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7 Places to go Skiing Near San Francisco
Health & Fitness

7 Places to go Skiing Near San Francisco

Whether you’re planning a vacation or looking for something fun for the holiday season, the best ski resorts near S.F. have your back.


5 min read

December 12, 2023

Skiing and snowboarding are central to the Bay Area’s travel culture during the winter months. After all, with world-class resorts, majestic alpine sceneries, and amazing snow-covered slopes, how can they not be? You don’t even have to travel too far to enjoy skiing near San Francisco. Plan a winter weekend getaway and you’ll be reveling in the glory of the best ski resorts near San Francisco just a few hours after leaving your doorstep. 

Whether you’re planning the ultimate family vacation or looking for something fun to try during the holiday season, the best ski resorts near San Francisco have your back.

Where to Experience The Best Skiing Near San Francisco

Ski season is officially near, and you know what that means: It's time to grab your gear, round up your besties, and hit up the closest mountain.

1. Dodge Ridge Ski Resort

Location: Pinecrest
Distance from San Francisco: 163 miles

Dodge Ridge is the closest ski resort to San Francisco by mileage, offering 862 acres of skiable terrain suitable for all levels. 20 percent of the terrain at the Dodge Ridge Ski Resort near San Francisco is designated for beginners, while 40 percent is for intermediate skiers—the remaining 40 percent is for advanced skiers. 

Family-owned since 1976, Dodge Ridge is the perfect choice when skiing near San Francisco. The kids will fall in love with the sport after taking lessons, the pros will love soaring down the uncrowded slopes, and the snowboarders won’t be left out either. Those looking to further explore the area will find various dining and lodging options—fit for every budget—a short drive away from Dodge Ridge.

By day, you can ski and stop for a delicious waffle on the mountain. By night, you can put on your PJs and curl up by the fire pit with hot chocolate.

2. Sugar Bowl Ski Resort

Location: Norden
Distance from San Francisco: 177 miles

The Tahoe region is quite well known for its incredible ski resorts, and Sugar Bowl is among its best. Perched atop Donner Summit, this ski resort near San Francisco receives 500 inches of snow annually, allowing you to ski along its fabulous trails well into spring. While somewhat on the smaller scale, Sugar Bowl is also one of the more affordable options for ski resorts in California with a classic, old-school ski atmosphere that caters to every skier. Approximately 17 percent of the trails are beginner-friendly, while 38 percent of the runs are single and double black diamond.

Those staying overnight will love the resort’s charming European-style rooms, which feature ski-in, ski-out accommodation. Even if you’re leaving by the end of the day, having dinner in an elegant atmosphere at the fine-dining restaurant on-site is a must.

Skiing is one of the best winter activities you can take part in. You're getting active in the great outdoors engaging in your favorite hobbies.

3. Boreal Mountain California

Location: Soda Springs
Distance from San Francisco: 177 miles

Dying to visit the only night skiing destination in Lake Tahoe? You need to drive up to Boreal Mountain California. Just minutes from Sugar Bowl along Interstate 80, this awesome ski resort near San Francisco makes it entirely possible for you to hit the slopes without needing to take a full day off work. You’ll also find snow tubing lanes, skating rinks, mountain bike trails, and more fun activities at this awesome spot for skiing near San Francisco.

Boreal also puts a big emphasis on learning, so it’s a fantastic option for families who want to teach their kids to ski. Plus, if you purchase an unlimited adult pass, your kids can ride free of charge—that’s quite the affordable deal for skiing near San Francisco.

Before you even catch the chairlift, you'll be able to take in the stunning views of the mountains from the base lodge.

4. Royal Gorge Cross Country Resort

Location: Soda Springs
Distance from San Francisco: 177 miles

Royal Gorge is the largest cross-country ski area in North America. Known for its eight distinct trail systems and sweeping views of the Northern Sierra, this ski resort near San Francisco features 92 trails spreading across 6,000 acres. Guests of all ages and skill levels can try classic cross-country skiing, skate skiing, snowshoeing, and more fun recreational activities.

Plan a ski trip to the Royal Gorge Cross Country Resort this winter to glide through the towering pines along expansive meadows—enjoy beautiful vistas that include some of the most majestic peaks in Tahoe. There are even dog-friendly trails at this awesome resort, which allow your pooch to run through the snow alongside you as you enjoy skiing near San Francisco.

After a long day of skiing, you'll be in the mood to snuggle up with a mug of warm cider in the lodge before your next big day on the slopes.

5. Bear Valley Resort

Location: Bear Valley
Distance from San Francisco: 182 miles

Bear Valley Resort is located on Highway Four—between Lake Tahoe and Yosemite—in the Central Sierra Nevada Mountain Range. As a family-friendly resort, Bear Valley accommodates skiers of all levels and is known for being a relaxing High Sierra escape. Complete with gorgeous views of the surrounding mountains, this hidden gem offers some of the best skiing near San Francisco sans the crowds. 

The awesome resort has 56 runs in total, about 11 percent of which are beginner and 41 percent are intermediate. The advanced and expert runs comprise 45 and four percent.

Once you rise to the top of the mountain, you'll be in complete and utter awe. Don't forget to capture every snowy moment!

6. Heavenly Ski Resort

Location: South Lake Tahoe
Distance from San Francisco: 189 miles

As its name rightfully implies, Heavenly is one of the most beautiful ski resorts near San Francisco. Offering views of the majestic snow-capped mountains and the crystal blue waters of Lake Tahoe, the scenery of Heavenly is as much of a tourist magnet as its slopes. That’s not to say that the 4000-plus acres of its fantastically skiable terrain are any less impressive. With amazing vertical drops and unbelievable 10,067-feet elevations, Heavenly is indeed all powder and play, all day, every day. 62 percent of Heavenly’s 97 runs are designated for intermediate skiers, and its diverse terrain allows for some of the best snowboarding near San Francisco as well.

Skiing is a dance, and the mountain always leads. What happens on the slopes stays on the slopes. The snow must go on!

7. Northstar California

Location: Truckee
Distance from San Francisco: 195 miles

Set in the beautiful town of Truckee, Northstar California is over 3,000 acres of pure ski bliss. Welcoming you with all its leisurely wonder, this awesome spot for skiing near San Francisco offers everything you look for in a winter resort, from high-end accommodation and mountain dining to alpine skiing and sweeping views.

Head out to Northstar anytime between mid-November to mid-April and you’ll have full access to its spectacular slopes. During the winter months, the resort village comes alive with ice skating, après ski, and all sorts of family fun. You don’t have to be a ski aficionado to enjoy a winter getaway to this ski resort near San Francisco. With boutique shopping, elevated dining experiences, alpine-chic lodging, Northstar is a dream winter wonderland for people of all interests. 

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