California – sun, beaches, and celebs, right? But did you know that California also has enough alpine destinations to keep any skier or boarder happy?

From High Sierra peaks, deep drifts on a Mammoth volcano, family-friendly resorts to hot tubs under the stars, California has your skiing needs covered with the longest snow season in the USA.

With the snow already falling and the slopes set to open in the next few weeks, we thought we’d give you our top tips for enjoying the ski season in California.


Where to go



The Sierra Nevada range is the most popular ski region in California, featuring world-class mountain resorts circling the turquoise of Lake Tahoe, and scaling the heights of Mammoth Mountain.

Mammoth Lakes is a laid-back mountain town with a majestic backdrop and epic mountain scenery, including of course the world renowned Mammoth Mountain, which offers more than 3,500 acres of terrain, 150 trails and an average snowfall of 400 inches a season.

A few hours north of Mammoth is the stunning Lake Tahoe, the High Sierra gem straddling the California-Nevada border. This bucket list destination lays claim to some of the country’s top alpine resorts. On the north shore, Squaw Valley, Northstar California, and Alpine, the sister mountain to Squaw, are top draws.


When to go


California boasts the longest ski season in the USA, with the first resorts – opening at the end of October.

Many other resorts throughout North Lake Tahoe and Mammoth are opening in throughout November and December, with the season lasting well into May and June.


Things to do


Of course, skiing and snowboarding are a key part of the California snow experience, however there are tonnes of other activities offered by both destinations such as snowmobiling, snowshoeing, tubing and sledding.

Once you get off the mountain, there is also incredible scenery and many sights to explore. The mining ghost town of Bodie, California makes a great day trip from Mammoth Lakes, and a visit to Yosemite National Park is also possible from here.

From North Lake Tahoe, visit the quaint towns and beaches closer to the shores of the lake, such as Incline Village, Tahoe Vista or Tahoe City.

In great snow-country tradition, there is also plenty of Après fun at California’s alpine resorts. Have a beer at the highest tiki bar in the world (part owned by two Aussies), swap stories with the pros at Le Chamois, take a mixology class and enjoy your creation afterwards, or roast s’mores and marshmallows by the fire.


Getting there

Mammoth Gondola

Mammoth Gondola

Both Mammoth and North Lake Tahoe are incredibly easy to get to.

North Lake Tahoe is only an hour drive from the Reno-Tahoe International Airport, two hours from Sacramento International Airport and less than four hours from San Francisco International Airport.

Mammoth has its own airport with daily flights from Los Angeles and San Francisco in the winter months, and if you want to drive between the two (through stunning terrain), it will take you about four hours.

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