Alpine Meadows

Location:  North Lake Tahoe, 13 miles south of Truckee off Highway 89

Elevation:  Base 6,835 feet; Summit 8,637 feet

Vertical Drop:  1,802 feet

Average Annual Snowfall: 495 inches

Snowmaking: 7 percent

Number of Lifts:  1

Lift Capacity: 16,000 per hour

Terrain: 2,000 acres; 100 trails (25% beginner, 40% intermediate,35% advanced)

Lift Tickets: $39 all day; children under 13, $10

Contact info: (530) 583-4232; Snow Phone (530) 581-8374;

Description/What’s New: A big mountain without the attitude, Alpine Meadows offers a tremendous variety of terrain and exposures over 2,000 acres, including six bowls, steep chutes, gentle glades and corduroy cruisers. New this year is a 600-foot long superpipe and terrain park.

Badger Pass

Location: Yosemite National Park, 23 miles from Yosemite Valley off Highway 41/Glacier Point Road

Elevation:  Base 7,200 feet; Summit 8,000 feet

Vertical Drop: 800 feet

Average Annual Snowfall: 300 inches

Snowmaking: no

Number of Lifts:  5 (1 triple chair, 3 doubles, 1 cable tow)

Lift Capacity: 6,800 per hour

Terrain: 90 acres; 10 trails (35% beginner, 50% intermediate, 15% advanced); 1 terrain park

Lift Tickets: $31 adults full day/$22 half day, $16 children/$11 half day

Contact Info: (209) 372-8430; Snow Phone (209) 372-1000;

Description/What’s New: California’s oldest ski area, having opened in 1935, Badger Pass is a great learning area and ideal for families. The Yosemite Ski School, the first in the West, was established in 1928 and has a staff of 25 American and international instructors.

Bear Valley

Location:  Highway 4, Central Sierra, two hours east of Stockton

Elevation:  Base 6,600 feet; Summit 8,500 feet

Vertical Drop: 1,900 feet

Average Annual Snowfall: 360 inches

Snowmaking: 20 percent

Number of Lifts:  10 (2 triple chairs, 7 double chairs, 1 surface lift)

Lift Capacity: 12,000 per hour

Terrain: 1,280 acres; 67 trails (25% beginner, 40% intermediate, 25% advanced, 10% expert)

Special Features: 4 terrain parks and a 300 foot pipe

Lift Tickets: $45 adult/$35 half day; $16 child/$14 half day (ages 6-12); juniors 13-19 and students up to age 23 with ID, $38/$32 half-day; all non-holiday weekday rates equal to weekend half-day rates

Contact Info: (209) 753-2301; Snow phone (209) 753-2301;

Description/What’s New: Bear Valley is a mid-sized resort that ranks as the 8th largest in California. Its diverse terrain offers skiing for all abilities. Grizzly Bowl offers more than 1,000 feet of vertical, including steep chutes and wide open bowls. New this season are an improved 300-foot half pipe, a new terrain park on the frontside’s Rodeo run for beginner and intermediate park riders, and a snow-tubing park.


Location:  Donner Summit, off Highway 80

Elevation:  Base 7,200 feet; Summit 7,700 feet

Vertical Drop: 500 feet

Average Annual Snowfall: 400 inches

Snowmaking: 80%

Number of Lifts:  9 (1 high-speed quad, 1 fixed-grip quad, 3 triple chairs, 4 doubles)

Lift Capacity: 13,200 per hour

Terrain: 380 acres; 41 trails (30% easiest, 55% more difficult, 15% most difficult)

Special Features:  8 terrain parks

Lift Tickets: $36 adults full day/$22 night, $10 children/$10 night; $20 children/$16 night; $36 Parent Shared full day/NA night

Contact Info: (530) 426-3666; Snow Phone (530) 426-3666;

Description/What’s New: With its Location right at the top of Donner Summit, Boreal is one of the closest resorts to Sacramento and the Bay Area. Its extensive snowmaking and high base means it is usually the first resort to open each season. It also offers night skiing.

