More skiing news; Bear Valley, Dodge Ridge…and Mono County as a cross-country ski Mecca!

I wrote a few days earlier about skiing, boarding and cross-country skiing near Stockton, at both Dodge Ridge and Bear Valley ski areas.  Both our favorite resorts sent more insight than could be contained in my Stockton Record feature, and my earlier blog post, so, passing more insight along, direct from the two resorts (as noted earlier, favorites in my book, and closest great skiing to Stockton).

Another favorite destination for us is Mono County, with both lots of cross country skiing and snowshoeing options in the winter (and, downhill skiing and boarding isn’t too bad, with both Mammoth Mountain and June Mountain ski areas, too).  Below is a recent release from the folks across the Sierra crest; I have not visited all these XC areas, but they sure sound good – and, I can vouch for the scenery!

Bear Valley Opening Day Scheduled for Saturday, November 28
Recent storms set the stage for 2015-16 season kick-off; Opening weekend includes Winterfest celebration, hiring fair and more

Recent storms have provided an ideal snow base for Bear Valley to kick off the 2015-16 winter season Saturday, November 28. Lifts will start turning at 9 a.m. and guests will have the opportunity to enjoy an entire weekend of skiing, snowboarding and family activities.

The most recent weather system brought more than 12 inches to Bear Valley, totaling more than 25 inches for the season. Additional snow making on the mountain covering 100 acres of terrain has started and another expected weather system will have the destination in terrific condition for opening day.

Two teens ascend the chair at Bear Valley on a sunny day; photo from early last ski season.

“We’ve been out packing snow throughout the mountain to ensure great coverage and a solid base. Meanwhile temperatures have become great for snow making,” said Mattly Trent, Director of Guest Safety for Bear Valley. “Winter has been shaping up nicely here in Bear Valley and we’re excited about opening over Thanksgiving weekend.”

Winterfest at Bear Valley kicks off Thursday, November 26 with a Thanksgiving Dinner prepared by Bear Valley Executive Chef Bob Mason.  The weekend will continue with a brand new backcountry film on Friday. November 27.  The weekend includes live music, a bonfire, open house events and great deals at Reba Sports.

The Bear Valley Season Pass promotion is extended through Nov 15, visit bearvalley.com and enter promo code “grapes” to save $150 off an adult unlimited pass for the 2015/16 season.

2015/16 Winter Job Openings: For those passionate about skiing and/or snowboarding with intermediate skills, are friendly, professional, and enjoy diverse and challenging opportunities then Bear Valley is encouraging applications for a ski/snowboard instructor position. Bear Valley Mountain and Bear Valley Lodge and Village offer a variety of fun and challenging positions in a spectacular and unique mountain environment. A complete list of job openings is available at www.bearvalley.com and there will be a job fair throughout the opening weekend.

About Bear Valley Mountain & Bear Valley Village: Bear Valley Mountain and Village is the premier family mountain sports and lodging destination in the Central Sierra.  Located between Yosemite and Lake Tahoe on National Scenic Byway Highway 4, and surrounded by two of California’s largest federally designated wilderness areas, outdoor activities in Bear Valley are abundant. Bear Valley Resorts is known for its warm, welcoming staff, affordable ticket prices, a variety of terrain, and a commitment to providing the ultimate mountain experience.  The ski and board area offers 1,680 acres of varied terrain, more than 70 trails, two terrain parks featuring more than 18 features, and 1,900 vertical feet.  Bear Valley averages over 30 feet of annual snowfall per year.

Bear Valley Village is home to a variety of services, shops, restaurants and a wide range of accommodations.  Winters provide skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, sledding, snowshoeing and snowmobiling.  Hiking, fishing, cycling, rock climbing, kayaking, camping and a variety of cultural events make for a perfect summer of activities. More information is available at www.bearvalley.com.

Dodge Ridge, what’s new and unique for 2015/16

Closest ski resort to both the Bay Area and the Central Valley, is looking forward to an El Niño-fueled winter ahead

Dodge Ridge; Pinecrest, CA:  Dodge Ridge Ski Resort, the closest ski resort to both the Bay Area and the Central Valley, is looking forward to an El Niño-fueled winter ahead with new season pass holder perks, one-of-a-kind lesson programs and special events.

