Open space, fresh powder, alpine panoramas, the ski resorts are calling you! Whether you’re looking to hit the bumps of the black diamond, schuss the backcountry bowls, or hit the greens with your family, here are all the details on what happens on your favorite winter getaways.
The scene: With 3,500 acres of skiable terrain, the highest peak in California served by ski lifts (11,053 feet), 400 inches of average snowfall, and miles of cross-country ski, snowshoe and snowmobile terrain, this large ski area is aptly named.
What’s new: Advanced Airlines offers direct flights from Carlsbad McClellan-Palomar Airport to Mammoth, a semi-private experience at commercial costs with perks such as no TSA screening and free drinks and snacks.
Where to stay: The Westin Monache Resort is the anchor of the bustling village with its spacious, all-suite rooms, outdoor pool and easy access to the gondola. Tamarack Lodge, located along the shore of Twin Lakes, evokes rustic charm as Mammoth’s most secluded resort – choose from lodge rooms, cabins, or suites.
Good dishes: Order a smoothie and burrito at Stellar Brew, Greek at Jimmy’s Taverna, Scandinavian cuisine at Skadi, and freshly made organic sweets at Dessert’D.
Don’t miss: Take a ride on the Mammoth Ice Rink, take in the air at Woolly’s Tube Park or relax on an après-ski Sno-Cat tour with cold cuts, wine and spectacular mountain views.
The scene: A gem of the San Bernardino National Forest, Big Bear is a four-season mountain lake paradise known for snowboarding, skiing, hiking, mountain biking and more. Take a few turns at Snow Summit, home to SoCal’s best snowmaking system, or head to one of Bear Mountain’s 14 stunning snow parks.
What’s new: Board the free Big Bear Trolley which runs daily and carries skiers and snowboarders to Bear Mountain and Snow Summit, The Village, Boulder Bay and Alpine Zoo.
Where to stay: Colorado Lodge offers modern, self-contained cabins with forest views, hot tubs, and small kitchens. The cozy Noon Lodge sports an old-fashioned camp feel with lake views and sleek design.
Good dishes: There’s a dinner-style breakfast at Teddy Bear, fresh country Italian at Sweet Basil Bistro, steak and seafood at Pines Lakefront, pizza and craft beers at Saucy Mama’s, plus karaoke , affordable drinks and meals at Murray’s Saloon Dive Bar.
Don’t miss: Snowshoe the Big Bear backcountry, toboggan on the Alpine Slide, or zip line through snow-capped pines with Action Tours.
The Scene: The oldest operating ski resort in Southern California, Snow Valley is a low-key, family-friendly place to learn to snowboard or ski.
What’s new: The award-winning Snow Valley Children’s Learning Center has a new Sunkid Moving Mat, a 100-foot outdoor treadmill for use in their ski lessons.
Where to stay: Built in 1931 and redesigned in 2021, The Outpost is a waterfront gem on the north shore of Big Bear Lake, just 6 miles from Snow Valley. Each of the five cabins has a wood-burning stone fireplace, record player and vinyl records, board games and a well-equipped kitchen.
Good dishes: Located in a cozy cottage that was once a mining shack, the North Shore Café in Fawnskin offers over-the-counter breakfast and lunch with omelets, avocado toast, burgers, and beer.
Don’t miss: Snow Valley’s Snow Play, SoCal’s only toboggan and night ski run on Fridays and Saturdays.
The scene: This world-famous resort stretches over 6,000 skiable acres through two mountains with legendary slopes, wide open bowls and perfect snow groomers, as well as striking views of Lake Tahoe and the Sierra Nevada. what’s new: Palisades Tahoe just announced its new name. They were previously “Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows”, and the decision to remove the derogatory word “squaw” was made in consultation with the local Washoe tribe.
Where to stay: The ski-in ski-out village of Palisades Tahoe is packed with entertainment, as 50 bars, restaurants and shops are right outside your door. The Squaw Creek Resort, a Hyatt hotel, features three heated pools, a waterslide, a luxurious spa, and fine dining in an Alpine setting.
Good dishes: Try Rocker in the village for wings, burgers, beers and giant screens, or after in Tremigo for a margarita and Mexican food. Go Bavarian style at Chalet at Alpine Meadows for raclette and cold drafts.
Don’t miss: Discover The North Face Mountain Guide, a program where an esteemed skier takes up to four people on a personalized tour of the mountain.