(credit: Mammoth Mountains)

For the best ski retreats this winter, Southern Californians won’t have to travel far. From a 75-minute drive to a 70-minute flight, take advantage of more than five top-notch destinations. Find affordable day escapes or luxe weekend getaways at the best ski resorts near Orange County.

(credit: Mountain High Ski Resort)

Mountain High Ski Resort
24510 State Highway 2
Wrightwood, CA 92397
(888) 754-7878

Known as Southern California’s cl

osest ski resort, Mountain High is just 75 minutes from Los Angeles and Orange County. Offering 59 trails and 16 lifts, it’s easy to see why it’s rated among the 25 most-visited resorts in the country. Try its new Express Pass for $10, and save money and time. This eco-friendly lift ticket is a reusable plastic card that allows guests to bypass ticket lines and go straight to the lifts. Additionally, guests save $10 each time they use the Express Pass, so the card pays for itself on the first visit. Sign up for Mountain High’s powder alert and receive convenient text alerts to never miss out on the best ski days.

(credit: Snow Summit Mountain Resort)

Snow Summit Mountain Resort
880 Summit Blvd.
Big Bear Lake, CA 92315
(909) 866-5766

One of Snow Summit’s best features is that it offers more than 30 trails, all interconnected for seamless flow. Just 99 miles from Orange County, Snow Summit is great for both beginners and advanced skiers. Expect to find meticulous snow-making and grooming practices for the best conditions every time. For a highly scenic lunch, refuel at the View Haus at the top of the mountain on Chair 1 for wintery mountain views and upscale feasting options.

Related: SoCal Ski And Snowboard Guide

(credit: Bear Mountain)

Bear Mountain
43101 Goldmine Drive
Big Bear Lake, CA 92315
(909) 866-5766

A snowboarder’s dream, Snow Summit’s sister property, Bear Mountain, features Freestyle Park offering more than 120 jumps and more than 80 jibs. It’s home to Southern California’s only super pipe. Spread across four mountain peaks, find stunning views of sapphire blue overlooking Big Bear Lake. Beginners can take advantage of the largest ski and snowboarding instruction area in Southern California to learn the basics in a fun, relaxed setting. For the best in hip outerwear and gear, don’t miss Ice Box Sports Shop located on the upper deck level. Show your 2012/ 2013 season pass and receive 20 percent off regularly priced merchandise.

Related: Getaway Guide: One Tank Trip to Big Bear Lake

(credit: Mammoth Mountain)

Mammoth Mountain
10001 Minaret Road
Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546
(800) 626-6684

For the most dynamic ski and snowboard experience underlying an idyllic winter getaway, head to Mammoth Mountain for the best in winter sports, concerts, competitions and pro athletes. Arrive in less than 70 minutes by way of Alaska Airlines, or turn it into fun-filled, six-hour road trip. With plenty of snug lodging options surrounding the mountain, don’t miss special lodging package deals advertised on its website. Ideal for concertgoers and nightlife enthusiasts, check out its events calendar for a list of fun social ventures to uncover.

(credit: Heavenly Mountain Resort)

Lake Tahoe/Heavenly Mountain Resort
3860 Saddle Road
South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150
(775) 586-7000
Prices: from $46 to $61

With seven world-class ski resorts and 400 inches of snow per year, find the best of powder, remarkable views, casino entertainment and nightlife at Lake Tahoe. Either arrive by car, approximately eight hours from Los Angeles, or fly into the Reno-Tahoe International Airport. If flying, plan to drive another hour to Lake Tahoe’s legendary ski resorts. Try Heavenly Mountain Resort for the most terrain variety and hidden glades; more so than any Lake Tahoe resort. Don’t miss Unbuckle at Tamarack at the top of Heavenly gondola starting Dec. 17 for great drink and food specials, and music.

Jessica Blotter has 10 years experience in the advertising industry and is founder of Publicly Loved – at the heart of brands, causes and events. As an author of two regional travel blogs with CBS Local and Examiner.com, she has produced more than 30 published articles covering regional getaway destinations and charitable events. Follow her on Twitter @publiclyloved.