California
Ski Areas

California

Our nation’s most populous state is also the third largest. California stretches from the Redwood Forest to the southern tip of the Mohave Desert, and there is wonderful skiing in every part of the state.

Skiing in California

Visitors can watch expert surfers in the colder northern waters and then drive through the breathtakingly giant Redwoods. One day, you can visit Alcatraz in San Francisco Bay and then hit the slopes at Lake Tahoe. It’s easy to enjoy big-city life, then drive an hour into the San Bernardino Mountains for fantastic skiing and snowboarding. In all, California has over 20 ski resorts from which to choose.

Best Ski Resorts in California

The northern region of California is probably most famous for the wine district and Redwood Forest. These areas are truly worth visiting in your lifetime. Even a large family holding hands can’t wrap around some Redwoods. They are simply awe-inspiring. Just north of Redding is Mount Shasta. Although less known, it is set in a stunning part of the state and offers excellent skiing for all levels.

If you are looking for top skiing and snowboarding, head to central California. The main attraction is Lake Tahoe — just two hours from Sacramento. Lake Taho presents 12 ski resorts within a short drive and breathtaking views. Heavenly is the largest ski resort in the area. For fewer crowds, consider Diamond Peak.

Lake Tahoe’s major ski areas include:

  • Kirkwood
  • Northstar
  • Sierra-at-Tahoe
  • Palisades (formerly Palisades Tahoe)
  • Sugar Bowl
  • Mount Rose

There are more ski areas, but we have focused on these resorts. We have provided original information on lodging, ski levels, off-the-mountain activities, and information snowboarders will need and love.

In Central California, no more than 100 miles south of Tahoe, are Badger Pass, Mammoth Mountain, and the June Mountains. They are located in the Inyo National Forest and the eastern Sierra Mountains. A favorite among snowboarders like Shaun White, the area is pristine, quaint, and has incredible winter fun.

In the San Bernardino Mountains of Southern California, are Mount Baldy, Big Bear, Snow Summit, and Snow Valley. Only a short drive from L.A., you can ski in shorts and a T-shirt during early and late season.

California Skier Deals

Read more about each of California’s impressive winter vacation destinations and head there this winter. We have California covered from NorCal to SoCal. We have promo codes, discounts and deals on lodging, ski rental equipment, lift tickets, dining, and more.

Our nation’s most populous state is also the third largest. California stretches from the Redwood Forest to the southern tip of the Mohave Desert, and there is wonderful skiing in every part of the state.

Skiing in California

Visitors can watch expert surfers in the colder northern waters and then drive through the breathtakingly giant Redwoods. One day, you can visit Alcatraz in San Francisco Bay and then hit the slopes at Lake Tahoe. It’s easy to enjoy big-city life, then drive an hour into the San Bernardino Mountains for fantastic skiing and snowboarding. In all, California has over 20 ski resorts from which to choose.

Best Ski Resorts in California

The northern region of California is probably most famous for the wine district and Redwood Forest. These areas are truly worth visiting in your lifetime. Even a large family holding hands can’t wrap around some Redwoods. They are simply awe-inspiring. Just north of Redding is Mount Shasta. Although less known, it is set in a stunning part of the state and offers excellent skiing for all levels.

If you are looking for top skiing and snowboarding, head to central California. The main attraction is Lake Tahoe — just two hours from Sacramento. Lake Taho presents 12 ski resorts within a short drive and breathtaking views. Heavenly is the largest ski resort in the area. For fewer crowds, consider Diamond Peak.

Lake Tahoe’s major ski areas include:

  • Kirkwood
  • Northstar
  • Sierra-at-Tahoe
  • Palisades (formerly Palisades Tahoe)
  • Sugar Bowl
  • Mount Rose

There are more ski areas, but we have focused on these resorts. We have provided original information on lodging, ski levels, off-the-mountain activities, and information snowboarders will need and love.

In Central California, no more than 100 miles south of Tahoe, are Badger Pass, Mammoth Mountain, and the June Mountains. They are located in the Inyo National Forest and the eastern Sierra Mountains. A favorite among snowboarders like Shaun White, the area is pristine, quaint, and has incredible winter fun.

In the San Bernardino Mountains of Southern California, are Mount Baldy, Big Bear, Snow Summit, and Snow Valley. Only a short drive from L.A., you can ski in shorts and a T-shirt during early and late season.

California Skier Deals

Read more about each of California’s impressive winter vacation destinations and head there this winter. We have California covered from NorCal to SoCal. We have promo codes, discounts and deals on lodging, ski rental equipment, lift tickets, dining, and more.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Yes! There is world-class skiing in the Sierra Nevada mountains in California. Alpine Meadows, Palisades Tahoe and Northstar are popular ski resorts at North Lake Tahoe. There is also great skiing near South Lake Tahoe at resorts like Heavenly, Kirkwood and Sierra-at-Tahoe. Further south near Yosemite National Park, Mammoth Mountain offers world-class skiing and snowboarding.

Heavenly has more than 4,600 skiable acres, making it the largest ski resort in terms of size. Palisades Tahoe has 3,600 skiable acres, while Mammoth Mountain offers 3,500 acres available for skiing. Palisades Tahoe comes in No. 1 when it comes to total named trails, with more than 170. Palisades Tahoe also has the most ski lifts with a current total of 29. Alpine Meadows comes in second with a current total of 28 ski lifts.

