Top 5 Places Near San Diego to Snowboard or Ski
Snow is being made (and will soon be falling) in the mountains, so tis’ the season to hit the slopes! Grab the snow chains and pack up your skis, thermals, and hot cocoa because it’s time to head to the mountains. The 2017 season was a big one, with a number of storms hitting both northern and southern California. We’re hoping 2018 will be much of the same.
The great thing about living in San Diego is that there’s tons to do and plenty of warmth and sunshine all year round. Perhaps the one thing that San Diego lacks is snow…but luckily there lies several ski resorts that are only a short drive away. Whether you’re looking for a fun filled day trip or an exciting weekend away, be sure to check out our top 5 ski/snowboard spots near San Diego.
Bear Mountain and Snow Summit
Bear Mountain and Snow Summit are generally open from late November through early April. The Big Bear Mountain area which includes both Bear Mountain and Snow Summit is a close drive for most Southern California residents. You can hit the slopes in a short 2-hour drive from Los Angeles or 2 1/2 hours from San Diego.
With three terrain parks, pipes, and double black runs, Bear Mountain is a hotspot for snowboarders and skiers. Bear Mountain has 10 lifts, 23 trails, a half pipe and mini pipe, making it an ideal spot for intermediates and advanced skiers and riders. The resort sits at 7,140 feet with a top elevation of 8,805 feet. Bear Mountain operates an award winning terrain and the largest learning area in Southern California. The snow is machine-groomed packed powder and the weather forecast is generally amazing.
Ticket prices range from $70-$100 and can be purchased online or at the mountain. If you need to rent any gear, there are plenty of places to do so nearby, as well as the shop on-site.
Snow Summit, the sister mountain to Bear Mountain, is just 2 miles away and the resort offers a free inter-mountain express shuttle—and you only need one lift ticket to enjoy both mountains! With a top elevation at 8,200 feet, snow summit offers challenging, steep terrain for advanced skiers and riders, along with more intermediate trails for cruising. There are 240 skiable acres with 31 trails and 14 chair lifts, there is something for every skill level.
Daily adult ticket prices range from about $70 – $100. Tickets can be purchased online or on-site and are good at both resorts. Both mountains are only about one hundred miles away from SD. Both operate expansive snowmaking systems to ensure there is snow to last the season. So check ‘em out!
Interesting fact: Snow Summit was the first ski area in America to make its own snow.
Also just one hundred miles from San Diego is Snow Valley. Snow Valley sits at the base of the San Bernardino Mountains, just 15 miles from Bear Mountain. The season generally runs from late November to late March. With 13 lifts, 28 runs and 240 acres of terrain, Snow Valley has something for every level skier and boarder. Beginner runs make up about 14% of the mountain; intermediate terrain is 46% of the mountain, followed by 39% of advanced and expert terrain.
A favorite of skiers and boarders of all ages, and a packed powder surface, Snow Valley has something for every level of skier and boarder. Snow Valley also offers night sessions and is open for most holidays for those who want to enjoy an evening of skiing/riding under the stars. The mountain has additional automated SMI Polecat Snowmaking Fan Guns and a snow grooming machine to provide for the cleanest conditions.
Daily adult ticket prices range from about $59 – $74 and can be bought online or on-site.
Mountain High, about 120 miles from San Diego, generally opens November/December and runs through March/April. This mountain offers an East, West and North Resort, each with their own distinct terrain and atmosphere. The resort features a max-altitude at 8,000 feet, 290 acres of skiable terrain, and 14 chair lifts. The West Resort is a great place for more advanced riders. Built for freestylers, it features several technical trails and challenging features. The west resort is also open 7 nights a week.
With five terrain parks, one half pipe, and a snow skate park, Mountain High makes for the ultimate playground for skiers and snowboarders. The site offers many live performances, on-hill contests, and promotions.
The East Resort, best for those who like to cruise and enjoy the wind on their face, offers trails longer than a mile and a half. The East is also known for its epic views of the Mojave Desert and, of course, the moguls.
The resorts, which offer completely unique experiences, are only a mile apart. And don’t worry about the drive – the park operates free shuttles and parking at each of its base areas.
Mountain High offers a variety of ticketing options, but for comparison, a full 8-hour day runs between $60 and $80.
“Southern California’s best kept secret” Mt. Baldy offers something the other local mountains don’t—no crowds! With a shorter season from late December to March, conditions can vary. It is the closest resort to Los Angeles (just 45 miles away), the mountain offers 400 accessible acres with 26 trails accessed by 4 lifts. The terrain is rated 20% beginner, 40% intermediate, 20% advanced and 20% expert. With activities from skiing and riding to tubing, it provides a great stay-cation opportunity to those in Southern California. Current lift ticket prices for adults are $69 per day.
Mt. Baldy’s snow isn’t as groomed, which, for many skiers/boarders, adds to the fun and adventure. Mt. Baldy’s conditions vary greatly, so conditions can be unpredictable. It is only 110 miles from San Diego, so why not check it out?
Although much farther than the rest (about 7 hours from San Diego), Mammoth Mountain is the best resort in Southern California and arguably one of the best in the west. Mammoth is HUGE and it just might be worth driving the extra hours if you have the weekend. The entire resort spans over 3500 acres, and gives you the chance to explore a wide range of terrain. The season is long and generally runs from November through July (yes, you read that right). With base elevation at 7,952 ft and a top elevation at 11,052 ft, you’ll get your a huge cardio workout.
The mountain features 28 lifts, 151 runs, 13 terrain parks and 3500 skiable acres. Did we mention this place is huge? Ticket prices are on the high end and range from $110- 130 for adults. Ticket prices vary depending on advance purchase, holidays, demand and other factors. You can buy them online or on-site.
So whether you ski, snowboard, or even if you do neither (all parks offer a sledding area/snow park nearby), be sure you and your friends and family head to the mountains. Make the most of this winter and have a happy snow day, San Diego!