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Exclusive: Diamond Peak, NV - Put a Ring on It!

By Jim Kenney

Some ski areas you want to date, others you want to take home to Mama and wed for life. Diamond Peak (DP) has the qualities of both. It's pretty as a prom queen and friendly as the girl next door. When you meet a mountain that special, maybe you should put a ring on it. :)

I made my first ever visit to DP on Thursday, March 7, 2024. I was with a couple dozen friends from the SkiTalk.com online community. SkiTalk is the leader in ski gear reviews, news, and discussion. It's a great place to find out about the latest ski equipment and chat about all-things-skiing. I use SkiTalk's online discussion forums to make virtual friends and then ski with them for real!

Our group's day on the mountain featured dramatic weather that varied from sunny to snowy to cloudy to sunny again. It did not feature any crowds. We practically had the whole mountain to ourselves all day. There were zero lift lines and everybody parked for free within 100 yards of the base lodge.

DP base lodge, photo by Jim Kenney
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From 9-10 AM the visibility was fairly clear and our first carves on DP's corduroy were schweeet. DP has a nice array of medium to high angle groomers on the upper and lower mountain areas. There is also a very tame beginner area at the base that is nicely segregated from the rest of the layout. During our visit many trails were freshly groomed and readily edgeable.

View of morning clouds and Lake Tahoe from Crystal Ridge Run, photo by Jim Kenney
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The snowpack was great. We were only four days removed from a monster five foot snow storm. The entire Tahoe Basin was white as can be except for Big Blue. Lake Tahoe is visible from many points on the mountain. It never freezes and remains a deep cobalt blue color all winter. It's the largest alpine lake in North America and trails only the five Great Lakes as the largest in water volume in the United States.

Crystal Ridge Run can bring out the kid in an octogenarian, photo by Jim Kenney
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From 10 AM to noon it snowed an inch or two, which laid down a velvety coating on the entire mountain, further improving surface conditions! During the stormy period, however, the visibility was reduced. The beautiful views faded into the clouds and that's when we hit the glades of Solitude Canyon served from the summit via the Crystal Express chair (vertical ~1500').

Solitude Canyon trees part 1, photo by Jim Kenney
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The nice, wide tree spacing in much of DP's gladed terrain makes it especially user-friendly. There is quite a variety to the skier's right off the Crystal Express chair and more on skier's left. I'd need more time on the mountain to fully explore the 13 offpiste/tree zones in Solitude Canyon and on the lower mountain near the Lakeview Quad Chair (vertical ~700').

Solitude Canyon trees part 2, photo by Jim Kenney
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At noon many of us stopped at the mid-mountain Snowflake Lodge for a lunch snack. There is a wider range of food service at the base lodge, but the amazing lake views from the back deck of Snowflake Lodge (elevation 7400') are hard to resist. It's got to be one of the most scenic, maybe even most romantic, lunch spots in all of US skidom.

The deck at Snowflake Lodge, photo by Jim Kenney
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In the early afternoon we skied the lower mountain runs off the Lakeview chair where visibility remained good all day. There was a hint of spring in the air and the trail surfaces on these runs were great for groomer zooming. Both the upper and lower sections of the mountain contain a nice mix of terrain to entertain blue square and black diamond skiers.

Carver's delight, photo by Jim Kenney
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Besides the good skiing and low crowds there are other things that make DP sparkle. DP has a homey vibe you just don't get at frenetic mega resorts. The low key, but attentive staff seems a little more invested in the place than at many ski areas.

Lady lift operator, photo by Jim Kenney
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Perhaps that special "invested vibe" is because the ski area has long been publicly owned by the Incline Village General Improvement District. Community support is part of DP's DNA. This is the force that has been crucial to keeping the mountain up to date with a top-to-bottom snowmaking system, state-of-the-art grooming machines, and modern lift infrastructure including the Crystal Express high speed quad chair.

SkiTalkers on the Crystal Express, photo by Jim Kenney
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Later in the day the clouds finally lifted for good to reveal the full extent of Lake Tahoe (~20 miles long by ~10 miles wide). Wow, I actually got emotional when I found myself alone on an upper mountain groomer at 3 PM in crystal clear visibility. I doubt I'm the first to ski at DP with tears in my eyes. You don't just get a glimpse of the lake from isolated view points, you get a lengthy gander at it while cruising numerous runs all over the hill.

Afternoon at DP, photo by Jim Kenney
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I've skied at 100 areas in North America and Europe over a span of nearly 60 years, including eight resorts near Lake Tahoe. I used to think Heavenly and Homewood competed for the best views of the lake. But now I'd rank the scenes of the lake from the slopes of DP as the best of any ski area in the region.

Lake views from the Great Flume trail, photo by Jim Kenney
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In fact, DP features some of the most breathtakingly beautiful mountain-snow-water scenes I've experienced any where, including Le Massif, Quebec, Zell am See, Austria, and Saddleback, Maine. That the sterling views of Lake Tahoe had been partially obscured and in and out of clouds made it all the more dramatic when the sky totally cleared late in the day - spellbinding!

