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The Best Lake Tahoe Ski Resort For Families: Granlibakken

The Best Lake Tahoe Ski Resort for Families: Teach Your Kids to Ski or Snowboard

Are you ready to introduce your children to the thrill of skiing or snowboarding but uncertain about where and how to start this adventure? The task may seem daunting, but consider yourself fortunate because we’ve discovered the best Lake Tahoe ski resort for families to spend a memorable week or weekend, ensuring your kids hit the slopes. Even parents will have a fantastic time enjoying themselves!

Granlibakken Resort: A Century of Family-Friendly Tradition

Granlibakken Resort, nestled within the Tahoe National Forest, is a beacon of family-friendly winter getaways, boasting a legacy spanning nearly a century. The Norwegian translation of its name, “hill surrounded by trees,” epitomizes the resort—a secluded, intimate hill set on 74 wooded acres amidst the enchanting Sierra Nevada Pines.

Lake Tahoe ski resort in the winter with history of Granlibakken on a wall in lobby.

Secluded in the Snow: Lake Tahoe Ski Resort and A Perfect Winter Escape

Granlibakken is such an incredible place that extending our stay for two extra nights was a breeze when we were suddenly snowed in (with over six feet of snow). It was a fortunate decision, considering the sheer amount of snow that blanketed us on our first day. Leaving town would have been next to impossible under those conditions. But when surrounded by an abundance of powdery snow, you’re reminded of the essence of a truly enjoyable vacation. Granlibakken Resort makes learning to ski or snowboard easy! It’s a Lake Tahoe ski resort perfect for families.

Lake Tahoe ski resort in the winter with ski rack.
Lake Tahoe ski resort in winter with lots of snow fun!
Lake Tahoe ski resort in winter with full ski hill and sled hill.
Lake Tahoe ski resort in the winter with girl up to her head in snow.
Young girl in red jacket and black ski pants stands in front of the Granlibakken ski resort sign in the snow. It's a Lake Tahoe ski resort for families.
Lake Tahoe ski resort in the winter with girl on sled having fun.

A Lake Tahoe Ski Resort With Tailored Adventures for Every Family

Imagine you have one, two, or three children, all under 12. Picture yourself or your partner as skilled skiers or snowboarders (or both) while the kids have diverse winter interests. One fancies sledding, another wants to hit the slopes, and one remains undecided. You might wonder, “How can we ensure everyone has an enjoyable trip?”

I couldn’t envision a more suitable place to make your family’s ski dreams a reality. In fact, after spending a week at Granlibakken, I reached out to a close friend who grappled with this exact dilemma. She hesitated for years, fearing a snowy vacation would become a disaster. But let me assure you, Granlibakken is the solution you’ve been searching for, and it’s easy to get to from both Southern and Northern California.

Affordable Comfort at Granlibakken

At Granlibakken, our stay was not only delightful but also budget-friendly. We occupied a room with two queen-sized beds, and the resort offers a range of other accommodations, including two or three-bedroom options, cozy living rooms, and even kitchenettes that make you feel at home in a charming cabin. The best part? All these choices come at remarkably affordable rates.

Our modest room had a fridge, a handy addition for storing snacks and drinks, ensuring you have everything you need. The rooms exude a typical cabin ambiance, with a keen eye on cleanliness and maintenance. Each room provides modern amenities like WiFi, cable TV, and oversized closets, a boon for families with an array of ski clothes, coats, and boots. The proximity of these accommodations to the main lobby, restaurants, and outdoor entertainment areas makes everything conveniently accessible.

Father and daughter share a hot chocolate in the Granlibakken resort restaurant. It's the besst Lake Tahoe ski resort for families.

Breakfast Bliss and Dining Delights

One of the highlights of our stay was the hearty breakfast buffet included with your booking. We indulged in it every morning to energize ourselves for the day’s adventures. For more culinary delights, Rusty’s Kitchen, located in the Ski Hut, beckons with Mexican-American cuisine, drinks, candy, snack options, and perhaps the best hot chocolate you’ll ever savor.

