The 5 Best Season Pass Deals for Ski Resorts in Northern California

It’s that time of the year to start dusting off your ski and snowboard equipment and start looking forward to another epic winter on the mountain. Northern California doesn’t lack great resorts for your next skiing adventure but it can be difficult to decide which one is best for you.

Obviously, Tahoe has some of the best resorts in the world and while some of the larger resorts can be VERY expensive, there are also some reasonable prices hidden in the Tahoe winter playground. Mammoth and Mt. Shasta are in a world of their own, since they sit far away from the other resorts and thus, might be some people’s only option.

Here’s how this works – We graded each season pass with a score from 1-10 based on Price, Quality of the Resort’s Accommodations, Quality of the Terrain, Location and Size of Lift Lines.

Let’s take a look at how each pass scores:

Mt. Shasta Ski Park

Mt. Shasta Ski Park is a smaller resort and one that has been known for it’s inexpensive lift tickets for years. But following a change of ownership, lift ticket prices have increased.

What Mt. Shasta lacks in high speed lifts, in makes up for with great skiable terrain and short lift lines. Also, if you live in the northernmost part of Northern California, this is sort of your only option. Also, the night skiing adds to the value of your ticket. (*note: the resort has had trouble opening for large periods of time over the past few seasons. Take that into consideration before deciding.) Here are the prices:

Adult: $499

Youth: $169-$299

Senior: $169

Family: $1699

Adult Day Lift Ticket: $59

See all of their ticket prices


Price: 5

Resort: 4

Terrain: 8

Location: 8

Lift Lines: 10

Overall Score: 35

Summary: For some, this mountain is just too far away. For others, this mountain is just too close. While this may be the worst resort as far as accommodations, the lack of lift lines give it a huge boost. You will get many more runs at Mt. Shasta in a day then any where else. More bang for your buck.


Boreal, located right on the top of Donner Summit near Truckee, fits the niche for terrain park junkies. While sometimes you can see this place packed with powder, it isn’t necessarily the place you want to go for a powder day. Boreal is a small resort packed full of terrain park features for the extreme skiier/snowboarder.

While the terrain at this mountain might not be for everyone, the prices are. Boreal boasts some of the best lift ticket and season pass pricing around. It’s a short drive from Sacramento and North Lake Tahoe and you won’t get the tourist lines you see at the other major resorts. They also have night skiing. Here are the prices:

Adult: $349

Youth (13-23): $259

Senior and Child: $159

Adult Day Lift Ticket: $69

See all of their ticket prices


Price: 10

Resort: 5

Terrain: 6

Location: 8

Lift Lines: 8

Overall Score: 36

Summary: Yes, this is a niche mountain for younger riders but that season ticket price matched with the lack of lift lines are too good to avoid. It is the closest Tahoe resort to anyone living north of Sacramento and has pretty good resort accommodations, including multiple high speed lifts.

Ikon Pass:

Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows

Mammoth/June/Bear/Snow Summit

Squaw Valley has always asked a high price for their season passes and rightfully so. Squaw boasts some of the largest terrain in Tahoe, and with an incredible Olympic Village to boot, it’s no wonder people come from all over to see this resort. Now that they have teamed with Alpine Meadows, located nearby on the west side of the lake, they can offer even more terrain and lifts for one pass price.

Meanwhile, the southern resorts have teamed with the Tahoe giant (Squaw) to offer a huge, crazy mega-pass!

We know we are going to hear it from many of the true Northern California purists who don’t believe any of these mountains sit in NorCal (get off your high horses already), but we certainly consider June and Mammoth Mountains as part of our NorCal brethren. These are all cool mountains and anyone who spends time in Central or Southern California, this might be the pass for you.

