If you read Pit Stops for Kids’ ski coverage regularly, you know we’re big fans of Lake Tahoe, CA skiing. I grew up in the area, skiing at resorts throughout Tahoe, and we try to visit our favorite resorts at least once a season. However, until our visit last month, it had been YEARS since I’d been at Boreal Mountain Resort.
One of the oldest and most established ski resorts in the Tahoe region, Boreal has always been known for its terrain parks, affordability, and easy access from I-80. I remember it best as the first Tahoe resort (to my knowledge) to allow snowboarding. Ever since, it’s been snowboard-centric. Because I’ve never been an avid snowboarder or lover of big jumps, Boreal hasn’t been on my radar for some time.
However, I now have three kids who love terrain parks (one of whom exclusively snowboards). I knew they’d love Boreal’s five terrain parks and half-pipe. But as one of the most affordable resorts in Tahoe, Boreal is on the small side. Before we arrived, I wondered whether its acreage would keep us occupied for a full day.
Enter Woodward Tahoe, located directly at the base of Boreal. This indoor action sport training facility is every kid’s dream: it’s filled with indoor trampolines, foam pits, skate parks, ramps, and more. With a Boreal OnePass, you get access to Woodward in addition to the slopes at Boreal (and nearby Soda Springs ski area if you’re interested). We got our tickets through The M.A.X. Pass, which is a 39-mountain season pass that includes Boreal (more on that below).
How Boreal and Woodward work together:
When you arrive at Boreal and get your Boreal OnePass, you have access to both Woodward and Boreal. Woodward is used in several ways: extreme action sport athletes use it for serious training, classes and camps are offered, and single use sessions are available to the public. To use Woodward during your ski day, you’ll want to make a reservation. Your OnePass gets you a three-hour session, which we found to be more than enough time. We opted to make a Woodward reservation for after lunch, then skied and snowboarded all morning, switching to indoors in the afternoon. Of course, you could do the reverse.
First-timers at Woodward need to take a 30 minute orientation session, in which instructors explain the equipment and show you the proper way to jump (and fall) safely. It’s easy and really helpful. After that, you’re let loose on all the trampolines, foam pits, ramps, and ropes. If you want to use a scooter (to jump off ramps into a pit), you can rent one by the hour. I believe it was $15/hour. Kids can also bring their own, as well as their own BMX bikes or skateboards. To skateboard and ride, helmets are required. We simply used our ski helmets. Check out our favorite Woodward video!
You’ll want to bring a change of clothes for anyone playing in Woodward before or after skiing or snowboarding; there are bathrooms to change in at Woodward, and cubbies in which to store your ski stuff. There’s a nice counter-service lunch and drink place upstairs, where there’s also a nice viewing and lounging area for anyone not participating.
What to expect on the slopes at Boreal:
As noted above, Boreal is known for its terrain parks, and it definitely delivers. We were there in late December, and not every terrain park was up and running yet, but there were still about four to pick from. As a parent, I appreciated the option of an extra-small park, where the jumps and ramps were beginner-sized. Sometimes, beginners and young kids can get in the way or even hurt on large terrain parks. From there, it goes up all the way to expert level. There’s a half pipe, and an additional park called Neff Land, which is sponsored by Neff and includes fun elements like tunnels and side walls.
For those not into terrain parks (like me), Boreal has a surprising amount of glade and off-piste skiing, which I found on the extreme far sides of the resort. The Cedar Ridge chair was especially lovely, with a ride up the mountain amid deep forests. While the overall ambiance at Boreal is still snowboarder-centric, I did find my own place there.
Using The M.A.X. Pass:
As noted above, I visited Boreal after so many years because it is one of the 39 resorts included in our M.A.X. Pass, which our family is trying out this year. Yes, you read that right: the M.A.X. Pass includes 39 different resorts across the US. Many are on the east coast, with a handful in Utah, Colorado, California, and the Pacific Northwest. I’ll be reviewing additional M.A.X. Pass resorts later this winter. For $749, M.A.X. Pass users get five days at each of the resorts, with no blackout dates. I buy a season pass at our local mountain annually, and I can tell you it’s not far off that $749 price just for one property. If your family plans to spend five days at a single M.A.X. Pass resort on vacation this winter, plus could use the pass for a day here and there throughout the rest of the season, the value is definitely there. Check out all the resorts offered on the MAX Pass.
I visited Boreal in partnership with the M.A.X. Pass, for the purpose of review. All opinion remains my own.