Ski resort trips around California

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of October 9-15, 1997
Ski resort trips around California
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Ski resort trips around California
Question: We are three guys from Denmark going to a meeting in San Diego October 30-November 7. After the meeting we are planning to go diving and skiing in California. My question is: Are there any ski resorts open at that time of year, and is there any you’d recommend? If you could help me I’d be very happy.

Lars Engelholm
[email protected]

Adventure Adviser: Unless El Niño rumors are true and the western United States starts getting snow by the dumptruck load, I'm afraid I can't find a resort that opens as early as November 7.

As far as I can tell, the earliest any mountain opens in the United States is mid-November, which really means late November. My suggestion is that you go diving in the Channel Islands for a few weeks until the snow starts to fly.

Channel Islands diving is supposed to be pretty spectacular; you'll find an interesting mixture of giant kelp forests which hide sea bass, sea lions, and possibly a great white shark or two lurking in the depths.

For dive trips, call Truth Aquatics in Santa Barbara at 805-962-1127. They offer one- to five-day dive trips for $60 to $377. You'll also need to obtain a free dive permit from Channel Islands National Park (805-658-5711). If you don't have access to a boat, Island Packers (805-642-7688) will ferry you to the islands for about $40.

If you can stay in the United States until November 23 or so, most of the ski areas around Lake Tahoe will be open. Though Tahoe is approximately 600 miles northeast of San Diego, you won't want to miss this truly American-style skiing Mecca, complete with casinos, glitzy hotels, and funky aprés-ski bars.

It may be the typical American sprawl, but by no means is it a schlocky destination. From almost every slope you can take in the shimmering waters of Lake Tahoe, and when your joints can take no more bumps, head up to Squaw Valley's new High Camp. At 8,200 feet, the complex offers ice skating, bungee jumping, swimming, and tennis.

When the time comes to ski again, head to Kirkwood, where in 1994 the mountain got 5 feet of snow on November 29. The general Lake Tahoe information and reservation number is 888-988-2463 (note this toll-free number is only accessible from within the United States).

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