With Tahoe snow totals piled high, skiers from all over are flocking to the sunny Sierra slopes for high-altitude fun. But if you’re a local hoping to avoid the crowds (and the sunburn), you may want to try hitting the mountains after hours.
Night skiing is a lot like day skiing, except that it feels like you’ve been let in to a secret club. At Boreal Mountain Resort and Squaw Valley, both located in the north Tahoe area near Truckee, perks include cheaper passes, shorter lift lines and fewer children and novices on the trails.
At Boreal, night passes can be used beginning in the late afternoon, allowing skiers a few hours to enjoy the daylight before catching a glorious sunset (we recommend the vista point at the top of the Dutchman lift). Once the floodlights turn on and morning riders head home, a handful of lifts stay open for night skiing. At Boreal, night ski passes cost between $39 and $59 depending on what time you start and whether you order online.
At Squaw Valley, a much bigger resort and home to the 1960 Olympics, night skiing runs from 3 to 7 p.m. and costs $49. One of the mountain’s most cherished trails, the breezy, 3.2-mile Mountain Run, remains open at night, along with a robust network of trails and terrain parks.
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If you plan on night skiing, be sure to layer. Highs on the slopes in February can stay in the 40s, but temperatures sink when the sun sets and you’ll want to protect your face and hands. Note: Night skiing is more challenging than day skiing due to changes in lighting and snow conditions, and isn’t recommended for first-time skiers.