Diamond Peak

Location:  Incline Village, Nevada; from I-80 take Highway 267 to North Shore Lake Tahoe, turn east at Highway 28 junction to Incline Village, left on Country Club Drive

Elevation:  Base 6,700 feet; Summit 8,540 feet

Vertical Drop: 1,840 feet

Average Annual Snowfall: 300 inches

Snowmaking: 75% of developed terrain

Number of Lifts:  6 (1 high-speed quad chair, 2 fixed-grip quads, 3 double chairs)

Lift Capacity: NA

Terrain: 655 acres; 30 runs (18% beginner, 46% intermediate, 36% advanced); longest run 2.5 miles

Lift Tickets: $44 adults full day/$33 half day; youth 13-17, $35 full day/$27 half day; children 6-12, $16 full day/$12 half day

Contact Info: (775) 832-1177; Snow Phone (775) 831-3211;

Description/What’s New: Situated in the northeast corner of the Tahoe Basin, Diamond Peak offers impressive vertical and magnificent views
of Lake Tahoe. A high-speed quad, the Crystal Express, has replaced the old quad. There’s also a new superpipe and an improved terrain park.

Dodge Ridge

Location:  Highway 108, east of Sonora, Central Sierra

Elevation:  Base 6,600 feet; Summit 8,200 feet

Vertical Drop: 1,600 feet

Average Annual Snowfall: 400 inches

Number of Lifts:  11 (1 quad chair, 2 triples, 5 doubles, 3 surface lifts)

Lift Capacity: 15,500 per hour

Terrain: 815 acres; 60 trails (20% easiest, 40% more difficult, 20% most difficult, 20% experts only); longest run 2 miles

Special Features:  5 terrain parks, half pipe

Lift Tickets: $46 adults full day/$38 half day, $35 teen full day/$30 half day; $15 youth full day/$10 half day; $15 senior full day/$10 half day

Contact Info: (209) 965-3474; Snow Phone (209) 965-4444;

Description/What’s New: Dodge Ridge bills itself as the closest snow to home, and it is for many Central Valley and Bay Area skiers. Boulder Creek Canyon, opened a few years ago and served by a high-speed quad chair that ascends 1,100 vertical feet, offers challenging terrain and great views of the Sonora Pass region. New this season is an expanded terrain park with features for beginners and intermediates, as well as advanced riders.

Donner Ski Ranch

Location:  19320 Donner Pass Road on Historic Old U.S. 40

Elevation:  Base 7,031 feet; Summit 7,781 feet

Vertical Drop: 750 feet

Average Annual Snowfall: 240 inches

Snowmaking: 15%

Number of Lifts:  6 (5 double chairs, 1 triple)

Lift Capacity: 7,800 per hour

Terrain: 400 acres; 50 trails (25% easiest, 50% more difficult, 25% most difficult)

Special Features:  1 terrain park and half pipe

Lift Tickets: $20 adults full day/$18 half day, $10 juniors full day/$10 half day; $5 senior full day/$5 half day. Midweek Special: $10 for adults and juniors, $5 for seniors.

Contact Info: (539) 426-3635; Snow Phone (530) 426-3635;

Description/What’s New: This down-home ski area offers some old time charm and a surprising variety of terrain for a smaller resort. Challenging runs are found on both the front side and back side of the mountain. Best of all, Donner offers affordable skiing, including $10 midweek specials.


Location:  Just south of Tahoe City off Highway 89, exit Granlibakken Road

Elevation:  Base 6,310 feet; Summit 6,610 feet

Vertical Drop: 300 feet

Average Annual Snowfall: 200 inches

Snowmaking: no

Number of Lifts:  2 (1 rope tow, 1 P-Bar)

Lift Capacity: 500 per hour

Terrain: 10 acres; 1 trails (50% easiest, 50% more difficult)

Lift Tickets: $20 adults full day/$14 half day, $12 child full day/$9 half day

Contact Info: (530) 581-7533; Snow Phone (530) 583-9896;

Description/What’s New: Opened by a Norwegian ski jumper in 1947, Granlibakken is a small ski hill that’s good for families and learning.


