Winter is just around the corner ... and that means ski season. Here’s a guide to our favorite California slopes—here, near and up there.
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No overview of California skiing is complete without mention of Lake Tahoe. Any drive in Los Angeles will feature a number of “Keep Tahoe Blue” bumper stickers. It remains an essential emblem of California, and its myriad of ski resorts are a draw for enthusiasts from all over the state.
While Heavenly and Northstar have their devotees for fans of Tahoe snow, a perennial favorite where nature still trumps nightlife is Squaw Valley, located on the east side of the lake, about eight miles from Truckee. Here’s the best deal around—Squaw Valley is currently offering FREE half-day lift tickets valid with a same-day flight, no matter your point of origin or arrival. Reno on the Nevada side is the closest airport, and with killer discount fares from airlines like Southwest and Horizon (the latter also services Mammoth Lakes), you can fly and ski on the same day for substantially less than the cost of gas.
Made legendary as the site of the 1960 Olympics, Squaw Valley is enticing a whole new generation of skiers with incredible snow and improved amenities. Set up shop at the PlumpJack Squaw Valley Inn, which offers their signature Napa Valley cuisine and wines just steps away from all those glorious runs. (squaw.com, plumpjacksquawvalleyinn.com)
Check each of these resorts’ websites for late-breaking deals. In a tough economy, the ski industry is increasingly competing for your lift ticket dime, so keep your bag packed and your edges sharp in case you score a last-minute bargain.