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.
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.
From British Columbia to Arizona – and most everywhere in between – you can hear the yips and yelps as the 2015-2016 western skiing and snowboarding season begins with a bang.
The first storm cycle of the season has brought much-need precipitation to California and the Pacific Northwest, and enough snow to open a few more resorts, and expanded terrain offerings in Colorado.
This 2014-2015 winter has yet to be kind to Southern California mountains, so that means resorts are getting kinder and kinder to skiers and snowboarders.
Officials at Mount Baldy get to breathe a sigh of relief as the Southern California ski and snowboard mountain has been determined to be outside the boundaries of a new national monument.
The skiing and snowboard season in California was a mixed bag this season, but hope always springs eternal for the next season – as do the bargains for buying a season’s pass early.
Hope on the Slopes, Ski & Ride for a Cure (HOTS) is a fundraising event benefitting the American Cancer Society. Look for it at ski areas across the country.
HOTS combines the passion of finding a cure for cancer with a love for skiing and riding.
Twelve ski resorts throughout the West – many with prodigious pow stashes – have united to offer skiers and riders the opportunity to broaden their powdery horizons with a brand new “Powder Alliance” pass.
With the early snowfall in the California mountains, SoCal shredders and plankers alike are itching to head to the hills for those precious first turns.
Skiers and riders look to the fall ski shows to discover improvements ski areas have made during the off-season, talk with manufacturers’ reps, decide on their ski vacation and getaway plans, get deals on swapped or new equipment, and enjoy live entertainment.