Skiing close to home, Bear Valley and Dodge Ridge; Martin Luther King holiday and coming events!

Family enjoys the snow and takes in the view from Boulder Creek Canyon at Dodge Ridge Ski Area.

Bear Valley has sunny skies, and a great view looking down into the Mokelumne River Valley to its north.

It’s Martin Luther King’s Birthday and holiday weekend coming up; and that means your two ski areas with “closest snows to the Central Valley” have a few special treats in store to go with good snows and sunny skies!  And, some weather is predicted in next 4-5 days; think snow!

Dodge Ridge Resort

Dodge Ridge, the closest resort to my north Stockton home at 98 miles, reports the following:
The resort’s Sean Waterman notes the Dodge Ridge Race Team Delivers a Commanding Performance at the USSA Far West Central Series Rassmusen Classic Slalom and Giant Slalom Race.

Sixty-four total U8 – U14 racers (ages 13 and under) got the USSA Far West Central Series Junior Race Season underway at Bear Valley this past weekend.  The Dodge Ridge Race Team took a commanding position this past weekend, January 10 & 11, winning the first Far West Central Series Ski Race of the 2015 season against teams from Bear Valley, China Peak, and Yosemite Winter Club.  The two day Slalom and Giant Slalom event hosted by Bear Valley kicked off the USSA Far West Central Series with anxious racers vying for the top position in this first time trial race of the season.   

Highlights from the weekend include 1st  place podiums in 5 of the 12 races across all divisions with 24 of 36 medals awarded going to the Dodge Ridge Race Team (DRRT).   

The U10 (ages 9 and under) girls division was dominated by Meara McCarthy and Avery Booth with Booth finishing 1st  on Saturday and 2nd on Sunday and McCarthy finishing 3rd both days with fellow teammate Sarah Azevedo taking 2nd place on Saturday. The U10 boys division was strong as well with Owen Bartholow picking up a 2nd  place finish with Tej Suklikar in 3rd  on Saturday. On Sunday the two racers swapped positions with Suklikar in 2nd and Bartholow 3rd.  

For the U12 (age 10 & 11) boys Evan Lear dominated the weekend with a 2nd place on Saturday and a win on Sunday with DRRT racer Ian Fergunson in 3rd on Saturday. Lear recorded the fastest single run of the weekend on Saturday and had the fastest overall combined time on Sunday. In the U12 girls division Victoria Gast finished 3rd on Saturday and Rylie Booth earned the 3rd spot on the podium on Sunday. 
Dodge Ridge’s U14 (age 12 & 13) division was just as successful with Ava Law in 2nd on Saturday and 1st place on Sunday followed by Jensen Perry in 3rd place on both days. 

In the U14 boys division,  Dodge Ridge’s Varun Suklikar won on both days and he was followed by Ethan Perry in 2nd on Saturday and 3rd on Sunday with Stash Perry in 2nd on Sunday.  In addition, Ava Law and Varun Suklikar received special recognition on Sunday for having the fastest male and female combined times for the entire weekend.  

Congratulations to all of the competitors from this past weekend whose team spirit and commitment continually pushes the sport of ski racing in a positive direction. A big thank you also goes out to Bear Valley for preparing the race course for the Rassmusen Classic. 

The next USSA Far West Central Series races will be held at Dodge Ridge, February 7 & 8 as they host the annual Ryan Lavagnino Classic Giant Slalom event.  Races to follow will be at China Peak on February 28 and March 1, Yosemite/Badger Pass on March 14 & 15, and finally moving on to the U14 Championships at Squaw Valley on March 26-29  and the U10/U12 Championships at Northstar April 4-7. Visit for details.   

Located in Tuolumne County off highway 108, Dodge Ridge is by far the closest skiing and riding to Bay Area & Central Valley locations. The resort offers 1,600 vertical feet, 67 runs, 12 lifts and 852 acres of skiable terrain. For reservations and additional information please visit or call (209) 965-3474. 

Editor’s clarification to my Record feature that ran January 8 (find it at The first version of this feature read: “Dodge Ridge’s access road also offers several places where you can use those sleds or inner tubes!”; the ski area management wanted to clarify that sentence, along these lines: “Under Dodge Ridge’s permit agreement with the US Forest Service we can not have any sledding within our permit area. That area extends down Dodge Ridge Road to the big rock and the area extends well beyond this section of Dodge Ridge Road”.

Bear Valley Resort:

Just a few miles further distant  (just over 100 miles from my home), Bear Valley Resort’s Rosie Sundell offers this info for the Martin Luther King weekend – this weekend!  She notes there are countless reasons to choose Bear Valley for the holiday weekend including some of the best skiing/boarding conditions in Northern California, lift lines that allow barely enough time to upload a snowy selfie and not one, but four performances by indie alt-rocker Megan Slankard. <>

 As long as we are talking about PURE MOUNTAIN FUN…the Torchlight Parade<> is high on the list. If you’ve participated then you know what we are talking about. If not, well, make 2015 the year to do it. Many of our guests make it an annual tradition for family and friends and this year we will be running Rodeo and Porridge bowl, so if you are a low intermediate to advanced level skier and can wield a torch, be sure to sign up. Space is limited so stop by early.

 Here is how the day will unfold.  When the lifts stop turning this Saturday, Winter Explosion festivities begin! <>

 Winter Explosion @ BVM Breakdown:
 * Torchlight Parade SIGN-UP -Sunroom between 1-4pm @ the kiosk
 * Sledding after the lifts stop turning approx 4:15pm
 * Megan Slankard @/near Monte Wolfe Saloon 4:15pm
 * Mexican Fiesta – 5:00pm
 * Kid-Friendly Flick approx 5:15pm
 * LOAD CHAIR – 6:00pm Torch Light Parade… featuring YOU + YOUR FAMILY approx 6:20pm
 * Fireworks Approx 6:30pm
 * Head to the Village for more Megan Slankard after the fireworks

After the fun at Bear Valley Mountain subsides, head to Bear Valley Village for a full-length show from Megan Slankard beginning at 7:30 PM in the Cathedral Lounge of the Bear Valley Lodge. Grab a beverage and try out the new menus at one of the village eateries! A perfect end, we think, to a perfect day.

How to get there: The start of the route from Stockton is the same for both ski resorts; take Highway 4 30 miles east to Copperopolis.  There, to reach Dodge Ridge, go right/south on O Bryrne’s Ferry Road, then left/east on Highway 108 to the ski area. For Bear Valley, stay on Hwy. 4 all the way to the ski area.

What to take: Pack cold weather gear, skis, boards, binoculars, camera, snacks for the trip and chains are always advised for winter weather.
What’s nearby: Calaveras Big Trees State Park along Hwy. 4; Columbia State Historic Park just off Hwy. 49 (a Gold Rush town preserved) and Jamestown’s Railtown 1897 (the Sierra Railroad) just off Hwy. 108.

For more information: Bear Valley Ski Resort,, 209.753.2301; Dodge Ridge Ski Resort,, 209.965.3474.

For additional travel destination inspiration, see my blog: travel; to contact me,

Think snow, and happy winter travels in the West!

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