Driving and Skiing on the West Coast

It is better to go skiing and think of God, than go to church and think of sport.
Fridtjof Nansen

California: land of eternal sunshine. As it turns out, California is also the land of beautiful, snow-covered mountains. We had enough of the sun this winter, so we decided it was time to take a road trip and ski until our noses froze. We piled the family into a Hertz Rental Car and headed for the hills. In fact, our destination really was a group of big hills that make up the Sierra Nevada Mountains: Land of the Snows.

I don’t know how many ski resorts are in the Lake Tahoe area. I stopped counting at 15. We knew we couldn’t do more than three, so I got my phone and punched in the best route to hit three family-friendly ski resorts in the Tahoe area.

Here’s what my NeverLost Companion Mobile app found:

  1. Squaw Valley Resort, then 39.6 miles with plenty of stops to reach
  2. Heavenly Mountain Resort, then 182 twisting, turning mountain miles to arrive at
  3. Bear Valley Mountain Resort (not to be confused with Bear Mountain Resort, which is 477 miles southeast, near Los Angeles – make sure you enter the right one in your Hertz NeverLost or you will have quite a road trip on your hands!)

Resort Road Trip

Squaw Valley Resort – This is the big one we’ve heard so much about. The runs were wide, which was good because there were tons of people on each one. We liked that there were all levels of runs, from I’m not sure about this, to Can you believe I just did that! The other part that made us really happy was that the amount of activities for kids at the Squaw Kids Children’s Center, like a climbing wall, a pony tow and a magic carpet ride.

Heavenly Mountain Resort – Online, everyone says that amateur skiers (like us) are much better off at Heavenly, and it turned out to be true. Heavenly felt more private because of all the trees. You’re probably thinking, Amateur skiers and trees? Is that a good idea? The answer is definitely. The runs are wide enough that trees don’t have to be dangerous and they add a certain natural “oomph” to the experience. The kids got the biggest kick out of the rope challenge courses at the Discovery Day Camp.

HeavenlyMtnResort

Bear Valley Mountain Resort – This is a family-friendly place, but we definitely felt like this was a place for more serious skiers. It’s an amazing place with lots of different types of terrain to investigate. The other skiers we met there raved about the mountain and the runs that they basically had to themselves. Overall, it’s beautiful resort. The kids’ activities were all about skiing so we got to have fun all together in the snow.

In the end, we accomplished our main goal: our noses did freeze. It was a wonderful winter road trip, without all the wrong turns and arguing about whose job it was to watch for signs. Skiing really makes you appreciate being alive, and I’m already mapping out our next mountain adventure.

Wild Wild West!

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