New To Ski

8 Best California Ski Resorts for Families

by Alaina Johnson | Updated: October 27th, 2022
Family Skiing - California

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Are you struggling to pick a resort where you know everyone will be looked after and have fun, regardless of their age or ski ability? Well, I’ve got you covered with this list of the best California ski resorts for families.

California has plenty of great options for family skiing — such as Mammoth Mountain with its whopping 3,000+ acres of skiable terrain and Big Bear Lake with its twin ski resorts (Snow Summit and Bear Mountain) that families can visit on the same ticket.

Which Colorado ski resort is right for your family?

Our Top Picks

    8. Mt. Shasta Ski Park

    Mt. Shasta Ski Park offers over 400 acres of skiing, snowboarding, and tubing fun for families of all ages. The park is set up to be ideal for families with younger kids but even expert skiers can find some suitable terrain on the mountain if they go up on the Douglas. Compared to the big resorts and their high prices — parents will love the relatively cheap day lift passes.

    Fun for Kids

    Kids will love tacking on the Mt. Shasta tubing lanes — each 300 feet long. Kids as young as 5 can participate and only a tubing ticket is required. Kids can take on the Marmot while they get a feel for their skis and they won’t have to worry about experienced skiers whizzing past them.

    Many of the trails at Mt. Shasta are suitable for beginners, making this park one of the more family-friendly options in California.

    Family Skiing

    Mt. Shasta offers equipment rentals, which include the skis, the poles, and the boots — plus a helmet at an additional fee. You’ll be suited up and ready to safely hit the slopes in no time.

    If lessons are required by anyone in your party, the friendly instructors will be happy to assist and ensure that you can take on the mountain with confidence. Parents can rest assured that their children will get a lesson on safety before they’re set loose on the slopes.

    Off the Slopes

    Mt. Shasta has a diverse selection of food — from pizza, veggie burgers, pulled pork sandwiches, and even donuts! There’s something for everyone to enjoy. In the nearby town of Mount Shasta, there’s a quirky vibe to be enjoyed and plenty of extra eateries to choose from, as well as lodging options.

    What We Love About Mt. Shasta Ski Park:

    • Smaller mountain with one base lodge — but plenty to do
    • 300+ foot long tubing lanes that are kept neatly groomed
    • Helpful instructors who have experienced skiers themselves
    • Easy equipment rental once you purchase tickets at the gate

    Mt. Shasta Ski Park Stats

    Summit Elevation:6890 ft / 2100 metres
    Skiable terrain: 425 acres
    Lifts:5
    Runs:32

    7. Coppervale

    Ski Resort 7

    While Coppervale Ski Hill may be on the smaller side, there’s still plenty to do for a family looking to get some practice in. There are multiple trails, a terrain park, and even a half-pipe for guests to enjoy. This park doesn’t draw the big crowds like the larger resorts, so it’s suitable for families with young kids who want to have a more relaxing, stress-free time.

    Fun for Kids

    Coppervale offers ski classes and kids may enjoy the smaller group sizes as they have the opportunity for more one-on-one time with the instructor. There are many areas for children to practice their newfound skills and not worry about being in the way of other skiers — which can add stress to the learning experience.

    Family Skiing

    Families can take on one of Coppervale’s eight trails and not worry about large crowds clogging up the slopes, making it difficult to maneuver. Through the course of a day, all eight trails could be thoroughly experienced and families can go home feeling accomplished.

    Unlike the larger resorts, you could reasonably do Coppervale in a day.

    Off the Slopes

    Susanville is the closest town nearby and families can go there for dining and lodging accommodations if necessary. A lodge can be found at the base of the slope as well and there is an area for guests to store their gear while they eat lunch. Guests are welcome to pack their own lunch and save some cash.

    What We Love About Coppervale:

    • Smaller park with a more family-friendly vibe
    • Doesn’t require a weeklong stay to experience the entire park
    • Half-pipe and terrain park for the more adventurous members of your group
    • Less crowded than the large resorts

    Coppervale Stats

    Summit Elevation:9050 ft / 2758 metres
    Skiable terrain: --
    Lifts:1
    Runs:--

    6. Bear Mountain – Big Bear Lake

    Bear Mountain
    Photo by John Murphy at licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

    If you’re feeling more adventurous and your priority is to hang out at the terrain parks — Bear Mountain has you covered. Compared to its twin mountain, Snow Summit, it has a much larger focus on the more adventurous side of skiing and snowboarding. Either way, your family is sure to enjoy an action-packed day on the mountain.

    Fun for Kids

    While Bear Mountain doesn’t have a bunny slope for the younger kids, they still have beginner options. After a day spent skiing at Snow Summit, many children may feel ready to take on some of the more challenging parts of Bear Mountain.

    Family Skiing

    Bear Mountain offers several half-pipes for guests and they’re open to both skiers and snowboarders who want to show off their stuff. The terrain parks range from beginner to expert, so if you have teenagers who are just getting into it — they have an area specifically designated for them.

