It’s snow joke that the opportunities for fun in the snowy mountains of California go far beyond buckling into some skis and heading downhill. For those who are less inclined to ski or snowboard, but love to be surrounded by mountains, why not enjoy one of these six alternative activities instead? They’re bound to get the blood pumping and the adrenaline rushing.
Bobsleigh in Magic Mountain, Big Bear
There’s always more than one way to get down a mountain, and at Big Bear Lake a fun way to do just that is via the world-famous Alpine Slide. If you’ve always dreamt of your own Cool Runnings experience, this is where you can make that dream a reality. The only authentic bobsled experience in Southern California gives riders the ultimate downhill while being in total control. With prices starting from $9 per run, the only question to ask now is: Do you feel the need? The need for speed?
Snow Biking, North Lake Tahoe
Say hello to the newest winter activity on the block, fat-tire biking. Why strap on a snowboard when you can jump on a bike and conquer the slopes on two wheels? Don’t worry, these aren’t ordinary bikes—the huge tires let you cruise through the snow easily, and you’ll feel like a pro in no time. Get ready to pedal through the powder and explore the wonderful wintery trails of North Lake Tahoe.
Curling in South Lake Tahoe
Aside from being the training playground for a number of U.S. Olympic skiers, South Lake Tahoe is a winter lover’s paradise for all of the other activities it offers.
Slow the pace down with a spot of curling. For those who’ve never done it before and are wanting to learn the technique, the Lake Tahoe Epic Curling club offers learn-to-curl classes, with all gear provided. Get your hands on some stones and brooms—curling is way more fun than you might think!
Snowmobiling in Bear Valley, Tuolumne
Bear Valley is a quintessential mountain town situated in the beautiful rugged alpine wilderness near Yosemite National Park. What better way to explore the stunning landscape than on the back of a snowmobile? The Ebbets Pass area is the best location as the roads are closed and the trails are groomed and ready for you to explore. With over 70 miles of trails, get revved up for some serious adrenaline inducing fun.
Scenic Tours From a Snowcat, Mammoth Mountain & Mammoth Lakes
Looking for a little less adventure and a little more comfort? Enjoy a ride through Mammoth Lake’s most scenic spots in the heated luxury of a snowcat. The fun doesn’t stop with the epic views —when you reach Minaret Vista, you’ll be treated to a wonderful spread of fresh fruit, wine, cheese, and for the sweet-toothed travelers, an opportunity to get creative with a build-your-own hot cocoa bar.
Cross-country Ski to Glacier Point, Yosemite Mariposa County
There’s no denying that Yosemite is stunning year-round, but when winter descends on the park, there is an added beauty to the towering sequoia trees. Glacier Point, which sits 3,000 feet above the valley floor, is a great place to experience Yosemite in winter. Once guests have snowshoed their way to the top, they can stay overnight at the charming Ski Hut where they will be welcomed with dinner and a cozy wood fire. You can’t beat waking up to the fresh, crisp Sierra Mountain air and jumping back into your snowshoes for even more wintery fun. Back down in the valley, snowshoe your way past the very best of Yosemite, including Half Dome and El Capitan.
Regardless of how you choose to make the most out of your time on the snow, check out this new Mountain Safety Guide created by Ski California before your first trip. The guide is a comprehensive tool to educate downhill skiers and riders of all ability and experience levels about on-mountain safety.
For more ideas for how to make the most of a winter vacation in California, check out 10 Ways to Make a California Snow Trip Even Better, 6 Ski Runs with Stunning Views, Family Snow Adventures, 12 Awesome California Snow Adventures, and Play in the California Snow.