California Ski Destinations

California has plenty of options to offer when searching for a destination to ski. It is important to first decide what it is that you are looking for when planning a ski trip to California. Are you hoping for the big mountain feel or a small and intimate local atmosphere?

This list exemplifies just a few of the numerous locations California has to offer it’s skiing community.

Badger Pass Ski Area – California’s original ski area, Badger Pass, is located in one of California’s most beautiful national parks, Yosemite. Badger Pass is a full-service ski resort who offers ski and snowboard instruction, rental equipment, childcare, and even a cafeteria/lounge. If you are a beginner skier or just not yet as comfortable on the slopes as you would like to be, then Badger Pass is the place for you, with 85 percent of its’ slopes devoted to beginner and intermediate levels. They also offer a course for mini skiers ages 4-6 called Badger Pups, making Badger Pass a great destination to travel with the whole family.

Heavenly – Heavenly Ski Resort is located on the California-Nevada border in South Lake Tahoe. Heavenly is one of the world’s largest ski resorts, set on Tahoe Lake’s south shore. With its’ spectacular views, the resort has the largest snowmaking and grooming fleet on the West Coast. It features multiple terrain parks, 94 trails and a 3,500-foot vertical drop.

Mammoth – Mammoth is located in Eastern California along the east side of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. It features 1,000’s of acres of terrain and an altitude that keeps things white into summer making it one of the longest ski seasons in North America. Mammoth has about 300 days of sunshine a year, so don’t forget the sunscreen as a part of your ski gear.

Sugar Bowl – Sugar Bowl is located in Norden, California. If you are particularly fond of backcountry skiing, then Sugar Bowl is the place for you. Sugar Bowl’s backcountry tours are professionally guided and give people the chance to participate in educational seminars, snowshoe hikes, and much more.

Boreal Mountain Resort – If you are looking for a smaller more intimate skiing experience, you must go to Boreal Mountain. Located just 80 miles from Sacramento, Boreal Mountain provides its’ skiers with night lighting and a sound system on the mountain to enhance your skiing experience. How cool is that?!

Top 5 Skiing Resorts in Switzerland

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Are you an experienced or expert skier looking for your next, new ski resort to hit this winter? Travel to Switzerland to experience the beauty of the country while enjoying some of the best and most beautiful slopes in the world. Here is a countdown of five of the country’s resorts to visit this winter if you’re still deciding your vacation (most are on the more expensive side, but they’re worth the price.):

1. Verbier

Though particularly popular with its French-speaking clientele, all are still welcomed to Verbier with its network of cable cars and gondolas giving you convenient access to more resorts including Veysonnaz and La Tzoumaz. After you day skiing, you can relax and enjoy some of the most creative and delicious cuisine. If you’re also a food connoisseur then this is your resort as the others serve simple and typical ski resort menus.

2. St. Moritz

Jack Ryger nycHaving more of an Austrian influence compared to the other resorts on this list, St. Mortiz showcases authentic medieval architecture including folkloric fixtures, hand-carved paneling, and local granite throughout. There are slopes for all levels here. The Corvigilia, located just above St. Moritz is the most suitable for new or beginner skiers. If you’re looking for more of a challenge then head over to Sils Maria (Corvatsh) or Pontresina (Diavolezza). Both feature difficult slopes that you will challenge you all day long. Intermediate-level skiers should take the one cable-care connection to Piz Corvatsch and ski all the way back to St. Moritz’s lake.

3. Arosa

Relatively new to the scene amongst the ski resorts, Arosa is one of the most isolated and quiet vacations spots you’ll find. If you’re a nature lover then escape here as you head in on the one the road that leads to town. Lined with alpine meadows as far as your eye can see, Arosa couldn’t been any more serene.

4. Zermatt

In the Southwest region of Switzerland, Zermatt is located on a high-altitude plateau. It’s known for its slopes just as much as its party scene with beer-drinking heading into the early hours of the morning. Primarily tailored to intermediate skiers, it also feature a difficult course with a drop of (3,280ft) from start to finish.

5. Gstaad

Located in Saaneland, Gstaad is a cool option with plenty of action off the slopes as much as there is on them. During your downtime, you can attend music festivals, shop till you drop, and people-watch. You can people watch there for hours or enjoy the view as the sun goes down.

Mountain Biking at Ski Resorts

As the snow melts and the sun stays out longer, many ski resorts from all of the nation open trails dedicated to summer mountain biking and hiking. Either taking a summer vacation to one of your favorite ski resorts or checking out a local ski resort that has hiking and mountain biking trails is a great way to spend some quality time in nature this summer.

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Mountain biking in particular is a very popular summer activity that ski resorts have increasingly been accommodating towards. Many ski resorts have been building and maintaining certain lift-accessed mountain biking trails throughout the summer, which is great news for skiers who crave the feeling of skiing all year long. Although there may not be any snow and you probably don’t have your skis strapped in, being outside and on the mountain is very satisfying.

In fact, downhill mountain biking is very similar to skiing. Not only do you get to start your day in a base area trying on different equipment that is best for your body type and skill level, but you also get to: hop on a chairlift or gondola, adjust your helmet and gloves, warm-up on a blue trail, experience nature through trees, meadows, and wildflowers, feel a cool mountain breeze against your cheeks, enjoy beautiful mountain views, and end your day back in the base area village with a satisfied smile stretched across your face. Sounds a lot like skiing, doesn’t it?

If you’re not sure where to find a mountain bike park, make sure you look online at various ski resort websites, especially if you’re fond of a particular resort. But, if you’re in the Northeast, Killington Mountain Bike Park in Vermont is a great New England resort to check out this summer. Not only is it surrounded by lush mountains, but the Park hosts several professional-level downhill races and provides lessons up until October.

If you’re out west, California’s Northstar Bike Park offers cross-country bikers and downhill mountain biking in Lake Tahoe. The instructors there are extremely friendly and offer two-hour beginner classes. Mt. Bachelor in Oregon is another mountain to think about visiting if you want to head west, equipped with a breath-taking bike park featuring both smooth turns and fun features. Plus, they just ordered a new shipment of Norco all-mountain and downhill rental bikes for you to enjoy.

For more information about mountain biking at ski resorts, and a more detailed list of resorts to visit this summer, check out Ski.com’s article here.