Here’s the icing on the cake: you can even purchase S’more kits to enjoy by the campfire. The best part is that this dining experience at Granlibakken is a treat for your taste buds and light on your wallet. Unlike typical Lake Tahoe ski resorts where dining can be expensive, Granlibakken offers family-friendly and affordable options.

For dinner, the resort boasts a charming pub called Cedar House, where live music sets the mood on weeknights. Moreover, every Thursday and Sunday during the ski season, there’s a tempting 2-for-1 dinner special to take advantage of, and it’s so delicious. The resort’s chef has earned multiple Autumn Food & Wine awards for exquisite pairings, exemplified by delectable dishes like Seared Scallops Veronique paired with Daisy Pinot Grigio. Your culinary experience at Granlibakken will be unforgettable and easy on your pocketbook.

Exploring Lake Tahoe’s Culinary Treasures

While Granlibakken offers an exceptional dining experience, the Lake Tahoe region has a multitude of hidden culinary gems waiting to be discovered. One such gem that I wholeheartedly recommend is Spoon.

Upon dining at Spoon, I found myself in “foodie heaven.” This restaurant offers a dining experience that will tantalize your taste buds. Whether it’s the delectable flavors, innovative dishes, or the warm and welcoming atmosphere, Spoon will leave a lasting impression. This hidden gem is a must-visit in the Lake Tahoe area.

In general, Lake Tahoe is a haven for winter sports enthusiasts and those passionate about great food. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the diverse dining experiences that this charming region has to offer.

Gear Up for Winter Adventures at the Best Lake Tahoe Ski Resort for Families

Granlibakken offers equipment for skiing, snowboarding, and sledding on-site. In case you didn’t think it could get better than that, it’s all available at reasonable rates. Now, let’s dive into the specifics of what you can expect.

Family Fun at Granlibakken: The Best Lake Tahoe Ski Resort for Families

As you drive up to the resort, you’ll be greeted by the delightful sight of an intimate sledding area and ski hill. It’s just the right size: small enough for you to keep a watchful eye on your kids from anywhere on the hill, yet large enough to offer fantastic opportunities for learning to ski or brushing up on your technique.

For those with a more cautious approach to skiing, the bigger hill provides an intermediate slope where you can ski comfortably at your own level while still keeping a close eye on your child as they navigate the bunny slope. Safety is paramount here; the entire area is enclosed, ensuring you feel secure about leaving your child to enjoy the slopes. Both sides of the hill feature convenient tow ropes, taking you up to the bunny slope or the intermediate slope. These tow ropes are convenient and provide peace of mind, especially for parents who worry about their children on chairlifts.

Lake Tahoe ski resort in the winter with girl learning to snowboard.
Lake Tahoe ski resort in the winter with girl and a snowboard.
Lake Tahoe ski resort in the winter with girl in red ski suit learning to snowboard.

Adjacent to the bunny slope, the sledding hill has saucers provided for endless winter fun. Kids can hike up the hill, hop onto a saucer, and slide down while the attentive staff ensures everyone’s safety and enjoyment. You can see the action on the sledding hill from virtually anywhere, making it easy to keep an eye on your little ones.

Our Family Experience

On our first day at Granlibakken, we had a blast sledding, building snowballs (thanks to a nifty snowball maker available in the ski hut), and indulging in some classic s’mores by the campfire area.

The next day, due to the significant overnight snowfall, the larger tow rope was temporarily out of operation. Seizing the opportunity, I decided to teach my daughter how to snowboard on the bunny hill, which was in perfect condition. By the end of the day, she had fallen in love with snowboarding. The proximity of other families and kids enjoying the sledding hill made it feel like a shared, joyful experience.

Granlibakken’s array of family activities ensures that parents and children will have an unforgettable and enjoyable time during their stay.

