9 Tips for Skiing Tahoe with Kids


Plan a Tahoe trip with the kids! Plan ahead for an amazing vacation with our top tips when traveling with kids to Tahoe.

Posted on March 2, 2023

Skiing and Riding at Northstar

Hitting the slopes with the whole family is the perfect way to break up regular routines through outdoor experiences. A family Tahoe skiing trip is sure to create memories that last a lifetime. 

If you've been asking yourself “how do I plan a ski trip with kids?” chances are you will benefit from the following tips to guide your plans for a problem-free skiing trip that the entire family will remember. Here are a few ways that parents can make skiing Tahoe with kids seamless and stress-free. 

1. Take Advantage of Public Transportation and Complimentary Shuttles  

When planning a ski trip with kids, remember that traveling in and out of the resort by car can be time-consuming if you hit peak traffic hours or are staying on the weekend. Using public or resort transport services saves lots of time when traveling outside the Northstar California resort since you won't have to struggle with parking or finding ways around heavy traffic. 

If your family flies into Truckee Tahoe Airport, public transportation or resort shuttles will make getting to Northstar resort a breeze without needing to organize and pick up a car rental.  

Tahoe Truckee Area Regional Transportation (TART) provides free services between Northstar and downtown Truckee. You can also download the Northstar Transportation app for Android and iOS to access Northstar’s dial-a-ride service, which is free for guests.  

2. Monitor Lift Wait Times from Your Mobile Device  

Knowing which slopes you want to choose when planning a ski trip with kids is always a good starting point. Planning ahead means knowing exactly which slopes are appropriate for the age and skill levels in your group, and you won't have to pull your phone out later while wrangling kids or other family members. Consider how long lift wait times are when selecting slopes too. Looking at the range of different lift times on the day means you can give your family even more time on the slopes. You can also see which slopes have fewer people, meaning more space for anyone who needs to practice a bit more. 

Luckily, the My Epic App provides real-time lift wait times across Mount Pluto. The app lets you see historical wait time data, too, so you can predict where the longest lines will be on a specific day of the week. 

The My Epic App also gives daily snowfall measurements, slope grooming information, directions to dining areas and ski patrols, and more.  

3. Purchase Your Lift Tickets in Advance to Guarantee Access on Your Preferred Days 

Lift tickets are crucial for accessing the mountain during your family skiing trip. By purchasing lift tickets online in advance, you won’t miss out on your preferred dates if tickets sell out later. 

Buying online and getting your lift tickets in the mail also means you skip window lines. Plus, booking online in advance gets you a lower price than buying at the window. 

4. Enjoy Wide-Open Slopes by Visiting on Weekdays  

Weekends are often the busiest part of the week, both on the mountain and the roads throughout the area. If you can plan your family skiing trip for weekdays, there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy less traffic, shorter lift lines, and fewer people on the mountain and in the resort. You might even get your favorite part of the mountain to yourself!  

5. Research the Dining Options On-Mountain and in the Northstar Village  

Finding quality, delicious food that aligns with everyone's dietary needs and tastes is a key part of a successful family trip. When planning your ski trip with kids in Tahoe, take a few minutes to research restaurants, cafes, and bars that cater to your family's dietary needs and preferences. 

There are tons of restaurants throughout the Truckee area, but you don’t have to leave the mountain to find good food. Mount Pluto and the Northstar California resort both have many high-quality restaurants and bars like the Summit Smokehouse, located over 8,600 feet up the mountain, and the Rubicon Pizza, located next to Northstar's ice skating rink. Northstar Village also has an on-site Starbucks. 

6. Make Backup Plans in Case Something Changes Unexpectedly  

Talk with your family about alternative activities they would enjoy in case the weather turns bad or you want to try something new. As plan B options, your family might like to snack on some s’mores by an open fire in the village or listen to live music while zipping around the ice rink. There’s also shopping, movie theaters, and other outdoor activities like snowshoeing and snow biking. 

7. Schedule Activities so Every Family Member Tries What They Like  

After learning where each family member wants to go, make a rough schedule for each day so everyone knows which day their favorite activity is on. A schedule helps everyone manage their time more efficiently, and it keeps everyone on the same page about what's happening to prevent disagreements. 

For adults, there is also a daily 2 pm champagne toast on the mountain top if you want extra time for a drink or two with a view.  

8. Book Skiing and Snowboarding Lessons in Advance  

Mount Pluto has some of the best skiers and snowboarders in the country working on the slopes as instructors, ski field managers, guides, and more. 

No matter the skill level, there are lessons for everyone from beginner to intermediate and advanced. The best way to get individual or group lessons is to book in advance before they are all taken. The classes are also a fantastic way to go on tours of the best trails while improving your technique and skipping lift lines. 

9. Help Family Members Navigate by Downloading the Trail and Village Maps  

Even if you and your family have visited the Northstar ski resort before, it pays to download and read the latest trail and village maps. Before arriving, choose a meeting place in case anyone gets separated from the group and needs to meet up. You can also take children through role-play scenarios to navigate from various landmarks to the meeting place.  

How do I plan a ski trip with kids? To summarize, the most important tips are to book earlier to get lift tickets and classes for your preferred dates and download the mentioned apps for information on public and resort transport schedules and lift schedules. 

Once the whole family is involved in choosing the activities, skiing Tahoe with kids will become a memorable adventure that unfolds naturally at the Northstar resort.