Skiing in California: The Best Mountains

Looking to get outside this winter?  Looking to change up the norm and maybe find a new pastime, hobby or even obsession?  Well, if you haven’t tried it yet, skiing may be the perfect winter sport for you.  Not only are you outside, enjoying the crisp fresh mountain air, but you can also socially distance, escape the crowds and stay healthy in these strange times.

Skiing you ask? I thought I moved to California to escape those dreary, east coast blizzards and never-ending winters.  Yes, but no at the same time.  You may find it hard to believe but California has some of the best skiing and resorts in the United States and the best part is that many of them are just an hour or two away from Brea.

As your premier real estate agent for homes for sale in Brea, here is an overview of some of the best ski resorts in the state and some of Brea’s local favorites.  Have a look and see if any of these options make you want to get out and hit the slopes.

Local Favorites

It may be hard to believe when you are basking in all that winter sunshine in those famous, mild winter temperatures in your Brea home, but just an hour or so away lies a winter wonderland that still enjoys all that famous California sunshine but offers something quite unique – great snow and excellent skiing.  Another bonus of calling Brea home is the easy access to freeways and its central proximity to a wide range of outdoor activities, beaches, large metropolitan cities and great ski resorts.

Mountain High

This award-winning resort is the most popular ski area in Southern California.  Tucked away in the San Gabriel Mountains, Mountain High is comprised of three separate resorts that can all be accessed with one lift ticket.  These three resorts are:

  • West Resort. This portion of Mountain High offers a wide variety of terrain and is where most of the mountain’s contests are held.
  • East Resort offers jaw-dropping views and vistas of the Mojave Desert as well as expert slopes including mogul runs.
  • North Resort. This portion of Mountain High is perfect for families or anyone looking to learn to ski.  North Resort features over 70 acres of beginner-level runs.

Overall, Mountain High offers over 290 acres of terrain and is serviced by 11 lifts that provide 60 runs of all levels.

Here’s the Deal:

This year Mountain High has reduced its resort capacity to help with social distancing and for your safety.  You may still purchase lift tickets online.  Check before you go.

Big Bear Mountain Resort

Located in California’s San Bernardino Mountains, Big Bear Mountain Resort is relatively close to Brea (about 2 hours) and thanks to its location and elevation (8 000 feet) gets excellent snow.  Big Bear Mountain Resort is home to two separate ski areas that are accessed with one lift ticket.

  • Bear Mountain Resort has 8 lifts that provide access to 15 trails of differing terrain and levels. This resort is also home to its famous snowboard park which ranks in the top 10 in North America.  If you have always dreamed of an X-Games medal or just want to try out your freestyle and park skills, Big Bear Resort is the place for you.
  • Snow Summit is the other resort at Big Bear Mountain Resort and caters to families. This resort is home to 6 different terrain parks which rank among the best in California.

Big Bear Mountain Resort has the largest ski area in Southern California and offers a wide range of lessons to help get you started and on your way.

Here’s the Deal:

Big Bear Mountain Resort is offering a 20% discount on all advanced purchase lift tickets.  The discount applies to those tickets purchased 72 hours in advanced on non—holiday dates or 14 days in advanced for holiday dates.

Mount Baldy Resort

Mount Baldy is the closest ski resort to Brea and the Los Angeles metropolitan area (50 miles).  Although the terrain is predominantly advanced level there are some beginner and intermediate runs as well.  If you are thinking about trying out a day on the slopes, then the short drive to Mount Baldy may be ideal.

Here’s the Deal:

Passes may be purchased in advance online.  Be sure to check if they are available for the day that you want to ski.

California’s Largest Ski Resorts

Some of California’s largest ski resorts are a little further from Brea and may require more effort or a longer duration to enjoy.  What I will say though is that all that extra time is well worth it, and you will not be disappointed.  If you are looking for a winter destination holiday, a California ski holiday is a great option.  Here are some of the most popular resorts in the state that offer arguably some of the best skiing in the country.


Mammoth is California’s leading 4 season resort and is home to the highest lift service (11 053 feet) in all the state and is arguably one of the best ski mountains in all the country.  It boasts the longest ski season of any of the California resorts and offers a wide range of amenities, lodging, restaurants and of course skiable terrain.

Mammoth is the closest large resort to all of Southern California and of course Brea and really is a destination holiday. When you see the sheer size of the resort it is not hard to see where they got the name from.

Here’s the Deal:

To manage the crowds at Mammoth and to keep you safe, this year the resort is reducing its overall guest capacity.  All lift passes must be purchased either online or by phone and then picked up at one of the many resort ticket offices.

Lake Tahoe

When it comes to ski resorts, Lake Tahoe should be the first place that comes to mind.  This sprawling lake straddles the California Nevada border and is home to 15 of California’s largest and most sought-after ski resorts.

Lake Tahoe is a year-round destination with so many great outdoor activities to fill your days from biking to hiking to a wide range of water sports, but in the winter, skiing is what everyone comes for.  Here is a list of some of the best resorts that you will find in the Tahoe region.

