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Updated March 31, 2021
California’s iconic capital, Sacramento, is known for its rich cultural history, fabulous dining, and warm, sunny weather. It may come as a surprise to some, but Sacramento is within driving distance to countless incredible ski resorts! A comprehensive list would take ages, so we hand-selected a few of our favourites. Read on for the absolute best in ski resorts near Sacramento.
12 Incredible Ski Resorts Near Sacramento, California
Heavenly Mountain Resort is probably one of the most thrilling and picturesque ski resorts near Sacramento. With stunning views of Lake Tahoe and a magnificent spread of 97 trails over 4,800 skiable acres, Heavenly Mountain should definitely be on your California skiing bucket list.
Beginners should note that Heavenly Mountain has a heavy focus on intermediate, advanced, and expert-level runs. Only 8% of the trails are beginner-friendly. However, if you’ve gotten several trails under your belt as a beginner and you’re ready to level up, Heavenly Mountain is a beautiful and fun place to do so.
Distance from Sacramento: 91 miles (~1 hour, 40 minutes)
Accommodation available? Not on site; nearest lodging is in Twin Bridges
Experience levels: All levels
Sierra at Tahoe is one of the many ski resorts near Sacramento that’s located at Lake Tahoe. The views from the mountain are absolutely stunning, and there are 47 trails of varying difficulty. Local skiers and snowboarders love the well-groomed terrain, and the fantastic support for beginners as well as trails for the more advanced snowboarders and skiers. Many reviewers call it a great place to learn to ski!
At Sierra at Tahoe, you can find a sizeable lodge with gear rentals, lessons, and food available, as well as tubing and snowshoeing for when you’re not on the downhill trails. For the adrenaline junkies, there are 6 terrain parks of different sizes with all kinds of obstacles to play on.
Lake Tahoe’s “best kept secret”, Soda Springs is a great options for ski resorts near Sacramento. The mountain receives an average snowfall of 400 inches, and has an average of 240 days of sunshine, meaning you’ll be cruising through some fresh powder while enjoying beautiful blue skies. There are 15 trails evenly split across all levels, so there is something for everyone to enjoy.
Experience levels: All levels, with focus on intermediate and advanced trails
Sugar Bowl Resort is a well-maintained 1650-acre ski resort located northwest of Lake Tahoe. This ski resort is beloved by those familiar with the scene for skiing near Sacramento because it boasts smaller crowds and more affordable prices than some of the massive Tahoe resorts. With 4 peaks and 100 trails, you could ski here for several days without ever getting bored or having to repeat trails.
Although only 17% of trails are marked as beginner-friendly, there are lots of resources for learning to ski here. Reviewers are often pleased with the friendly, supportive ambiance, small crowds, and beautiful scenery at Sugar Bowl Resort, plus a family-friendly resort that’s great for a winter getaway.
Experience levels: All levels, with focus on intermediate and advanced trails
Check out Homewood Mountain Resort for incredible powder stashes and gorgeous views of Lake Tahoe. With 1260 acres and 67 runs, there’s no shortage of fun to be had on the hill. However, if you’re looking for more, check out the extra 750 acres of guided snowcat-accessible terrain. The resort is best-suited for intermediate and advanced skiers, but beginners can enjoy the hill’s longest run, Rainbow Ridge. With “peak to shore” skiing, Homewood is a great spot for views as killer as their trails.
Experience levels: All levels; plenty of intermediate and advanced trails
Boreal Mountain Resort is a ski resort located roughly 1.5 hours from Sacramento. While it’s a smaller resort with just 34 trails, it’s a family-friendly destination that’s great for intermediate and expert snowboarders and skiers, as well as beginners. It does have many resources for learning to ski, as well as thrilling terrain parks for a bit more of an adventure.
Boreal Mountain Resort has a Take 3, Ride Free program that’s a great value for Sacramento-area beginners who want a supportive learning experience, plus a season pass to sharpen their skills. There’s also a kids ski free program with an adult season pass, which is a wonderful value for families that live nearby and want to ski or snowboard for the entire season.
