Reno and Tahoe: Winter Things to Do With Kids

Cold, Snowy Weather Equals Fun in High Sierras

A man uses a snow blower to remove snow from an ice skating rink in Heavenly Village on March 8, 2013, in South Lake Tahoe, California. Lake Tahoe, straddling the border of California and Nevada, is the largest Alpine freshwater lake in the Western United States and a top tourism destination for skiers.
••• George Rose/Getty Images

Winter might be cold in the Reno/Lake Tahoe region, but the mountainous geography and snowy conditions of the Sierra Nevada are perfect for fun in the wintertime, and there's plenty to do outside that the whole family will enjoy. Numerous outdoor activities during winter around the Reno/Lake Tahoe region include ice skating, downhill and cross-country skiing, sledding, snow tubing, and just plain old snow play, a huge favorite of the kids. So layer on those sweaters, parkas, hats, gloves, boots, and sunglasses, and just do it. And for a follow-up, stop into a coffee shop and get some steaming hot chocolate or a latte.

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    Skaters enjoying the ice rink in downtown Reno, Nevada.
    ••• Skaters enjoying the ice rink in downtown Reno, Nevada. Photo © Stan White

    Ice skating at the Downtown Reno Ice Rink at Aces Ballpark is an activity everyone can enjoy during the depths of winter. Since it opened in 2005, the rink has become a go-to wintertime favorite in downtown Reno for both locals and visitors to the Reno area in the winter. It's open from Nov. 21, 2017, to Feb. 11, 2018, weather permitting.

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    Snow Tubing with Kids
    ••• MECKY/Getty Images

    Snow play areas and sno-parks abound near Reno and up around Lake Tahoe. Check out Tahoe Meadows, Galena Creek Recreation Area, Incline Village, North Tahoe Regional Park, Hope Valley, and Spooner Summit.

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    ••• Squaw Valley USA view. Copyright Mike Doyle

    You won't be lacking choices of where to downhill ski in the Reno/Lake Tahoe region. It boasts a bounty of some of the best downhill ski resorts in the world. Even if some in your family or group don't ski, ​there are lots of other things to do, like tubing and sledding on the hills. 

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    ••• Marcia Frost

    When you go to Mount Rose Ski Tahoe ski resort, often just called Mount Rose, you'll be really high in the High Sierras; it has the highest base elevation of all the ski resorts around Lake Tahoe at 8,260 feet. Mount Rose is also, conveniently, about a half an hour's drive from Reno and the closest ski resort to the city. And skiing is not its only attraction. From high atop Mount Rose, you'll get spectacular views of snow-covered Sierra Nevada peaks, the Washoe Valley, and the Lake Tahoe Basin.

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    Cross country skiing at Devil's Thumb Ranch
    ••• Devil's Thumb Ranch

    Cross-country ski resorts and areas are sprinkled around the Lake Tahoe area and are often part of downhill skiing complexes. These Nordic-style skiing areas reliably have loads of snow and world-class accommodations. And they are easy to get to from Reno, Sacramento, and the San Francisco Bay Area. 

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    Ice skates in Montreal can be bought either new or used at these stores.
    ••• LindaRaymondPhotography / Getty Images

    Besides the ice rink in central Reno, you can go ice skating all around the Reno/Lake Tahoe area. The hours at many of these rinks change depending on the weather. It's a good idea to check their websites or give them a call before you head out with those skates over your shoulder. If you're ready to practice those toe loops, flips and the Lutz, check out Arlington Square Ice Rink, South Lake Tahoe Ice Arena, Olympic Ice Pavilion, Village at North Star Skating Rink, Truckee Ice Rink, and Heavenly Village Skating Rink.