Discover California’s Family-Friendly, Luxury Ski Resorts
BY GABRIELLE DENGLER
If you’ve spent your summer longing for a wintry escape, or if you’re simply looking for a weekend family-fun adventure, look no farther than your own backyard. Located throughout the state of California are world-class, family-friendly ski and snowboard resorts with amenities and activities perfect for every age and interest. Join us as we take you through the Golden State’s beautiful ski resort wonderland.
Northern California Classics: From Tahoe to Truckee
SQUAW VALLEY-ALPINE MEADOWS
Once the host of the 1960 Winter Olympics, Squaw Valley-Alpine Meadows has become the go-to destination for kids day camps and celebratory events. Perfect for skiers and snowboarders of all ages, Squaw Valley-Alpine Meadows boasts 4,000 acres of incredible terrain and a picturesque lake view.
Visit Squaw Valley-Alpine Meadows and enjoy free night skiing, a variety of economical ski programs, a Mountaintop Full Moon Snowshoe tour, and seasonal celebratory events.
Squaw Valley-Alpine Meadows is settled at the northwest side of Tahoe and is known for being one of the finest ski resorts in all of California.
SIERRA AT TAHOE
Locals know Sierra at Tahoe as the ski resort for the ages. It offers 2,000 acres of fresh soft snow, 12 chairlifts, and a stunning view of Lake Tahoe. For the kids, Sierra at Tahoe offers Wild Mountain Children’s Ski and Snowboard School, whose all-day or half-day packages include equipment rentals, lift tickets, and lunch.
Sierra at Tahoe is located just 12 miles south of South Lake Tahoe on U.S. Route 50 and is nestled within the Eldorado National Forest.
Northstar California is the go-to luxury leisure destination for skiers, snowboarders, and hikers of all ages and levels. It boasts 3,170 acres of land and a variety of gourmet, on-mountain dining options.
For the little ones, Northstar offers Minors Camp Child Care, as well as private and group snowboard school options. For the more adventurous and intermediate snow lovers, Northstar consistently has an annual snowfall of 350 inches per year, along with a snowmaking system to guarantee your ski trip is worthwhile.
Northstar California can be found just 200 miles from the San Francisco Bay.
HEAVENLY MOUNTAIN RESORT
Nestled along the California/Nevada state line is world famous, top ski destination Heavenly Mountain Resort. Heavenly boasts 4,000+ acres of ski and snowboard paradise, stunning panoramic views, and the sparkling blue waters of Lake Tahoe. At Heavenly, the kids can enjoy picking up beginner lessons at ski school, frolicking Adventure Peak, or making new friends at the resort’s California-licensed daycare. Together, the family can also take advantage of the 2.4-mile gondola ride up Heavenly Mountain to enjoy the marvelous views of Lake Tahoe.
SODA SPRINGS MOUNTAIN RESORT
Soda Springs Mountain Resort caters to the inner child in all of us. It offers fun group snowboard lessons, as well as seasonal family events. To ensure a family-friendly, picture-perfect winter wonderland year-round, Soda Springs Mountain Resort proudly uses 100% recycled water to create its soft, fluffy snow surfaces.
Soda Springs Mountain Resort is conveniently located less than 15 miles from Lake Tahoe.
Central California Beauty: Sierra Nevada
MAMMOTH MOUNTAIN SKI RESORT
For over half a century, the Mammoth Mountain slopeside ski resort has been the year-round destination for tourists and native Californians alike.
Famous for its elongated ski season which promises soft, natural, powder-white snowfall into the summer months, Mammoth Mountain offers ski in, ski out convenience with over 28 lifts, 3 gondolas, and more. Its 3,500+ acres of skiable terrain and high elevation guarantee every skier, snowboarder, or simple mountain wanderer stunning views of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Other family-friendly activities include seasonal art and music festivals, and food and wine events.
Mammoth Mountain Ski Resort can be found in Central California approximately 50 minutes from Yosemite National Park.
Sunny and Snowy: Southern California
BIG BEAR & SNOW SUMMIT MOUNTAIN RESORTS
Sister resorts under the same management, Bear Mountain and Snow Summit are famous for their vast offering of high-energy outdoor activities. Collectively known as Big Bear Mountain Resorts, they are the premier destination for skiers, snowboarders, mountain bikers, and more.
While the terrain and regular clientele of intermediate skiers and snowboarders make the 1000+ acres of slopes slightly more challenging to navigate, it is Big Bear Lake’s quaint village, easy going hikes and incredible lakeside views that keep families entertained.
For a more relaxed alpine experience, partake in leisurely activities with the family like visiting the Big Bear Alpine Zoo, horseback riding, or continue the snow-filled experience with snow tubing. If visiting during the warmer months, rent a kayak, canoe or paddle board and float along the lake.
100 miles northeast of the Los Angeles area, there is plenty to do at Big Bear Mountain Resort and Snow Summit.