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Olympic Valley, CA

Squaw is the American birthplace of extreme skiing. About 25 ago, Squaw locals began skiing impossible lines from the Palisades, essentially a cliff with snow stuck to it. In the early 1980s, Scot Schmidt, arguably the father of extreme skiing, arrived in Squaw to pull 100-foot cliff ...

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South Lake Tahoe, CA, CA

Heavenly is unique in that it sprawls across state boundaries. Part of the ski area is in California and part is in Nevada, and for my money, the Nevada part is the better part. The fall line is more sustained, meaning that runs tend to be longer.

For novice skiers, Heavenly can be ...

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Mammoth Lakes, CA

For once, the hyperbole actually applies. A summit elevation of 11,053 feet and a hefty 3,100-foot vertical drop are just some Mammoth stats that don't need any embroidering by Bay Area marketing whiz kids. The mountain is served by 28 lifts numbered in the order they were built, giving a nod to ...

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Kirkwood, CA

Steeps might be Kirkwood's forté, but there is also a fair amount of beginner terrain from the Snowkirk and Bunny lifts. The Bunny Lift is a particularly good spot for first-timers; it's out of the main flow of skier traffic so you won't be intimidated by crowds of faster skiers whizzing ...

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Budget  California 

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Tahoe City, CA

Of all the major resorts around Tahoe, Alpine is probably the last place you'd want to come to learn to ski. A handful of short, beginner runs are found at the base of the mountain, but that's about it. To enjoy the rest of the mountain, you'll need solid intermediate skills.

For experts ...

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California 

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Truckee, CA

Look at the trail map, and it might seem as though there is relatively little beginner terrain. But trust me—most of the intermediate runs at Northstar ski more like novice runs, and most of the advanced runs ski like intermediate runs. I've heard north-shore locals deride Northstar, ...

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Norden, CA

The basic Sugar Bowl recipe: Take everything you've got at Squaw, simmer until reduced by about a half, and add snow. I know that Squaw reports more snow in an average winter, but somehow the snow seems deeper and more plentiful at Sugar Bowl. After all, it's just a couple of miles from where ...

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California 

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Big Bear Lake, CA

On paper (or these days, online), you peek at those vital numbers that skiers look for in a mountain and Big Bear can't possibly measure up, especially with its northern neighbors in the Tahoe region. A mere 55 runs, a vertical topping out at 1,665 feet, and average yearly snowfall of only 100 ...

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California 

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Twin Bridges, CA

With trails cutting through dense evergreen forests, Sierra at Tahoe evokes images of its sister resort—Northstar—only Sierra has a slightly steeper pitch. The compact base area and no-frills, laid-back atmosphere (as exemplified by its motto, "Just Chill") also make Sierra, like ...

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California 

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Homewood, CA

Homewood is something of a surprise. Roughly halfway between the communities on the north shore and the congestion of the south shore, it is in something of a no-man's-land and is often overlooked. Yet it's a pretty substantial ski area that packs a pretty substantial wallop. There are lines on ...

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Here are results 1-10 of 13

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