When families think of skiing at Tahoe, they usually think of big, expensive resorts with fancy hotels and all the latest in snow science and technology (apps that track your laps, anyone?). Tahoe skiing IS all this and more, but there are still a few Tahoe ski resorts that remain the same as when I grew up here in the ’80s…and that’s a good thing.
Homewood Mountain Resort is the very first Tahoe ski resort I ever skied as a child, and I remember the ‘wow factor’ well: that first chair up Homewood’s face, you feel like you’re flying. Behind you, the lake is a huge blue expanse that seems to stretch forever, and before you is a black diamond run that goes all the way (practically) to the water.
I’m happy to report that skiing at Homewood again last spring, I felt the exact same way, years later. What’s more, the comfortable and rustic lodge is still the same, sitting right on the edge of Highway 89 on the west side of the lake shore, and the lifts are still (for the most part) slow doubles and triples that allow for ample family time on the way up.
With four major lifts (plus a beginner poma and magic carpet), Homewood is big enough for families to explore but still manageable for those with tweens and teens who want to ski on their own, without mom and dad. We loved the Old Homewood Express area best, which leads you to the side of Ellis Peak with plenty of long groomers and a terrain park for those who want it.
Note: at the top of Old Homewood Express, you might spy the Homewood cat skiing ‘ride’…new as of the 2015-16 season, Homewood now offers cat skiing adventures for skiers and riders from intermediate level and up. Learn more!
We also did quite a few laps on Ellis chair, so we could tackle the expert terrain on the sides of this little canyon, plus traverse to a wonderful spot called ‘Hobbit Land’ and even further to a wide bowl that drops skiers down to the top of the Quail Chair. We found that in late spring, there was a bit of hiking and skating to get ourselves back out of the bowl, so be ready for that in big powder or wet powder, like we had, but otherwise, there’s less hiking and traversing here than at most resorts, when accessing off-piste terrain.
At Homewood, it still feels like a local mountain. There are not big hotels at the base (though there are certainly accommodations), and this part of the west side of the lake is fairly unpopulated. We stayed nearby a year ago at a HomeAway rental up on the hillside just a mile from Homewood, and really loved the relative isolation. But most skiers here seem to be local or long-term visitors, which suits us just fine. The vibe is very casual and friendly, and you get the impression that at Homewood, it’s still all about the skiing. Then there’s the views: at Homewood, there is not a spot on the mountain where you DON’T have an amazing view of Lake Tahoe. It’s truly breathtaking.
There’s plenty for beginners as well, but it’s worth noting that the learning area is at the very base of the mountain. This is normal of course, but a shame in this case, because those skiers and riders miss out on the amazing views.
For dining, there’s a nice overlook bar and grill just above the front face, with, of course, amazing views, and there are several food options at the base. Mostly though, you’ll see plenty of sack lunches here, which, again, reminds me of childhood and reminds my kids of our days on our local mountain at home. In fact, my 11-year-old said, “HOMEwood is like ‘at home’. It’s like they named it that on purpose.” Well said!
Day passes are often discounted for one reason or another. Definitely buy online before your visit to save. Prices during our visit were around $45 for adults on weekdays, and far less for kids. It’s a very affordable mountain. If you have a season pass to another mountain, check to see if there is a partnership or discount. Ditto for kids in ski racing programs.
From Tahoe City, drive south on Highway 89 to Homewood. From the south shore, you’ll take Hwy 89 north. Pretty simple!
We experienced Homewood as guests of the resort, for the purpose of review. All opinions are our own.