Updated: Dec 16, 2020
For as long as I can remember, skiing and snowboarding have been part of my life. Fun fact: my parents moved to my hometown so our family could be within driving distance to major ski resorts. So one could say it is a pretty serious hobby for myself and my family. However, you do not have to be a skier/snowboarder to enjoy an incredibly fun weekend in the snow. Remember in Laguna Beach when LC and Lo couldn't ski and spent the entire weekend in the hot tub on their vacation? Just me? Cool.
There are an overwhelming amount of places for a winter fix in the west, and today I will be breaking down a few of my favorites and that of others!
Canada is infamous for having incredible snow activities and resorts, but Whistler/Blackcomb truly is a skier/snowboarder paradise. Roughly a two-hour drive from Vancouver Airport, Whistler/Blackcomb has the 'big mountain' experience relatively close to the United States. Whistler and Blackcomb are two separate mountains connected by a large gondola aptly named the "Peak to Peak Gondola," where you can experience a 360-degree view of both mountains.
Difficulty level: Intermediate/Expert
Favorite Run: "Peak to Creek" on Whistler Mountain or the top of Peak Chair to the Whistler Creekside Village. Peak to Creek is the longest consistent run at any ski resort in North America! Make it your last run of the day so you can run into Dusty's Bar for a well-deserved beer.
Super biased on this one; I have lived in and grown up visiting Lake Tahoe! Lake Tahoe is located on the California and Nevada sides of Northern California and is home to dozens of winter-related activities. There are so many resorts in Lake Tahoe to visit, so I have included easy and more medium to difficult resorts on this list.
Why I love it: What Diamond Peak lacks in runs they gain in minimal crowds. I love this resort because it is small and usually doesn't draw as many people as Tahoe's larger resorts typically do. Fewer people = fewer lines! This resort also has Lake Tahoe views from the top of the mountain, for half the cost of other resorts. Diamond Peak is also perfect for beginners, as most of the runs are fairly easier than other larger resorts. I learned how to ski and snowboard on this mountain!
Difficulty Level: Beginner
Favorite Run: Crystal Ridge, The Great Flume & Luggis (I couldn't pick one!). Crystal Ridge has that million-dollar view of Lake Tahoe all the way down, Great Flume is a little more challenging than Crystal, but has a fun special and jumps toward the bottom, & Luggis is a more difficult run that supplies the best powder on the mountain (for all my snowboarders out there!)
Why I love it: Squaw Valley/Alpine meadows offers everything for everyone and is one of North Tahoe's larger resorts. It is a great mountain to learn on, as well as skiing challenging runs. Squaw also hosted the 1960 Winter Olympics and has a robust history and a fun Village full of restaurants and shops to boot.
Difficulty Level: Beginner/Intermediate/Expert
Other Activities: Snowtubing, Dog Sledding & The Village at Squaw Valley for shopping/restaurants!