Southern California skiers and snowboarders have plenty to choose from within a couple hours' drive from the Los Angeles Basin into the coastal mountain range.
At Mountain High, skiing began in the 1940s and has expanded to three separate mountains -- East, West and North -- that split out nicely according to skill and type of terrain. The West Resort, now combined with neighbor East Resort, acts as the focus for the three resorts. But each has its own base facilities. Free shuttles run between West and East bases.
This season, skiers and riders will benefit from more snowmaking capacity (essential for a SoCal mountain), more features in the terrain park and renovations to the Foggy Goggle Bar at the West Resort base.
Mountain High is a Powder Alliance member and accepts the two-day-free Indy Pass. Night skiing on 85% of West Resort goes until 10 p.m. every evening at West Resort, with tubing park at North Resort. Parking can be an issue. There is on free parking lot, at the West Resort, but all the others cost $20 per vehicle.
Head to northeast into the San Bernardino mountains to find a longtime favorite of SoCal's skiers and 'boarders, Bear Mountain and Snow Summit. Under the moniker of Big Bear Mountain Resorts, the two mountains sit separately above Big Bear Lake, but you only need one ticket or an Ikon Pass, to ski and ride both.
This season, a multi-year renovation of the Bear Mountain base has produced an upgraded Laybacks Bar, a more convenient layout for the rental shop, and additional parking. Bear's 1,665 vertical drop serves a couple of long blacks, but the emphasis is on terrain parks. More than 200 features spread around the 200-acre mountain, plus a pair of halfpipes. The mountain's huge learning area focuses on getting never-evers up and onto the slopes, while progressive parks aim to step up freestylers' game.
Partner mountain Snow Summit is a couple of miles down the road, and emphasizes intermediate and advanced terrain with a double-blacks and a bevy of wide-open groomers. Fourteen lifts cover the mountains 240 acres, with two high-speed chairs to the 8,000-foot-high ridgeline. Night skiing at Snow Summit runs weekends and holidays.
Season passes for 2022-2023 are beginning to come onto the early-season market for California's 38 independently owned ski and snowboard mountains.
This first weekend of March features a more "lion-like" and snowy setup across the West, while the East sees lamb-like signs of spring time weather. Let's dig into the forecast in this week's SnoCast.
As temperatures begin to shift, Ski California resorts are gearing up for the 2021-22 winter season with investments in infrastructure, facilities improvements, and technology that will continue to allow for fast, contactless lift access, reservations and payment, and high-quality experiences.
Chelsea Clapham and her family began snowboarding at Mammoth Mountain four years ago. They enjoyed it so much that they return to the resort year-round. “We like summer and fall up there almost as much as winter,” said Clapham, who lives in Santa Clarita with her husband, Shaun, and two kids. “We have family friends who let us use their condo, so we’re hooked.”
In the waning days of January, Mother Nature got to work -- dropping her glorious bounty upon the mountains of the West, and finally giving skiers and snowboarders the deep powder they've been waiting for.
So much to cover in this week’s SnoCast as we dig out from feet of snow in the west, and eye new snow in the Midwest and Northeast—everyone gets something to finish off January.
The Sierra Nevada Mountains in California are about to make up for a dry, fire-inducing stretch of weather in a hurry with anywhere from 3 to 7 feet or more of snow forecast to fall this week.
An active weather pattern will bring storm after storm to parts of the country, allowing for more resorts to open for the season, while other areas can expect improving winter conditions.
If you're venturing up to resorts in the West this summer -- but don't want to fight the crowds -- you might want to check out some smaller resorts for some warm-weather fun.
Once there was a time when you reached age 60, you'd skied for free. Then you had to be 70. And now, at a half-dozen Western resorts, 80 is the new 60.
After a landmark season last year, California's ski and snowboard resorts are pumped to do it again, with a half-dozen more opening around Thanksgiving and plenty of snow on the way.
The L.A. Basin warms up this time of year, and one of the best ways to beat that heat is to head to the mountains.
Christmas in the mountains runs deep with traditions. But a number of resorts try to work outside the box and be creative with their celebrations.
For a long time, the idea has to get more people on the mountain, but nowadays it’s just as good to get more folks on the property. Witness SoCal resorts.
When the hustle and bustle gets too much down below, Californians head to the hills. And, the state’s ski and snowboard resorts shift into summer gear to provide the thrills, adventures and just plain relaxation that they are looking for.
Build your skills with an affordable and fun lesson. (Alyeska)
Ever have a friend with whom you’d love to hit slopes, but he or she has never skied or ridden before? If so, the annual Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month may just be the ticket.
Zipline-ing at Heavenly includes monster lake view. (Heavenly/Facebook)
One of the most prevalent summer activities at ski and snowboard resorts is the high-flying, high-speed zipline. And California is no exception.
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.