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Tahoe City/USA

Introducing Tahoe City

Squaw Valley USA (530-583-6985; www.squaw.com; off Hwy 89; adult/child/teen $62/5/31; 9am-9pm Mon-Fri, 8:30am-9pm Sat & Sun) Few ski hounds can resist the siren call of this mega-sized, world-class, see-and-be-seen resort - nicknamed Squawlywood - that hosted the 1960 Winter Olympic Games. Hardcore skiers thrill to white-knuckle cornices, chutes and bowls, while beginners can practice their turns in a separate area on the upper mountain. On weekends, the place is a zoo. Stats: 33 lifts, 2850 vertical feet, over 100 runs. Squaw Valley is 5 miles northwest of Tahoe City.

Alpine Meadows (530-583-4232, 800-441-4423; www.skialpine.com; off Hwy 89; adult/child/teen $39/15/39; 9am-4pm) Alpine is a no-nonsense resort without the fancy village, attitude or crowds. It gets more snow than neighboring Squaw and its open-boundary policy makes it the most backcountry-friendly around. Boarders can jib down the mountain in a terrain park designed by Eric Rosenwald. Also look for the adorable - and supersmart - ski patrol dogs. Stats: 13 lifts, 1802 vertical feet, 100 runs. It’s 6 miles northwest of Tahoe City.

Homewood (530-525-2992; www.skihomewood.com; Hwy 89; adult/child/teen Fri-Sun $44/free/30, Mon-Thu $25/free/25; 9am-4pm) This gem, 5 miles south of Tahoe City, proves that bigger isn’t always better. Locals and in-the-know visitors cherish the awesome lake views, laid-back ambience, smaller crowds, tree-lined slopes and open bowls (including the excellent but expert ‘Quail Face’). Families love the wide, gentle slopes and free kids’ tickets. This is also the best place to ski during stormy weather. Stats: 8 lifts, 1650 vertical feet, 60 runs.