Updated Nov. 29, 2018
Winter is coming in California! Home to resorts for every type of snow lover, the Golden State’s alpine destinations range from kid-friendly snow tubing in Big Bear Lake to the steep chutes of Kirkwood Mountain. In general, resorts tend to open on or around Thanksgiving and stay open through mid- to late-April, depending on conditions.
Read below to learn when ski resorts plan to open for the 2018–2019 season (weather permitting). Check each resort’s snow report or On The Snow for the latest on lift availability and weather at each destination.
Boreal Mountain: Nov. 9
The mountain officially opened Nov. 9; check their website for specific dates and times. If you ski on select Feel Good Fridays throughout the season, $5 of your $25 lift ticket will go to the Truckee-based High Fives Foundation for athletes with life-altering injuries.
Mammoth Mountain: Nov. 10
The winter party has officially started at Mammoth Mountain, where Thanksgiving festivities are approaching. Sign up for the Turkey Trot or Thanksgiving dinner with Santa, then watch the holiday tree lighting the day after (Nov. 23).
Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows: Nov. 16
Fun fact: By Dec. 1, the resort will be powered by 100 percent renewable electricity, reducing its total annual carbon footprint by 49 percent. Plan to ski multiple days at Squaw this year? Grab a Tahoe Super 4 pass, which allows you to ski any four days of the winter season for less than $100 a day.
Heavenly: Nov. 16
This South Lake Tahoe resort, known for its unparalleled lake views and a lively après-ski scene, plans to open mid-November if weather allows.
Northstar: Nov. 16
This North Lake Tahoe resort is also targeting a mid-November opening. Once a month in January through March, Northstar will host the signature Her Mountain Retreat, which includes customized lessons, first-tracks access, healthy meals, and yoga. The resort also recently announced that they are committed to a zero-carbon footprint by 2030.
Soda Springs Mountain Resort: Nov. 16
Celebrating their earliest opening date ever, Soda Springs’ Planet Kids and Tube Town are now open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with 20 lanes and a 400-foot magic carpet for a quick return to the top.
Kirkwood: Nov. 21
Kick off Thanksgiving week with a visit to this South Lake Tahoe resort, known for its challenging big-mountain terrain with a small-town vibe.
Sugar Bowl Ski Resort: Nov. 30
Since 1939, this resort near Truckee has been a favorite of powder fiends for its off-the-grid feel and 500 inches of average snowfall per year. Its sister cross-country resort, Royal Gorge, is the largest Nordic resort in North America.
Sierra-at-Tahoe Resort: Nov. 30
Thanks to better-than-expected snow, Sierra-at-Tahoe will kick off opening day at 9 a.m. on Nov. 30. The first 100 chairs will receive a cup of coffee and a Kind snack, and you can cheers to an official Toast to the Season at 12 p.m. Check the event calendar for more opening day activities.
Mountain High: TBD, late November
According to its site, the resort could potentially open the West resort and the new Yeti Snow Park at East any time after Nov. 23.
China Peak: TBD, likely early December
According to its site, China Peak hopes to start snowmaking operations as early as this coming Sunday. "If we get a good run and some natural snow it's possible we could be opening as early as December 1."
Tahoe Donner Downhill Ski Resort: Dec. 7
Good news for novices: Tahoe Donner will introduce the Snowbird triple chairlift this season, which will give skiers and boarders more access to beginner terrain.
You can go boarding, skiing, and sledding once Granlibakken opens in mid-December—keep your eyes on the snow report for updated information.
Yosemite Ski and Snowboard Area: Dec. 14
Yosemite offers a winter wonderland of fun options starting mid-December. Call the Snow Phone at 209-372-1000 to learn about conditions for cross-country trails, downhill skiing, terrain parks, and tubing.
Diamond Peak: TBD, likely mid-December
Located above Incline Village in North Lake Tahoe, this under-the-radar resort now features a mountain terrain park at the Village at Diamond Peak.
June Mountain: Dec. 21
“California’s Family Mountain” offers an appealing deal to families with young ones: Kids under 12 ski free every day.
No set date is scheduled for Bear Mountain and Snow Summit in Southern California, but snowmaking is currently underway.
Snowmaking started on November 8, but there is not an official opening date at this time. You can still take advantage of the pre-sale lift tickets, which start at $49 online. New this season, the resort upgraded its snowcat to provide guided access to more than 750 acres of backcountry terrain.