A Day on the Slopes and Loads of Amenities

Our third day at Granlibakken called for some skiing. Though I was disappointed that my daughter had forgotten her ski skills after a year and a half, she was content to spend the day practicing on the bunny slope. I, on the other hand, had the privilege of hitting the larger hill and keeping a watchful eye on her the whole time. It was a remarkable experience to have the mountain accommodate both of us so seamlessly.

In the winter, Granlibakken offers a variety of activities to suit all preferences. You can take advantage of snowshoes and cross-country equipment, unwind in hot tubs, and relax in the heated pool, sauna, gym, or day spa. During the summer, you can play tennis, rent a bike, explore nature trails, or enjoy the serenity of the meditation garden. For adventure seekers, there’s the exciting Treetop Adventure Park, operated by Tahoe Treetop, located right behind the last cabin area in the resort.

Granlibakken’s all-encompassing amenities mean you don’t have to venture far for anything you desire. The resort is compact enough to navigate quickly, making it the ideal base for your Lake Tahoe family ski getaway.

Special Deals and Offers

If you stay at the resort, you’ll benefit from an unbeatable offer—50% off equipment rental and lift tickets. A lift ticket typically costs $35 for adults and $25 for kids. Sledding, another favorite winter activity, is priced at just $17 for a full day of fun. Rental equipment remains affordable, and the resort offers a range of individual and group lessons for kids and adults, lasting one, two, or three hours. Moreover, you can leave your child at the resort during these lessons, providing flexibility and convenience. If you ever fancy hitting the slopes elsewhere for part of the day, Granlibakken makes it easy. The resort’s hill is open from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM, giving ample time to enjoy the snow.

The Perfect Getaway and Best Lake Tahoe Ski Resort for Families

For our family, choosing Granlibakken proved to be an excellent decision. My husband, hailing from Canada, is a seasoned skier who prefers challenging slopes. While the skiing terrain at this resort might not have matched his expert-level skills, it perfectly catered to our family’s requirements. He embraced the resort, appreciating that it allowed our daughter and me to ski at our respective levels. Our daughter had the ideal environment to learn and enhance her skiing abilities. With his extensive skiing background, he decided to make the most of the nearby ski areas, such as Palisades, Homewood, and Alpine Meadows, tackling demanding black diamond runs. Regrettably, I had to forgo those challenging runs, ensuring someone could “look after the kids.” In the end, the kids and parents all had a fantastic time.

Our days began with a hearty buffet breakfast together, after which we would part ways, each following our unique pursuits, only to reunite for dinner. This Lake Tahoe resort’s strategic location, approximately 10 minutes from the nearby ski areas, restaurants, and shops, made it incredibly convenient for us.

To Chain or Not to Chain?

Now, a common question that arises in snowy locales is whether you need tire chains. We had them on hand, but our 4-wheel drive equipped with all-weather tires didn’t necessitate their use. The same held true for other 4-wheel drives. Lake Tahoe’s efficient snow management ensures that roads are promptly cleared to accommodate the influx of winter sports enthusiasts. While we didn’t require chains, I would recommend having them in your vehicle, just as a precaution. The resort itself offers ice scrapers for your car windows and, if needed, shovels to extricate your vehicle from any snowdrifts. Being snowed in, as we experienced, was nothing short of exhilarating, with fresh powder covering every surface, and the skiing conditions were simply outstanding.

Beyond Family Fun: Versatile and Uncongested

Granlibakken’s charm isn’t limited to just families. This secluded valley’s cozy accommodations also cater to various events, including conferences, weddings, and family reunions. They offer special rates and packages for all these occasions.

I’m excited about bringing my entire family to Granlibakken for Christmas or New Year’s. The best part? Despite various concurrent events, the resort never felt crowded during our stay. I never once found myself waiting in line, and that’s a remarkable feeling when you’re at a popular destination.

Picture this: skiing down a mountain with no one in your way and no line for the ski lift. It’s an experience that makes Granlibakken stand out as the best Lake Tahoe ski resort for families we’ve had the pleasure of visiting. Every family member departed with a sense of contentment, making it a truly memorable vacation.