The views of Lake Tahoe should put Crystal Ridge at Diamond Peak ski area in any discussion of the most scenic ski runs in the country. Located on the northeast corner of the lake in Incline Village, Nev., Diamond Peak lives up to its name as a jewel for beginners and families.
|Crystal Ridge, a blue ski run at Diamond Peak, offers|
spectacular views of Lake Tahoe.
Photo: Diamond Peak/Robyn Scarton
“We’ve just been coming here for years. We love the mountain. The price is right and no one is on the slopes, love that,” said Paula Ashcroft, a visitor from Brentwood, Calif. “You go to Squaw Valley and you’re fighting everyone and here you can ski straight on the lift and we just love it.”
Randy Paranick brought his young son, Mason, up from Sacramento, Calif., to teach him to ski. “We chose Diamond Peak, because we heard it had a good family-friendly atmosphere and had a good friend who taught their four-year-old son how to ski here last year,” Paranick said.
“We really like the fact that they offer the $23 lift ticket for the Lodgepole and Schoolhouse beginner lifts,” he added. “That way if Mason decides he wants to build a snowman or throw snowballs, I’m not out a whole bunch of money for a full lift ticket for myself.”
The lift-ticket pricing is indeed a draw for many families. Along with the beginner ticket for adults, the resort offers free skiing for children six and under. Full lift tickets for children ages 7-14 cost only $18. Youth tickets for ages 15-17 are $39. The full adult ticket costs $49. Also for $49, parents can buy an interchangeable pass to alternate "kid duty" on and off the slopes.
|Diamond Peak has 655 skiable acres and a vertical drop|
of 1,840 feet. Photo: Eric Wagnon
“We get a lot of intermediates, a lot of beginners and a lot of kids,” said Milena Regos, Diamond Peak marketing director. “The cool thing about the mountain is that the runs funnel like a martini glass, so the runs end up at the same place.“
Diamond Peak is owned by the Incline Village General Improvement District, a quasi-public agency that also operates a pair of golf courses and a tennis center. Thanks to the healthy tax base of affluent Incline Village and Crystal Bay, the community manages to help support Diamond Peak as a modern ski area. For example, the base facilities were recently expanded and renovated. The resort also installed a high-speed quad chairlift to the summit in 2003.
The area started as Ski Incline in 1966 and changed its name to Diamond Peak at Ski Incline when the upper mountain with more black-diamond runs opened in 1987. The Diamond Peak part of the name that has stuck seems ironic in light of the mountain’s reputation for beginners and intermediates.
|Solitude Canyon can hold powder for advanced skiers|
at Diamond Peak ski area. Photo: Eric Wagnon
The advanced terrain on the upper mountain such as The Glades and Solitude Canyon can keep good skiers reasonably entertained for a day. Real adrenaline seekers, however, would likely be happier at Squaw Valley or Alpine Meadows. One exception might be on a storm day, because those other resorts have a much greater probability of wind holds for the lifts.
Diamond Peak draws a fair number of visitors from the nearby Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe. A complimentary ski shuttle carries guests the mile distance between the hotel and the ski area.