Truckee grab-n-go restaurants:

  • Full Belly Deli – All kinds of sandwiches and delicious breakfast burritos!
  • Golden Rotisserie – Flavorful Mexican fare including burritos, tacos, and more.
  • Truckee Food Shop – Grocery staples and tasty prepared meals, like Fish n’ Chips! 
  • Front Street Pizza – Pizza, pizza, pizza! Put a couple of slices in your pocket or order a bake-at-home pie.

Make your car the ultimate base lodge. 

With limited indoor access to resorts, come prepared to make your car your base lodge for a full day of skiing and riding. Bring plenty of supplies and prepare like you would for tailgating. Here’s a checklist of things you might want to have in your car.

  • Lots of snacks and water
  • A Hydroflask thermos filled with hot cocoa or tea
  • Camp chairs
  • Extra dry layers
  • Hand warmers
  • Bring your own bar, there will be limited alcohol at resorts
  • Yeti cooler for cold beverages like beer or wine

If you’re not skiing or riding, enjoy a cozy day at your rental.

It will be challenging to have a non-skier along for the ride this year. Indoor access is limited and some resorts are not allowing non-skiing family members at their lodges. So what can you do instead? Plan a cozy stay at the cabin with a new read from Word After Word Bookstore. Order a farm fresh Harvest Box from the Tahoe Food Hub and delve into that recipe you’ve been wanting to try (pairs well with a bottle from Uncorked Truckee). Or snag a pair of snowshoes from a nearby outdoor gear shop and go for a snowy adventure close to your rental! 

Apres ski won’t exist as it has in years past. Some resorts are reducing alcohol sales and closing bars entirely. Instead of the usual apres, head to Truckee’s Historic Downtown and experience al fresco dining in a winter wonderland or do apres at the cabin, just be sure to get s’mores supplies ahead of time!