You find features all over Mammoth Mountain. (Mammoth Mountain/Facebook)
As the song contends, it seems “it never rains in Southern California,” but it does snow in the mountains. Enough has fallen already from the skies and out of the nozzles of snow guns that SoCal’s ski and snowboard season is underway.
All within driving distance of Los Angeles or San Diego, a half-dozen resorts feature ample varieties of trails and slopes, and terrain parks that play off of the popularity of skateboarding and surfing down below.
Another highlight is collaboration on lift tickets that make it easier and cheaper to get onto the slopes. It’s the second season for the consortium of Mammoth Mountain, June Mountain, Bear Mountain and Snow Summit. The Cali4nia Pass covers all four resorts for the whole season, while Bear and Snow Summit join up with both unlimited and midweek versions. Season pass holders at Mountain High or Mt. Baldy get three free days at the other resort.
At Snow Valley, there’s a new conveyor lift that doubles terrain for the kid’s learning area, while night skiing continues. At Snow Summit, a new 3,000 square-foot children’s center sprung up over the summer.
San Diego fav Mountain High boasts two separate mountains that let skiers and riders choose the type of terrain they want to hit on any day.
And Mt. Baldy – about 45 miles from L.A. – keeps it old-school with fewer trails groomed every day to challenge skiers and ‘boarders to up their games beyond corduroy.
Mammoth Mountain – the largest resort in Southern California – adds to its Unbound Terrain Park legacy with a new hike-in terrain park in the Hemlocks Ridge area. A half-dozen parks of progressive difficulty dot the lower half of the trail map at Mammoth, including four half-pipes.
“Surfing and skateboarding are inherently ingrained in the fabric of Southern California, and freestyle snowboarding is a natural extension of that,” Mammoth’s Lauren Burke told SnoCountry.com. “The Southern California board sport culture slowly made its way to up north, first to June Mountain and then to Mammoth, and the Unbound Terrain Parks were born.”
At Bear Mountain and Snow Summit, terrain park crews regularly shift features overnight to keep things fresh.
This rendering shows what the base area will look like after redevelopment (Squaw Valley Tomorrow)
Squaw Valley officials say completion of final design and plans for the multi-decade project can get underway after Placer County approval of its ambitious development plans for the base area.
The project at the Lake Tahoe resort reflects a trend among Western resorts to upgrade into order to keep up with their international and domestic competitors. Officials recognize that the pre-eminence of Squaw Valley in the 1960s and 1980s has waned, due greatly to the lack of concerted updating and reinivigorating the property.
About 90 percent of the project lies on existing parking lots, according to resort officials, and calls for an overhaul of existing retail outlets, and construction of about 1,500 new beds in some 750 lodging units. The initial work on the project would include ski in/ski out lodging, fractional cabins on the west side of the base area, and the Mountain Adventure Camp – a 90,000 square foot rec center that sits partially on the previous center’s footprint.
The timeline for completion of the $1 billion project extends out as far as 25 years, and initial work won’t begin until planning approvals can be secured for each portion of the development.
“Each lot that is to be developed will be subject to a similar public review and approval process that includes opportunity for community input, so nothing is immediately going to start in the way of construction,” Squaw’s Jess VanPernis Weaver told SnoCountry.com, noting that actual construction may not begin for a couple of years.
The project sits on 22 parcels owned by KSL Capital Partners, which bought the resort in 2010 from closely held interests that stretch back to the 1949 opening of the mountain. Recently, Squaw Valley and neighboring Alpine Meadows joined forces.
Opening day for the 2016-2017 season is slated for Nov. 23, weather permitting.
Browns Canyon along Arkansas River is not for the faint of heart (AVA Rafting/Facebook)
Every spring, the high country sends cascades of frigid cold, roaring water down mountain rivers. While the runoff signals the end of the ski and snowboard season, it also means that it’s time to hop into a raft and keep the thrills coming.
We all know that “summer” and “California” are inexorably linked, but it’s not just beaches and surf at ski and snowboard resorts up in the mountains.
The sale of 640 acres near Donner Pass will allow Tahoe Donner Cross Country Ski Area to reopen terrain that has been roped off to Nordic enthusiasts.
Just when we thought El Niño has petered out on the mountains of the West, the metrological maiden has come on with force to put down as much as two feet as April begins.Thus, a number of resorts in the West have decided to stay open a bit longer.
It’s just been too good at Lake Tahoe resorts this season – and so much better than recent years -- not to stay open longer than planned.
El Niño’s largesse has fallen mostly on Sierra and Pacific Northwest resorts this season, prompting several to extend their seasons and others just happy to make it to their usual closing date.
Unusually high temps have forced Mountain High to shut down it lifts until conditions improve, but one of its SoCal neighbors has stepped in to help.
A number of Rocky Mountain resorts and companies run off-piste snowcat powder tours, and now Homewood Mountain Resort will become the first in California to haul powderhounds to their heaven.
By age six, Shaun White was riding the rails at Big Bear Mountain -- and catching the eye of promoters of the new sport of freestyle. At age seven, the San Diego native had a sponsorship, and was tearing up the terrain parks at Mammoth Mountain.
Officials at Sugar Bowl Resort say they will seek criminal charges against a snowboarder who allegedly set off an avalanche in a closed area at the Donner Summit ski and snowboard mountain.
How about a wintertime business retreat with private skiing and snowboarding by helicopter or snowcat? Throw in a private clubhouse, luxury ski-in ski-out lodging and a chance to cut lift lines at Mammoth Mountain?
Heavenly Valley Resort kicked off their 60th year in operation with plenty of Sierra-style partying and talk of years gone by. But the greatest gift for the iconic Lake Tahoe resort has been snow, snow, and more snow.
Vertical Express for Can Do MS, the only national event series that combines skiing and fundraising to empower people with multiple sclerosis (MS), kicks off Feb. 6 with seven ski resort events across the country. This event supports lifestyle empowerment programs for people with MS and their support partners.
Yes, it’s finally a bonanza snow season in the Sierra with double-digit storms all over, but the managers of Soda Springs Mountain Resort don’t regret their decision to become the first California resort to use recycled water for snowmaking.
Ski resorts throughout the Northeast are wondering just what did they do to get onto the naughty list? Was it all that snow last season? The cold temperatures too? Maybe we should just blame it on El Niño?
As serious snows return to the Lake Tahoe region, thousands of skiers and snowboarders make the trip up to a dozen mountain resorts. Once they get there, area officials work hard to provide transit options so that all those vehicles stay parked during their stay.
El Nino continues to play the same tune across North America with abundant snow in the west and spring-like temperatures throughout the lower midwest and Northeast, and the forecast shows little signs of change.
Adult women constitute a prime demographic for growth the ski and snowboard industry so, in the past few seasons, Vail has fine-tuned its ski school offerings to coincide with the schedules and desires of the females on the mountain.