12 Awesome Ski Resorts Near Sacramento - Urban Outdoors
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California’s iconic capital, Sacramento, is known for its rich cultural history, fabulous dining, and warm, sunny weather. It may come as a surprise to some, but Sacramento is within driving distance to countless incredible ski resorts! A comprehensive list would take ages, so we hand-selected a few of our favourites. Read on for the absolute best in ski resorts near Sacramento.

12 Incredible Ski Resorts Near Sacramento, California

Heavenly Mountain Resort

  • Location: South Lake Tahoe, CA
  • Distance from Sacramento: 105 miles (~2 hours)
  • Accommodation available? Yes, many options
  • Experience levels: Intermediate and advanced

Heavenly Mountain Resort is probably one of the most thrilling and picturesque ski resorts near Sacramento. With stunning views of Lake Tahoe and a magnificent spread of 97 trails over 4,800 skiable acres, Heavenly Mountain should definitely be on your California skiing bucket list.

Beginners should note that Heavenly Mountain has a heavy focus on intermediate, advanced, and expert-level runs. Only 8% of the trails are beginner-friendly. However, if you’ve gotten several trails under your belt as a beginner and you’re ready to level up, Heavenly Mountain is a beautiful and fun place to do so.

Sierra-at-Tahoe

  • Location: Twin Bridges, CA
  • Distance from Sacramento: 91 miles (~1 hour, 40 minutes)
  • Accommodation available? Not on site; nearest lodging is in Twin Bridges
  • Experience levels: All levels

Sierra at Tahoe is one of the many ski resorts near Sacramento that’s located at Lake Tahoe. The views from the mountain are absolutely stunning, and there are 47 trails of varying difficulty. Local skiers and snowboarders love the well-groomed terrain, and the fantastic support for beginners as well as trails for the more advanced snowboarders and skiers. Many reviewers call it a great place to learn to ski!

At Sierra at Tahoe, you can find a sizeable lodge with gear rentals, lessons, and food available, as well as tubing and snowshoeing for when you’re not on the downhill trails. For the adrenaline junkies, there are 6 terrain parks of different sizes with all kinds of obstacles to play on.

Soda Springs Mountain Resort

  • Location: Soda Springs, CA
  • Distance from Sacramento: 90 miles (~1 hour, 30 minutes)
  • Accommodation available? No, but many in nearby Soda Springs
  • Experience levels: All levels

Lake Tahoe’s “best kept secret”, Soda Springs is a great options for ski resorts near Sacramento. The mountain receives an average snowfall of 400 inches, and has an average of 240 days of sunshine, meaning you’ll be cruising through some fresh powder while enjoying beautiful blue skies. There are 15 trails evenly split across all levels, so there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Sugar Bowl Resort

  • Location: Norden, CA
  • Distance from Sacramento: 90 miles (~1 hour, 30 minutes)
  • Accommodation available? Yes, at the Sugar Bowl Resort
  • Experience levels: All levels, with focus on intermediate and advanced trails

Sugar Bowl Resort is a well-maintained 1650-acre ski resort located northwest of Lake Tahoe. This ski resort is beloved by those familiar with the scene for skiing near Sacramento because it boasts smaller crowds and more affordable prices than some of the massive Tahoe resorts. With 4 peaks and 100 trails, you could ski here for several days without ever getting bored or having to repeat trails.

Although only 17% of trails are marked as beginner-friendly, there are lots of resources for learning to ski here. Reviewers are often pleased with the friendly, supportive ambiance, small crowds, and beautiful scenery at Sugar Bowl Resort, plus a family-friendly resort that’s great for a winter getaway.

Homewood Mountain Resort

  • Location: Homewood, CA
  • Distance from Sacramento: 118 miles (~2 hours)
  • Accommodation available? No, but many options in nearby Homewood
  • Experience levels: All levels, with focus on intermediate and advanced trails

Check out Homewood Mountain Resort for incredible powder stashes and gorgeous views of Lake Tahoe. With 1260 acres and 67 runs, there’s no shortage of fun to be had on the hill. However, if you’re looking for more, check out the extra 750 acres of guided snowcat-accessible terrain. The resort is best-suited for intermediate and advanced skiers, but beginners can enjoy the hill’s longest run, Rainbow Ridge. With “peak to shore” skiing, Homewood is a great spot for views as killer as their trails. 

Boreal Mountain Resort

  • Location: Soda Springs, CA
  • Distance from Sacramento: 90 miles (~1 hour, 30 minutes)
  • Accommodation available? No, but many options in nearby Soda Springs
  • Experience levels: All levels; plenty of intermediate and advanced trails

Boreal Mountain Resort is a ski resort located roughly 1.5 hours from Sacramento. While it’s a smaller resort with just 34 trails, it’s a family-friendly destination that’s great for intermediate and expert snowboarders and skiers, as well as beginners. It does have many resources for learning to ski, as well as thrilling terrain parks for a bit more of an adventure.

Boreal Mountain Resort has a Take 3, Ride Free program that’s a great value for Sacramento-area beginners who want a supportive learning experience, plus a season pass to sharpen their skills. There’s also a kids ski free program with an adult season pass, which is a wonderful value for families that live nearby and want to ski or snowboard for the entire season.

Donner Ski Ranch

  • Location: Norden, CA
  • Distance from Sacramento: 90 miles (~1 hour, 30 minutes)
  • Accommodation available? No, but many options in nearby Norden
  • Experience levels: All levels

Donner Ski Ranch may not be as flashy as other ski resorts near Sacramento, but what it lacks in glamour it makes up for with good vibes and great value. Explore 500 acres of skiable terrain and 1000 feet of vertical. The biggest draw is the ticket price, which can be up to 75% cheaper than other nearby resorts. Great value, great pow, and short lift lines – what more could you ask for?