Location:  South Lake Tahoe, 90 miles east of Sacramento on Highway 50

Elevation:  Base – California 6,540 feet, Nevada 7,200 feet; Summit 10,040 feet

Vertical Drop: 3,500 feet

Average Annual Snowfall: 360 inches

Snowmaking: 69%

Number of Lifts:  29 (1 tram, 1 gondola, 1 high-speed six passenger chair, 5 high-speed quads, 8 triple chairs, 5 double chairs, 6 surface lifts, 2 magic carpets)

Lift Capacity: 29,000 per hour

Terrain: 4,800 acres; 85 trails (20% easiest, 45% more difficult, 35% most difficult)

Special Features:  3 terrain parks, 300 foot super pipe, half pipe, longest run is 29,040 feet

Lift Tickets: $62 adults full day, $51 teen; $29 child; $37 senior

Contact Info: (775) 586-7000; Snow Phone (775) 586-7000;

Description/What’s New: Overlooking the south shore of Lake Tahoe, Heavenly is an immense resort that straddles two states. With 17 lifts in California and 12 in Nevada, there’s a wealth of terrain to explore, including some great long cruising runs. Mott Canyon, on the Nevada side, offers advanced terrain and hidden powder stashes. New for 2004-05 is the Powderbowl Express high-speed six-passenger lift, which will replace two older, slower triple chairs on the mid-mountain of the California side, cutting the ride time in half. In addition, the East Peak Lodge has undergone extensive renovation and the resort has invested in five new grooming machines.

Homewood Mountain Resort

Location: On Highway 89, five miles south of Tahoe City and 19 miles north of South Elevation:  Base 6,230 feet; Summit 7,880 feet

Vertical Drop: 1,650 feet

Average Annual Snowfall: 350 inches

Snowmaking: 10%

Number of Lifts:  8 (1 quad, 2 triple chairs, 1 double, 4 surface lifts)

Lift Capacity: 8,500 per hour

Terrain: 12,600 acres; 59 trails (15% beginner, 50% intermediate, 35% advanced)

Special Features: terrain park and half pipe

Lift Tickets: $44 adults full day/$35 half day, $30 juniors full day/$27
half day; $22 senior full day/$22 half day; Super seniors $10; children under 10 FREE.  Value Days: $25 adults; $25 juniors; $15 seniors; $10 super seniors; FREE for children 10 and under. Contact Info: (530) 525-2992; Snow Phone (530) 525-2900;

Description/What’s New: Homewood is on the west shore of Lake Tahoe, literally right across the road from the lake, making for spectacular views on most runs. Homewood has long been known for its stellar tree skiing and groomed cruising runs. New for winter 04/05 is the Quail triple chair.

June Mountain

Location:  Eastern Sierra, off Highway 395 between Lee Vining and Mammoth Lakes

Elevation:  Base 7,545 feet; Summit 10,090 feet

Vertical Drop: 2,590 feet

Average Annual Snowfall: 250 inches

Snowmaking: 20%

Number of Lifts:  7 (2 quad chairs, 4 doubles, 1 surface lift)

Lift Capacity: 10,000 per hour

Terrain: 500 acres; 35 trails (35% easiest, 45% more difficult, 20% most difficult)

Special Features:  terrain park, super pipe, half pipe, jib park; longest run 13,200 feet

Lift Tickets: $50 adults full day/$38 half day, $45 young adult full day/$34 half day; $38 teen full day/$28 half day; child/senior $25 full day/$19 half day children 10 and under. Contact Info: (888) JUNE-MTN; Snow Phone (760) 934-2224;

Description/What’s New: June Mountain offers a unique and beautiful ski experience in the Eastern Sierra. Framed by the High Sierra to the west and overlooking Mono Lake and the high desert on the east, June can be a long drive to get to, but you’re almost certain to be rewarded with uncrowded slopes.


Location: Highway 88/Carson Pass, about two hours east of Stockton

Elevation:  Base 7,800 feet; Summit 9,800 feet

Vertical Drop: 2,000 feet

Average Annual Snowfall: 500 inches

Snowmaking: 2%

Number of Lifts:  12 (1 high-speed quad, 1 fixed-grip quad, 7 triples, 1 double, 2 handle tows)

Lift Capacity: 17,950 per hour

Terrain: 2,300 acres; 65 trails (15% easiest, 50% more difficult, 20% most difficult, 15% experts only)

Special Features:  4 terrain parks, super pipe, half pipe; longest run 13,200 feet

Lift Tickets: $58 adults full day/$46 half day, $46 juniors full day/$36 half day; $31 senior full day/$23 half day:  $61 adults full day holiday/$49 half day holiday, $49 juniors full day holiday/$39 half day holiday; $34 senior full day holiday/$26 half day holiday.

