10 Best Ski Resorts In California


When they hear the name California, the first thing that probably pops in people’s minds is the beach, followed by Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood, surfing, etc, but only a few will relate California to skiing and other snow-related activities, which is a mistake because California offers the chance to live one of the best skiing experiences ever on the Sierra Nevada mountains.

In this article, we’ll go through the top 10 ski resorts in California, so you’ll have more than enough time to get ready for winter and book a trip to experience skiing in California.

1. Mountain High

Located in the region of the Big Pines in San Gabriel mountains, it offers three different resorts with one entry ticket, so you’ll get to choose between the West Resort, East Resort, and North Resort, each of three offering different stuff, suited for every skier. Mountain High has around 290 acres of slopes available to skiers, so no matter how experienced are, you’ll find the track challenging enough.

What Makes It Great?

  • West Resort is open even after dark during the season.
  • East Resort is doesn’t only provide an amazing challenge for the experienced skiers, but it also combines it with a pretty spectacular view of the Mojave Desert.
  • North Resort is probably one of the best places for beginners around the world thanks to its 70 acres of beginner slopes.

2. Squaw Valley And Alpine Meadows

With Lake Tahoe on the opposite end, Squaw Valley is one of the most popular resorts in the whole of North America. Besides that, it also offers some of the most challenging tracks, because it was a host city of the 1960 Winter Olympics. Squaw Valley visitors can also enter the Alpine Meadows resort, located about 15 minutes away.

Squaw Valley is a great place for experienced skiers thanks to 87 black diamond runs, but also it offers the chance for novice skiers to learn without having to repeat any track thanks to 67 green trails. The rest of the 270 tracks are under the blue mark.

What Makes It Great?

  • 270 tracks for skiers of all levels on around 6.000 acres.
  • Great restaurants.
  • Amazing view.
  • Beautiful base village.

3. Heavenly Mountain Resort

Not only you’ll have an idea you’re in skier heaven, but this resort near Lake Tahoe has another great joker up in its sleeve. It’s not the fact that it offers a pretty out-of-this-world panoramic view on Lake Tahoe, nor the fact that it is surrounded by the pine trees, but the fact that it is probably the best place for adrenaline junkies, thanks to its double-black diamonds tracks, while it also has two parks made for freestyle skiers. If it scares you, don’t let it – there are 97 tracks overall with most being blue ones and a few greens with lessons for beginners available.

What Makes It Great?

  • Amazing panoramic view.
  • Double black diamond tracks.
  • Freestyle parks.
  • Many interesting and fun blue trails.
  • Non-stop partying.

4. Mammoth Mountain

Located in the Sierra National Forest, Mammoth Mountain Ski Area is a great option for skiing in California, but it is also one of the favorite snowboarding locations worldwide. It has a great tradition, the season can last deep into the spring, and some of the biggest Mammoth Ski Area perks are the restaurants that offer delicious meals with local recipes.

With 151 trails that cover 3,500 acres of skiable terrain, it is a pure blessing for expert skiers, with almost 50 trails being expert-intended, while the rest of the tracks are mostly marked with blue color with a few greens, where you’ll be able to learn how to ski.

What Makes It Great?

  • Great for snowboarders and freestyle skiers.
  • Beautiful restaurants.
  • Tracks for anyone, from skiing experts to newbies.

5. Northstar Ski Resort


The biggest plus of a Northstar ski resort, besides great tracks, is its pet-friendly mark, so you can take your pet with you. It also has many different activities you could participate in besides skiing, you could go to a ski school, or simply spend your days on some of the 100 tracks. The weather is most often sunny, so the tracks are sometimes a combination of natural and man-made snow, and the base village is filled with restaurants, shops, and other entertainment places.

When it comes to skiing itself, this resort is loved by intermediate skiers because it offers lots of great blue tracks.

What Makes It Great?

  • It is a pet-friendly resort.
  • Not windy.
  • Many family-friendly activities.
  • Great restaurants.

