A Historically Snowy Winter Means You Can Ski California on the Fourth of July
Who says the season has to end?
Powerful atmospheric storms that walloped California this winter dumped massive amounts of snow from Lake Tahoe to the San Bernardino mountains — even Hollywood got lightly dusted — making the 2022-23 season among the top 10 snowiest Sierra winters recorded. The back-to-back storms buried ski lifts and left residents stranded for days in Big Bear but have also considerably eased drought conditions. The Central Sierra Snow Lab recorded 692 inches on March 24 — just eight away from making the “700 Club.” For reference, California’s highest-ever recorded snowfall was 818 inches (68.24 feet) in 1938. With more snow forecast this week, and additional systems predicted to hit through April, here’s a round-up of Sierra and Tahoe resorts and how far into spring — or even summer — you can plan to ski and snowboard. (This includes you, Los Angelenos.)
Having received 634 inches of snow at Main Lodge this season and 800 inches at the summit, no firm closing date has been set for Mammoth Mountain, where operations will remain open through at least July. Marking its second-deepest snowfall in the last decade, the highest resort in California is famous for extended spring seasons and has operated well into the summer months before — the last time people skied in T-shirts and shorts over the Fourth of July was during the 2016-17 season. Per SnowBrains, Mammoth just hit the number-one spot for snowfall total in North America with 675 inches.
STAY: At the newly revamped Sierra Nevada Resort or The Village Lodge in Mammoth Village for ski-in, ski-out.
Big Bear Mountain
Back in February, a winter storm dumped more than 45 inches of snow on Big Bear in just 72 hours, which resulted in multiple highway shutdowns, stranded cars and residents and visitors shoveling snow. Another six inches landed last week, and more is on the way. Operations have been extended at Big Bear Mountain Resort thanks to this record-setting seasonal snowfall — the most received there in at least 20 years. As an added incentive to go take some laps you can “buy and ride now” when purchasing a 2023-24 Season Ikon Pass.
STAY: Within walking distance of downtown Big Bear, the just-opened lakefront Marina Riviera is seven minutes from Big Bear Mountain but runs a regular shuttle service for guests.
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Sales and Marketing VP John McColly tells InsideHook while Mountain High is currently at 163 inches, it’s not their seasonal record. “The base depth is good, especially for recent years, but we’ve had several 250-inch years and one 350-inch record for the 1997-98 season.” Ninety minutes from downtown Los Angeles, the single destination resort sits at 8,500-feet and has kept its management teams busy clearing lifts, buildings and decks as needed this winter. “Mountain High will be open through April 16, then day to day after that, conditions permitting,” says McColly.
STAY: Hotel pickings are slim in nearby Wrightwood, so opt for a charming and cozy log cabin Airbnb with extra-mile amenities like The Acorn’s Nest instead.
According to the Central Sierra Snow Lab near Donner Summit, this season is the region’s second-snowiest year since it was built in 1946, behind 1952’s total of 812 inches. Palisades Tahoe summit currently sits at 673 inches, with Alpine Meadows measuring 546 inches. Neither are record-breakers yet; Palisades joined the “700 Club” with 707 inches during its 2016-2017 season. Palisades and Alpine Valley will be open through Memorial Day with Alpine open for skiing and snowboarding on weekends through June, plus holiday festivities over the July Fourth weekend.
STAY: The Village at Palisades Tahoe (for that Ikon Pass holder discount) or PlumpJack Inn for a boutique hotel with ski-in, ski-out access.
Northstar California Resort
Communications Manager Ashlee Lambert shares the Northstar team has successfully met demands of the season with collective determination and impeccable safety standards. “This is a historic season for us, not only because of the resort’s 50th anniversary, but with all this snow inching closer to our all-time total.” With a current base depth of 185 inches, they’re currently at 624 inches with more on the way, closing in on an all-time record of 701 inches. Northstar California added two additional weekends and will remain open Friday, April 21 through Sunday, April 23 and Friday, April 28 through Sunday, April 30.
STAY: Mid-mountain at The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe or pick one of these North Shore Tahoe Airbnbs.
Additional resort closing dates across California: China Peak (April 7), June Mountain (April 9), Bear Valley, Snow Summit and Soda Springs (April 16), Sugar Bowl (April 23), and Heavenly (May 7).
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