The High Sierra is known for its legendary powder and star-studded resorts but you don’t have to hit the “big boys” to experience all the fun. Instead, why not explore these four hidden High Sierra ski resorts stashed right under your nose? You’ll have all the fun without the crowds.
Even though June Mountain is the sister resort to Mammoth, it couldn’t be more different. While Mammoth provides all the bells and whistles of a world-class ski resort, June Mountain on the other hand, offers you peace and quiet. Translation: A powder hound’s dream! There are no lift lines and after a nice dump, the fresh tracks last for ages. June Mountain is probably better known as California’s best family-friendly ski resort, with FREE skiing and riding for kids under 12 all season long (holidays, too!), free kid’s events, and lots of room to spread out and learn turns. Powder hounds and families agree, though, it’s worth at least a day trip, if not more.
Without a village or on-mountain accommodations, it’s all about keeping it simple… which is a good thing. The resort might be a bit smaller than the other ones around Lake Tahoe, but it still carries a big punch. From a dedicated learners area near the main base lodge to some of the best tree skiing anywhere due to the loggers of days-gone-by saving the old-growth red fir trees, this laid-back resort offers you a bit of everything for every level of skier/snowboarder.
Thirty miles east of Sonora is a cozy resort that’s still family owned. The closest ski area to the Bay Area and the Central Valley, it offers skiers & snowboarders a family-friendly option that’s nearby and more wallet-friendly than others in the region. With 1600 vertical feet and 67 trails laid out over 862 acres, there’s enough room for everyone to hit the slopes and find their favorite powder stash. In addition, it’s a great base for other winter activities like the Long Barn Ice Skating Rink and the Leland Snowplay area. For $39 on weekends or $25 on weekdays, you can take a lift uphill on an inner-tube and slide down a variety of chutes at Leland Snowplay area.
Homewood Mountain Resort
As the name connotates, this mountain gives you a “homey” feeling as you schuss down its slopes. Compared to its glitzy neighbors to the north, it’s a throwback to how skiing used to be. Whilst it may not have the prima donnas, it does have some of the most awe-inspiring views of Lake Tahoe. Receiving on average 450 inches of snow and a top elevation lower than other resorts, this is THE spot to storm ski. Another attraction this resort provides is cat skiing. Homewood Snowcat tours offers up 750 acres with up to 1,828 vertical foot drops to the base of Old Homewood Express chair (mid-mountain). But if you take the run to our base area the max vertical you can enjoy is a whopping 2,400′.
Fancy a ski break away from the masses? Then be sure to take a close look at these low-key destinations that turn out to be hidden gems in the High Sierra.
Author: Alex Silgalis
Alex Silgalis is an outdoors travel writer who enjoys snowboarding, mountain biking, or having a cold one from a local mountain brewery. See more of Alex’s work at https://localfreshies.com
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