4 Best Ski Resorts in California

It’s hard to deny that California has it all. Although the Golden State is perhaps best known for Hollywood glamour, sunny beaches and perfect weather, California is also home to some of the world’s finest ski resorts.

True to the state’s fun-loving nature, California’s winter getaways offer all manner of snow activities including skating rinks, snow tubing and even dog-sled tours. What’s more, you can enjoy all of these activities under bright sunshine almost every day.

Want to learn more? Here are some of the best ski resorts in California:

Best California Ski Resorts

Mammoth Mountain

Mammoth Mountain

PYMCA/UIG via Getty Images

As the name implies, Mammoth Mountain is, well, MAMMOTH. With a summit at 11,053 feet, the mountain is the highest elevation in California – which is one reason why its snow is so ideal for skiing. The area offers more than 3,500 acres of powdery slopes.

The resort on Mammoth Mountain is wildly popular, attracting hoards of visitors from around the world. In fact, Forbes recently listed the destination as one of the top-10 ski resorts in North America. Ski enthusiasts flock to the area’s steep chutes, tree skiing, expansive bowls and wide-open groomers.

Squaw Valley

Squaw Valley

Carol M. Highsmith/Buyenlarge/Getty Images

Also known as “Olympic Valley,” the slopes of Squaw Valley sit on the northwest short of Lake Tahoe.  In addition to its breathtaking winter scenery, the resort has developed a reputation for its assortment of activities. With a swimming pool, skating rink, snowmobiles for kids, snow tubing, art galleries, bars and nearly 60 restaurants, there’s something for everyone at Squaw Valley.

The resort also has a funitel – a wind-friendly, gondola-type lift that is attached to two cables – which composes one of the most advanced lift systems in the United States.  For more terrain options, visitors can take a shuttle bus to the neighboring Alpine Meadows Ski Resort.

Kirkwood

Kirkwood

Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Situated south of Lake Tahoe, the rugged terrain of Kirkwood is the perfect playground for expert skiers. In fact, this resort hosts the annual free-skiing championship.

With a 2-mile ridgeline and steep double-blacks, chutes, cliffs and glades, Kirkwood a must-visit experience for veteran skiers and thrill-seekers. Visitors can expand their winter repertoire at Kirkwood with snow shoeing, cross-country skiing, backcountry slopes and dog-sled tours.

Heavenly

heavenly

George Rose/Getty Images

The name says it all: Heavenly offers some of the most captivating winter scenery in North America. In addition to the world-class slopes, the resort has a pumping entertainment scene.

Heavenly is situated on the south shore of Lake Tahoe on the California-Nevada state border. It is the largest ski complex in the region.

The resort attracts an international audience with its ancient pine landscape, live shows and even casino gambling. With such an assortment of activities, Heavenly is the perfect destination for families and business getaways – even if some of the guests aren’t fans of skiing.

Heavenly also has plenty of accommodation options. Visitors who want a more extravagant experience can stay at the luxury casino hotel, while budget-minded travellers can opt for cheaper lodging at nearby motels.

Whether you want the thrill of advanced ski slopes, a relaxing vacation in a majestic landscape or a combination of the two, California will deliver. Be sure to consider one of these four destinations the next time you plan a winter getaway.