For a place that’s world renowned for its beautiful climate and year-round sunshine, you’d be surprised that LA has access to great ski mountains. Though they’re few in number, they all offer a winter wonderland for those looking to add some snow to their Decembers. If you’re looking to really get away from that nasty heat wave that happened this year, this is your list. Here’s our list of top 6 Los Angeles ski locations.
Mountain High Resort
Mountain High is Los Angeles’ second closest big ski location (the first belonging to Mt. Baldy), however, their claims to being “the closest resort with with no mountain driving” is true (unless you’re taking the 2). Mountain High, like many of LA’s local ski areas, readily makes artificial snow, which helps to fill up their 290 acres of skiable terrain. It has a good spread of beginner, intermediate, and advanced runs, and does have three resort locations. It is also known for having night-skiing seven nights a week (nasty weather permitting), which makes it great for a nice weekend getaway.
The other half of Big Bear, Bear Mountain is synonymous with Los Angeles skiing. It is more known for catering to snowboarders than skiers, but that doesn’t mean that a skier should shy away from it. Because of how close it is to Snow Summit, the two appeal to different subsets of the alpine sports community, so if you’re looking for the best snowboard instructors in SoCal, you’ll probably find them on Bear Mountain. That being said, its terrain is also better for beginners with 15% for first-time beginners. Since it is a part of the Big Bear Mountain Resorts company, there are tickets available that get you access to the other.
Snow Summit is located in the San Bernardino Mountains, and is one half of the Big Bear Mountain Resorts complex. It is one of the most well-known skiing destinations in Southern California. With top elevation of 8,200 feet and 240 skiable acres, Snow Summit has a lot of room for everyone. Snow Summit caters more to the skier. The terrain is accommodating to all types of skiers, with 10% of its runs for first-time beginners and 25% advanced runs for experts. However, its combination of terrain for beginners and low intermediate skiers makes it a more accessible ski location than its sister Bear Mountain.
Mt. Baldy, contrary to claims made by Big Bear, is Los Angeles’ closest ski mountain and is just north of Ontario. Located in the San Gabriel Mountains with an elevation of just over 4,100 feet, you can see a huge portion of the greater LA area while you’re speeding down the mountain. Mt. Baldy sees an average of 170 inches of snowfall per year. It has terrain for all different types of skiers, with 20% of its runs for beginners. It is predominately for those in the intermediate range (intermediate runs constituted 40% of its total). But since has a bunch of slopes that are perfect for new and slightly more advanced skiers, this is the perfect opportunity for a day trip or spur of the moment adventure.
Snow Valley is closer to Los Angeles than Big Bear, but not by much. Situated smack-dab in the middle of the San Bernardino National Forest, it’s that in-between location between Mt. Baldy and Big Bear. However, the slightly harder accessibility of the location (via route 18) shouldn’t dissuade you from giving it a shot. It is the oldest continually operating ski resort in Southern California. It has a top elevation of 7,841 feet, and gets around 150 inches of snowfall per year (weather permitting). However, its runs are not for the faint of heart. Snow Valley is perfect if you’ve tried your hand at skiing and snowboarding before, but trying to learn on its slopes may be a little harder. But, once you’ve got some of the techniques down, escaping Big Bear to try Snow Valley’s less crowded slopes may be best.
Let’s be clear: Mammoth is not near Los Angeles. You’re driving or flying for a while. But as one of the singlest largest drawers of skiers and snowboarders and vacationers from SoCal, the drive is clearly worth it. The site has more than 3,500 acres of skiable terrain, and the area rises to an elevation of 11,053 feet. It has lots of terrain for skiers of all types. Mammoth Mountain’s large ski resort is located on the Mono County side, and is around 320 miles away from Los Angeles. If you head up to Mammoth, make sure you make it a long weekend or even a full week.