Best California Ski Resorts
Credit: Sugar Bowl Ski Resort

10 of the Best California Ski Resorts for When Snow Season Is at Its Peak

You Don’t Need to Leave The Golden State to Hit the Slopes!

This might be our Southern Californian nature talking, but there’s something about a snowy landscape that is pure magic. Don’t get us wrong, we wouldn’t trade our sunny beaches and endless summer for anything, but we also wouldn’t say no to visiting a winter wonderland—especially when that wonderland is home to a beautiful ski resort. When you don’t have to cross state lines to reach that wonderland? Even better!

Whether you’re someone who can’t wait to hit the slopes or you’re someone who reserves resort time for some much-needed rest and relaxation, here are 10 must-visit ski resorts in California that’ll make your next snowy escape absolutely unforgettable.

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Heavenly Mountain Resort

Credit: Heavenly Mountain Resort

For a family who wants to fully experience Lake Tahoe, we recommend Heavenly Mountain Resort. The resort offers a ski and ride school for beginners, along with rentals for anything you may need. If you’re not riding or skiing, you can still experience a thrill at all new heights thanks to Heavenly’s Scenic Gondola Ride. Departing from the charming Heavenly Village, the gondola takes passengers on a 2.4-mile ride up to the Observation Deck. In this case, the journey and the destination are equally breathtaking.

Location: Lake Tahoe


Northstar California Resort

Credit: Northstar California Resort / Katey Hamill
Credit: Northstar California Resort / Chris Bartowski

If your image of a ski resort includes stone masonry, brick-lain paths, fire pits and an ice rink, then set your GPS for Northstar California Resort—one of the best California ski resorts! Enjoy fresh blankets of snow across the Martis Valley wilderness as you ski or shred down the slopes, and, for an elevated experience, become a Platinum Club member, which includes exclusive access to the Big Springs Gondola, slope-side ski valet service, complimentary refreshments, lockers and more. When you’re taking a break from the slopes, take a walk around the village to peruse through boutiques or grab a bite at one of the tasty eateries.

Location: Lake Tahoe



Kirkwood Mountain Resort

Best California Ski Resorts
Credit: Kirkwood Mountain Resort

Due to its unique location, Kirkwood gets snow from storms that blow in from the north as well as the south, which gather precipitation as they flow through a canyon before reaching the mountain. In other words, a ton of snow gets funneled into this prime spot, offering visitors some of the best slope conditions throughout the winter season. Kirkwood Mountain Resort is great for anyone who’s serious about their snow sport, whether that looks like perfecting your skiing and riding with Expedition Kirkwood or gliding across a meadow cross-country-style.

Location: Kirkwood, Lake Tahoe



Known for its inviting nature and supportive staff, Sierra-at-Tahoe is a beginner-friendly ski resort that can help you or your newbie friend discover a newfound love and appreciation for skiing and riding. This resort also offers a strong sense of pride for its location, proven by the in-depth storytelling during the mountain tours or its day-to-day commitments to sustainability. Families will love tubing on Blizzard Mountain, and there are plenty of parks and pipes to push your skills to the next level.

Location: Lake Tahoe


Mountain High Ski Resort

Credit: Mountain High Ski Resort

Only 90 minutes from DTLA rests Mountain High Resort, a culmination of what was formerly three resorts that have come together to create one incredible snow destination. The slopes are sustainable and plentiful for those seeking adventure. For those wanting to keep things a little more low-key but still unforgettably fun, Mountain High’s East Resort is home to Yeti’s Snow Play, where kids of all ages are invited to tube, sled, play around in the snow and take in the surrounding beauty on the Scenic Sky Chair Ride.

Location: Angeles National Forest


Big Bear Mountain Resort

Credit: Big Bear Cabins

With access to three mountains—each with its own unique experience—Big Bear Mountain Resort proves to be an ideal destination for skiers and snowboarders of every age group and skill level. Snow Valley is a beginner- and family-friendly mountain with lessons, tubing and a play area. Families are also encouraged to check out Snow Summit, which is more suited for intermediate skill levels. Bear Mountain is one of the best ski resorts in California and a great option for beginner, intermediate and advanced levels, and it features Southern California’s only half pipes and highest lift-served peak.

Location: Snow Valley, Snow Summit, Bear Mountain


Mammoth Mountain Ski Area

Mammoth Mountain is a classic destination in Southern California—and for good reason. With over 3,500 acres of skiable terrain, 25 lifts and 125 trails, Mammoth Mountain is the perfect place to improve your skiing skills, experiment in terrain parks, go for a snowmobile ride and more. For lodging, we recommend taking a look at Tamarack Lodge in the lake basin, Juniper Springs Resort in town, the luxurious Westin Monache Resort in the Village or the charming and idyllic Mammoth Mountain Inn, which is located right on the mountain.

Location: Mammoth Mountain


Palisades Tahoe

Best California Ski Resorts
Credit: Palisades Tahoe

There’s plenty of room to ski here, but let’s talk about the accommodations. Located just steps away from the slopes, The Village at Palisades Tahoe Lodging offers a scenic and immersive environment that captures the Village’s vibrant energy and offers guests plenty of options for dining, shopping, events and activities—making it an incredible destination for groups who want to enjoy their time off the slopes as well. Snuggle up on your room’s private balcony or in front of your in-room fireplace, or treat your muscles to a relaxing soak in one of the property’s outdoor hot tubs.

Location: Lake Tahoe


Mt. Shasta Ski Park

One of the best-known peaks for skiing and boarding in the world, Mt. Shasta is a tried-and-true destination for snow enthusiasts who are looking for some unbeatable backcountry skiing, split-boarding and ski mountaineering. With a vertical relief of over 7,000 feet, Mt. Shasta truly is a gem among the Cascades. Speaking of gems, if you’re looking for lodging in the area, we recommend checking out the Railroad Park Resort for the charm and novelty of sleeping in a train car, the KOA Lodges for that cabin feel, or the quintessential Mt. Shasta Resort.

Location: Mount Shasta


Sugar Bowl Ski Resort

Make the most of your trip to Lake Tahoe by booking a room in a slopeside hotel that blends Old World charm with European elegance—the perfect accommodations for those who want an elevated mountain retreat in America’s one and only snowbound village. Simply take a personal gondola up the mountain with your luggage, check-in and let the good times roll! Sugar Bowl Ski Resort offers a wide range of amenities (at no extra charge), including the Sporthaus Spa and Fitness Center, the Belt Room Bar and the classic Dining Room.

Location: Lake Tahoe

Writer | Website | + posts

Born and raised near the Pacific Coast, Jordan Nishkian is a California girl through and through. She graduated from Cal State Long Beach with a BA in Creative Writing and a BA in Anthropology, and her favorite place to be is curled up in a comfy chair with a book in her hand and a pen in her hair.




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