mountain high los angeles

90 Minutes to the Beach

Los Angeles has some great Skiing & Snowboarding locations that are active from early December to late April, depending on the weather.  Surrounded by mountains on all sides, the sun kissed beaches of LA are only 90 minutes from some great powder covered mountains.  It is not only possible, but surprisingly common to spend the morning shredding on a local mountain, and the afternoon riding the surf on a Los Angeles beach.

A wise first step in planning a trip to the mountains is a stop at indoor ski and snowboarding training center, Virtual Snow.  Run by world class ski instructor Bob Salerno, Virtual Snow places future skiers and snowboarders into a comfortable harness, and then replaces snow with an oversized treadmill.  The Virtual Snow method makes it so easy to develop the proper muscle memory that numerous students report being able to ski or snowboard effortlessly the first time they hit the mountain.  Results will vary depending on the number of sessions a student attends, but everyone will find that the Virtual Snow method is much more comfortable than bumping your body down a cold mountain. Virtual Snow is Located in Santa Monica and has a sister facility at Mountain High.

mountain high los angeles

Mountain High is one of the closest mountains to LA, and a great place to learn how to ski or snowboard.  Beginners can take advantage of a unique partnership with Virtual Snow that starts with a lesson on a simulator, and moves to the mountain.  Although it has a reputation for being crowded with snowboarders, there are some longer runs that skiers will enjoy at Mountain High as well.

mt baldy california

Mt. Baldy has a cult following among skiers and snowboarders that enjoy natural runs, back mountain detours and devil may care attitude to regulations.  Regulars at Baldy enjoy unmarked trails, and have been known to hitch hike back to the lift.  Even closer to LA than Mountain High, you can ski fresh powder at Baldy, and still be in the office by lunch.  Unfortunately, the same ‘ski at your own risk’ reputation that makes Baldy, also makes it a poor choice for beginners.


About two hours from LA, Big Bear is close enough for a day trip, but is probably better suited for a weekend Ski or Snowboard trip.  Unlike the mountains closer to LA, there are a numerous restaurants and lodging choices, and a decent après-ski scene on the weekends.