What To Do When There’s Low Snow Conditions Around Lake Tahoe


After record-breaking snowfall last winter, it’s hard not to be disappointed with the slow start to this season. While there is decent coverage at some of the ski resorts, there isn’t enough coverage for others.  We know you are wondering…

What do I do around Tahoe when there’s no snow?

Instead of boring you with stats about weather patterns, historical snowfall records and other predictions that no one knows will come true…  we’ve got something better.

The Best Things to do in North Lake Tahoe

when there isn’t a lot of Snow!

Lake Tahoe has more year-round outdoor fun than any other ski town…probably anywhere. So check it out and start planning your days! And when you’re here, remember to stop by Tahoe Mountain Sports in Truckee for all of your gear and information needs.


#1 – Run On The Beach

In the winter months, when the sun’s shining and temps are in the 40’s, the weather is perfect for running or walking and you’ll often have much of the trails and beaches to yourself.  Take in the amazing views of Lake Tahoe, solitude, and the pleasure of an aerobic workout.

Recommended places to go:  Donner Memorial State Park in Truckee which has a nice trail through the park, beach access and a museum, or Kings Beach State Recreation Area


The view from the sand at Kings Beach State Recreation Area

#2 – In-Bounds “Backcountry” Skiing

You got all your backcountry skiing gear ready for the season, and now you have no powder fields to explore. Sure, the lifts are running from 8:30-4:00 daily, but that’s just not good enough. You want a workout, and you want to slap on those climbing skins that hung out in your closet the past nine months. Skin up the resort! Sugar Bowl and Diamond Peak have uphill policies which allow skiers to hike up groomed runs during specified hours.

The view at Diamond Peak is definitely worth the hike.



#3 Go Ice Skating

Ice skating conditions are superb right now! It’s cold in the morning and warms up nicely by mid-day, making it a great afternoon activity or evening activity. There are two local rinks that rent skates. Click the following links to get all the information including prices and hours of operation – Truckee Regional Park and Northstar.

If you’ve got your own skates there are other spots to explore although, conditions are always changing so use your best judgement before going out on the ice. A few spots to consider are Prosser Reservoir and Cold Stream Canyon, or stop by the shop for more up-to-date information.

#4 – Mid-Winter Disc Golf

Most of the disc golf courses in Tahoe are pretty clear because they’ve had so much time to dry out since our last storm, and most people are in a different mindset this time of year (hence this post’s timely relevance), so you should have the courses pretty much to yourself. Grab a brightly colored disc driver, or just don’t use white around what remains of snow patches, and try to finish your game before the early winter sunset. We’ve been selling a fair amount of discs lately, to both locals and visitors, and there’s no wonder why. It’s such a great pastime. Hang with your friends, get the dogs out to play, and practice your game so you’re spot-on when summer arrives.



#5 – Night Riding At Boreal

Bring your rock skis or the board you don’t mind busting up a bit in case of ultra-thin coverage. Dress extra warm. The runs are short and you’ll spend what can seem like more time on the lift than on the run, so a burlier midlayer jacket and a face mask could come in handy. Go with a group of friends and enjoy super-awesome turns.


#6 – Take A Favorite Hike!

During low snow years, you can ski in the morning and go hiking in the afternoon with the proper winter hiking clothes and winter hiking shoes. Your favorite trails may or may not be hidden under snow or ice, but you’ll never know until you go! Dress warmly and bring along extra clothing, headlamp for those shorter days (just in case) and microspikes or other snow traction devices.  Here’s a link to some of our favorite hikes.  



#7 – Rock Climbing

With Bishop, California, only a few hours away the idea of a quick desert escape sounds rather nice. Consider loading up the car and heading south for some car-camping and bouldering at the Buttermilks, followed by a dip in one of the Mammoth Lakes area’s many natural hot springs. Temps may drop overnight, but days are still in the 50’s and the sun rarely takes a break in that neck of the woods. Even ten degrees makes a huge difference when the sun’s on your back, so it will feel good to get down to warmer weather before returning to winter around the lake, if winter is what you want to call it.bouldering-buttermilks-bishop

There are also tons of great places to climb around Lake Tahoe, like up on Donner Pass, on the West Shore, and south of the lake at Lover’s Leap, to name a few. Pick up a Lake Tahoe climbing book from our shop and see how many problems you can tick off before snow eventually returns!


When the weather is really uncooperative and the air is cold, the sky is dark and there is no snow to show for it, or you just want to find time to pull down before or after work, you can find fantastic climbing indoors at High Altitude Fitness in Incline Village, Nevada. They have an auto-belay/self-belay system so you don’t need a spot, and they set new routes bi-weekly so you never get bored!



Have other ideas for what to do when there’s no snow around Tahoe? We’d love to hear them in the comments section below!



Adam Broderick manages the web content at Tahoe Mountain Sports. When he is not in the office, he tries his best to be in the field doing something awesome.

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