Welcoming the return of El Niño: Researchers with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are reporting that the El Niño pattern currently building in the Pacific looks to be the strongest such pattern in a generation – strong enough to rival the El Niño cycles of the snowy 1997/98 and 1982/83 winters. OpenSnow also recently released its prediction that Dodge Ridge will receive between 102-136% of its average snowfall this winter. These forecasts correspond with Dodge Ridge’s historical records, for example in the winter of 1997/98 the resort received 475 inches of snowfall at the base (146% of normal) and was open for an extended 131-day season.

Dodge Ridge Progression Pass: The Dodge Ridge Progression Pass offers guests a season’s worth of unlimited lessons, rentals and a lower-mountain season pass for just $219. Recognized as an amazing introduction to the sport of skiing or snowboarding, the Progression Pass is the perfect gateway to a lifetime’s enjoyment of skiing + riding.

Elan Explore Learn-To-Ski Program – All Inclusive Private Lesson Program: Brand new for the 2015/16 season, the Elan Explore Learn-To-Ski Program offers beginner skiers the option of purchasing, at an incredibly discounted price, a new set of Elan Explore QT skis and bindings which have been specifically designed for beginners looking to take their skills to the next level. Featuring beginner-friendly features such as early-rise rocker for easier sliding and turn initiation, and parabolic sidecut for easier carving, the Elan Explore QT skis are the perfect platform for the aspiring intermediate skier. The Elan Explore Program package also includes 3 private lessons with complimentary lift tickets, a season long locker at Dodge Ridge to store your gear in and 20% off your regular priced boot purchase in the Dodge Ridge Sport Shop. This package is available while supplies last for only $899 for adults / Teens and $699 for youth (ages 6 – 12).

First Tracks days + free demos for season pass holders: Dodge Ridge season pass holders will enjoy exclusive early lift access at least three times throughout the 2015/16 season on designated First Tracks days this winter. This means bonus untracked powder runs and perfectly-groomed corduroy available exclusively for pass holders. Plus, as an added bonus, pass holders can take their First Tracks’ runs on the latest demo skis and snowboards from the Dodge Ridge Sport Shop compliments of Dodge Ridge, while supplies last.

Family gathers on the Graceland run, off Dodge Ridge’s Chair 8, for both a cool photo op and wonderful scenery.

Children’s lesson programs for ages 2+: While most ski resorts start their children’s lesson programs at age four, Dodge Ridge’s Intro to Snow program provides gentle one-on-one introduction to skiing or snowboarding for kids as young as age two. Two hours of instruction is customized to each child’s interests and abilities and takes place both inside the Dodge Ridge Kid’s Club facility and outside in the Children’s Learning Area. The Intro to Snow program is available daily on the hour, anytime between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Master’s ski clinics focused on skiers aged 50+ /Begins January 2016: Dodge Ridge’s Master’s Clinics feature specialized instructors who will guide participants through efficient progressions for establishing a strong body position on skis while allowing for the least amount of resistance on their muscles and skeletal frame. The Master’s Clinics are a great way for older skiers to improve in a relaxed atmosphere, meet new friends and develop the skills and techniques to keep skiing in all conditions for years to come. These workshops are offered on Thursdays and Sundays starting in January during the 2015/16 season.

Golden ticket to holiday gift giving: 20% pass holder discount in Sport Shop: All season long, Dodge Ridge season pass holders will receive 20% off all regularly-priced items in the Sport Shop. With a selection of skis from Volkl, Rossignol and Nordica, and snowboards from Burton plus apparel and accessories from Volcom, Spyder, Helly Hansen, Spy, Von Zipper, Smith, Giro and more, the Dodge Ridge Sport Shop might just be the perfect one-stop holiday shop for the avid skier or rider on your Christmas list.

