Yosemite’s ski and snowboarding area is opening but getting there could be dicey

Yosemite National Park posted this photo of snow falling in the park Thursday. The storm and previous ones have forced temporary road closures in the park.
(Michael Hernandez / National Park Service)

The good news for Yosemite lovers is that the Ski & Snowboard Area (formerly known as Badger Pass) plans to open for the season Saturday with about 4 to 5 feet of recent snow.

The not-so-good news is that temporary road closures in the park during the busy holiday weekend could create headaches for travelers trying to get there. If you plan to go, check the park’s website or call (209) 372-0200 to receive the most up-to-date information on road conditions.

As of Thursday, you could only drive into the valley by taking California Highway 41 (Wawona Road) from Oakhurst, passing Fish Camp and Wawona. The park’s bigger access roads, California 120 (Big Oak Flat Road) and 140 (El Portal Road), were closed in places because of a series of storm-related rockfalls. No reopening times were given. 

However, the weather outlook for Friday through Monday is clear, which could be a break for crews repairing the roads. 

For those who visit Monday only, the $25 entrance fee to the park is waived for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

At the ski area, all-day lift tickets for downhill skiers cost $47 for adults, $42 for kids 13 to 17, and $29.50 for children 7 to 12 years old (kids 6 and younger go free with a paying adult). The lift is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.

Or you can rent cross-country skis at the Nordic Center and hit the trails. Ski, boots and poles cost $24 for adults and $13.50 for children 12 and younger. Those who prefer snowshoes can rent them for $22.50 for a day, and arrange to go on ranger-led walks too.

In a news release Thursday, park officials warned drivers to be aware of wet and icy conditions and to bring tire chains in case they are needed. 

Yosemite has been hit with a number of rain and snow storms since last Saturday that pushed the Merced River to flood stage. Hotels and services in the valley closed temporarily last weekend in anticipation of the storms.


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