The mountains in California are known for their massive snowfall totals. Kirkwood and Sugar Bowl each report more than 500 inches of snowfall annually. Sierra-at-Tahoe posts a current tally of 480 inches of snowfall annually while Palisades Tahoe and Alpine Meadows each report annual totals of 450 inches.

The best skiing in Southern California can be found at Mt. Baldy in the San Gabriel Mountains about 45 minutes northeast of Los Angeles. The popular downhill ski resort has 26 named trails serviced by 4 total ski lifts providing access to a total of 800 skiable acres. Snow Valley Mountain Resort is another popular choice just east of San Bernardino in the San Bernardino National Forest.

Heavenly Mountain Resort at South Lake Tahoe has more than 4,800 skiable acres with close to 100 named ski trails. Palisades Tahoe at North Lake Tahoe has more than 3,600 skiable acres with 170 named trails. Mammoth Mountain at Mammoth Lakes offers over 3,500 acres of skiable terrain with more than 150 named trails.

In Northern California, skiers head to Lake Tahoe for world-class skiing and snowboarding. There’s excellent ski resorts at North Lake Tahoe like Palisades Tahoe and Alpine Meadows. Heavenly at South Lake Tahoe has the most skiable acres with 4,800. Mammoth Mountain in the Sierra National Forest has the state’s highest base elevation (7,953 feet) and peak elevation (11,053 feet) for any ski resort at close to 8,000 feet.

Mt. Baldy in the San Gabriel Mountains is only about 45 minutes from downtown Los Angeles. It is accessible via Interstate 10 East to Interstate 605 North, then Interstate 210 East/Foothill Freeway and California Highway 210 to Claremont. Take Exit 52 from California Highway 210.

Sierra-at-Tahoe is the closest to downtown San Francisco at about 2 hours and 50 minutes (depending on traffic.) Sierra-at-Tahoe is at North Lake Tahoe and has more than 2,000 skiable acres with a total of 46 runs serviced by a total of 12 ski lifts. Kirkwood is also about a 3 hour drive from downtown San Francisco.

Yes! Great deals for last-minute skiing can always be found at SkierDeals.com. There are deals and discounts for skiing at Northern California resorts like Mammoth Mountain and Heavenly, as well as prime resorts in SoCal. Find deals on lodging, lift tickets, ski rentals and more.

Alpine Meadows and Palisades Tahoe USA at North Lake Tahoe offer affordable lodging options for California skiing and snowboarding vacations. Both world-class ski resorts have prime downhill skiing and offer ski-in, ski-out hotels that sit right at the base of the mountain. There are also affordable lodging options further away from the mountain that provide complimentary shuttle service to the ski lifts.

The Northstar Lodge by Welk Resorts at North Lake Tahoe is a chic, upscale hotel that offers ski-in, ski-out accommodations at Northstar Ski Resort. The hotel presents a distinct luxury experience with an intimate theater, impeccable guest rooms, a long list of luxury amenities and a full-service spa. The Ritz-Carlton Club at North Lake Tahoe near Truckee is also a popular luxury ski destination at the Northstar slopes.

There are always several last-minute California Skier Deals available at SkierDeals.com, the original ski savings website. The website has a number of deals, discounts, promo codes and coupons for savings on lift tickets, lodging, ski rentals, meals and more.

Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood all have unlimited access as part of the 2020-21 Epic Pass through Vail Resorts. The company also offers Tahoe Local Pass and Tahoe Value Pass options for skiers and snowboarders this season for skiing at these three resorts plus other benefits and ski access.

Palisades Tahoe, Alpine Meadows, Mammoth Mountain, Big Bear and June Mountain all have unlimited access as part of the 2020-21 Ikon Pass.

Mammoth Mountain, Palisades Tahoe and Alpine Meadows all offer full, unlimited access as part of the 2020-21 Mountain Collective Pass.

Deals, discounts and savings on California lift tickets can always be found at SkierDeals.com, the original ski specials website. The site offers links to purchase lift tickets at a reduced rate.

Beginner ski gear can be rented at any ski resort in California. Some of the more popular beginner ski areas in the state include Northstar, Heavenly, Alpine Meadows, Mammoth Mountain and Mt. Baldy.

North Lake Tahoe has several excellent ski-in, ski-out hotels at the base of some of the state’s most impressive mountains. Ski-in, ski-out lodging at Palisades Tahoe and Alpine Meadows puts guests right at the slopes. Northstar has excellent ski-in, ski-out accommodations from luxurious industry brands like Ritz-Carlton and Welk Resorts.

The Reno-Tahoe International Airport in Reno is about 55 minutes from Palisades Tahoe Alpine Meadows at North Lake Tahoe. The popular ski resort covers more than 6,000 acres of terrain and is known for its big snowfall and lengthy skiing and snowboarding season.

There are several wonderful ski resorts at Lake Tahoe. At North Lake Tahoe, Palisades Tahoe, Alpine Meadows and Northstar are popular destinations. There’s also skiing and snowboarding at South Lake Tahoe at Heavenly.

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