Contact Info: (209) 258-6000; Snow Phone (209) 258-6000;

Description/What’s New: Set in a horse-shoe shaped valley off Highway 88, Kirkwood offers an intimate setting and world-class skiing.It’s conveniently close for day trips from the Bay Area. Yet it’s also just a short drive from South Lake Tahoe. With the highest Elevation in the Tahoe regions, Kirkwood consistently has some of the best snow conditions and deepest snowpacks. A long, steep ridgeline provides plenty of challenging terrain for advanced-level skiers and boarders, while lower lifts and the backside provide excellent cruising runs.

Mammoth Mountain

Location:  Eastern Sierra, approx. 240 miles from Sacramento; Take Highway 88 or 50 to Highway 395 south to Highway 203 west to Mammoth Lakes

Elevation:  Base 7,953 feet; Summit 11,053 feet

Vertical Drop: 3,100 feet

Average Annual Snowfall: 400 inches

Snowmaking: 33%

Number of Lifts:  27 (3 gondolas, 1 high-speed six-pack, 8 high-speed quads, 1 fixed-grip quad, 7 triple chairs, 5 doubles, 2 poma lifts)

Lift Capacity: 50,000 per hour

Terrain: 3,500 acres; 150 trails (25% easiest, 40% more difficult, 20% most difficult, 15% experts only)

Special Features:  3 terrain parks, 600 foot super pipe, half pipe, jib park; longest run 15,840 feet

Lift Tickets: Weekends & Holidays: $63 adults/$50 half day, $47 teens/$37 half day; $31 seniors /$25 half day; Mid-week: $58 adults/$43 half day, $46 teens/$34 half day; $29 senior/child/$23 half day;

Contact Info: (760) 934-2571; Snow Phone (888) 278-3570;

Description/What’s New: Mammoth lives up to its name. It’s big and it’s high. It’s also spectacular for the diversity of its terrain, the quality of its snow and the length of its season (November
to June). It can be hard to get to for Northern Californians because you have to cross the Sierra and then head down Highway 395. But it’s a beautiful drive and the mountain is worth it.

Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe

Location:  Mt. Rose Highway, 22 miles from Reno, 11 miles from Tahoe’s North Shore

Elevation:  Base 7,900 feet; Summit 9,700 feet

Vertical Drop: 1,800 feet

Average Annual Snowfall: 400 inches

Snowmaking: 28%

Number of Lifts:  7 (2 six-pack high-speed chairs, 2 quads, 2 triples, 1 magic carpet)

Lift Capacity: 13,400 per hour

Terrain: 1,200 acres; 43 trails (20% easiest, 30% more difficult, 40% most difficult, 10% experts only)

Special Features:  2 terrain parks, half pipe; longest run 13,200 feet

Lift Tickets: $52 adults full day/$42 half day, $38 teen full day/$33 half day; $32 senior flat rate; $12 child flat rate; seniors $70+ FREE

Contact Info: (702) 849-0704; Snow Phone (800) SKI ROSE;

Description/What’s New: Perched high on the Nevada side of the Sierras, Mt. Rose has the highest base Elevation of any ski area at Lake Tahoe. The lifts go up to 9,700 feet offering panoramic views of both Lake Tahoe and Nevada. With its high Elevation, Mt. Rose typically has some of the Sierra’s best powder conditions. And it’s less than half an hour from Reno and its 17,000 hotel rooms.

Mt. Shasta Board & Ski Park

Location:  10 miles east of Interstate 5 off Highway 89, 215 miles
north of Sacramento

Elevation:  Base 5,500 feet; Summit 6,900 feet

Vertical Drop: 1,400 feet

Average Annual Snowfall: 250 inches

Snowmaking: 65%

Number of Lifts:  4 (3 triple chairs, 1 poma lift)

Lift Capacity: 4,500 per hour

Terrain: 425 acres; 31 trails (20% easiest, 55% more difficult, 25% most difficult)

Special Features:  terrain parks, half pipe; longest run 6,600 feet

Lift Tickets: $35 adults full day/$28 half day/$20 night; $19 junior/senior full day/$15 half day/$13 night

Contact Info: (800) SKI SHASTA; Snow Phone (530) 926-8686;

Description/What’s New: Built on a subpeak on the south flank of Mt. Shasta proper, Mt. Shasta Ski Park has spectacular views of the mighty sleeping volcano and a nice mix of terrain to entertain skiers and riders
of all levels.


