2 hrs 30 min from L.A.
Snow Valley Mountain Resort, tucked into San Bernadino National Forest (and operating under a special permit from the United States Forest Service), is the oldest continually operating ski resort in Southern California. Back in the 1920s, the site was developed as a lumber mill and roadside resort; by the 1930s, slopes were developed for tobogganing and skiing. Snow Valley featured one of the first overhead cable ski lifts, and today the mountain boasts 240 acres of skiiable terrain, 12 lifts and three terrain parks. If you can only make it up for a half day or evening session, consider a Night Session ticket, which gives you access to the front side of the mountain, including the Edge terrain park.
Lift tickets $74–$95
Snow-capped mountains, beginner’s to advanced slopes, ski lifts and a warm hot toddy on a chill winter’s eve are all within reach— it’s just a matter of how far you’re willing to drive. A two- and a half-hour venture can bring you to the slopes of Snow Valley (perfect for a day trip), while an eight-hour road trip can bring you to the plush and varied terrain of Lake Tahoe. There are high-altitude wonderlands to be found, filled with well-groomed greens and challenging double-blacks (or cozy cocktails in the lodge if that’s more your speed). Whether you’re looking for a weekend getaway, a luxury hotel stay or are finally attempting the California Double, these are the ski resorts to mark on your map (arranged closest to farthest from L.A. for your planning convenience).
Please check each resort’s website before a visit (and make sure to secure advance tickets) as public health policies can change from county to county.