Northstar California Resort

  • Location: Truckee, CA
  • Distance from San Francisco: 195 miles (3.5 hours)
  • Accommodation available? Yes, at Northstar Resort
  • Experience levels: All levels

With its 100 trails, Northstar California is a large, family-friendly resort on the shores of Lake Tahoe that’s a fabulous winter getaway spot. A whopping 60% of the resort’s trails are rated intermediate, meaning it’s a fantastic place for beginner skiers to start tackling tougher terrain or for more experienced skiers to get more runs under their belt. Northstar is also part of the Epic Pass network, so if you’re a passholder, you’re in luck!

For non-skiers, there’s also tubing, ice skating, and a full set of resort amenities, including a spa and several dining options. We personally enjoyed the dining options around the ski resort – the poutine at the french fry food truck is to die for.

Squaw Valley & Alpine Meadows

  • Location: Olympic Valley, CA
  • Distance from Sacramento 110 miles (~2 hours)
  • Accommodation available? Yes, at The Village at Squaw Valley
  • Experience levels: All levels

Alpine Meadows and its sister park Squaw Valley make up a massive ski complex near Lake Tahoe – one of the largest ski resorts near Sacramento. This park is made up of 170 trails across 6,000+ acres of skiable terrain.

There are 3 different peaks between the two resorts. “Snow Ventures” is a small hill primarily for junior skiers and snowboarders. “Big Blue” is comprised of gentle slopes and is made up of 60% green trails. KT-22 is for the experts; it includes 2,000 feet of cliffs and near vertical drops. 

Lift tickets are on the more expensive side compared to others on this list, but you get access to a large and well-run park. This resort is also partnered with the Ikon Pass

Mt. Rose

  • Location: Reno, NV
  • Distance from Sacramento: 128 miles (~2 hours, 20 minutes)
  • Accommodations Available: No, but many options in nearby Reno
  • Ability Level: All levels

With 60+ trails over 1,200 acres of skiable terrain, Mt. Rose (AKA “the Biggest Little Mountain”) is a fantastic option for ski resorts near Sacramento, especially if you’re already planning to visit the Lake Tahoe region anyway. Located in the Carson Mountains, this resort has the highest base elevation in the Lake Tahoe area. The trails here are largely intermediate and advanced, but ~20% of them are beginner-friendly.

As a less crowded option to nearby Squaw Valley, it’s an affordable and family-friendly option for those coming in from out of town. You can even catch beautiful views of the lake on many of the runs!

Bear Valley Resort

  • Location: Bear Valley, CA
  • Distance from Sacramento: 124 miles (~2 hours, 40 minutes)
  • Accommodation available? Yes, at the Bear Valley Lodge
  • Experience levels: Intermediate and advanced

As a smaller ski resort, Bear Valley Resort is a hidden gem located in the Sierra Mountains. Local skiers and snowboarders love it because of its accessible size, relatively fewer crowds, and very responsive staff. With 58 trails and 10 lifts, there’s more than enough transportation to get people up the mountain quickly and efficiently. And, to top it off, the on-site lodge is an incredibly picturesque place to spend a long weekend getaway curled up in blankets in between thrilling runs down the slopes.

Kirkwood Mountain Resort

  • Location: Kirkwood, CA
  • Distance from Sacramento: 96 miles (~2 hours, 10 minutes)
  • Accommodation available? Yes, at Kirkwood Mountain Resort
  • Experience levels: Mostly intermediate to advanced, with trails for all levels

As a Northern California gem, Kirkwood Mountain Resort is a gorgeous, evergreen-laden ski area that has something for every level of skier or snowboarder. Located south of Lake Tahoe, it’s one of many ski resorts in the area that offers a mix of thrilling, challenging terrain and family-friendly ski opportunities. While it’s a somewhat popular spot for California skiers and snowboarders, it’s well worth the trek from Southern California if you’re seeking challenging terrain in a beautiful spot.

Kirkwood’s trails largely consist of intermediate and advanced runs, but there are 86 total runs that span from beginner hills to expert-level terrain parks. As part of the Epic Pass program, passholders can get admission to Kirkwood’s ski areas included in their membership.

Everything You Need to Know Before Going to Ski Resorts Near Sacramento, CA

What to Pack:

  • Waterproof outerwear – Possibly the most critical pieces of clothing for your ski trip packing list is durable, waterproof outerwear. Burton and Helly Hansen are famous ski brands for having best-in-class clothing that will keep you warm in the coldest, snowiest conditions. Click here to shop ski jackets and compare prices.
  • Thermal layers – Thermal baselayers are absolutely critical for a smooth skiing experience, as these will keep you warm and dry underneath your outerwear. The best kinds of thermal baselayers are made of Merino wool, which is moisture-wicking and comfortable. Our favorite brand of thermal layers is SmartWool – their tops and leggings are soft, lightweight, but warm and durable for all kinds of outdoor activities, including skiing. Click here to shop thermal tops and leggings and compare prices.
  • Ski goggles – No ski trip packing list would be complete without a pair of fog-resistant ski goggles, especially if you’re going somewhere that makes artificial snow. Ski slopes often have snow blowing into the air several times a day and it can be hard to keep freezing snowflakes out of your eyes, even during clear days. We use and recommend these ski goggles. However, you can shop ski goggles and compare reviews/prices here.

If you’re looking for a more comprehensive list of things to pack,read our guide on What to Wear Skiing & Snowboarding and our Ultimate Ski Trip Packing List to view our full packing list and gear recommendations for the slopes!

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