Sugar Bowl

Sugar Bowl typically gets the most snow of any of the Tahoe resorts and is perhaps the most quaint and old-fashioned of all the resorts; However, don’t let its appearance fool you.  Sugar Bowl has modern chairlifts and amenities including a gondola that takes visitors into the village and provides access to secluded glade skiing.   Sugar Bowl’s history is alive and well in its European fashioned village and alpine inspired lodge chock full of old-world ambiance Sugar Bowl has a wide variety of terrain:

  • 17 percent beginner.
  • 45 percent intermediate.
  • 38 percent advanced.

Here’s the Deal:

This ski season, Sugar Bowl is limiting the number of guests allowed on the mountain each day.  All lift tickets must pe purchased in advance online.


Heavenly is by far the most popular ski resort in Tahoe and it is not hard to see why.  Heavenly is home to over 1 932 hectares of skiable terrain accessed by 29 chairlifts and offers spectacular views of Lake Tahoe.  Heavenly also offers one of the best values for a ski vacation and is famous for its almost endless entertainment off the slopes as well as its nearby casinos.  Because of its popularity, be prepared for crowds.

Here’s the Deal:

This year, Heavenly is limiting the number of guests allowed on the mountain each day.  All tickets must be purchased either online or by phone.


The pristine mountain scenery combined with an impressive variety of ski terrains such as bowls, chutes and long, wide runs all help make Kirkwood a local’s favorite.  Kirkwood is noticeably smaller than the other Tahoe resorts with only 15 lifts.  However, what it lacks in size, Kirkwood makes up for in challenging terrain with over 58 percent of its skiable terrain being either expert or advanced.

Here’s the Deal:

This ski season, Kirkwood is limiting the number of guests allowed on the mountain each day.  All lift tickets must be purchased in advance either by phone or online and tickets will be limited on days of high demand such as the winter holidays.


This family-friendly ski resort caters mostly to beginner and intermediate skiers.  NorthStar’s extensive terrain offers over 100 groomed ski runs with over 73 percent of the mountain being either beginner or intermediate friendly terrain. There is also great glade skiing, and the resort has snowmaking capabilities so even when the snow is sparse at other mountains, you can enjoy all NorthStar’s ski runs.  Besides being a family-friendly resort, NorthStar also offers a great village atmosphere.

Here’s the Deal:

This ski season, NorthStar is limiting the number of guests allowed on the mountain each day.  Daily ticket quantities will be limited and may sell out and all tickets must be purchased in advanced either online or via phone.

Squaw Valley

World-renowned Squaw Valley was home to the 1960 Winter Olympics as well as the infamous game of GNAR and offers some of the best skiing in the Tahoe region.  Squaw Valley or “Sqwuallywood” is home to numerous professional skiers and is very popular with the Hollywood crowd.  On any given day you may catch a glimpse of your favorite actor or actress out enjoying a day on the slopes.

The resort boasts over 3 600 acres of skiable terrain, 29 ski lifts and over 170 trails.  The longest run on the mountain is a staggering 3.2 miles.  There really is something for every level of skier so get out and enjoy a day on the slopes or play a friendly game of GNAR with the locals. There is a wide range of terrain on the mountain which can be broken down into the following categories:

  • 25 percent is suited for beginning skiers.
  • 45 percent is suited for intermediate skiers.
  • 30 percent is suited for advanced skiers.

Here’s the Deal:

This ski season, Squaw Valley is limiting the number of guests allowed on the mountain each day.  For “social distancing” purposes, the resort has eliminated “walk-up” ticket purchases so all tickets must be purchased in advance, online with availability based on resort capacity.

Homewood Mountain Resort

If you are looking for the best bang for your buck, then Homewood Mountain Resort is the place in Tahoe for you.  Homewood is a local’s favorite not only for its value but also for its excellent groomed runs, manageable size, and its on-mountain restaurant.

The mountain itself consists of 1 260 skiable acres of terrain which is serviced by 8 lifts and offers 67 separate runs.  Homewood’s longest run – Rainbow Ridge is over 2 miles in length and is a guaranteed leg burner.  All of the freestyle crew will feel right at home as Homeland has 5 separate terrain parks that are sure to please everyone.

Here’s the Deal:

For the 2020/21 ski season, Homewood Mountain Resort is limiting the number of passes sold.  Be sure to check online and purchase your days early as they may sell out.

I always say that one of the best parts about living in Brea is that you have such a huge variety of outdoor activities to choose from. Oh, that, and it is almost always sunny and mild.  Living in Brea allows you to experience winter on your terms which is a huge factor in attracting new residents from the rest of the country.

If you have been thinking about getting outside more this winter or are interested in a new and exciting hobby, then why not try out a day on the slopes.  Stop by today and see the new and exciting real estate opportunities that await you in the city of Brea today.   I would love to show you why Brea really is the place to live.  I hope to see you soon.



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