Top 5 Places Near San Diego to Snowboard or Ski

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Photo from 'drustar' via Flickr

Photo from 'drustar' via Flickr

School is out, snow is falling (for almost everyone), tis’ the season to hit the slopes! So grab the snow chains and pack up your skis, thermals, and hot cocoa because it’s time to head to the mountains!

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 just about a two hour 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/Snow Summit

With three terrain parks, pipes, and double black runs, Bear Mountain is a hotspot for snowboarders and skiers. Bear Mountain now has 10 lifts, 23 trails, the half pipe and the mini pipe open, making it an ideal spot for intermediates and the advanced. The snow is machine groomed packed powder and the forecast is amazing with sunshine in the 50s all through the weekend.

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! Snow summit offers challenging, steep terrain for advanced skiers and riders, along with more intermediate trails for cruising. The Ego Trip Park and the Family Fun Zones are also open. Both mountains are only about one hundred miles away from SD, so check ‘em out! Interesting fact: Snow Summit was the first ski area in America to make its own snow.

Snow Valley

Also just one hundred miles from San Diego is Snow Valley. Snow valley is right at the base of the San Bernardino Mountains and has received 19 inches of new snow from the last storm. Now with 4 lifts and 19 trails open and a packed powder surface, Snow Valley has something for every level of skier and boarder. Snow Valley also offers night sessions on Fridays, Saturdays and most holidays for those who want to enjoy an evening of skiing/boarding under the stars. They recently added additional automated SMI Polecat Snowmaking Fan Guns and a brand new snowgrooming machine to provide for the cleanest conditions. Weather this week has been sunny and calm in the upper 40s, with all roads open. Be sure to check the conditions beforehand here.

Mountain High

Photo from 'bettybraun' via Flickr

Photo from 'bettybraun' via Flickr

Mountain High, about 120 miles from San Diego, now has good coverage on all open runs with a 12 to 30 inch base of wet granular snow that starts out firm and softens throughout the day. This mountain offers an East, West and North Resort, each with their own distinct terrain and atmosphere. The West Resort is built for freestylers, with several technical trails and challenging features. With five terrain parks, one halfpipe, and a snow skate park, Mountain High makes for the ultimate playground for snowboarders.  The site offers many live performances, on-hill contests, and promotions; the West Resort is also the only local resort open seven nights a week. 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, moguls. The North Resort is not yet open, although the North Pole Tubing Park is open on weekends. The resorts, which offer completely unique experiences, are only a mile apart. And don’t worry about the drive—all roads are open and there’s practically no traditional mountain driving on the way there. Know the snow before you go!

Mt. Baldy

“Southern California’s best kept secret” has only three lifts and six trails open at the moment, but Mt. Baldy offers something the other local mountains don’t—no crowds! Furthermore, Mt. Baldy’s snow isn’t as groomed, which, for many skiers/boarders, adds to the fun and adventure. Mt. Baldy has received a foot of snow within the last five days, and since its only 110 miles from San Diego, 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.

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 before it gets too crazy with the holidays! Make the most of this winter and have a happy snow day, San Diego!


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