The California Bucket List: Your daily guide to the best adventures and experiences in the Golden State

In the winter that won't quit, resorts extend their ski and board seasons. Ready to hit the slopes on July 4?

What a winter. What a wedding cake.

From Tahoe south, California ski resorts have enjoyed a remarkably generous season, getting as much as 60 feet of snow in some areas and more than 40 feet in Mammoth.

Many resorts have already extended their seasons, and some plan to fire up the lifts until the Fourth of July.

Here’s a look at what lies ahead:

Northern California

Mammoth Mountain

Mammoth Lakes, Calif.

The mega-resort five hours from L.A. is planning to stay open through at least July 4.

Might that extend to Labor Day? Unlikely, though no more unlikely than Mammoth receiving nearly 250 inches of now in January alone.

The season total stands at 530 inches, 33% better than average although short of the 668-inch record set in 2010-2011.

Trail conditions/accessibility: All trails are open. You’ll find a 29-foot base at the top and 17 feet to ski down below.

Squaw Valley / Alpine Meadows

Lake Tahoe, Calif.

Think Mammoth got blasted? It did, but Squaw Valley received 100 more inches than Mammoth.

“More snow and intense weather than has been seen in over 60 years,” Andy Wirth, chief executive, reported in early March.

This ski mecca is usually open until mid-May, but the record snows will allow the Squaw and Alpine mountains to stay open through July 4.

Trail conditions/accessibility: Still offers a 20-foot base across two mountains and 6,000 acres served by 42 lifts. (The two resorts married in 2011.) Piles of powder in 16 bowls are giving way to squishier spring conditions, but trails are plentiful and well groomed.

Heavenly Mountain Resort

Lake Tahoe, Calif.

Like many other Tahoe resorts, Heavenly enjoyed the snowiest winter on record, with 40 feet of snow, which will allow it to extend its season to April 30.

Likewise, Northstar has also extended (April 23), as has Kirkwood (April 16).

Trail conditions/accessibility: Of the 609 inches Heavenly received, 131 remain, leaving an estimated 96% of its terrain open to skiers. All trails are open at Kirkwood and Northstar, which boast bases of 8 feet and up.

China Peak


Off-the-beaten path China Peak enjoyed great blasts of Sierra snow. With a total of 35 feet — and about half that remaining — it plans to remain open until the last week of April.

Trail conditions/accessibility: Snow softening as season progresses. About 85% of the terrain open on weekdays and all lifts running on weekends.

Southern California

Mountain High


Mountain High, the closest big resort to Los Angeles — about 90 minutes — closed Sunday.

A bonus: Rain and snow the last few months have replenished the on-site reservoir. That means cool nighttime temps allow rigorous snow-making.

Trail conditions/accessibility: One foot of snow remains at the top, about 8 inches down low. Conditions are best in early morning before the sun sweats the slopes.

A four-hour lift ticket is a good bet for getting in and out before conditions get sloppy.

Snow Valley

Running Springs

The family friendly resort — great for beginners — plans to remain open until at least April 16, which is Easter.

If more natural snow and snow-making temps arrive, Snow Valley will extend the season. The latest it has stayed open was May 18, in the 1996-97 season, the resort’s management said.

Trail conditions/accessibility: The mountain remains open top to bottom, from the summit to the sledding hill. At least 2 feet of snow still coats much of the resort, despite recent balmier recent daytime temps.

Bear Mountain / Snow Summit

Big Bear Lake

Usually wrapping up soon after spring break, Bear Mountain and its sister, Snow Summit, plan to stay open at least into April.

As with other SoCal resorts, they are at the mercy of warm winds off the desert, which could turn a pretty creamy ski season into a vast puddle very quickly.

Trail conditions/accessibility: The resorts received a little more than 13 feet of snow this season, and a base of about 2 feet remains. As with Mountain High, nighttime temperatures cool enough to make snow will be vital to remaining open.

Elsewhere in the West

Mt. Rose

Reno, Nev.

The Reno resort received nearly 60 feet of snow this season, giving it enough padding to go till at least Memorial Day.

Mt. Rose’s average base depth remains about 18 feet, one of the better spring blankets in the West.

Trail conditions/accessibility: All beginner, intermediate and terrain parks open. The top of the mountain is thriving too. Not much open powder, but lots of groomed trails and some moguls to choose from.

Park City, Utah

Park City bills itself as the nation’s largest ski resort, but it didn’t enjoy as many monster storms as its California rivals.

Still, the 386 total inches is above Park City’s season average of 355.

It will end the season on Easter, a typical mid-April closing.

Trail conditions/accessibility: Almost all lifts are still spinning across 6,937 of 7,300 total acres. (Park City merged with Canyons in 2015.) Most trails still have a 7-foot base, or more.


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