Southern California may be best known for its scenic beaches, rugged cliffs, and picture-perfect warm weather, but there is much more to this region than sand and surf. With several adventure-packed ski resorts just a day trip away, visitors have plenty of opportunities to ditch their flip flops for ski boots. Here are the top five ski spots that are worth visiting come winter.

 

Mammoth Mountain Ski Resort
With a peak elevation just over 11,000 feet and more than 3,500 skiable acres to explore, Mammoth Mountain easily lives up to its moniker. This means no matter how large the crowds may be on a fresh powder day or holiday weekend, there is room for anyone to find their perfect run. Not to mention, Mammoth Mountain receives roughly 400 inches of snow each year and has the longest season, stretching from November to July. It is no wonder that the resort has become a magnet for nature lovers, landscape photographers, and outdoor enthusiasts.

 

June Mountain
Just 30 minutes up the road from Mammoth Mountain is June Mountain, known colloquially as “California’s Family Mountain.” Catering mainly to the intermediate and advanced levels, June Mountain has become a favorite among Southern California families and backcountry skiers. It is also half the size of its Mammoth counterpart, with only 41 trails and seven lifts total. Following the last run of the day, visitors can visit the famed Antler Bar and enjoy a sunset cocktail overlooking the Eastern Sierra.

 

Big Bear Mountain Resort
This Southern California gem is one of the most popular and most visited ski destinations in the state. In fact, San Diego and Los Angeles residents can reach Big Bear Mountain Resort in just under three hours. Since the resort boasts 59 runs between two mountains, it is a great option for those looking to learn the basics or take their technique to the next level. There is also no shortage of accommodation options and restaurants that come with breathtaking views over Big Bear Lake.

 

Mount Baldy Ski Resort
Situated just 45 miles northeast of Los Angeles in the San Gabriel Mountains, Mount Baldy features 26 beginner, intermediate, advanced and expert-level trails, making it one of the more well-rounded ski resorts in Southern California. The mountain even offers a seven-lane tubing park located at the top of the Sugar Pine Chairlift as an alternative or addition to a ski day. Also located at the top of that 15-minute lift ride is a host of tent cabins, zip lines, disc golfing, and dining options.

 

Kirkwood Ski Resort
For experienced skiers looking for more of a challenge, Kirkwood definitely tops the list. Tucked away from the main highway along the Sierra Crest in the Eldorado National Forest about 35 miles south of Lake Tahoe, Kirkwood is a hidden California gem that receives abundant snowfall each season. At a height of 7,800 to 9,800 feet, Kirkwood is the quintessential winter wonderland with powdered slopes, great backcountry and thrilling terrains.