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Catch the Winter Wave in California

Dec. 19, 2018

With its breathtaking snow-covered peaks, scenic ski trails and world-class mountain resorts, California is the place to be this winter. From exciting new offerings to memorable family activities, discover what you don't want to miss when visiting the Golden State this season.

Accommodations and Resort Infrastructure:

  • The Aerial Tram at Squaw Valley | Alpine Meadows is celebrating its 50th Anniversary with new state-of-the-art cabins and electrical systems.
  • At Mammoth Mountain, Canyon Lodge is getting a $20 million renovation, featuring two flights of escalators, and expanded entryway, a complete remodel of the fourth-floor dining facilities and more.

Technology Updates:

  • Vail Resorts - including Northstar CaliforniaHeavenly Mountain and Kirkwood - just introduced visitors to the world’s first digital mountain assistant, Emma. Accessible by texting 77477, Emma serves as a one-stop source for helpful information, including weather, lift status, terrain, EpicMix stats, parking, rentals, shuttles, lift tickets and more!

Environmental Upgrades:

  • Squaw Valley | Alpine Meadows completed a $1.4 million renovation at the Alpine Meadows Base Lodge, now powered by 100 percent renewable energy and reducing its carbon footprint by 49 percent.
  • Sugar Bowl Resort has invested in a snowmaking system upgrade, reducing energy consumption and snowmaking efficiency by two-thirds.
  • Tahoe Donner introduced a new, lighter and more efficient machine for grooming trails which significantly reduces pollutant emission by as much as 90 percent.
  • Northstar California finished installing 24 new Low-E snowmaking sticks, moving towards the resort’s commitment to a zero carbon footprint by 2030.

Beginner Experiences:

  • Boreal Mountain California introduced the brand-new California Cruiser chairlift this season, made to transport amateur riders to world-class beginner terrain and learn-to areas.
  • Heavenly Mountain Resort upgraded its Galaxy Chair from a double to a triple lift, allowing 400 acres of high-quality intermediate terrain to re-open this season.
  • Tahoe Donner has finished installation on the new Snowbird triple chairlift, improving access to beginner terrain.

Snow Experiences:

  • At Heavenly Mountain Resort guests try the new guided Winter UTV (utility task vehicle) Tours for ways to experience Heavenly’s slopes and views with treks traversing Blue Sky Terrace past scenic viewpoints.
  • For those who aren't as experienced in skiing or snowboarding, instead opt for tubing down the slopes at Northstar California, which also offers guests ice skating on their outdoor ice rink.
  • Tahoe Donner is another resort to offer guests tubing options as well as snow tube bowling, where guests can tube into human-size inflatable bowling pins for a strike.
  • At the Tahoe City Winter Sports Park guests can choose between many activities besides skiing, including sledding, snow-shoeing, and ice skating.
  • Big Bear Mountain Resort’s improved snowmaking and grooming infrastructure include new air compressors that will produce higher quality snow, two new Piston Bully snowcats, and new water pipelines, which will increase snowmaking capabilities at Bear Mountain and Snow Summit and provide a better on-hill experience for guests.
  • Mammoth Mountain is now offering an ‘Intro to Backcountry Touring’ class for those interested in backcountry travel, downhill ski practice and more. The resort is also offering side-country tours to Tamarack Lodge for the first time this year. Beginning at the summit gondola station and ending back at Main Lodge, this picturesque 3-hour tour is a great way to see the backside of the mountain.

Family Experiences:

  • Bear Mountain Adventure Academy, the new 6,000 square-foot learning center in the Bear Mountain base camp area, will serve as a one-stop shop for family and kids rentals, lift tickets, and sports school registration. The facility includes a dining venue serving artisan pizzas, full-service coffee bar, and spirits.
  • Mountain High is unveiling two snow play areas called Yeti’s Snow Parks. Located at both the East and North Resorts, these new snow parks provide a fun setting for first-time guests with tubing, snow play and introductory lessons for skiing and snowboarding. Also new at Mountain High this season, fifth graders will receive a complimentary lift ticket to Mountain High with the purchase of a non-holiday adult ticket.
  • Tahoe Donner is hosting an array of family-friendly events this season, with family movie nights, a Winter Beach Party, a Winterpalooza, a Glow Stick Parade and a 200-Foot Banana Split Extravaganza. Tahoe Donner also offers a variety of contests the whole family can enjoy, including snowball throwing, tubing events, and snowman building.
  • Heavenly Mountain Resort invites families to kick off this holiday season with a tree lighting ceremony and live music. Visitors can enjoy the Santa photo booth, ride on the Heavenly Village Express train, eat breakfast with Santa and celebrate New Year's Eve with fireworks.
  • Northstar California debuts tubing at the Overlook for families, featuring fire pits for s’mores and spontaneous snowball fights. Northstar also offers family dining experiences such as breakfast with Santa on Christmas Eve and a Mountain Family Dinner that includes stargazing, dinner and s’more for dessert.
  • Squaw Valley | Alpine Meadows is launching signature events for the whole family this season, including rides on a mini Polar Express Train and horse-drawn sleighs. Join Squaw Valley in the World’s Largest Torchlight Parade on New Year's Eve, where riders of all ages will light up the night sky with LED torches.

The above is just a sampling of the many experiences visitors can take advantage of this season. To discover other ways to Catch the Winter Waver in California, click here.