Donner Ski Ranch may not be as flashy as other ski resorts near Sacramento, but what it lacks in glamour it makes up for with good vibes and great value. Explore 500 acres of skiable terrain and 1000 feet of vertical. The biggest draw is the ticket price, which can be up to 75% cheaper than other nearby resorts. Great value, great pow, and short lift lines – what more could you ask for?
With its 100 trails, Northstar California is a large, family-friendly resort on the shores of Lake Tahoe that’s a fabulous winter getaway spot. A whopping 60% of the resort’s trails are rated intermediate, meaning it’s a fantastic place for beginner skiers to start tackling tougher terrain or for more experienced skiers to get more runs under their belt. Northstar is also part of the Epic Pass network, so if you’re a passholder, you’re in luck!
For non-skiers, there’s also tubing, ice skating, and a full set of resort amenities, including a spa and several dining options. We personally enjoyed the dining options around the ski resort – the poutine at the french fry food truck is to die for.
There are 3 different peaks between the two resorts. “Snow Ventures” is a small hill primarily for junior skiers and snowboarders. “Big Blue” is comprised of gentle slopes and is made up of 60% green trails. KT-22 is for the experts; it includes 2,000 feet of cliffs and near vertical drops.
Lift tickets are on the more expensive side compared to others on this list, but you get access to a large and well-run park. This resort is also partnered with the Ikon Pass.
With 60+ trails over 1,200 acres of skiable terrain, Mt. Rose (AKA “the Biggest Little Mountain”) is a fantastic option for ski resorts near Sacramento, especially if you’re already planning to visit the Lake Tahoe region anyway. Located in the Carson Mountains, this resort has the highest base elevation in the Lake Tahoe area. The trails here are largely intermediate and advanced, but ~20% of them are beginner-friendly.
As a less crowded option to nearby Squaw Valley, it’s an affordable and family-friendly option for those coming in from out of town. You can even catch beautiful views of the lake on many of the runs!
As a smaller ski resort, Bear Valley Resort is a hidden gem located in the Sierra Mountains. Local skiers and snowboarders love it because of its accessible size, relatively fewer crowds, and very responsive staff. With 58 trails and 10 lifts, there’s more than enough transportation to get people up the mountain quickly and efficiently. And, to top it off, the on-site lodge is an incredibly picturesque place to spend a long weekend getaway curled up in blankets in between thrilling runs down the slopes.
Experience levels: Mostly intermediate to advanced, with trails for all levels
As a Northern California gem, Kirkwood Mountain Resort is a gorgeous, evergreen-laden ski area that has something for every level of skier or snowboarder. Located south of Lake Tahoe, it’s one of many ski resorts in the area that offers a mix of thrilling, challenging terrain and family-friendly ski opportunities. While it’s a somewhat popular spot for California skiers and snowboarders, it’s well worth the trek from Southern California if you’re seeking challenging terrain in a beautiful spot.
Kirkwood’s trails largely consist of intermediate and advanced runs, but there are 86 total runs that span from beginner hills to expert-level terrain parks. As part of the Epic Pass program, passholders can get admission to Kirkwood’s ski areas included in their membership.
Everything You Need to Know Before Going to Ski Resorts Near Sacramento, CA
Thermal layers – Thermal baselayers are absolutely critical for a smooth skiing experience, as these will keep you warm and dry underneath your outerwear. The best kinds of thermal baselayers are made of Merino wool, which is moisture-wicking and comfortable. Our favorite brand of thermal layers is SmartWool – their tops and leggings are soft, lightweight, but warm and durable for all kinds of outdoor activities, including skiing. Click here to shop thermal tops and leggings and compare prices.
Ski goggles – No ski trip packing list would be complete without a pair of fog-resistant ski goggles, especially if you’re going somewhere that makes artificial snow. Ski slopes often have snow blowing into the air several times a day and it can be hard to keep freezing snowflakes out of your eyes, even during clear days. We use and recommendthese ski goggles. However, you can shop ski goggles and compare reviews/prices here.
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