Winter Getaways: Mountain Villages and Ski Resorts
Kick off the New Year with a breath of fresh air. Recent storms have deposited over a foot of snow on our local mountains, creating a winter wonderland for hiking, skiing, snowboarding, and communing with nature. Many popular destinations are just a few hours away from THEA, where in addition to outdoor sports, you can explore mountain villages offering cozy restaurants, eclectic shops, and plenty of alpine charm. Be sure to check websites for snow reports, road safety, and health guidelines.
Big Bear 40824 Big Bear Blvd. Big Bear Lake, CA 92315
Located just 100 miles northeast of Los Angeles, Big Bear Lake is Southern California’s premier four-season destination for relaxation and adventure. Big Bear might be known for its stellar skiing and snowboarding at Snow Summit and Bear Mountain Resort, but there’s so much more to explore. Take in the Valley’s serene and snowy landscape on snowshoes, or go snow tubing at Big Bear Snowplay and Alpine Slide. Stroll through the neighborhood to discover local restaurants, shops, and other attractions.
Lake Arrowhead Lake Arrowhead Village 28200 CA-189 Lake Arrowhead, CA 92352
If you’re looking for a real Alpine experience, Lake Arrowhead can’t be beat. Situated in the majestic mountains of the San Bernardino National Forest, widely known as “The Alps of Southern California,” Lake Arrowhead Village is a cozy and quaint mountain retreat modeled after an authentic waterfront Alpine Village, with over 250 shops and restaurants. If you want to take in some skiing, Snow Valley is five miles east of Running Springs on Highway 18, with 13 lifts and 240 acres of powdery terrain.
Mountain High 24510 CA-2 Wrightwood, CA 92397
Now open for skiing and snowboarding, Mountain High is one of Southern California’s closest winter resorts with three great mountains and a world class terrain park only an hour and a half from downtown Los Angeles. Aside from snow skiing, snowboarding and hiking, Wrightwood is also known for its relaxed downtown village comprised of a varied collection of shops, restaurants, and lodging choices.
Idyllwild 25225 Highway 243 Idyllwild, CA 92549
Nestled in the San Jacinto mountains and set among tall pines, sweet smelling cedars, and legendary rocks, Idyllwild is known for its friendly small town atmosphere and dramatic scenery. If you’re ready to escape from noisy city life, this is the town for you. Idyllwild has day hikes for the quick weekend getaway, as well as high country treks for longer overnight hiking journeys. After an exhilarating day in the woods, explore the town’s locally owned shops and restaurants.
Mt. Baldy Resort 8401 Mt Baldy Rd. Mt Baldy, CA 91759
Mt. Baldy Resort has been known for decades as hosting Southern California’s best natural skiing and snowboarding. With over 800 acres of skiable and rideable terrain, Mt. Baldy Resort has the most vertical drop in Southern California at 2,100 vertical feet. Mt. Baldy Resort also has a state of the art Terrain Based Learning Center and Snow Tubing Park for an introduction to those new to the snow. Or just spend the day hiking and breathing in that fresh mountain air, then come hang out at Mt. Baldy Lodge and Restaurant for some hearty mountain eats.
Mt. Waterman Ski Resort California 2 La Cañada Flintridge, CA 93553
Deemed a national monument, Mt. Waterman is the closest ski lift area to the L.A basin. You can escape the crowds at larger resorts and really get the most out of a powder day at this day ski and snowboard area. With three chair lifts and 25 runs, 65% of the hill is advanced while offering beginner and intermediate runs at the top of the mountain. Ride the lifts up to 8,030 ft, drop into the Upper Bowl, and then carve down tree-lined trails all the way to the base area. Lessons for skiing and snowboarding are also available.
Crestline is the closest mountain resort town to the major cities of Southern California. At scenic Lake Gregory in the San Bernardino Mountains, visitors may hike on a state-of-the-art fitness trail with exercise stations. Shoppers will find unique stores in the historic Old Town area and along Lake Drive in Crestline. The hungry have many great choices for dining. Those who would like to stay for more than a day can find excellent accommodations at the local inns or lodging in rental cabins that are offered throughout the town. Crestline map HERE
Mammoth Mountain Ski Area 10001 Minaret Rd. Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546
Boasting the highest lift-served summit in California at 11,053 feet, Mammoth is the leading four-season mountain resort in the state offering year-round lodging and endless outdoor recreation. Winters are long and legendary – known for some of the best skiing and snowboarding in the United States. You can also explore the scenic Lakes Basin on Nordic skis or snowshoes, ride a gondola to Mammoth’s summit, or try some tubing at Woolly’s Tube Park.
Photo #1: Visit Big Bear
Photo #2: Big Bear Mountain Resort
Photo #3: UCLA Lake Arrowhead Lodge
Photo #4: Mountain High
Photo #5: Experience Idyllwild
Photo #6: Mt. Baldy Resort
Photo #7: Mt. Waterman Ski Resort
Photo #8: City of Crestline
Photo #9: Mammoth Mountain