Location: Highway 267 and Northstar Drive, near Truckee

Elevation:  Base 6,330 feet; Summit 8,610 feet

Vertical Drop: 2,280 feet

Average Annual Snowfall: 350 inches

Snowmaking: 50% of developed runs, 220 acres

Number of Lifts:  17 (1 gondola, 6 high-speed quads, 2 triple chairs, 2 doubles, 6 surface lifts)

Lift Capacity: 22,400 per hour

Terrain: 2,420 acres; 70 trails (25% easiest, 50% more difficult, 25% most difficult)

Special Features:  6 terrain parks, super pipe, half pipe, jib park; longest run 2.9 miles; 50 Kilometer Nordic and Snowshoe Center, onsite lodging

Lift Tickets: $61 adults full day, $51 young adult, $21 child full day; half-day rates unavailable at press time

Contact Info: (530) 562-1010; Snow Phone (530) 562-1330;

Description/What’s New: A full destination family resort, Northstar will invest nearly $1.5 million in two different facilities located west of the Gondola building on an elevated plaza known as the Village Plaza. The nucleus of all Northstar’s skier services will be located here. This season, getting to mid-mountain will be easier thanks to a new Dopplemayr high-speed quad that replaced the fixed-grip triple chairlift and runs parallel to the Gondola.

Sierra Summit

Location: 65 miles northeast of Fresno on Highway 168 at Huntington Lake

Elevation:  Base 7,030 feet; Summit 8,709 feet

Vertical Drop: 1,679 feet

Average Annual Snowfall: 430 inches

Snowmaking: 50%

Number of Lifts:  9 (3 triple chairs, 3 doubles, 1 T-bar, 2 handle tows)

Lift Capacity: 9,242 per hour

Terrain: 430 acres; 40 trails (11% easiest, 28% more difficult, 33% most difficult, 28% experts only)

Special Features:  3 terrain parks, half pipe; longest run 2.25 miles

Lift Tickets: $45 adult full day/$36 half day, $35 youth/$29 half day; $15 child full day/$15 half day

Contact Info: (559) 233-2500; Snow Phone (559) 233-3330;

Description/What’s New: One of the best mid-sized mountains, this scenic, Central California resort offers terrain to challenge all ability levels, with steeps, bowls, bumps and chutes as well as three terrain parks and a halfpipe. The new Chair Six will open this season servicing two new freestyle parks and providing additional beginner access to the mountain, making learning to ski and ride even easier. Sierra Summit has an on-site equipment rental and repair shop as well as a complete snowsports school for all ages and ability levels.  On-site lodging is available at the Sierra Summit Inn, offering rustic, mountain charm with casual dining and live entertainment.


Location: 78 miles east of Sacramento on Highway 50

Elevation:  Base 6,640 feet; Summit 8,852 feet

Vertical Drop: 2,212 feet

Average Annual Snowfall: 420 inches

Snowmaking: 4%

Number of Lifts:  12 (3 high-speed quad chairs, 1 triple, 5 doubles, 2 surface lifts, 1 tubing lift)

Lift Capacity: 14,920 per hour

Terrain: 2,000 acres; 46 trails (25% easiest, 50% more difficult, 25% most difficult)

Special Features:  6 terrain parks, half pipe, super pipe, jib park; longest run 13,200 feet

Lift Tickets: $49 adults full day/$44 half day, $39 young adult full day/$34 half day; $12 child full day/$12 half day, $32 senior full day/$32 senior half day

Contact Info: (530) 659-7453; Snow Phone (530) 659-7475;

Description/What’s New: Sierra-at-Tahoe provides plenty of interesting terrain and a good lift system (3 high-speed quads) to get you around. There are long evenly-pitched advanced-intermediate runs for cruising and some great bump runs.