    Off the Slopes

    Depending on the type of lodging you prefer, there are cabins available for rent if you want a more secluded option for you and your family.

    Bear Mountain also has several dining options close by, many of which have beer on tap for the adults. There is generally a younger crowd at this location, so it may get a bit too loud for young children.

    What We Love About Bear Mountain – Big Bear Lake:

    • Stunning views of Big Bear Lake
    • More options for the adrenaline-seeking family members
    • Multiple terrain parks — segmented by skill level
    • Rentals available for purchase

    Bear Mountain – Big Bear Lake Stats

    Summit Elevation:8805 ft / 2684 metres
    Skiable terrain: 198 acres
    Lifts:12
    Runs:15

    5. Snow Summit – Big Bear Lake

    Snow Summit - Big Bear Lake
    Photo by Travis Rigel Lukas Hornung at licensed under CC BY 2.0

    Snow Summit Ski Resort offers over 240 acres of skiable area with plenty of terrain for all skill levels. Only two miles away is Bear Mountain, the twin park of Snow Summit. They are both included under the Big Bear Lake umbrella. Families can take on both parks with the same lift ticket and find plenty of snow to shred this winter.

    Fun for Kids

    Grizzly Ridge Tube Park is a popular destination for many young kids and it can be a fun way to start the morning or wind down the day. Snow Summit has one of the largest beginner areas in Southern California, making it perfect for young kids who are just trying to find their feet.

    Family Skiing

    If your family is new to skiing and doesn’t yet have their own personal equipment, rentals are available at Snow Summit as well as at the many shops in town. There is a good percentage of beginner runs (19%) and nearly half of the trails are ideal for intermediate-level skiers — giving your family the ability to work up to more challenging runs.

    Off the Slopes

    Only a two-hour drive away from Los Angeles, Snow Summit is a great destination choice for families wanting to stay local. All in all, Snow Summit is the more traditional side and many parents will enjoy the relative calmness within the park — as compared to the rowdy younger crowd over at Bear Mountain.

    What We Love About Snow Summit Big Bear Lake:

    • Guests gain access to two parks on the same ticket
    • Beginner and intermediate trails for a more family-friendly park
    • Close proximity to the city of Los Angeles
    • Night skiing available — unlike at Bear Mountain

    Snow Summit – Big Bear Lake Stats

    Summit Elevation:8200 ft / 2499 metres
    Skiable terrain: 240 acres
    Lifts:16
    Runs:27

    4. Dodge Ridge

    Ski Resort 2

    Since opening in 1950, Dodge Ridge has delighted many generations of avid skiers and snowboarders and continues to host an enjoyable stay for guests each year. A family-friendly resort, Dodge Ridge offers guests the ability to ski with their little ones and enjoy the winter vacation as a family unit.

    Fun for Kids

    Dodge Ridge offers an array of customized lesson packages for children as young as four. For older kids, there are youth group lessons that can take them all the way up to a level 6 advanced skier. There is a focus on bringing up the new generation of skiers, so kids will feel welcome and be able to ski confidently after a few sessions.

    Family Skiing

    Teenagers and older family members will enjoy the many intermediate and advanced ski runs throughout the park, as well as the various terrain parks to show off their sick moves. There are cross country and snowshoeing options at Dodge Ridge for families wanting to slow it down a bit.

    Off the Slopes

    Being the closest snow to the Bay Area, parents will love being in closer proximity to home while traveling with their kiddos. Dodge Ridge makes for a great weekend getaway for the local residents and being so close to Yosemite National Park — there are strikingly beautiful views all around.

    What We Love About Dodge Ridge:

    • 3+ terrain parks that allow guests to test out their skills and tricks
    • First-time lessons with a rental package for an all-in-one experience
    • Parent and child lessons available at the resort
    • Specially designed sliding equipment for those with disabilities

    Dodge Ridge Stats

    Summit Elevation:8200 ft / 2499 metres
    Skiable terrain: 862 acres
    Lifts:12
    Runs:67

    3. Bear Valley

    Bear Valley
    Photo by Richard M Rubin at licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

    Bear Valley Resort offers a range of amenities and lodging options for its guests. There are also a host of programs and lessons for kids and adults who want to up their ski and snowboarding ability. The resort has been hosting families for many years and with such quality service and maintenance of the slopes, people return to the resort generation after generation.

    Fun for Kids

    For those with kids who live nearby, the resort offers mid-week programs during the year. At the nearby Bear Village, kids can enjoy tubing and sledding and play in the large open meadow that makes a great space for building snowmen or having a snowball fight.

    Family Skiing

    Bear Valley offers beginner, intermediate, and advanced skiing classes for any ability level to strengthen their skills on the slopes. Private lessons start for kids as young as 3 years old, so families can bring the little ones and get them on the mountain early.

    For those without ski equipment yet, the resort offers several rental packages to suit your needs.