Mammoth Mountain is currently known as “the mountain that never closes” due to its recent 9 month ski season. It’s a world renown resort in an awesome location with a ton of terrain. June Mountain is a smaller resort but is known for some really cool backcountry lines. As for Bear Mountain and Snow Summit, who cares, they’re in SoCal…

This season, these resorts unveiled the its rendition of the Tahoe Pass, only bigger. It’s called the Ikon Pass, which includes a season pass to all of these resorts, and limited access to 22 more resorts. The price is high, but it’s the perfect pass for the hardcore traveling skier. Here are the Ikon Pass prices:

Adult: $749-$1,049

Youth: $599-$869

See all of their ticket prices


Price: 2

Resort: 9

Terrain: 10

Location: 7

Lift Lines: 8

Overall Score: 36

Summary: Squaw Valley is a legendary resort with huge runs, family friendly activities and a historic Olympic Village. Add to that the foursome of the southern resorts in California, and this pass is definitely one of the best in California. For people who don’t take their mountain riding that serious, there may be better options for you, but for the hardcore ski bum, these resorts rank near the top.

Sierra At Tahoe

Also know as the “Local’s Mountain,” Sierra-At-Tahoe is not a mega-large resort, but what it lacks in size it makes up for with incredible terrain. You probably won’t see many of the locals at the mega-resorts, with their long lines and inexperienced riders hogging the slopes. Instead, they head up the pass to this medium-sized resort with 14 lifts and 2,000 acres of pure snowy bliss. Some of the best powder days around and small lift lines make this mountain a great bang for your buck. Here are the prices:

Adult: $479

Youth: $379

College: $379

See all of their ticket prices


Price: 5

Resort: 7

Terrain: 9

Location: 7

Lift Lines: 9

Overall Score: 37

Summary: The price is a little high when you compare it to other mountains who are offering similar prices for multiple resorts. But the people who are familiar with this mountain love it to its core. This resort is a community of locals, with very little of the resort distractions – just the rider and the mountain.

Epic Pass:


Here is the giant trio of Vail Resorts in Tahoe that are attempting to dominate the skiing scene in the area. Let me make something very clear: all three of these resorts are awesome in their own right. These are three very different mountains but all fall under the Tahoe Value Pass (or Tahoe Epic Pass). That’s right, you get all three of these mountains (maybe with some restrictions) with one season pass.

Northstar is the big resort in North Tahoe, with an amazing village, great terrain for everyone and located 5 minutes from Truckee. Heavenly is the mega-resort right in the middle of South Lake Tahoe. I think it has a million lifts (I need a fact checker) spanning over two states and the gondola begins at the coveted Stateline, with casinos and shops everywhere. Kirkwood is more out of the way in Meyers, known for its great powder days and vast terrain - this is the outlier in the trio. Here are the Epic Pass prices:

Adult: $609-$949

Youth: $309-$499

See all of their ticket prices


Price: 9

Resort: 8

Terrain: 8

Location: 9

Lift Lines: 5

Overall Score: 39

Summary: Listen, I don’t want to sit here and promote the big resorts. Not my style. But you can’t deny that $600 for three mountains all over Tahoe is the best deal around. Northstar is bar-none a great place to have a season pass (speaking from over a decade of experience), Kirkwood is a top backcountry resort in Tahoe and Heavenly is, well, really convenient if you’re vacationing in South Lake Tahoe. I don’t want to be homer but Vail is really forcing my hand over here…


If you weren’t keeping score at home, here are our final scores:

1. Epic Pass – Score of 39

2. Sierra at Tahoe – Score of 37

3. Boreal – Score of 37

4. Ikon Pass – Score of 36

5. Mt. Shasta – Score of 35

Active NorCal

Telling the Stories of Northern California


  1. I am really impressed along with your writing abilities as smartly as with the structure in your weblog.
    Is that this a paid topic or did you modify it yourself?

    Either way keep up the nice high quality writing, it’s rare to peer a nice weblog like this one these days..

  2. This design is steller! You definitely know how to keep a reader amused.
    Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my own blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Great job.
    I really loved what you had to say, and more than that,
    how you presented it. Too cool!

  3. Wow, fantastic blog layout! How long have you been blogging for?
    you made blogging look easy. The overall look of your web site is great, as well
    as the content!

  4. This is a great tip particularly to those fresh to
    the blogosphere. Simple but very precise information… Appreciate your sharing this one.
    A must read article!