Soda Springs

Location:  80 miles east of Sacramento off Interstate 80, exit Soda Springs

Elevation:  Base 6,700 feet; Summit 7,352 feet

Vertical Drop: 652 feet

Average Annual Snowfall: 400 inches

Snowmaking: no

Number of Lifts:  4 (1 triple chair, 1 double, 2 surface tows)

Lift Capacity: 1,800 per hour

Terrain: 200 acres; 16 trails (30% easiest, 50% more difficult, 20% most difficult)

Special Features:  terrain park, half pipe; longest run 5,280 feet

Lift Tickets: $25 adults; $16 youth; $10 child

Contact Info: (530) 426-1010; Snow Phone (530) 426-1010;

Description/What’s New: Founded in 1935, Soda Springs remains as small resort that’s good for families and budding skiers, or for those just wanting to work on their technique.

Squaw Valley USA

Location: Off Highway 89, between Truckee and Tahoe City, 109 miles from Sacramento

Elevation:  Base 6,200 feet; Summit 9,050 feet

Vertical Drop: 2,850 feet

Average Annual Snowfall: 450 inches

Snowmaking: 10%

Number of Lifts:  33;  1 tram (150 people), 1 Funitel (gondola), 3 high-speed six-pacs, 4 high-speed quads, 1 quad, 8 triples, 9
doubles, 3 pony tows, 1 pulse lift, 1 carpet)

Lift Capacity: 49,000 per hour

Terrain: 4,000 acres; 177 trails (25% easiest, 45% more difficult, 30% most difficult)

Special Features: 3 terrain parks, half pipe, 400 foot super pipe; longest run 16,896 feet

Lift Tickets: $62 adults full day/$45 half day (including night skiing); $20 night only; $31 junior/senior full day/$10 night; children 12 $5 full day, half day and nights.

Contact Info: (800) 545-4350; Snow Phone (530) 583-6955;

Description/What’s New: One of the largest ski areas in U.S., Squaw Valley is located in a beautiful alpine valley amid six high peaks: Snow King (7,550’), KT-22 (8,200’), Squaw Peak (8,900’), Granite Chief (9,050’) and Broken Arrow (8,020’). One of the most extensive lift networks in North America services more than 4,000 acres of huge bowls, steeps, chutes, cornices, gullies and groomers. While
70 percent of the terrain is suited to beginners and intermediates, Squaw is legendary for having some of the best advanced and expert terrain anywhere. For this, it is also a magnet for talented sliders.

Stover Mountain

Location:  Northern Sierra, 10 minutes from Chester

Elevation:  Base 5,100 feet; Summit 5,600 feet

Vertical Drop: 500 feet

Number of Lifts:  single rope tow

Terrain: 13 acres, 8 runs from beginner to advanced

Contact Info: NA; try the Chester-Lake Almanor Chamber of Commerce, 1-800-350-4838

Description/What’s New: Stover Mountain is tiny.

Sugar Bowl Resort

Location:  Donner Summit; off Interstate 80 three miles east of the Norden/Soda Springs exit on Highway 40/Donner Pass Road

Elevation:  Base 6,883 feet; Summit 8,383 feet

Vertical Drop: 1,500 feet

Average Annual Snowfall: 500 inches

Snowmaking: 27 percent

Number of Lifts:  12 (1 gondola, 4 high-speed quads, 3 fixed-grip quads, 2 doubles, 1 surface lift)

Lift Capacity: 15,188 per hour

Terrain: 1,500 acres; 17% beginner, 43% intermediate, 30% advanced, 10% expert)

Lift Tickets: $56 adult all-day/$42 half day; young adults ages 13-22 and seniors 60 and over $42 full/$30 half

Contact Info:

Description/What’s New: In operation since 1939, Sugar Bowl is one of California’s oldest ski resorts. In recent years, it has been fully modernized with new lifts and a new main lodge. Some things haven’t changed – like its bountiful snow, more than 500 inches annually, and its impressive terrain with some of the most challenging steeps of any resort.

Tahoe Donner

Location:  Near Truckee, 4 miles up Northwoods Boulevard from Interstate 80

Elevation:  Base 6,750 feet; Summit 7,350 feet

Vertical Drop: 600 feet

Average Annual Snowfall: 360 inches

Snowmaking: none

Number of Lifts:  4 (1 quad chair, 1 double, 2 surface lifts)

Lift Capacity: 2,500 per hour

Terrain: 120 acres; 40% beginner, 60% intermediate

Special Features: half pipe

Lift Tickets: $34 adult; $13 children under 12; $13 seniors

Contact Info: (530) 587-9494; snow phone (530) 587-9494

Description/What’s New: Tahoe Donner is a popular family resort and excellent learning area for first-time skiers and those who want to brush up on their skills in a relaxed setting.