    Off the Slopes

    There are few things more relaxing than heading back to a warm and cozy lodge at the end of a long day on the slopes. At Bear Valley, you can opt to stay in one of their new glamping tents for a truly unique experience. Make sure to check ahead of time and get your reservation while they’re available!

    What We Love About Bear Valley:

    • Adaptive lessons for those with special needs and lessons for seniors!
    • Snowmobile adventures available at Bear Village
    • Nice variety of trails and terrain
    • Quaint village to explore and enjoy one of the many dining choices

    Bear Valley Stats

    Summit Elevation:8500 ft / 2591 metres
    Skiable terrain: 1680 acres
    Lifts:10
    Runs:56

    2. China Peak

    skiresort3

    Just a few hours from Los Angeles — China Peak Mountain Resort offers a close getaway for the residents of the city. Guests can expect some of the highest-ranking elevations found in the state of California and as a family-owned resort, it’s more affordable than some of the larger resorts in the state.

    Fun for Kids

    China Peak offers a tubing area that begins at only $20 an hour and spans the length of 400 feet. Riders must be 5 years old and above, so you can take your little ones down the hill while the older kids hit the slopes for the afternoon or the whole family can join in on the tubing fun!

    Family Skiing

    With a team of professional and experienced skiing (and snowboarding coaches), the whole family can participate in lessons to brush up on their skills. Whether you’re learning to ski for the very first time or you just want to brush up on your technique, there is a package available for everyone.

    Off the Slopes

    Delicious and hot meals are conveniently located within the resort and you can get your hands on some comfort food such as burgers, chili, and pizza at the Daylodge and Mainstream Station. For the adults, there is a variety of beer on tap at all dining locations so you can relax and unwind after a long day on the mountain.

    What We Love About China Peak:

    • Wide variety of skiing + snowboarding lessons
    • Second-tier snowmaking system for early opening
    • Mighty Mountain Tube Hill for kids of all ages
    • Family-owned resort for a closer-knit experience

    China Peak Stats

    Summit Elevation:8709 ft / 2654 metres
    Skiable terrain: 1400 acres
    Lifts:11
    Runs:52

    1. Mammoth Mountain

    Mammoth
    Photo by Marty B licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

    As you may have gathered from the name, Mammoth Mountain is huge and there is plenty to do and see for everyone in the family. With over 3,500 skiable acres — you’ll have no problem staying entertained for the entirety of your vacation. It’s no wonder Mammoth is such a popular destination during the winter months!

    Fun for Kids

    For young kids (and teenagers!) Woolly’s Tube Park is a great break from skiing and the high-speed lanes offer a revitalizing rush of cold winter. The park offers scenic gondola rides, which are a big hit with the little ones as they can see the view from a bird’s eye view.

    Family Skiing

    If you want to take a break from the slopes for a few hours, the family can put on some Nordic skis or even snowshoes and try cross-country skiing at Mammoth Mountain! The resort also has guided snowmobiling adventures for those who want to take in the mountain scenery from a different point of view.

    Off the Slopes

    At the base of the mountain, visitors can find a wide range of dining options as well as lodges that will happily host them for the duration of their stay. The village often offers live music to entertain guests as well as a lively scene including activities such as karaoke! For the parents, there are plenty of adult beverage options to wind down the evening with.

    What We Love About Mammoth Mountain:

    • Impressive lift infrastructure within the resort
    • Neatly groomed and well-maintained tubing park
    • Beginner runs that are separate from the main trails
    • All ski bases are connected with a free shuttle service

    Mammoth Mountain Stats

    Summit Elevation:11053 ft / 3369 metres
    Skiable terrain: 3500 acres
    Lifts:25
    Runs:150

    Why Choose California for Skiing

    If you’re a local Californian, there are plenty of options to keep your family busy this winter. Many of the ski resorts within the state are family-friendly or at least have family-friendly sections. Kids can start taking lessons at a young age so that they’re able to grow and develop into the sport as they get older.

    Our pick for the best California ski resort is Mammoth Mountain with its vast expanse of land and even the opportunity to try cross-country skiing with your family. We hope the list above helps you find the best California ski resort for you and your loved ones this upcoming season.


    How Did We Order This List?

    To help rank our top selection of ski resorts for this list we compared the following ranking factors:

    👨‍👩‍👦 Ranking Factor📈 Power to affect Rank
    Amount of Beginner Trails (Mi) 4x
    Amount of Skiing Area (Mi) 3x
    Cost of two adult tickets + child ticket1x
    How many magic carpet lifts1x

    We gave each factor its own weighting depending on how important we feel it is for family fun across all ages. For example, a resort with more beginner trails is higher ranked than a resort with a lower-priced family ticket – with all else being equal. That’s because while cost is a factor, it’s not a primary one. We may also use our editorial judgment to remove or add resorts that we believe should make a list.

    When taking all of this into account, it gives us our awesome list above. We hope it was helpful in planning your next family ski vacation.


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    Best Ski Resorts for Families In California

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