While some visitors to the Tahoe slopes envision themselves as the next Lindsey Vonn or Shaun White, many of us really just want to sit on our butts and fly down a mountain.
It's a good thing there are several great places to go tubing or sledding up in Lake Tahoe—and some of them are free. Here are a handful of our favorite spots.
(Courtesy of @tahoedonnerassociation)
This sledding and tubing resort is located at the top of Echo Summit on Highway 50 and boasts 40 acres of groomed tubing; it’s also the highest elevation snow-play area in Tahoe. There are dedicated uphill walking lanes along the 18 tubing runs, one of which is a high-speed 500-foot groomer called The Snake. This is a full-service park with rentals, concession stand, and day-use lodge with a fireplace (and a view). The vehicle entrance fee is $40 to $50 on non-holidays and includes parking; tubing rates are $20 for adults and $15 for kids 44 inches and under. Note that bringing your own tubes is prohibited, and sledding is not allowed. // adventuremountaintahoe.com
Tahoe Donner on I-80 has a groomed hill, with two monitored tubing lanes and six unmonitored sledding lanes. If you're a Tahoe Donner member and have paid the annual recreation fee, access to the tubing area is free. For the public, admission is $10 to $25 and includes gear; note that tubing/sledding slots are by reservation only for up to 75 minutes at a time, there is no tow rope for uphill access, and outside equipment is prohibited. There’s also an on-site food truck serving snacks and hot chocolate. // tahoedonner.com
While tubing and sledding are prohibited at Mount Rose ski area, they’re permitted at Tahoe Meadows, three miles away. This is an unofficial snow play area located along the Mount Rose Highway (Hwy 431), so it’s fee-free. BYO equipment, and try to arrive before 10am before the parking spaces fill up, as this is also a popular spot for Nordic pursuits and snowmobiling. There are restrooms at the Tahoe Meadows Trailhead and at the Mount Rose Summit. // sierrasnowplay.com
(Courtesy of Tube Tahoe)
Located near South Lake Tahoe in the small community of Meyers, Tube Tahoe transforms from a golf course in the summer into a wintry tubing hill with eight packed and groomed lanes comprising more than 500 feet tubing space, a few whoop-de-doos, and rubber mats at the bottom of each run to gently slow you down. Wonderful attendants at the top of the hill will happily give you a push for maximum fly time. Tube Tahoe sessions are offered on a first come, first served basis (though the entire hill or portions of it can be rented for private parties). General admission + tube rental is $60 for adults, $50 for kids six and older, and $30 for mini tubers ages three to five. Snow play and spectators are just $15.//tubetahoe.com.
Thank you to our partners at Tube Tahoe.
Heavenly Mountain Resort
You’ll need to purchase a gondola ticket to access this 500-foot groomed hill at the resort’s summit, but the 65-foot vertical drop is a worthwhile rush. There’s a minimum height requirement of 42 inches, with “mini-tubing” available for littles on weekends. The hill is open daily from 10am to 3pm weather permitting; the gondola is $88 to $96 per person for adults, $58 to $64 for teens and seniors, and $51 for kids ages five to 12. Tubing is $41 per hour, and you can refuel at Tamarack Lodge & Bar before hopping the gondola home. // visitlaketahoe.com
The Northstar Tubing Center and hill is closed for the 2022/2023 season, but it's offered at the Village Overlook for $26 per person, rental included (you can also ice skate at the rink). Afterward, warm up with a hot toddy or hot chocolate from the Overlook Bar. // tahoeactivities.com