Snowboarding (Photo by Hannah Johnston/Getty Images)
We’re lucky here in the Bay Area. A few hours drive east and we’ve got access to amazing skiing, awesome winter sports and some of the most gorgeous winter views in the world. First one to spot snow wins!
Make sure you check in with the KPIX 5 Ski Report before hitting the slopes.
Whether you are seeking action-packed adventure or just some well-deserved rest and relaxation, Northstar Resort has the perfect vacation package for every snow-seeker. Literally. At Northstar, you’ll find everything from new Village luxury condominiums, the new Northstar Lodge, a Hyatt Residence Club, and (wait for it) The Ritz-Carlton. That’s right. There’s a Ritz at Tahoe. No one says you have to hit the slopes, either. Northstar offers incredible shopping, serene spas, upscale and casual dining, hip nightlife and fabulous sight-seeing year round. Oh, and if you want to hit those slopes? Northstar offers great lift ticket and season pass options for Lake Tahoe skiers and snowboarders of all ages. Anyone looking for the definitive Tahoe experience should make a wish on Northstar.
Squaw Valley USA is famous the planet over for being host to the 1960 Winter Olympic Games located in Olympic Valley at Lake Tahoe. Boasting over 4,000 acres of high quality terrain accessed by 33 lifts, Squaw offers 3 terrain parks, two beginner areas (one located at the top of the mountain), and Tahoe’s longest winter season – November through May. There is a European style pedestrian village located in the base area with quaint shops and unique restaurants as well as world class dining and two mid-mountain lodges, Gold Coast and High Camp at elevation 8200’. The High Camp facility is host to mountain top ice skating, swimming at the Lagoon and Spa (open mid March through September) and dining, including a gorgeous sunset dinner overlooking Lake Tahoe.
Boreal Mountain Playground
While Bay Area families love to hit the slopes of Boreal, this gorgeous mid-size mountain is especially known for it’s alternative sport-style. Wanna try night skiing, freestyle, snowboarding, sledding and brave the tempting ‘bag jump’? Slide into your hippest ski gear and head to Boreal. The Boreal Inn is located just 1/4 mile from the resort and offers spacious rooms and free continental breakfast daily. It’s certainly not fancy, but the Boreal Inn is convenient, affordable and super family friendly. Kids under 4 stay free.
Located near Tahoe City, this luxury resort is incredibly popular with casual skiers and experts alike. Classes for adults and kids, 14 lifts, 100 trails, incredible views of the lake, hotel package deals, equipment rentals, tubing … Alpine’s got it all. Recently, Alpine has redesigned their lodge and outdoor sundeck, which includes a cozy fire-pit, new dining area and restaurant.
Homewood Mountain Resort
Featuring some of our absolute favorite views of Lake Tahoe, Homewood Mountain Resort offers snow-seekers everything from on-demand complimentary shuttle transportation, state-of-the-art ski/snowboard rentals, five on-mountain restaurants, impeccably groomed slopes, comprehensive daily kids’ programs, and a base lodge retail center, in case you forgot your lip balm. From beginner snow-bunnies to X-Games champs, Homewood is the perfect spot for just about anyone. And perfectly situated between North and South Tahoe, right along the lake, Homewood makes hitting the snow easy and convenient.
Located at the upscale Incline Village on the Nevada side of Tahoe, you’ll fall in love with Diamond Peak’s un-crowded mountain. Diamond Peak features stunning views of Lake Tahoe and offers a great learning environment for beginners, as well as Solitude Canyon and other challenging terrain for experts. Families in particular love Diamond Peak for the Child Ski Center and great deals, such as the Interchangeable Parent’s Pass and friendly family classes.
Donner Ski Ranch
Not looking to hob-nob in designer ski gear, and instead, play in the snow, pressure-free? Donner Ski Ranch is North Tahoe’s more mellow and relaxed ski & snowboard experience. Family owned and operated and located on historic Route 40 high atop Donner Summit, you will find a smaller, casual atmosphere that is relaxing and unintimidating. With 6 chairlifts accessing 500-plus acres, there is variety of terrain for all abilities. Donner Ski Ranch prides themselves on being dedicated to preserving the original Ski and Snowboard experience by providing an alternative to the high-priced corporate Ski Resorts.
