It’s that time of the year to go play in the snow. This is a tough topic as we know that’s going to mean something very different for each person.
For the family, it’s getting the kids all bundled up in all the gear, finding the sleds, the saucers, and anything else that’ll slide down a hill. Finding that one lost mitten. Pile all of that in the car and start driving. Bathroom breaks aside, you are looking for the closest place possible. You know that with the first sighting of snow along the highway comes the comes the invertible and highly repeated “Are we there yet?“. Closer is better.
For those talented, Olympic hopefuls who’ve been dress rehearsing their runs on the family room couch all summer – it’s finally time to show the world what you’ve got. Charge up the GoPro, polish the goggles that so perfectly match your helmet, and head out to the meanest, most challenging slopes you can find. For you it’s the terrain, the conditions, the shred, the gnar and whatever new term is the hippest this year.
Or, chances are, like most of us, you are somewhere in the middle. Hey, that’s ok, we’re right there with you! A little skiing, a little boarding, maybe even a little sledding? Maybe it’s just hot cocoa, catching snowflakes on your tongue, and making snow angels.
No matter how you snow, here’s a look at some of the closest places to go play in the snow, for us living in the Fresno / Clovis area. We’ve created a custom map and have a poll for you where you can vote for your favorite.
Remember: Always check conditions before you go!
Badger Pass Ski Area
Badger Pass Ski Area is a small ski resort located within Yosemite National Park in California. It is the oldest ski resort in the state, having opened in 1935. The resort offers downhill skiing and snowboarding on a variety of runs, ranging from beginner to advanced. There are also cross-country ski trails and a tubing hill for non-skiers and younger children to enjoy. The Badger Pass Ski Area is open from mid-December through mid-March, conditions permitting. For information, lessons, snow conditions call 209.372.8430.
- Elevation: 7,200 ft to 8,000 ft, vertical drop of 800 ft.
- Average Temperature range – 30° to 60° Fahrenheit
- 10 ski runs: 35% beginner, 50% intermediate, 15% advanced
- 5 chairlifts: 1 triple-chair, 3 double-chair, 1 handle tow
- Beginner-friendly terrain park
China Peak Mountain Resort
China Peak Mountain Resort is a ski resort located about an hour and a half from Fresno, California. The resort offers a variety of runs for skiers and snowboarders of all levels, from beginner to advanced. In addition to downhill skiing and snowboarding, China Peak Mountain Resort also offers cross-country skiing and snowshoeing for those looking for a more low-key winter sports experience. The resort is located in the Sierra National Forest and boasts beautiful views of the surrounding mountains. Current conditions can be found at https://www.skichinapeak.com/conditions.
Coyote Sno-Park is a designated snow play area located in the Sierra National Forest in California. It is a popular spot for sledding, tubing, cross-country skiing, dog sledding, and snow play and other snow activities, and is typically open when there is enough snow on the ground. The park has a large, open area for sledding and tubing, as well as a designated area for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Coyote Sno-Park is located about an hour and a half from Fresno, and is a popular destination for both local residents and visitors to the area. Contact: Sierra National Forest, High Sierra Ranger District – (559) 855-5355
Located in the Sierra National Forest, Eastwood Sno-Park is a popular destination for winter sports enthusiasts. When there is enough snow on the ground, the park opens its doors to sledders, tubers, and cross-country skiers and snowshoers. The park has a large, open area for sledding and tubing, as well as designated trails for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Eastwood Sno-Park is located about an hour and a half from Fresno. Contact: Sierra National Forest, High Sierra Ranger District – (559) 855-5355
Huntington Lake Sno-Park
Huntington Lake Sno-Park is a winter sports destination located on the west shore of Huntington Lake in the Sierra National Forest of Fresno County. The park is one of five sno-parks along the Sierra Heritage Scenic Byway (also known as Highway 168). Balsam Meadows, Coyote, Tamarack, and Eastwood Sno-Parks can also be found along this route. If Huntington Lake Sno-Park is at capacity, the nearby Eastwood Sno-Park is another option for winter sports enthusiasts to consider. Contact: Sierra National Forest, High Sierra Ranger District – (559) 855-5355
Mammoth Mountain Ski Area
Mammoth Mountain Ski Area is a large ski resort located in the Sierra Nevada mountain range in California. The resort is known for its expansive terrain, with over 3,500 acres of skiable area and a vertical drop of over 3,000 feet. Mammoth Mountain Ski Area offers a variety of runs for skiers and snowboarders of all levels, from beginner to expert. In addition to downhill skiing and snowboarding, the resort also offers cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and other winter sports activities. The resort is located about four hours from Fresno, and is a popular destination for both local residents and visitors to the area. Mammoth Mountain Ski Area is known for its long ski season, which typically runs from November to June, and offers a range of amenities such as rental equipment, ski lessons, and dining options. Current Conditions at https://www.mammothmountain.com/on-the-mountain/mountain-report-winter
Tamarack Sno-Park and Coyote Sno-Park are two designated snow play areas located along Highway 168 east of Shaver Lake in the Sierra National Forest. Both parks have plowed parking lots and restrooms, and offer opportunities for sledding, tubing, and other snow activities when there is enough snow on the ground. Tamarack Sno-Park and Coyote Sno-Park are located near the summit of Tamarack Ridge and are both popular destinations for winter sports enthusiasts. Contact: Sierra National Forest, High Sierra Ranger District – (559) 855-5355
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