10 Best Ski Destinations for Families in California

By Carly Zinderman

10 Best Ski Destinations for Families in California

Skiing and surfing are practically rites of passage for kids growing up between the beaches and mountains of California. During the winter months, families head to ski destinations near and far to learn new tricks, improve on skills, and pass on the love of winter sports to new generations. Check out the best ski spots for families where small kids can take a lesson while mom and dad relax on or off the slopes! 

1. Mammoth Mountain, Mammoth Lakes, CA

Mammoth Mountain is one of Southern California’s most famous resort areas. You’ll find lodges, lessons, hot tubs, skiing, snowboarding, and other snowy activities to keep the whole family occupied. Look for deals letting you ski at a number of resorts and start the kids early with lessons for tots, teens, and grown-ups.

The boys loving an empty bluebird day

A post shared by Mrs Diggins πŸ‘‹πŸΌ (@jenbals) on

2. June Mountain, June Lake, CA

Sometimes overlooked in favor of bigger ski areas, this smaller mountain has a local feel that families love. June can be a little more affordable and less overwhelming than its bigger counterparts. You’ll find lessons for kids and a variety of options for adults.

Who's your chairlift buddy?

A post shared by June Mountain (@junemountain) on

3. Big Bear Mountain Ski Resort, Bear Lake, CA

For many Southern Californians, Big Bear is their first taste of snowy weather. Smaller slopes and easier access make Big Bear a good spot for families that are new to skiing and winter sports. The town features a variety of friendly accommodations at various price points for large and small parties and you’ll also find lessons at many of the nearby ski spots.

4. Snow Valley, Running Springs, CA

Not far from Big Bear, Snow Valley is a lesser-known spot for families with small kids. It is less crowded and may offer more one-on-one time with instructors. Look for special rates and group deals when you’re looking for spots to teach the kids.

Cash me outside. . . . #πŸ‚ #πŸ—» #Burton #Ride #hematoma

A post shared by Chotipong Chamchalaem (@chootee) on

5. Mountain High, Wrightwood, CA

Mountain High is a short distance from LA compared to other ski resorts. It’s very family focused and offers ski and snowboard lessons for the little ones. Another benefit is that the resort is no frills and so offers a lot of different deals, from free birthdays to select age groups, to coupons, and other specials for first-time skiers. If everyone in the family meets the height requirements, trying tubing at the tube park.

6. Northstar California, Truckee, CA

For a ski getaway in Northern California, Northstar California has reputation for being family friendly. Northstar offers lodging, ski lessons, lift tickets, and more all in one convenient location—you won’t even need a car in the village. Sign up for lessons and then reward yourself with a gourmet snack. 

7. Heavenly Mountain Resort, South Lake Tahoe, CA

Heavenly Mountain is packed with family-friendly activities on and off the slopes. The resort caters to families of all ages and includes ski lessons for toddlers on up as well as fireworks during the holidays and other ways to have fun in the snow or indoors.

8. Kirkwood Mountain Resort, Kirkwood, CA

Kirkwood Resort has a reputation for being serious about skiing, thanks to major mountains. If your kids are a little older, then Kirkwood can be a beautiful place to help them improve their ski and snowboard skills while still having mountains that are challenging for the whole family to enjoy. 

Today was real fun thanks dooodesπŸ‘πŸ» @instagrahhamm @gofeickyourself

A post shared by Jess (@jesslimeburner) on

9. Squaw Valley Resort, Olympic Valley, CA

Squaw Valley once hosted the Winter Olympics, so you know the place is serious about winter sports. One of the country’s best ski resorts is a great place for families with kids to learn about skiing and snowboarding from true experts. Steeped in tradition, the resort is close to a village with activities and fun for off the slopes.

10. Tahoe Donner, Trukee, CA

Tahoe Donner offers family-friendly competition with each year’s Winter Superstars Week. Held in February the annual event includes a variety of competitions from skiing and snowboarding to sledding. It’s not the only event to enjoy, the resort also offers deals and specials throughout ski season as well as family movie nights and other ways to enjoy time out of the cold. 

First time skiing I can't remember how many times I fell down Who cares .. time to learn !!

A post shared by Naruemon TeeFuey (@nanar24) on

Subscribe for future Step Outside News!