As the leaves change colors and nights grew cold, some of us just turn up the heat, reach for a sweatshirt, and prepare for another chilly, rainy winter in Sacramento. But there are others who rejoice when the thermostat drops, eyeing the gray skies with eager anticipation for the start of snow in the nearby Sierras. Yes, skiers and snow boarders, I’m talking to you, the people who love to bundle up and surf a white mountain in their spare time. As we all know, when it comes to playing in a winter wonderland there are few places as great as Sacramento because of our easy access to ski mountains in Lake Tahoe and Nevada. So whether you buy a season pass and shred the mountain every week, or just want to take the family for a nice day trip, your snowy playground is not far away.
Here are 7 of our favorite ski resorts that are close enough to Sacramento for a day trip.
Sierra At Tahoe
1111 Sierra-At-Tahoe Road Twin Bridges, CA 95735
Sierra is the closest resort to Sacramento , but just as nice as others further up the road. Known for its glade skiing and exciting terrain parks, the family atmosphere and ease of accessibility make it an easy day trip destination for NorCal skiers and boarders.
Number of Lifts - 12
Number of Runs - 46
Number of Acres - 2,000
Heavenly Mountain Resort
4080 Lake Tahoe Boulevard South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150
Heavenly is the favorite playground for those who like to ski by day and socialize by night, as its base village is located only one block from Nevada casinos. Straddling the border with California, the lake shore resort contains 34 miles of groomed trails, bowls, parks, pipes and its signature Gunbarrel run,dropping 1,800 feet to lodge below.
Number of Lifts - 30
Number of Runs - 95
Number of Acres - 4,800
629 Sugar Bowl Road Norden, CA 95724
Sugar Bowl was purchased and built up by the Walt Disney Company back in 1938, and is known for two things that the snow crowd loves: Wide open bowl skiing and it’s proximity, sitting 45 minutes closer to Sacramento along the I-80 corridor than most other ski mountains. It’s usually less crowded than most of the area’s top resorts, but isn’t short on fun or fantastic skiing.
Number of Lifts - 13
Number of Runs – 103
Number of Acres – 1,650
100 Northstar Drive Truckee, CA 96161
Northstar, sitting among golden Lake Tahoe, is known for its dense tree-lined runs, offering natural protection on bad weather days with lots of wind or rain. If it gets too stormy out you can simply go down to base village where there are plenty of fire pits, an ice rink, bars, and restaurants to choose from. Northstar also has a multitude of condos and resort hotels to chose from, including the high-end Ritz Carlton, with its own lift sitting mid mountain.
Number of Lifts - 17
Number of Runs - 83
Number of Acres - 2,490
2600 Alpine Meadows Road Tahoe City, CA 96145
Alpine Meadows may not be a front runner with tourists, but locals and hardcore skiers and boarders love it’s uncrowded and unpretensious slopes. The fact that that it isn’t overrun with hotels and base lodging make it even more of a local gem. It has plenty of challenging black diamond runs for experts, but more mellow hills for your average family who just wants to enjoy the snow without much fanfare.
Number of Lifts - 13
Number of Runs - 100+
Number of Acres - 2,400
Squaw Valley USA
1960 Squaw Valley Road Olympic Valley, CA 93675
Squaw Valley sat in relative anonymity until it hosted the1960 Winter Olympics, and since then it’s been a favorite for serious skiers from all over the world. Its famous tram will take you all the way up the mountain amid some breathtaking views, and it offers plenty of lodging in the base village. Even if you don’t ski like an Olympian, you’ll enjoy the best that Squaw Valley has to offer.
Number of Lifts - 34
Number of Runs - 170+
Number of Acres - 4,000
Kirkwood Mountain Resort
1501 Kirkwood Meadows Dr, Kirkwood, CA 95646
This year-round resort on the southern shore of Lake Tahoe is a favorite for skiers and boarders in the winter, and then hikers and mountain bikers in the summer. Year after year, Kirkwood with its unique 2 mile ridgeline, has been voted one of the top resorts for snow, terrain challenge, and variety. It also has one of the highest snowfall counts in the Sierras, a fact that gets snow hounds in Sacramento excited to pack up the car and make the drive!
Number of Lifts - 65
Number of Runs - 12
Number of Acres - 2,300