Taking flight in Golden Eagle Bowl, photo by Jim Kenney
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The bottom line for DP: it's beautiful, affordable, not crowded, and offers a fine mix of groomers and tree skiing. If you're a ski-weeker in North Lake Tahoe it is a refreshing alternative to feverish nearby resorts. There are some lucky souls who have married DP for life, but if you're not ready for that level of commitment, it might make for a lovely little fling.

Lighten up at DP, photo by Jim Kenney
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Diamond Peak Overview
With 655 acres spread out over 1,840 vertical feet (561 m) of incredible terrain the resort offers 28 developed trails, 13 named gladed tree skiing/riding areas, three terrain parks, and beautiful views of Lake Tahoe from almost every run on the mountain.

Mountain Statistics
Season: December to April (weather permitting)
Elevation: 6,700ft - 8,540ft (2,042m - 2,603m)
Vertical Drop: 1,840 feet (561 meters) 4th most in Lake Tahoe
Longest Run: 2.1 miles (3.4 kilometers)
Snowmaking: 75% of developed terrain
Skiable Acres: 655
Terrain: 30 runs, open glades, tree skiing
Beginner: 18%
Intermediate: 46%
Advanced: 36%
Terrain Park: The Village Terrain Park
Lifts: 6
Surface Lifts: 1 (exclusive to Child Ski School)

Diamond Peak website: https://www.diamondpeak.com/

Ski Talk website: https://www.skitalk.com/

About the Author
Jim Kenney Travel Correspondent: I am a husband, father, retired Navy civilian employee, and eternally unfulfilled ski-bum wannabe. A Washington DC-area native, I have skied recreationally since 1967, all while primarily based in the snow-challenged Mid-Atlantic US. I began my ski writing and photography avocation in 2000 and have since expressed the joy of skiing through hundreds of articles hosted by a variety of online websites and hardcopy publications. While I have visited close to 100 ski resorts in North America and Europe, I also enjoy the local hills in my home region, and my ski reporting garnered a West Virginia Division of Tourism’s Stars of the Industry Award for Best Web/Internet/E-Magazine Article.
About author
Jim Kenney
Years Sliding on Snow: 57 (started in 1967 and have skied every year since)
Age: geezer
Days Last Season: 64 (2022-2023)
Skill Level: I ski blues and blacks.
Home Mountains: Snowbird UT (primary), Solitude UT and Massanutten VA (secondary)
Prior Home Mountains: Blue Knob PA
Favorite Conditions, in Order: powder, packed powder
Makes My Day: everyday on the hill is a privilege and a joy
Greatest Skiing Achievement: bringing four kids into the sport
Second Greatest Skiing Achievement: have visited close to 100 ski areas and since 2000 I've documented my ski experiences with numerous travel articles and reports on a variety of websites.
Current Quiver: Blizzard Bonafide, Renown Endurance 98, Kastle LX85, Nordica Vagabond
Boots: DaleBoot Custom ski boots

Replies

There are some lucky souls who have married DP for life, but if you're not ready for that level of commitment, it might make for a lovely little fling.

Love that line!
 
Nice right up, it's a great place to ski for locals, very laid back and well groomed.
And thanks for the picture of me again, great composition.
 
Jim! Glad you got to feel it! We felt the same and doomed us to buying our condo across from Diamond Peak. And jeez IVGID sesons passes are less than $300 so bonus.
 
Jim, you do such a great job of describing a really fun ski hill.
It goes what beyond "fun" it is a place to live and enjoy. Like you say on your dying breath "yeah that worked". Damnit I can't find my poerty regarding this.
 
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Diamond Peak is such a hidden gem. I was stuck in Incline Village during the big storm a few weeks ago, and I just ended up there because we couldn’t get over Brockway Pass to get to Northstar. What a happy accident that was. The great thing about DP is that they work super hard to get the upper mountain open when other resorts‘ upper mountains are closed so it’s great to hit on a storm day. It’s also such a friendly and inviting place—the vibe on the mountain is just different than the corporate resorts. I love DP and it’ll be in the rotation in Tahoe from now on.

Here’s a quick VIDEO of a few turns from that epic day.
 
Diamond Peak is such a hidden gem. I was stuck in Incline Village during the big storm a few weeks ago, and I just ended up there because we couldn’t get over Brockway Pass to get to Northstar. What a happy accident that was. The great thing about DP is that they work super hard to get the upper mountain open when other resorts‘ upper mountains are closed so it’s great to hit on a storm day. It’s also such a friendly and inviting place—the vibe on the mountain is just different than the corporate resorts. I love DP and it’ll be in the rotation in Tahoe from now on.

Here’s a quick VIDEO of a few turns from that epic day.
Yes! Glad you got to hit that. It is pretty sweet Mon dieu le meilleur - GOAT - rulez periodt
 
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