Suntan and Ski: Tahoe in the Summer

With record-breaking snowfall this recent winter, some mountain resorts are staying open into the summer for skiing and snowboarding.

Visitors to the California mountains this summer can add snow play to their list of things to do.

With record-breaking snowfall this recent winter, some mountain resorts are staying open into the summer for skiing and snowboarding. Families can enjoy the slopes in the morning, put on shorts and enjoy the rest of the day by the lake or on a bike ride.

In the Tahoe region, Palisades Tahoe will have its alpine area open until Fourth of July weekend, Donner Ski Ranch will be open until the snow is gone, and other resorts like Heavenly at South Lake Tahoe will stay open into May. In Southern California, Mammoth Mountain announced it will continue skiing and snowboarding operations until at least July. 

This has been the second snowiest season since the UC Berkeley Central Sierra Snow Lab at Donner Pass started recording in 1946, with more than 700 inches of snow.  First place goes to 1952 with 812 inches of accumulated snowfall.

For those who couldn’t make it to the mountains during the winter because of road closures, there’s still time.

During June, Palisades Tahoe, which received 700 inches of snow as of April 5, will keep the alpine area open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays for skiing and snowboarding. Palisades will be closed for snow sports after May 29, but The Village at Palisades Tahoe will be open daily throughout the summer. For the July 4 weekend, the alpine area will be open for skiing and snowboarding, along with Independence Day holiday festivities. The Aerial Tram will be open through May 29, reopen between June 16-18 and then daily starting June 23 for summer sightseeing and activities. 

This isn’t the first time Palisades Tahoe has stayed open until July 4, says public relations manager Patrick Lacey. The resort always strives to extend ski and snowboard operations into summer but often doesn’t get enough snow. 

“People have dual sports days where they may go water skiing in the morning and skiing in the afternoon,” Lacey says. “There’s more of a party vibe during this time of year.”

Mike Reitzell, president of Ski California, a trade association of downhill and cross-country ski resorts, says he doesn’t anticipate most resorts will stay open beyond July 4 apart from Mammoth Mountain, which has no closing date for snow sport operations.

“There’s enough snow for sure,” he says. “But you have to consider staffing levels and shifting to summer operations.”

In addition to snow sports, Reitzell says visitors can enjoy summer activities. Some of the hiking and mountain biking trails may be closed if there’s still a lot of snow, he says. Also, beaches will be smaller because Lake Tahoe’s water level will be higher than usual from all the winter precipitation.

“We just ask that visitors please be respectful of the area,” Reitzell says. “Be a sustainable tourist.”

Tahoe Summer Events

*    Concerts at Commons Beach – June 12-Sept. 4. Enjoy free live concerts every Sunday (except July 3) during the summer at Commons Beach in Tahoe City.

*    Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival – June 30-Aug. 20. This year, the musical comedy Little Shop of Horrors will be performed at the festival located at Sand Harbor State Park.

*    Lights on the Lake – July 4. Synchronized fireworks display at South Lake Tahoe.


*    Ski California – Information about ski resorts, snow reports and safety information.

*    UC Berkeley Central Sierra Snow Lab – Research facility at Donner Summit that keeps records of snowfall and precipitation.

*    North Lake Tahoe Official Visitors Bureau – Information about the Tahoe area, webcams, weather information and more.

*    Explore Tahoe Visitor Center – Offers things to do, restaurants, events and places to stay.


Best Bay Area Family Beaches

Going to the beach can be a great way to enjoy the outdoors, get exercise and relieve stress. The Bay Area has plenty of family-friendly beaches. If you go, make sure to follow any rules regarding COVID-19, such as wearing a mask and keeping a safe distance from people not in your household. Also, be extra careful on beaches with rough surf.

Best RV Parks Close to Home

With COVID-19 still on everyone's mind, many families are opting to travel in a recreational vehicle (RV). Most RVs have their own bathroom, sleeping area and kitchen, allowing travelers to avoid public restrooms, hotels and restaurants. If you want to play it safe and get away but still stay close to home, the Bay Area has plenty of spots that will feel like vacation.

Outdoor Adventures for Active Families

If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush after being stuck at home this past year, there are some great opportunities in and around the Bay Area this summer. Some of these companies offering thrill-seeking adventures have COVID-19 guidelines posted on their websites to help keep customers safe. Check in advance to make sure venues are open and whether reservations are needed or other restrictions are in place.

Family-Friendly Wineries and Breweries in the Bay Area

While your late-night clubbing days may have ended when your child came along, having kids doesn’t mean the end to all adult-oriented fun. Throughout the Bay Area, there are plenty of places that welcome children while their parents sip wine and sample microbrews. Some even offer up extra enticements for family fun – from splashing in a winery pool to taking a pre-wine tasting horseback ride to hanging out at a beer garden-adjacent arcade and bowling alley. Make sure to check whether venues are open and reservations are required before heading out.

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