Photo Essay: A Winter Tour of California

Y'all, winter has come to California, and it's still coming. Just how much? Well many California ski resorts reached their total snowfalls for all of last year by the first or second week of January. And just over this past weekend, certain parts of the Sierra Nevadas saw several feet of snow, with more snow forecasted this week. Yes, FEET. But this whole winter and winter sports thing is a new thing for me. My first (and only) attempt to ski took place in West Virginia as a teen, and I resorted to simply snow tubing on the second day of the trip after I couldn't make it all the way down the bunny slope even once on the first day. But now in year three of snowboarding and I'm a little obsessive. Yet saying that this is the best or my favorite winter to date is a little skewed.

The numbers, on the other hand, are not skewed and do not lie. As I already mentioned, most California ski resorts surpassed last year's snowfall totals in January, with many Lake Tahoe ski resorts having more than 150%-200% of their average snowpack. And with several weeks of ski season left, some Northern California ski resorts have surpassed 300 inches of snow, including Northstar California, which has nearly 400 inches of snow on the year. Even Olympic gold medalist snowboarder Hannah Teter remarked that it's been some of the best Lake Tahoe ski conditions in years.

To put this all into perspective, this the view of Lake Tahoe from Heavenly Mountain during the middle of winter last year:

And this was the view of Lake Tahoe from Heavenly Mountain before even the first official day of winter:

This trend continues further south, too, such as in Mammoth Lakes, at another California ski resort, where Mammoth Mountain recently surpassed 300 inches of snow for the year, and received several feet this past weekend. Just north of Mammoth Mountain is its sister resort, June Mountain Ski Area. This is a photo of June Lake last year during the month of March:

And this was June Lake at the beginning of the winter this year (Yes, this is nearly the same lake, from nearly the same spot):

I've been fortunate to snowboard many of California's ski resorts this winter, from Southern California's Bear Mountain all the way up through the Sierra Nevadas and several of Lake Tahoe's ski resorts. I had always heard people talk about the difference between riding on consistent fresh powder, but to experience it first-hand, was something else. Not to mention it makes a soft landing for those times that I've bit the dust powder.

So as we enter the spring skiing season in California, plus with the onslaught of snow that has come to California's ski resorts this week, it only seemed appropriate to share some of my favorite photos from this winter across California. Needless to say, there's still a heckuva lot of good skiing and snowboarding yet this California ski season.

Bear Mountain

Snowboarding Bear Mountain, California
Snowboarding Bear Mountain, California

Mammoth Lakes and Mammoth Mountain Ski Area

June Lake

South Lake Tahoe

North Lake Tahoe

What's your favorite California ski resort?