Dodge Ridge, Bear Valley prep for opening of 2017-18 ski/board season

Family admires the Sierra scenery from the Boulder Creek Canyon area of Dodge Ridge Ski Resort.

With snow blanketing Sierra, Dodge Ridge and Bear Valley prep for opening of 2017-18 ski/board season

With winter storms beginning to blanket the central Sierra, the two closest resorts to San Joaquin County are gearing up for another snowy season.

Family gears up for fun powder day at Bear Valley Ski Resort.

Dodge Ridge and Bear Valley Ski Resorts are closer than other options in the Lake Tahoe area, as well as family-friendly, less expensive and don’t require summiting a mountain pass to reach the ski areas. From my north Stockton home, Dodge Ridge is just 98 miles, Bear Valley, 106 miles – each only about two hours distant! Here are updates:

Bear Valley Features New High-Speed Chairlift; First six-pack in the Central Sierra: Skyline Bear Valley Resorts announces a November 24 opening and the debut of a new high-speed six-pack chairlift that will transport six passengers at a time from the mid-mountain ski lodge to the top of the mountain nearly three times faster than the previous lift. The new lift replaces the Bear chairlift, increasing guest uphill capacity of the mountain’s main artery.

The detachable chairlift in Bear Valley will be the first six-pack installed in California’s Central Sierra. The speed-reducing detachable lift technology provides guests with a relaxed loading and unloading experience, while reducing wait times in lift lines or on the lift. The new lift will carry guests to the mountain’s peak in just over three minutes.

Skier hucks off cliff in Bear Valley's Grizzly Bowl area.

“We are thrilled to announce yet another major improvement to the mountain that will greatly enhance the guest experience for this coming winter season,” said Andrea Young, general manager at Bear Valley. “In the past three years, Skyline has invested over $7 million into Bear Valley with a focus on creating high quality adventures for the entire family for winter and summer recreation.”

The new lift unloading terminal extends one hundred twenty feet further uphill than the previous lift, providing improved access to intermediate and advanced terrain, along with providing service to Bear West (aka Backside), the Village Side and all areas in the Upper and Lower Mountain bowls.

Bear Valley is introducing dynamic pricing for daily unrestricted lift tickets. Guests can save up to 25% by purchasing tickets in advance on the company’s new ecommerce store shop.bearvalley.com. Price ranges will be as follows:

Adults $74-$95
Teen (13-19) $64-$78
Child (6-12) $26-$36
Kinder (5 and under) $12-$19
Senior (65-74) $41-$57
Super Senior (75+) Free/Free
Military Discount (Sundays are always free) $25/$25

Crowd gathers just above Bear Valley's mid-mountain day lodge.

Bear Valley is known for its warm, welcoming staff, affordable ticket prices, terrain variety, and a commitment to providing the ultimate mountain experience.  The mountain offers 1,680 acres of varied terrain, 8 chairs (2 high-speed) and 2 surface lifts, more than 70 trails (and access to “side country” adventure terrain), two terrain parks with 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.

More information is available at bearvalley.com.

Dodge Ridge's Kid's Club members pose for picture.

Dodge Ridge, family-owned and family-loved since 1950: Dodge Ridge awaits another storm before announcing opening day. What’s remarkable about this resort is that throughout its 68 year history the resort remains family-owned and loved by generations of families since its opening in 1950.

If you’ve followed the ski industry lately, you know this is becoming a rarity in the ski industry. Most resorts are now corporate-owned; with Dodge Ridge this family-owned and family-loved aspect makes the resort something special and translates to activities and programs focused upon families:

• It translates to the resort’s relationship with their guests and the way staff is trained
• Most people who work here grew up skiing and riding here; their families come here and their children come here. There’s a huge multi-generational segment of the resort’s guests.
• If you ski at Dodge Ridge frequently it’s common to see someone you know.
• Families can unwind at the Family Lodge, with ski/board rentals and the Creekside Lodge all residing in a compact, walkable and family-friendly base area.
• Opening day of each season is something akin to a family reunion, with old friends catching up with each other before they hit the mountain.

Skier schusses the trees in Dodge Ridge's Sonora Bowl area.

Dodge Ridge is widely known as the place where everyone learned to ski. That reflects upon the caliber of the resort’s lesson programs, honed and perfected over the years. New skiers and boarders as young as 2 years old, up to any age, get their start here.

Dodge Ridge takes lessons beyond the single interaction. A main goal is to help people develop a life-long love of the sport – whether skiing at Dodge Ridge or anywhere else in the world – the resort aims to create that foundation for life on the slopes. This only adds to the multi-generational element of families here at Dodge Ridge as the resort constantly focuses upon the family-owned + family-loved history of the mountain.

The resort focuses upon development of a lifelong love of the sport through daily lesson programs,  progression through all lesson levels along with the care devoted to instructor training.

Youngsters as young as age two get a start in Dodge Ridge ski lessons!

Dodge Ridge lesson programs include:
• Kids Club 7 Pack + Youth Season Pass (ages 4 – 12)
• Progression Pass (Levels 1 – 3 / Ages 13+)
• Summit Pass (Levels 4 – 6 / Ages 13+)
• Intro To Snow: One on one private lessons for kids as young as 2 years old
While Dodge Ridge has wonderful terrain for learning and works to teach the masses to ski and ride, the resort also offers incredible tree skiing and advanced terrain, with about 40% rated for advanced skiers.

What you see when you arrive at our base area is only a small sliver of the mountain. The skiable 862 acres extends far off to the east, to our backside and Chair 8 terrain with remarkable variety and stunning Sierra views into Boulder Canyon. With 1,600 vertical feet serviced by 8 chairlifts, a T-bar, rope tow and two magic carpet lifts, Dodge Ridge has something to offer for beginners all the way to adrenaline-fueled skiers and riders.

Dodge Ridge offers the closest ski area to all Bay Area and Central Valley locations. On a normal day, you can drive from the Bay Area in less than 3 hours, offering easy to access and no mountain passes to traverse. A majority of the route along all-weather Hwy. 108 is below the snowline, which makes it one of the easiest ski commutes available.

For more information, dodgeridge.com or phone (209)965-3474.

Bring the family to Bear Valley and Dodge Ridge this year!

Contact Tim at tviall@msn.com, follow him at recordnet.com/travelblog. Happy skiing in the Sierra!

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    Tim Viall

    Viall is a local travel writer who retired in late 2012 after 10 years as executive director of Stockton, CA's, Emergency Food Bank and six years with the Downtown Stockton Alliance. Previously, a 21-year career in daily newspapers helped shape his ... Read Full
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