Playing in the snow means different things to different people. Going up to snow country takes a little planning, along with lots of chocolate. What’s your choice of play? Where do you go to ski, snowshoe, tube, romp? Here are some suggestions.
1111 Sierra-at-Tahoe Road
Twin Bridges, CA 95735
(530) 659-7453

Whether you are a dedicated powder hound or someone who wants to learn downhill skiing, Sierra-at-Tahoe, off of US Highway 50, is a family-friendly resort that’s the closest resort to the greater Sacramento area. The instructors here are wonderful. Lessons for the kiddies? Yes, from three years old and up. Maybe you’d like to simply go up and experience tubing, which will be found on their Blizzard Mountain tube park. When it’s time to take a break, there’s great food and hot beverages, and plenty of places to watch the fun on the mountain. Sweet.

Adventure Mountain Lake Tahoe
US Highway 50 Echo Summit
(530) 577-4352

Located in a former Olympic training area and ski resort, Adventure Mountain is the perfect place for a day of sledding, tubing or snowshoeing. The sledding and tubing runs are groomed and provide more than enough choices for families to enjoy the day. They have a full stock of rental gear, or you can bring your own. The lodge offers a full menu of goodies and hot drinks, a great rock fireplace, along with plenty of places to enjoy the views. This is a family-run operation, with attention to detail and keeping families happy and safe during a day on the snow. Well worth the trip.

Echo Lake Sno Park
Echo Summit Road
Echo Lake, CA 95721
(530) 543-2600

Perhaps you have your own gear and want to get off the beaten path, but not too far. The sno park at Echo Lakes is a great place to do just that. You do need a sno park permit, either a day pass or a season permit, but they are inexpensive and available at multiple places. From the sno park, you have wonderful opportunities for snowshoeing, just enjoying the high country snow or cross country skiing. You can make your way to Echo Lakes, keeping in mind that a couple of spots are a bit steep if you are on skis, but the payoff is stunning. Pack your own food and water, as there is no lodge or latte cart here.

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Hope Valley Cross Country
14655 State Route 88
Hope Valley, CA 96120
(530) 694-2266

Joyce Coker’s Hope Valley Cross Country is housed in a Yurt and is a truly wonderful place for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. She has plenty of rental gear and offers lessons and expert advice on where to ski in Hope Valley. If you are a beginner, the lessons here are superb. The meadow by the Yurt is where you’ll practice. Bring the children, as the gear quiver includes sizes for the little ones. You can also bring your own gear. The Yurt has a nice selection of goodies, too. It’s off the grid, a lot of fun, and easy to get to.

Camp Richardson Mountain Sports Center
1900 Jameson Beach Road
South Lake Tahoe, CA 96158
(530) 542-6584

The Mountain Sports Center at Camp Richardson offers a unique venue for cross country beginners and showshoers. Rent your gear and head out on the trails behind the center. Cross Emerald Bay road to the lakeside and spend your day in the snow along the shores of Lake Tahoe. Bring your camera. The experience of the Lake Tahoe shoreline in the snow is phenomenal. The terrain is mostly flat around the Center and along the lake. There are plenty of places for good food close by, too. It’s a stunner.

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Charles Ferris is a freelance writer who has lived in the Sierra, halfway between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe, for the last 41 years. In 2010 he retired from teaching after 36 years . He and his wife hike, kayak, cross country ski, snow shoe, ride mountain bikes and road bikes, year round. His work can be found at