Skiing is probably not the first winter activity that comes to mind when you’re thinking about the warm climate of sunny Southern California. But don’t rule out this snowy sport as well as places to sit by the fire when you’re done because, within a reasonable distance from downtown, you’ll find a number of great mountains on which to hit the slopes. While certain such places are very close to Los Angeles, others are not much more than four hours or so away from the City of Angeles proper. That said, consider the following five.
Snow Summit Mountain Resort
880 Summit Blvd.
Big Bear Lake, CA 92315
Angelenos love Big Bear as a skiing option, proved positive since many residents own second homes in the vicinity, many near Snow Summit Mountain Resort, the perfect pushing-off point. Multiple runs are well groomed with both natural and manufactured powder. This resort not only offers alpine views but also great opportunities to take ski skills to new heights. One great feature is the chance to fly down the hill after sunset during the weekends and on holidays, a special something extra for the athlete who has a special romance with this particular sport. Families are among the highest demographics heading for Big Bear, especially due to the availability of great snow schools geared to all ages.
43101 Goldmine Drive
Big Bear Lake, CA 92315
Snow Summit’s sister resort, Bear Mountain, is only a 10-minute shuttle away with no price to pay. Nicknamed the People’s Mountain, Bear is a great place to begin to ski if you’ve never tried this particular sport. It’s also a great place to negotiate, after you’ve learned to turn, with innovative terrain waiting for you throughout the winter months. The longest run is Geronimo at one and a half miles. That said, when the powder hits, those in the know looking for first tracks head for Deer and Bow Ganyons for fine tree skiing and ideal inbound resort riding.Snow Summit is also wildly popular with snow-bound partiers who like adventure and who happily find that at the mountain’s freewheeling Freestyle Skiing and Snowboarding Park.
24510 Highway 2
Wrightwood, CA 92397
Mountain High is the closest ski resort to Los Angeles and well worth a day trip for the chance to enjoy an historic place that introduced this intrepid winter sport to Southern California decades ago in 1924. Located within Big Pines Park, this highly regarded outpost is not only exciting but also user friendly since the staff is inclined to help in any manner possible. Repeat visitors tend to be faithful to Mountain High where such ski masters as Alf Engen and Hjalmar Hvam once took to jumping and record holding right here in San Bernardino. Besides skiing, this resort also takes pride in its tubing park named for the North Pole and arguably the biggest facility of its type in Southern California.
34580 Lockwood Valley Road
Frazier Park, CA 93225
Cross country skiing is the order of the day at Mount Pinos, situated about 75 miles northwest of downtown LA in the Los Padres National Forest and crossing the border of Ventura and Kern counties. A popular place to camp in warmer months and a place of pride for astronomers during the summer and fall, this Southern California mainstay boasts a 8,847-foot summit, the highest in this part of the Golden State. Sometimes a rough area for people trekking on two sticks of wood, the Southern California Nordic Ski Patrol is a fine operation that keeps visitors of this ilk in the safety zone as much as is humanly possible.
10001 Minaret Road
Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546
Further afield than the other options listed here, Mammoth Mountain is world class and worth the four- or five-hour drive north for the skiing opportunities you’ll unearth at this snow-driven place. An actual lava dome complex, the geologically intriguing outpost is California’s highest ski resort with some 150 trails, all named. Also on offer are 3,500 acres of positive terrain. Ifyour favorite local haunt is closed for the year, set your sights and skis on Mammoth. You won’t be sorry, not one little bit.
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