6. Kirkwood Ski Resort

Kirkwood ski resort is located on the Sierra Crest peak and it offers an amazing combination of great scenery and exciting trails on its 2,300-acre big resort. Known for the big elevation that goes from 7,800 to 9,800 feet, it is adored by expert skiers because it is not a perfect place or newbies with about 10 tracks made for beginners out of 86 total, which means it is not as crowded as other resorts.

This will keep the snow fresh for a longer period and allow you to enjoy your time on the track without a distraction.

What Makes It Great?

  • Challenging trails.
  • High snowfall average number annually.
  • Not so crowded

7. Sugar Bowl Resort

Located only three hours away from San Francisco, it is regarded as one of the most delightful resorts thanks to around 500 inches worth of snow falling down every year. Sugar Bowl resort has 1,650 acres of skiable area that is hidden from the wind, with lots of pine tree forests and nice mountain views, wherever you turn to. Just to be safe, make sure you learn how to get out of a tree well.

It has 98 registered trails, with almost half being made for intermediate skiers, and about 15 trails for beginners, combined with ski lessons for kids and adults.

What Makes It Great?

  • Hidden from the wind.
  • Lots of pine tree forests.
  • Near San Francisco.
  • Most snow annually.
  • Small but fun and charming resort.

8. Big Bear Mountain Resort

The main difference between this and other resorts is in the location of Big Bear Mountain resort – San Bernandino mountains. Located about 100 miles away from Los Angeles, Big Bear has an elevation of 8,000 feet, and an entry ticket will give you the chance to enter two ski areas, Bear Mountain and Snow Summit.

Bear Mountain has 32 trails and it is great for both beginners and intermediate skiers, while it also has a freestyle skiers park. On the other hand, Snow Summit is a great option for intermediate skiers.

What Makes It Great?

  • Near Los Angeles.
  • Great for families.
  • Suitable for freestyle skiers.
  • Preferred by intermediate skiers, but also a great place to learn how to ski.

9. Yosemite Area

One of the hidden gems among ski resorts in California and another place with amazing scenery, located near Yosemite National Park, this resort is rarely crowded and it is affordable. It is also considered to be one of the easy-going and stress-free locations. Besides ski tracks and ski schools, the Yosemite area also has alpine skiing tracks, snow tubing terrains, cross-country, and back-country skiing terrains along with the ones made for snowshoeing, and last but not least, it has many great trails for snowboarding. Yosemite Area is probably the best option for people who love to try many different things and would love to go back home with some new experience. And another great thing about Yosemite is the fact that it is not crowded so you’ll be able to relax and enjoy your vacation without any problem.

What Makes It Great?

  • Not crowded.
  • Stress-free.
  • Lots of other snow-related activities like snowshoeing, cross-country skiing…
  • Great for snowboarders.

10. Mount Shasta Ski Park

Located between the cities of Mount Shasta and McCloud, this Northern California-based ski park has 425 acres of skiable terrain that spreads on 32 trails. Once a volcanic peak, it has an elevation of 5,500 feet and it offers one of the best off-piste experiences in California, thanks to its volcanic nature. Especially fun is the back-country skiing experience because you’ll get the chance not only to ski but also to meet many different wild species and enjoy winter nature at its best, which can bring fun to another level and give your trip a great impulse.

What Makes It Great?

  • The adrenaline rush of being near a volcano.
  • Great off-piste experience.
  • Amazing scenery and nature.
  • The chance to see and learn something new.

Globo Surf Overview

If you still haven’t decided where to go on a winter ski trip, consider California. If you look for skiing combined with non-stop partying, you’ll find on this list of California skiing resorts. If you’re looking for amazing scenery and out-of-this-world places, skiing in California should be your next trip. If you prefer peace and silence, you’ll find it here. Find your resort, pack your bags, and off you go! And in the meantime, check our bucket list of fun activities for your next trip.

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My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!