Tahoe locals and frequent visitors alike know that the month of March is the “sweet spot” for some of the best skiing and riding you’ll get all season, every season. At this point in the year, we have solid snowpack and our highest percentage of open terrain. This means that there’s space to spread out and plenty of different trails to choose from.
When east coast ski resorts are getting ready to finish out their season, in Lake Tahoe we often see our biggest snowstorms in March. Obviously, we can’t promise frequent snowfall to be a guaranteed part of your experience, but the past few seasons speak for themselves:
Historic Snowfall in March:
- March 2023: 191 inches in March at 8,200 feet
- March 2022: 86 inches in March at 8,200 feet
- March 2020: 151 inches in March at 8,200 feet
- March 2019: 88 inches in March at 8,200 feet
- March 2018: 227 inches in March at 8,200 feet (This was a record-breaking month!)
- March 2017: 82 inches in March at 8,200 feet
- March 2016: 139 inches in March at 8,200 feet
The Best of Both Worlds
While “Miracle March” is something we always keep our fingers crossed for, the early spring weather in Lake Tahoe is also a welcome treat. In March, if it’s not snowing, we get to enjoy laid-back groomers and comfortable temperatures that don’t require you to bundle up. Sunny, cloudless skies are often the norm.
We definitely think that this is the best of both worlds: a balance of fresh pow and spring-like conditions is arguably the most ideal pairing that skiing can offer! This dynamic weather can make it tricky to know how to dress appropriately, though, so make sure you check out our Lake Tahoe Packing Guide to cover all your bases.
Sunday, March 10th gives us the gift of daylight savings: This means that our days are getting longer and we’ll have more daylight to enjoy outdoor activities. Right now, the sun isn’t setting until around 6pm, which gives you time to enjoy an early dinner & some drinks outside after you’ve hit the slopes.
Like we mentioned before, March can bring some dynamic weather to the Tahoe region, so you’ll want to be prepared for anything. Here are some inspiring itineraries you might want to consider when planning your visit:
Pow Day Conditions
- Grab the latest demo gear so you can make the most of the fresh snow. You’ll want to try to book in advance, so keep an eye on that weather forecast! Pro Tip: If the pow day happens to fall on a Thursday, Ikon Pass holders get 30% off of demo gear every Thursday in March.
- Not sure about where to go, or how to navigate pow? Consider booking a private guide through our Mountain Sports School. Not only will you get to cut any lift lines that may have formed, but you’ll also get personalized instruction and insider info on the mountain. Private guides can accommodate up to 5 people.
- If it’s a powder day, be prepared to hit the lower mountain first. We always aim to get the lower mountain open as soon as possible after snowfall, so KT-22 or Red Dog will be the preferred lower-mountain lifts on powder days.
- If it’s sunny, do your midday refuel outside. On the mountain, 39 North at Gold Coast (the top of the Funitel) was recently redone and often has a snow beach setup in the spring. In The Village, you can choose from one of our several outdoor dining options and relax on one of our patios. Don’t forget to grab a Wildflour cookie as a quick dessert before you head back out!
At Alpine Meadows:
- Make sure you’ve got layers, snacks, sunscreen & water. At Alpine, your vehicle can be further away from the base area than at Palisades, and we have limited indoor spaces, so you’ll want to make sure you bring some on-mountain supplies with you in a small backpack.
- Skip the Alpine Lodge deck and hit The Chalet instead to maximize time on the mountain. Kick back at this on-mountain, Bavarian-style dining option. If it’s cold, you can cozy up by the fireplace, or if it’s nice out, you can relax at chairs and tables set up outside on the snow. Don’t miss the gain pretzels! When you’re finished with lunch, you can click back in and be skiing again in no time.
Spring Weather & Conditions
Make sure you’re tracking with the Palisades Tahoe app! Spring days are all about taking hot laps of your favorite runs. Who knows, if you track the most vertical feet or the most runs in a day, you might win a prize from GoPro or Smith.
Don’t forget about terrain parks! At Alpine Meadows, be sure to hit the Tiegel Park. At Palisades, you can test your moves in the new Adventure Trail, the Riviera boardercross course, or in the legendary Gold Coast Terrain Park, which has more jumps than normal this year. Palisades also has a park off of the Belmont lift. Soft spring snow makes for great conditions for learning new tricks.
Finish out the day with outdoor dining & apres. The deck on the Alpine Meadows lodge is always a great spot to end your day. You can get to-go food from both Meadows Cafe while you soak up those last rays of sunshine. At Palisades, you can enjoy a mountain view from your spot on the dog-friendly patio at Rocker. You can also pick from one of the other patios we have available in The Village at Palisades Tahoe, like Fireside Pizza Co, the Auld Dubliner, or Tremigo Mexican Kitchen.
- Follow the sun for the best conditions. Your first stop should be Sun Bowl, the aptly-named, south-facing slope off of Headwall. Tower 16 is also primed for early sun exposure. Around midday, Siberia Ridge will have softened up. Later in the day, make your way to the north-facing slopes of Shirley Lake or Hogsback. After some time on the groomers, if you would like to go off-piste, stick to an area that’s been in the sun for a bit.
At Alpine Meadows:
- Start with breakfast at Treats Cafe or Mogrog Cafe. After you eat, make sure that you’ve applied sunscreen and have the ability to shed a layer if you get too warm. Spring days can get hot quickly!
- Follow the sun for the best conditions. With cold March nights and warm, spring-like days, terrain that isn’t exposed to the sun can be firm. Try Sun Spot off of the Summit chair first thing in the morning. By 10:30 or 11am, South Face and the back bowls off Sherwood Chair will soften up. In the afternoon, try Scott Chute for a fun challenge.
Non-Ski Day Itineraries
In Olympic Valley:
- Start the morning slow and enjoy yourself. There’s no rush to get on the slopes in a timely manner today. Grab a coffee from Coffeebar or Starbucks in The Village at Palisades Tahoe to fuel up, and enjoy a leisurely morning walk.
- Hit the Cross Country Skiing course. Head to Snoventures to pick up a ticket for the XC course that winds its way through Olympic Valley. Pro Tip: Ikon Pass holders get to use this course for free!
- Take the kids snow tubing. Sign up for a 1-hr snow tubing slot for a fun, family-friendly activity. We recommend booking in advance. Pro Tip: Ikon Pass holders get discounted tubing on Thursdays.
- Still have energy? Go ice skating at the Everline Resort. One of our neighbor hotels in the Valley, the Everline Resort, has an ice rink that is open to the public. You’ll want to make a reservation to ensure that you get a spot.
In the Tahoe Area:
- Get breakfast at Jax’s on the Tracks in Truckee. Sit outside next to the historic railroad and enjoy classic diner fare. Afterward, you’ll want to spend some time walking through Historic Downtown Truckee, which boasts tons of local shops and businesses that are sure to catch your eye.
- Try out snowmobiling on Brockway Summit. If we’ve recently gotten some snow, you’ll want to head to the top of highway 267, where you can try your hand at snowmobiling. Advance reservations are required.
- Take the kids sledding. Just on the other side of 267, towards the lake, you can drive to North Tahoe Regional Park. For a $5 parking fee, you can access this popular sledding hill. Please remember to pack out any trash, and if your sled breaks, please take it with you and dispose of it properly.
- Don’t forget to enjoy some lakeside dining. Enjoy an early dinner and sit outdoors at a number of locations in Tahoe City, including Moe’s Barbecue, which often has live music or Jake’s on the Lake.