Additional new season pass holder perks: Pass holders receive 50% off the regular price of a single ski or snowboard tune-up – including minor base repair, belt and stone grinding, edge leveling and sharpening, and a fresh coat of wax – any time during the season. Also, in an effort to make skiing and snowboarding more accessible, pass holders can bring a friend (age 13+) to Dodge Ridge to enjoy $59 Learn to Ski/Ride Lesson Packages (Levels 1 & 2) this season. This offer is normally $84 and is only available Sunday through Friday, excluding holidays.

For more information or to purchase any of our products, please feel free to give us a call at (209) 965-3474 or go online to DodgeRidge.com

About Dodge Ridge Ski Resort: Located in Pinecrest off Highway 108, Dodge Ridge is the closest skiing and riding to both the Bay Area and Central Valley locations. The resort offers 1,600 vertical feet, 67 runs, 12 lifts and 862 acres of skiable terrain. For reservations and additional information please visit DodgeRidge.com or call (209) 965-3474. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram @DodgeRidge and Twitter @DodgeRidge.

News from MONO COUNTY, Calif. – Cross-country skiing in the Eastern Sierra is an experience of unparalleled scenery, serenity, fitness and fun for beginners to experts, thanks to the varied terrain and unrivaled backdrop of the Sierra Nevada landscape.

Eastern Sierra  Nordic skiers head for the Sierra high country!

Tamarack Cross-Country Ski Center in Mammoth Lakes is the largest Nordic resort in the region with 30 kilometers (19 miles) of cross-country skiing trails that wind through breathtaking alpine scenery. Summer’s paved roads in the Mammoth Lakes Basin, linking five lakes, become miles of groomed cross-country ski trails in the winter with views of the Mammoth Crest, Sherwin Ridge and Crystal Crag. Opens Nov. 21, 2015, conditions permitting.

Shady Rest Park, right in the Town of Mammoth Lakes, also provides a 1.8-mile groomed track, free of charge, weather permitting.

Enjoy a more remote Nordic skiing experience at the Rock Creek Lodge, which offers winterized overnight cabins, 15 kilometers of groomed track, access to back-country terrain, as well as fine dining in a forested, ski-in setting. A snowmobile taxi is available for guests checking in, and every evening to bring folks up for Adventure Dining – a four-course, prix fix gourmet menu, served family-style. Reservations are required. Open mid-December through the first weekend in April.

Silver Meadow in June Lake makes for a great cross-country ski for families or beginner skiers, thanks to its easy two-kilometer track, but the stunning scenery below the Sierra Crest makes it a must-do for all ability levels. Free; open and groomed based on snow conditions.

The right amount of snowfall allows for cross-country skiing at Mono Lake which can be an “otherworldly” experience with the occurrence of freezing fog, called “pogonip.” The icy fog laces and layers the famous limestone tufa towers with a delicate, sparkling sheen of ice crystals. Follow directional signs to South Tufa from SR 120 East, off US 395.  Contact the Mono Lake Committee Visitor Information Center (open year-round), for more details.

Bald Mountain and Obsidian Dome between Mammoth Lakes and June Lake, just off U.S. Highway 395, are also popular cross-country ski areas, when conditions permit. The dark, volcanic Obsidian Dome is set off in stark contrast in snowy conditions and shouldn’t be missed. Free; Obsidian Dome track is groomed periodically by the Inyo National Forest Service.

At the northern end of Mono County, the Bridgeport Winter Recreation Area off Sonora Pass Road (SR 108) is open for winter adventuring. Again, depending on snow conditions, this multi-use wilderness area welcomes advanced cross-country skiers, snowshoers, and snowmobilers to explore the spectacular mountain terrain. Day-use permits are mandatory but free of charge. Stop by the Bridgeport Ranger Station located just south of Bridgeport on US 395, or click here for more information and to fill a permit out in advance.

More info: Bear Valley Ski Resort, bearvalley.com, 209.753.2301; Dodge Ridge Ski Resort, dodgeridge.com, 209.965.3474; to find out more about cross-country skiing in Mono County, or dining and lodging options, call 800-845-7922 or go to www.monocounty.org.

Contact Tim Viall at tviall@msn.com. Follow him at recordnet.com/travelblog. Think snow, and happy travels in the West!

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