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The Best Places to Ski & Snowboard on the West Coast
December 30, 2019
If there’s one major perk to the cold, dark winter months, it’s the snow on the mountains. And if you snowboard or ski, you’ve been waiting all year long for winter to come around. Luckily for those that live on the West Coast, you have nearly endless options for epic ski resorts on gorgeous mountains with powder for days. So wax your board, load the skis on the rack, grab your snow goggles, and head up to these top places to ski and snowboard in California, Oregon, and Washington.
1. Snow Summit and Bear Mountain Resorts
Just a short two-hour drive from Los Angeles are the scenic twin resorts of Snow Summit and Bear Mountain. Snow Summit is known as the family-friendly resort with 240 skiable acres. Over 60% of their trails are blue runs for the intermediate skier or snowboarder. For a high-energy, freestyle terrain park, Bear Mountain is your go-to resort (one ticket gets you into both). In addition to the terrain park, visitors will find 12 lifts and 32 trails over 748 acres.
2. Heavenly Mountain Ski Resort
By far one of the most gorgeous ski areas in all of California, Heavenly Ski Resort is a three- to four-hour drive from San Francisco. With trails over 4,630 skiable acres, Heavenly is the largest ski resort in the Lake Tahoe area. Boarders and skiers can enjoy fresh powder at 10,067 feet with seasonal snowfall averaging around 360 inches. Make a run down the mountain while enjoying picturesque views of the crystalline waters of Lake Tahoe and the surrounding snowcapped peaks. Another big draw to Heavenly Mountain is its two challenging terrain parks.
3. Mammoth Mountain Ski Area
Located about five and a half hours drive from Los Angeles, Mammoth Mountain is another one of California’s largest ski areas with around 3,500 skiable acres. Sitting at 11,000 feet with over 400 inches of annual snowfall, Mammoth has a huge array of snowboarding and skiing trails for riders of all skill levels. And with over 300 days of sunshine, visitors can enjoy fresh powder as well as spring slush riding. Consider yourself more of an expert rider? More than 30% of Mammoth Mountain’s trails are considered expert or advanced.
4. Yosemite Ski & Snowboard Area
What makes Yosemite Ski and Snowboard Area so awesome is that it’s one of only three ski areas in the United States located in National Parks (the others are Boston Mills/Brandywine at Cuyahoga Valley, Ohio and Hurricane Ridge in Washington, more on this resort below). Although this ski park, also known as Badger Pass Ski Area, only has five lifts and 800 feet of vertical lift, it’s a cool experience to say you’ve skied or boarded the oldest ski resort in California—operating since the 1930s.
5. Mount Hood Meadows
Mount Hood Meadows is just a short 90-minutes drive from Portland and offers some of the most badass skiing and snowboarding trails in all of the Northwest. Located on the dormant volcano Mt. Hood, the Mt. Hood Meadows resort has 2,150 skiable acres with 11 lifts. Boarders and skiers will find lots of variety amongst their trails with gentle slopes for the beginner and some steep pitches for the advanced rider.
6. Mount Bachelor Skiing & Snowboard Resort
Located only 22 miles outside of Bend, Oregon, Mount Bachelor ski resort is pretty much the dreamiest of all ski resorts. Skiers and snowboarders will be in awe when they reach the summit and have 360-degree views of the Cascade mountain range before they ride the 3,365-foot vertical drop. Plus, the 462 inches of annual snowfall make the 4,318-acre ski area a rider’s playground. Visitors can ski and board a variety of terrains from trees to chutes and riders will find a trail for every skill level.
7. Hoodoo Ski Area
Head an hour and a half east of Eugene and you’ll reach this gem of a small mountain resort—Hoodoo Ski Area. The mountain is basically a big, round butte so it’s a great place for those that are learning to ski or snowboard or if you’re just looking for a chill day of riding. The resort has 800 skiable acres, five lifts, and 1,035 feet of vertical.
8. Mount Baker Ski Area
An hour north of Bellingham, just south of the Canadian border is the Mt. Baker Ski Area. With an average of 650 inches of snow a season, this ski resort receives the most snow out of any ski area in Washington—which means powder for weeks on end. Mt. Baker boasts a terrain park, groomed routes, and tree lines which make it the perfect destination for extreme snowboarders, backcountry skiers, or the first-timer on the slopes. Enjoy a ski season of around 150 days at this favorite snow spot.
9. Hurricane Ridge Ski and Snowboard Area
Sitting at a mile high, Hurricane Ridge Ski and Snowboard Area is the furthest west ski area in the contiguous United States. It’s also one of the only three ski areas in the country located in a National Park. Hurricane Ridge sits in the scenic Olympic National Park on the North Olympic Peninsula. It’s a small ski and snowboard area with only 10 trails and 800 feet of vertical drop, however, riders will experience insane vistas that can only be found in the Pacific Northwest.
10. The Summit at Snoqualmie
The closest ski resort to Seattle (just a 45-minute drive), The Summit at Snoqualmie caters to every type of snowboarder or skier at every skill level. Whether you’re an alpine skier, an extreme snowboarder, or a Nordic skier—The Summit at Snoqualmie has a trail you’re bound to fall in love with. Boasting more than 100 designated runs over 2,000 skiable acres, you can spend days riding the four mountain bases of The Summit.
Written by Ashley Brewer for Knockaround.