  5. whoah this blog is excellent i really like studying your posts.
    Stay up the good work! You realize, many persons are
    hunting round for this info, you could help them greatly.

  6. This is really interesting, You are a very skilled blogger.
    I’ve joined your feed and look forward to seeking more of your magnificent
    post. Also, I’ve shared your web site in my social networks!

  7. Howdy just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The text in your post seem to be running off the screen in Firefox.
    I’m not sure if this is a format issue or something to do with web browser compatibility but I thought I’d post to let you know.

    The design and style look great though! Hope you get the issue
    solved soon. Thanks

  8. Hi there to every one, the contents existing
    at this web site are truly remarkable for people
    experience, well, keep up the nice work fellows.

  9. I was recommended this web site through my cousin. I am not sure whether
    or not this put up is written by way of him as nobody else recognize such exact about my problem.
    You are amazing! Thanks!

  10. Hello there! I know this is kinda off topic but
    I was wondering which blog platform are you using for this website?
    I’m getting sick and tired of WordPress because I’ve had issues with
    hackers and I’m looking at options for another platform.
    I would be great if you could point me in the direction of a good platform.

  11. Thanks for the good writeup. It in fact was a enjoyment account
    it. Look advanced to far added agreeable from
    you! However, how could we communicate?

  12. Excellent post. I was checking constantly this blog and I am impressed!
    Very helpful info specially the last part 🙂 I care for such
    info much. I was looking for this particular information for a very long
    time. Thank you and good luck.

  13. It’s actually a nice and helpful piece of info.
    I am satisfied that you simply shared this useful information with us.
    Please keep us informed like this. Thank you for sharing.

  14. Hi there! This is my 1st comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and
    tell you I truly enjoy reading through your blog posts.
    Can you suggest any other blogs/websites/forums that cover the same topics?
    Many thanks!

  15. Greetings! I’ve been following your weblog for some time
    now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from
    Porter Tx! Just wanted to mention keep up the great

  16. Hi there just wanted to give you a quick heads up and let you know
    a few of the pictures aren’t loading properly.
    I’m not sure why but I think its a linking issue. I’ve tried it in two different browsers and both show the same outcome.

  17. Thanks , I have recently been searching for info about
    this topic for a long time and yours is the best I have
    discovered so far. But, what in regards to the bottom line?
    Are you positive about the source?

  18. Good day! I could have sworn I’ve been to this site before
    but after reading through some of the post I realized it’s new
    to me. Anyhow, I’m definitely delighted I found it and I’ll be bookmarking and checking back frequently!

  19. Heya i am for the first time here. I found this board and I find
    It really useful & it helped me out much. I hope to give something
    back and help others like you helped me.

  20. Hey there! I know this is kinda off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could locate a captcha plugin for my comment form?
    I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m having problems finding one?
    Thanks a lot!

  21. I like the valuable info you provide in your articles.
    I will bookmark your blog and check again here frequently.
    I’m quite certain I will learn lots of new stuff right here!
    Good luck for the next!

  22. My spouse and I absolutely love your blog and find the
    majority of your post’s to be just what I’m looking for.
    can you offer guest writers to write content to suit your needs?

    I wouldn’t mind producing a post or elaborating on a
    lot of the subjects you write in relation to here. Again,
    awesome website!

  23. I was recommended this blog by my cousin. I am not sure whether this post is written by him as
    no one else know such detailed about my difficulty. You’re wonderful!


  24. Appreciating the time and energy you put into your website and
    in depth information you offer. It’s great to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same out of date rehashed material.
    Excellent read! I’ve bookmarked your site and I’m including your RSS feeds to my Google account.

  25. Hello! I just want to offer you a huge thumbs
    up for the excellent information you have right
    here on this post. I am returning to your web site for
    more soon.

  26. I’ve been surfing online more than three hours these days, but I
    by no means discovered any interesting article like yours.
    It is lovely worth sufficient for me. In my opinion, if all site owners and bloggers made good content as
    you did, the web shall be a lot more useful than ever before.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back to top button