Nordic Ski Areas

Badger Pass/Yosemite Cross Country

Location:  Yosemite National Park

Elevation:  6,500-7,214 feet

Terrain: 25 miles of machine-groomed track at Badger Pass; 350 miles of skiable trails and roads in the park

Trail Passes: No trail pass required; day fee to enter park $20

Contact Info: Cross Country Center (209) 372-8444; Ski Conditions (209)-8430; Weather/Road Conditions (209) 372-0200;

Description: Beginning at Badger Pass there are over 90 miles of marked trails and 25 miles of groomed track, 17 of which follow Glacier Point Road, leading to some of the most awe-inspiring vistas anywhere. Track and skating lanes are provided out to Glacier Point, 21-mile roundtrip.

Bear Valley Cross Country

Location:  Highway 4/Ebbetts Pass, 43 miles east of Angels Camp

Elevation:  7,000-7,557 feet

Terrain: 65 kilometers of groomed trail over 3,000 acres

Trail Passes: 2003-04 rates, $22 adult full day; $14 seniors (60-69) and juniors (13-17); child (9-12) $10; kids 8 & under and seniors (70 plus) FREE

Contact Info: (209) 753-2834;

Description: From very flat meadows to more advanced hilly terrain, Bear Valley has a wide range of trails to suit all levels. Intermediates head out to Osborn Ridge or farther west to Canyon Vista, overlooking the North Fork of the Stanislaus River and out to the Dardanelles. The ski school, run by instructor and author Paul Petersen, is well regarded. In addition, backcountry instruction and guide services are available from Mountain Adventure Seminars, (800) 362-5462,, headquartered at the
BaseCamp Lodge in Bear Valley Village.

Kirkwood Cross Country

Location:  Highway 88 west of Carson Pass

Base Elevation: 7,800-9,000 feet

Terrain: 80 kilometers machine groomed (20% beginner, 60% intermediate, 20% advanced)

Trail Passes: $18 adult all day; senior (65+) and juniors (13-18) $12; children (7-12) $6, 6 and under, free; dog pass $4

Contact Info: (209) 258-7248;

Description: Nestled in a lofty alpine valley, Kirkwood Cross Country gets loads of snow and has excellent skiing for all abilities. Climb to ridge tops and glide at the base of lava cliffs and through meadows. There are three interconnected trail systems: Kirkwood Meadow (easiest), Caples Creek (most varied), and the Schneider Trail System (most challenging). Dogs are allowed on two trails: the High Trail and the Inner Loop on the meadow. On Dec. 5, Kirkwood will host an easy 10 km ski race open to all levels. The Echo to Kirkwood Race, a classic point-to-point race of 14 miles, will take place on March 12.

Montecito-Sequoia Cross Country

Location:  Kings Canyon National Park, 65 miles east of Fresno on Highway 180

Elevation:  7500-8,400 feet

Terrain: 35 kilometers groomed

Contact Info: (800) 227-9900; Road Conditions (800) 843-8677;

Description: Montecito Sequoia Cross Country Ski Resort & Winter Sports Center offers the best nordic skiing in the southern Sierra. Situated near Grant Grove, home of the oldest and largest trees on the planet, 35 km of well-groomed trails begin right at the steps from Sequoia Lodge, at 7,500 feet. Intermediate trails lead up to 8,400’ Buck Rock Lookout. The area averages 240 inches of snow annually.

Mt. Shasta Ski Park Nordic Center

Location:  Off Highway 89 between Mt. Shasta City and McCloud

Elevation:  5,245 to 5,560 feet

Terrain: 31 kilometers groomed (30% beginner, 40% intermediate, 30% advanced)

Trail Passes: $15 adult (13-64), $10 kids (8-12)/seniors (65+)

Contact Info: 1-800-SKI-SHASTA; Snow Phone 530-926-8686;

Description: Set near the base of the lower slopes of hulking Mt.
Shasta (14,162 feet), Shasta’s nordic center lies in a heavily forested area that makes for a good wind break. Although it’s lower than most ski areas in California, it’s in a good snowbelt.