Mt. Rose is Reno’s closest ski resort, and home to some fun, friendly and casual snow sports. From Tahoe’s Highest Base, you’re launched nearly 1,800 vertical feet in 3.5 minutes. The reward? Panoramic views of Lake Tahoe and Nevada. The real payoff begins as you descend into 1,200 acres of some of the Sierra’s best powder. The recent opening of The Chutes puts Mt. Rose in a whole new league. The closest resort to the Reno/Tahoe Intl. Airport, and just 25 minutes from Reno’s casino-packed strip, Mt. Rose is a perfect choice for skiing close to the Biggest Little City in the World.
Heavenly Mountain Resort has varied terrain that spans the California-Nevada border and includes rolling glades, terrain parks and challenging technical steeps. If you are a beginner you can enjoy easy groomed runs and easy to load lifts and gondolas. Experts can explore the back country like terrain and tree runs on the Nevada side of Heavenly. If you are adventurous you can hang out at the terrain parks and perfect your backside rodeo 9s. The resort is open all winter for skier and snowboarders and features dining, apres-ski, affordable lodging and entertainment.
Kirkwood Mountain Resort is located atop the stunning Sierra Crest with a geographical advantage that accounts for the lightest and driest snow in at Lake Tahoe. With an annual snowfall of over 600 inches, it is easy to see why Kirkwood has become synonymous with deep powder skiing and riding. Ski over 2,300 acres of legendary terrain and relax in an intimate mountain village setting. Kirkwood Mountain Resort provides destination guests a perfect backdrop for an energizing getaway. As a guest at Kirkwood, you’ll have everything you need at your doorstep – a range of dining options, Body Slopes Massage, awesome Tahoe activities, and of course skiing & riding!
Plumas Ski Club
Hitting the slopes has been a local tradition for hundreds of years. Travel back in time and try skiing on brand new 12-16 foot long board skis just like the old-fashioned ski races of the 1860’s. Plumas offers a true, old-school skiing experience, complete with the vintage ski gear. The Club features exciting long board ski races every January, keeping this almost-forgotten snow sport alive. Bring the whole family for a historic ski day, and then explore the nearby Eureka Gold Mine in the historic ghost town of Johnsville.
You don’t have to be in Tahoe to ski. Visit the breath-taking Yosemite National Park and hop a shuttle to Badger Pass, on any one of the cozy busses leaving hourly from Yosemite Valley. Downhill, cross-country, tubing, rentals and a gorgeous sun deck over-looking the slopes, Badger Pass is a mid-size, family friendly ski spot in one of the most beautiful spots on Earth. Whether it’s a day at Badger Pass, ice skating against the backdrop of Half Dome or a hot drink in the bar of the historic Ahwahnee Hotel, your winter memories of Yosemite will last forever.
Bear Mountain Ski Resort
Bear Mountain is a NorCal and SoCal snowboarders paradise. But it’s not all shredding and snow-scenes. Bear Mountain features a fun, friendly Family Park, night skiing and boarding, 14 dining options and 4 full bars. Snow bunnies of all skill levels are invited to hit the slopes. In fact, the United States Adaptive Recreation Center (USARC) established the first full-time on-site adaptive ski school in Southern California at Bear Mountain. The unique program works with schools, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and park and recreation departments to offer an incredible opportunity for children and adults with physical and cognitive disabilities to ski and snowboard. Join in the fun, and roar back at Bear Mountain this season.
Sure it’s a bit further south than Lake Tahoe or Yosemite, but with flights daily from both SFO and San Jose International Airport, all that stands between you and the slopes of Mammoth Mountain is just an hour in the air. Lodging and lift packages make Mammoth an affordable option. Whether it’s sliding down the Sesame Street slope in January or descending Kamikaze bike park trail in July, Mammoth will make you wish there were more months in the year and more light in the day. Family friendly and just as cool, there’s an awesome adventure in store for you 365 days a year, making Mammoth Mountain one mammoth vacation destination.