Don’t Miss Out on the Seven Best Snowboard and Ski Resorts in Nor Cal!
It’s that time of year again that we seem to always look forward to: I’m talking to you snowboarders and skiers! We are ready to hit the best slopes in Northern California, but because of global warming, we patiently wait for storms to improve the weather conditions. Until then, here are some places to keep in mind when planning your next trip – whether it be for beginners, challenging for experts, or terrain parks for the truly adventurous:
1. Kirkwood Mountain seems to be the place for snowboarders to have access to just about the entire mountain, including a freestyle park with quarter-pipes, tabletop jumps, a snake jump and a large spine jump, which means a good time for a park boarder. Every mountain terrain could want bowls, cornices, saddles, chutes, glades and conveniently, some flats for beginners. Their helpful services include luxurious condos, pleasing food services, and not to mention the high-quality, user-friendly skiing and snowboarding lessons for those brave beginners. It is tricky driving over the high passes, but it is worth the drive! For more information about Kirkwood, visit their website at kirkwood.com/resort.
2. Mammoth Mountain lives up to its name in a big way: It is known for the highest elevation of any ski resort in California. The 11,053-foot elevation makes for dry snow conditions and awesome scenery, with killer views west toward the Yosemite high country and east out over the entire Owens Valley. It’s primarily a destination for Los Angeles skiers who can blast north up Highway 395. It’s a challenging drive from Northern California, but the slopes are definitely worth it. For more information about Mammoth Mountain, visit their website at mammothmountainvacations.com.
3. Whether you are experienced or have never gone snowboarding in your life, Sierra at Tahoe is the place to go for vast beginner terrain, with a series of wide and undulating runs, three playgrounds for snowboarders and skiers, a large half-pipe, and a snow-play area all at an elevation of 8,852 feet. At the highest peak is Huckleberry Mountain, where challenging advanced runs cascade down the front and intermediate and beginner runs fan out from the back. On the summit, there’s a world-class vista of Lake Tahoe from a large day lodge. For more information about Sierra at Tahoe, visit their website at sierraattahoe.com.
4. Northstar at Tahoe has a wide selection of advanced runs, but unfortunately, you won’t find much double-black action here. The main draws are long, steep runs with easy high-speed lifts, which keep lines moving quickly, so the more you get to board. Snowboarding facilities are extensive, ranging from full-on half-pipe action to a terrain park designed especially for the little tikes. For more information about Northstar, visit their website at northstarcalifornia.com.
5. When dealing with such scarce snowfall these days, Heavenly, Lake Tahoe is a smart go-to resort. It has the largest snowmaking systems in North America that guarantees good coverage even with insufficient conditions. Heavenly is the only western ski area to straddle two states, California and Nevada, and at an elevation of 10,067 feet, it overlooks the most breathtaking views of Lake Tahoe. It features bowls, glades and ridge tops, but is known primarily as an intermediate skier’s mountain. In general, on the Nevada side, skiing is less crowded and snow quality is better. For more information about Heavenly, visit their website at skiheavenly.com.
6. Alpine Meadows has great terrain with reasonable prices – making it a great destination for us skiers and boarders on a tight college budget. Also, with its Shreadows Terrain Parks, which consists of four different parks, Alpine Meadows offers people of all skill levels a wide variety of slopes, jumps and rails to enjoy. To avoid crowds and find the best powder, you will want to try the backside of the mountain if you enjoy passing through the trees like I do. For more information about Alpine Meadows, visit their website at skialpine.com.
7. Squaw Valley has remained one of the world’s most desired ski destinations. This mega-resort has everything from bunny slopes to some of the gnarliest double blacks in America. Lift tickets are quite pricey, and though lines can be long, it is still what West Coast skiing is all about. There are also chutes, cornices, moguls, half-pipes and flats. For more information about Squaw Valley, visit their website at squaw.com.
Hopefully this gave you a taste of what Northern California has to offer for all the snow lovers out there. Happy boarding and be safe!
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