11 Northern California Ski Resorts You Have to Visit This Winter

|January 5, 2018

It’s no secret we love where we live here in the Bay Area. It’s basically all we blog about. Not only do we get to call one of the world’s most iconic cities our hometown, we’re also within driving distance of world-class surfing, skiing, hiking and wine drinking! We know, we’d be jealous too.

To celebrate the winter season, we rounded up a few of Northern California’s best ski resorts and areas. Complete with charming villages, kid-friendly lessons and equipment rentals, you can learn the ropes and show off your skills — no matter what your experience level.

For more winter fun closer to home, check out The 10 Essential Winter Activities in the San Francisco Bay Area!

Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows

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Squaw Valley Ski Resort Northern California

Photo courtesy of Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows and Ben Arnst

When Squaw Valley opened in November 1949, it was home to the world’s largest double chairlift. Then, in 1960, when the humble resort had just one chairlift and lodging for fifty, they landed the Olympic bid and hosted the 1960 Winter Games. Today, Squaw Valley has 3,600 skiable acres across six peaks, North America’s most advanced lift network and some of the best lift accessed terrain in the world.

Neighboring resort Alpine Meadows joined forces in 2011 and, ever since, they’ve been creating one of the world’s best ski havens.

Bear Valley Mountain

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Bear Valley Mountain gets an average annual snowfall of 30 feet, has two terrain parks for different experience levels, a total of ten lifts, more than 75 trails across 1,680 ski-able acres and a 1900 vertical drop. Ranging from beginner and through intermediate, advanced and higher, this is the perfect park to learn how to ski and to show off your skills!

Dodge Ridge Ski Resort

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Dodge Ridge Ski Area Northern California Tahoe

Photo courtesy of Dodge Ridge Ski Resort

From December through April, this resort invites you to enjoy 862 acres of terrain, 12 lifts to 67 different runs, more than three terrain parks and a vertical drop of 1,600 feet. The majority of their terrain is divided between intermediate and advanced, but they do have about 20% of land marked for beginners — and plenty of resources to learn! So no matter what you’re looking for this ski season, make sure you stop by Dodge Ridge.

Yosemite Ski & Snowboard Area

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Yosemite National Park Ski and Snowboard area

This small ski and snowboard area is nestled inside Yosemite National Park. The area features backcountry ski tours, groomed trails perfect for cross-country skiers, snowshoeing, chair lifts for Alpine skiers, a challenging terrain park for snowboarders and skiers, and a tubing area for the whole family, and the Yosemite Ski & Snowboard Area School!

Kirkwood Mountain Resort

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Kirkwood is one of many outstanding Vail Resorts sprinkled across the continent. On the mountain, you can experience 2,000 feet of vertical drop and over 2,300 acres of terrain ranging from calm, groomed, beginner runs to adrenaline-inducing runs and cliffs. Ranging from beginner all the way to expert, there’s something for everyone at The Wood!

Northstar California Resort

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Another Vail Resorts gem, Northstar is located just 20 minutes north of Lake Tahoe. The resort has both the diverse terrain needed for a fun day on the hill and the village atmosphere needed for a cozy day in the mountains. From 3,170 skiable acres and 2,280 feet of vertical drop to more than 15 dining options and dozens of family-friendly activities off-mountain, there’s something for everyone, every interest and every age at Northstar!

June Mountain Ski Area

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June Mountain kid-friendly Ski Resort Northern California

Photo courtesy of June Mountain and Peter Morning

Hailed as California’s Family Mountain, June has the terrain parks, the backcountry tours, lessons and rentals your family needs for an unforgettable day in the snow. Start your own winter tradition on 41 different runs across 1,500 acres of terrain!

Sierra-at-Tahoe

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At Sierra-at-Tahoe, 2,000 acres of snow-packed fun comes with a fun-loving ski attitude we love. In addition to 14 lifts that give you access to 46 outstanding trails, the mountain boasts six terrain parks, a TransWorld SNOWboarding Top 10-rated halfpipe, four adventure zones just for kids, tubing hills, a dedicated snow play area, three miles of snowshoe trails and more!

Tahoe Donner

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Tahoe Donner isn’t just a haven for downhill skiers. They operate Tahoe Donner Cross Country Ski Center including dog trails, fat bike trails and snowshoe trails! As a member of the Tahoe Donner homeowner’s association, you get access to every amenity, activity and youth camp. But the public can still enjoy Tahoe Donner Downhill Ski Resort, the kids’ snowplay area and Pizza on the Hill — among many other activities!

Royal Gorge Cross Country Resort

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Royal Gorge Ski Resort Northern California

Photo courtesy of Royal Gorge Cross Country Resort

Royal Gorge is North America’s largest cross-country resort. Winding through the Sierras, they have six distinct trail systems featuring nine different warming huts across 6,000 acres from classic striding to XC skating, snowshoeing and even trails you can enjoy with your dog! Because the resort is seamlessly integrated with the Village at Sugar Bowl, you can enjoy downhill skiing nearby as well!

Mt. Shasta Ski Park

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To get to Mt. Shasta Ski Park, you’ll head north from San Francisco and keep going up I-5 until you’ve just about hit Oregon. The drive is worth it, because, once you arrive, you have access to 425 skiable acres, 1,435 vertical feet, 32 trails and night skiing on 14 trails and 2 lifts (that’s right, night skiing!). Check out the ski and stay options and make it a weekend getaway!

Have fun on the slopes!  

In the comments below, let us know where you go when the snow hits the Sierras.

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