With wide trails that range from flat to undulating, it is ideal for first-timers and intermediates. There are also 8 kilometers of snowshoe trails where dogs are allowed.

Northstar Nordic Ski & Snowshoe Center

Location: 8 miles south of Truckee on Hwy 267

Elevation:  6,800 feet at Mid-mountain day lodge; trail system 6,660-8,610 feet

Terrain: 50 km of groomed trails over 1,500 acres

Contact Info: (530) 562-2475;

Description: Located at Mid-mountain of Northstar’s alpine area, the Nordic center provides access to trails that wind and dip through forests and open up to scenic views. Trail fees include use of Big Springs
Gondola to the Nordic center.

Royal Gorge

Location:  Just off Old Highway 40, exit Highway 80 at Soda Springs

Elevation:  6,700 to 8,000 feet

Terrain: 9,000 acres; 90 trails, 330 km groomed over five interconnected track systems

Trail Passes: Weekend/High Season $28 adults/$24 afternoon pass (after 1 p.m.); Midweek/Low Season $24 adults/$18 afternoon; children (13-16) weekends $15/midweek $14; Children 12 and under/Seniors 75 and up FREE

Contact Info: (800) 666-3871;

Description: Royal Gorge boasts the largest groomed track system in North America, an annual snowfall exceeding 600 inches, four surface lifts, four cafes, 10 warming huts and two trailside wilderness lodges. There’s also 15 km of snowmaking for periods when Mother Nature
doesn’t cooperate.

Spooner Lake

Location: 12 miles south of Incline Village on Highway 28, near Spooner Summit, Nevada

Elevation:  7,000-7,823 feet

Terrain: 80kms groomed over 9,000 acres

Trail Passes: $20 adults Saturday/Holiday; $16 Sunday-Friday

Contact Info: (775) 749-5349;

Description: On the eastern shore of Lake Tahoe, Spooner Lake provides challenging skiing with spectacular views. There are two trails systems: Meadow (easier) and High Country (more difficult). The ski out to Marlette
Lake (7,823’) is beautiful and challenging. The 18.4-km Carson Range Trail includes a wicked downhill.

Squaw Creek Nordic Center

Location:  Olympic Valley, off Highway 89

Elevation:  6,000-6,200 feet

Terrain: 20 kilometers over 400 acres (70% beginner, 20% intermediate, 10% advanced)

Trail Passes: $10 adult; $5 junior (6-15); seniors 65+ ski free

Contact Info: (530) 308-0375;

Description: Groomed trails wind through Squaw Valley meadow and surrounding hillside.

Tahoe Cross Country

Location:  Tahoe City

Elevation:  6,300-7,700 feet

Terrain: 65 km groomed, 16 trails

Trail Passes: $19 adults; $14 junior (10-17), senior (60-69); child (under 10), seniors (70+) free

Contact Info: (530) 583-5475;

Description: Tahoe XC includes 65 kilometers of challenging climbs, thrilling descents and panoramic views. Dogs are allowed on 8 km of trail Monday through Friday and weekends after 3 p.m. Each March, Tahoe XC plays host to The Great Ski Race, the largest ski race in the West, a 30 km race which climbs 7 miles onto Sawtooth Ridge and makes a long swoop down to end in Truckee.

Tahoe Donner Cross Country

Location:  Off Northwoods Blvd., north of Highway 80 near Truckee

Elevation:  Day Lodge 6,600’; Euer Valley 6,500’, Hawk’s Peak 7,729’

Terrain: 113 kilometers on 48 trails (16 beginner trails, 24 intermediate, 5 advanced, 1 expert, 2 “wilderness” trails,
2 snowshoe-only trails)

Trail Passes: $21 adults/$16 half day; $16 seniors (60-69)/$11 half day; kids 12 and under, seniors 70+ FREE

Contact Info: (530) 587-9484;

Description: Tahoe Donner is one of the nation’s premier cross country centers with a wide variety of terrain spread over 4,800 acres and a vertical rise of 1,307 feet. The resort averages 360 inches of snow
annually. In mid winter, night skiing is offered on Wednesdays from 5-7 p.m. No dogs.