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 allow for plenty of outdoor fun the whole family will enjoy. Numerous activities around the Reno/Lake Tahoe area include ice skating, downhill and cross-country skiing, sledding, snow tubing, and snow play, a huge favorite for the kids. So layer on those parkas, hats, gloves, boots, and sunglasses, and experience nature. And for a comforting follow-up, stop into a coffee shop for some hot chocolate or a latte.

01 of 05

Ice Skating in Reno

Skaters enjoying the ice rink in downtown Reno, Nevada.
Stan White
200 Evans Ave, Reno, NV 89501, USA
Phone +1 775-334-7035

If you are hoping to ice skate in Reno, the outside Rink at The Row is open daily through February 16, 2020. A concession stand and local food trucks are available, and various restaurants are nearby.

Grand Sierra Resort's outdoors ice rink welcomes the public and hotel guests seeking recreation and mountain views seven days a week through March 1, 2020. Cocktails, s'mores, and hot cocoa are served.

Contact the rink you'd like to frequent before heading out since the hours and dates may change depending on the weather.

02 of 05

Ice Skating in Lake Tahoe

 Tahoe Ice Arena

To practice those flip jumps, check out the Lake Tahoe area's various outdoor ice skating places.

  • Resort at Squaw Creek has a rink open to the public daily through March 2020, offering views of Squaw Valley's peaks, and hot chocolate and s'mores. You can grab some food at the casual, vegetarian-friendly Sandy's Pub.
  • The Truckee Ice Rink at Truckee River Regional Park is another fun place, tentatively open through March of 2020. Ice skating lessons are available.
  • Heavenly Village’s open-air skating rink at the base of the Heavenly Mountain Resort Gondola in South Lake Tahoe is an open-air rink you can visit daily until Easter of 2020. Enjoy their festive music and lights, and the village's more than 40 shops and well-liked restaurants.
  • The Village at Northstar's free ice skating rink in Truckee—open every day in the winter season—has fire pits for warming up in between laps.

If you'd rather be indoors, South Lake Tahoe Ice Arena is a year-round rink with daily public skate sessions. The snack bar sells pizza, coffee, and more.

Rink schedules are weather-dependent, so contact your destination in advance.

03 of 05

Snow Play

Tahoe Meadows in the snow

 Mitch Barrie (CC BY-SA 2.0) / Flickr

Mt Rose Hwy, New Washoe City, NV 89704, USA
Phone +1 775-298-4485

Snow play areas and sno-parks abound near Reno and Lake Tahoe, providing an abundance of areas for winter recreational activities.

Check out Tahoe Meadows to do some sledding, and for snowshoeing and having playful fights with the fluffy white stuff, try Galena Creek Recreation Area. At Hope Valley, experience dog sledding and snowmobiling; other areas are North Tahoe Regional Park, Incline Village, and Spooner Summit.

04 of 05

Downhill Skiing and Snowboarding

Downhill skier at Alpine Lake Tahoe

 jimveilleux/Getty Images

The Reno/Lake Tahoe region boasts some of the best downhill ski resorts in the world.

Mount Rose Ski Tahoe resort is the closest to Reno (about a 30-minute drive) and at 8,260 feet (2,520 meters), has the highest base elevation of any ski resort around Lake Tahoe. You'll get spectacular views of snow-covered Sierra Nevada peaks, the Washoe Valley, and the Lake Tahoe Basin.

Homewood Mountain Resort has beautiful views, thanks to Lake Tahoe being less than 300 steps from the Madden chairlift. Beginners can take the 2-mile Rainbow Ridge run and experience panoramic views of both North and South Lake Tahoe as they descend to the lake.

Even if some in your group don't ski, ​there are lots of other things to do, like tubing and sledding on the hills. 

Continue to 5 of 5 below.
05 of 05

Cross-Country Skiing

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

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

Royal Gorge in Soda Springs is one of the biggest cross-country ski resorts in the U.S., offering views of the Northern Sierra. Kirkwood Ski Resort Southwest of South Lake Tahoe has both easy and advanced options, with views of snow-capped mountains. 

Even on easy trails, be prepared for a workout, and carry extra food, water, and clothes. Leave your location and schedule with someone who can notify emergency services in the chance you don't return on time.

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Reno and Tahoe: Winter Things to Do With Kids