Tahoe’s Best Lift Ticket Deals for Family Fun

Courtesy Diamond Peak

The abundant snowfall and amazing terrain of the Tahoe Sierra make it the ideal place for endless family fun in the winter. The activities range from skiing and snowboarding to sledding and ice skating and plenty more to keep the whole family busy.

If you are flexible and plan ahead, you can find discounts on lift tickets, rental equipment, season passes, sledding and more.

But the cost of all those activities can add up fast and although nothing in life is free, there is usually a deal to be found. If you are flexible and plan ahead, you can find discounts on lift tickets, rental equipment, season passes, sledding and more. Here are some deals and discounts to help you save on the next winter adventure with your family.

Free lift ticket | The Plates for Powder program offers a free lift ticket to one of 11 Tahoe downhill and Nordic resorts with the purchase a new Lake Tahoe license plate in either California or Nevada before April 1, 2020. Visit tahoeplates.org for details.

Ski for a cause | Several local nonprofits partner with ski areas to offer discounted lift tickets with proceeds benefitting local causes including the Sierra Community House, Tahoe Truckee Excellence in Education Foundation and Sierra Avalanche Center.

Buy early | The best deals on lift tickets can be found by purchasing them online and in advance. Some resorts, such Heavenly Mountain Resort and Kirkwood Mountain Resort, give bigger discounts for buying seven or more days in advance.

December discounts | Sugar Bowl Ski Resort offers $49 lift tickets for ages 6 to 12, $99 adult tickets and $79 senior tickets until Dec. 31 (any day, even weekends and holidays) if purchased online at least two days in advance.

Buy online | At Homewood Mountain Resort save up to 44 percent off regular prices for tickets at $64. Save even more online at most resorts by buying multi-day tickets.

Go midweek | Many resorts have special promotions midweek online. Get $40 adult lift tickets and $25 child tickets at Donner Ski Ranch during Old School Days, Tuesdays through Thursdays, starting on Jan. 7, 2020, for the entire season, excep from Feb. 18 to 20.

Get a free ticket on Two-fer Tuesdays at Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe with the purchase of one regular-priced adult ticket. Mt. Rose also has Ski G.I.F with $49 lift tickets after 12 p.m. on select Fridays throughout the season.

Birthday present | Receive a free lift ticket on your birthday at Diamond Peak or $20 off your ticket if you have a season pass from any other resort.

Family Pass | Soda Springs has a Family Pass good for two adults and two kids for the season; it is much less expensive than buying four individual passes.

Parent Interchangeable tickets | Families with small children can save on babysitting costs and lift tickets with a parent Interchangeable ticket available at Tahoe Donner Downhill and Diamond Peak. This ticket is transferrable between parents with non-skiing children, allowing caregivers to take turns on the slopes. The parent Interchangeable tickets are usually close to or the same as the cost of one adult lift ticket.

Kids ski free | If the little ones are skiing or riding with you, Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, Northstar California, Heavenly, Homewood, Kirkwood and Sierra-at-Tahoe offer free lift tickets for age 4 and younger. At Sugar Bowl, age 5 and younger ski for free; at Diamond Peak, age 6 and younger ski for free.

On the cross-country trails, kids ski free at age 4 and younger at Northstar Cross Country, 6 and younger at Tahoe Donner Cross Country, 12 and younger at Royal Gorge and 18 and younger at Tahoe Cross Country.

Deals on lessons | For kids learning how to ski or snowboard, some resorts have extra savings on beginner lift tickets, rental equipment and lessons. Take three beginner lessons at Boreal Mountain and receive a free season pass with its Take 3 Ride Free program. Homewood has a similar program with the same benefit and Diamond Peak has $44 beginner lift tickets. Save more and buy a package that includes the lift ticket, lesson and rental equipment.

Tube time | The savings continue with affordable winter activities off the slopes. Tubing at Granlibakken is $20 to $25 per day or $100 for an unlimited sled pass for the season. Planet Kids at Soda Springs is a snowplay area designed for ages 7 and younger; it includes a tubing carousel, tubing lanes, snow volcanoes to climb, an area in which to learn to ski or snowboard and snowmobile rides. An all-access pass for most of the activities starts at $25 per day; snowmobile rides are $10 extra.

Free skating | Head to Northstar for free ice skating if you have your own skates; skate rentals are available for $20 and helmet rentals are free.