5 Best Ski Resorts in California to Hit the Slopes

To tourists, California is most famous for its beaches, surfer, and Hollywood movie stars. But to skiers, the appeal of California lies far from the coastline, in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, which form the eastern border of the state.

The ski resorts of California offer majestic alpine scenery, relatively mild and sunny winter weather and luxuriant powder-covered slopes. In fact, many of California’s ski resorts are on par with the top resorts in Colorado and even in Europe.

Before planning your winter vacation, weekend getaway or day trip on the slopes, use our list to discover the top ski resorts in California.

Mammoth Ski Resort

Mammoth Ski Resort is the highest lift-served resort that offers activities in all four seasons and tops out at just over 11,000 feet in elevation.

Of course, for skiers and snowboarders, the winter powder is the highlight when all 1,500 acres of slopes are covered in feet of snow.

  • Activities: Skiing, snowboarding, gondola rides, cross-country skiing, tube park, snowmobile rides
  • Opening Dates: Mid-November

Palisades Tahoe

Palisades Tahoe may not be on the highest Sierra Nevada peak, but it does have a lot to offer in winter and in the off-season.

An aerial tram is a highlight to view all of Lake Tahoe from above, and indoor activities (like yoga, rollerskating, and an Olympic museum) can be enjoyed any time of year.

  • Activities: Skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing (including disco tubing), snowshoeing, aerial tram, cross-country skiing
  • Opening Dates: Late November

Bear Valley Resort

On the smaller side of best ski resorts in the golden state, Bear Valley Resort offers up 1,900 vertical feet of slopes, with 1,680 acres of terrain. A summit at 8,500 feet gives amazing panoramic views of the Sierra Nevada, with Mokelumne Peak as a central landmark.

  • Activities: Skiing, cross-country skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiles, snowshoeing, glamping at Lake Alpine
  • Opening Dates: Early December or late November

Sierra-At-Tahoe Resort

Sierra-at-Tahoe is one of the area’s largest, offering 2,000 acres of snow (and ten chairlifts). But it also has a unique personality; this ski resort opened in 1946 and, over the years, has won awards for its environmentally friendly operations, plus survived and recovered after the Caldor fire in 2021.

An elevation of over 8,800 feet and about 480 inches of snowfall per year mean plenty of snowy fun during the winter season.

  • Activities: Skiing, snowboarding, mountain tubing, snow play, snowshoeing, mountain tours
  • Opening Dates: Late November

Boreal Mountain California

Boreal Mountain is a highly-rated California ski resort that typically receives about 500 inches of snow per year, and it’s often one of the first resorts to open for the season (depending on local conditions, of course).

A terrain park, plus 380 acres of snow with 41 runs, offers something for everyone.

Activities: Skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing, terrain parks with mini pipe

Opening Dates: Late November