When you think of California, you probably don’t imagine powder of the frozen kind. Think again. California is home to some of the best ski resorts in the world. It’s also one of the safest and most family friendly places to learn to ski. That’s right. That also means that you haven’t really been to California if you haven’t taken the time to ski in California.
Don’t let lack of experience discourage you. I think California is the very best state to learn to ski in.
I only wish I had learned to ski in California. But guess what? It’s never too late to start over. Whatever your age or ability, you can ski in California too! There’s something for everyone atCalifornia/Nevadas 28 excellent ski resorts.
My kids are pretty lucky. All four of them have learned to ski and snowboard at Tahoe, joining their father who is an experienced skier and inspiring me to try learning again. Skiing is one of the most amazing family activities out there and the stories and skills learned and created together on the slopes are some of every skiing family’s most cherished memories.
Thanks to Ski California for hosting me and my son for the World’s Largest Ski Lesson in Tahoe this season.
Here’s why California is such a great place for families to learn to ski, together.
It’s easy to (quickly) get to California ski resorts and get out there and ski in California
Whether you drive or fly, California ski resorts are all easy to access via airports in Reno and Ontario. These airports rarely need to close down, thanks to the ideal areas where they are situated. If, like us you live near the Pacific Ocean in Orange County CA, you can reasonably plan to surf in the morning and ski in the afternoon. You may need chains or 4WD on your vehicle if you head up while it is snowing, but travel in and out of the popular ski areas is generally not difficult. The roads are well marked, well traveled and well serviced.
There are so many California Ski resorts and areas to choose from.
No matter what your skill level is, or preferred sport (downhill skiing, snowboarding, cross-country) there is a resort that caters to you, and probably has options for the rest of your family as well. Here are 28 resorts in California/Nevada just waiting for you to check them out.
Beginners are welcome at California Ski Resorts.
The first time we went to Tahoe we stayed at the Heavenly Resort where we put our daughters in all day ski school while the grown-ups hit the black diamonds. The girls had a blast and came away confident and ready to hit the tamer slopes with their dad on the last day. On our last visit we we took part in the World’s largest Ski Lesson at Squaw/Alpine. My husband and son tried snowboarding and my younger son took a ski lesson. Everyone came away with new skills and a renewed love of the sport.
It was especially nice to see both my sons, complete newbies, coming away with the skills to start skiing and snowboarding safely and enthusiastically. We had to pull them off the slopes. It was wonderful to watch the instructors put them at ease and give them the confidence they needed. As a parent I felt so much more confident sending my kids out after having seen them get proper instruction. Lesson types range from private tutorials and group lessons, to camp-style all day instruction for kids. Mid week pricing for lessons is very reasonable, and a great way for you to get started with your kids too.
Safety is stressed so you do not have to stress out.
Safety is a very important part of the mission of Ski California and stressed at all their member resorts. That focus gets a solid high five from this nervous mom. Instructors really put my mind at ease at Squaw Alpine. From the start of our lessons our family was taught how to do things safely, for ourselves and for others. Helmets were provided as part of our rental kit and the fit of our boots and bindings were checked meticulously. All of the instructors stressed safe behavior and showed us the right way to fall, to get up and to handle our gear and taught us when and how to yield to others.
The stress on teaching and practicing ski safety skills are part of a statewide effort to make California one of the safest places to ski and learn to ski. This also gives me a lot of confidence, and a lot less stress of the unwelcome kids. Safety was also practiced around the lifts and in the lodges. One more warm and fuzzy safety note – in addition to helpful staff at the resorts, you are likely to see canine helpers – working dogs who are trained in search and rescue.
Apres Ski Activities abound at California Ski Resorts
No need to worry about what you’ll do after you ski, or if skiing doesn’t turn out to be your cup of tea. You don’t have to ski at all to have fun at California Ski resorts. Eat, drink, shop, play or check out the scene at one of the many year round festivals that are hosted by area resorts. From music to food trucks, there’s always something new and exciting to check out. Just a few of the options at Tahoe:
- Squaw Alpine offers visitors a chance to learn about the 1960 Olympics and ice skate at the Olympic museum
- Truckee has a fantastic foodie scene
- Snow themed amusement parks like Snoventure offer mini snowmobiles and tubing for the kids.
- Squaw Village boasts fantastic shopping and restaurants and outdoor firepits for mingling
Is skiing in California the perfect family vacation?
It’s time to think beyond the beach when you think of California! The ample opportunities for fun in the snow and world class resorts make California one of the best places for a wintry family getaway that your whole clan will enjoy.
California is the perfect place to safely and comfortably learn the skills that will serve your family well and provide a lifelong love of wintersports. For more information about skiing in California and California resorts please visit SkiCalifornia.org where you will find a whole world of information to get you started with your trip planning.
If you are traveling to Tahoe, I cannot say enough glowing things about the eco friendly Cedar House Sport Hotel. This gem features large, comfortable rooms with Euro styling and amenities like high quality shampoo, conditioner and soap in pump containers rather than trash creating small bottles. There are super comfortable beds with fluffy duvets for each person, free wifi, soft robes and many racks and hooks for hanging up your damp clothes and gear at the end of a day on the slopes. Perhaps my favorite was the hearty European style breakfast that is included with the room. Choices include eggs, bacon, smoked salmon, fresh fruit, yogurt, muesli and more.
Ready to hit the slopes yet?
Here’s just a little more inspiration for you: my 8 year old son after one hour of instruction, is ready to build a lifetime of memories, doing his new favorite thing!