California Ski Safari
Self-drive between Lake Tahoe’s ski resorts, visit Mammoth Mountain and take a road-trip to LA or Las Vegas.
Enviable sunshine, laidback culture and spectacular desert scenery: skiing in California is truly unique. More than half of our team have experienced this ski safari, and it’s become one of our favourites thanks to California’s great snow and huge diversity.
Lake Tahoe’s nine resorts are the focus of your adventure. Heavenly is the lowest-cost hotel base, while Squaw Valley has the best quality ski in/out properties. Smaller resorts, such as Northstar and Kirkwood, are easy to visit by car, shuttle bus, or even by taking the paddle-steamer across the lake.
California’s scenic driving routes add another dimension and, beyond Tahoe, lesser-visited resorts such as Mammoth Mountain create a real feeling of exploration and discovery.
Flying into San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz are obvious reasons to stay a night or two, and we can’t recommend Chinatown enough - it’s the largest one outside Asia. Self-driving your way south through California, you could finish your adventure either with Los Angeles’ city beaches and the Hollywood Hills, or with the glitzy shows and 24-hour casinos in Las Vegas.
This sample itinerary is our suggestion of how you could divide your time between skiing, travelling and sightseeing.
All our ski safaris are completely customisable, and you can adjust the itinerary to suit your preferences - more skiing, more time in the cities, or by following our route in reverse.
Fly direct to San Francisco, arriving early afternoon. You’ll have enough time to experience the spectacular shopping at Union Square before heading into Chinatown for dim sum and steamed dumplings.
Wake up early for a boat cruise under the Golden Gate Bridge and out to Alcatraz. Spend the afternoon exploring at your leisure - we recommend visiting the art museums and famous cable cars, as well as Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39.
Drive to Lake Tahoe at your leisure and enjoy the 3-4 hour road-trip, taking your time around the lakeshore to enjoy the beautiful views. Take the rest of the day to settle-in and sort out your ski gear.
Heavenly - On Tahoe’s south shore, California’s largest resort has slopes that cross into Nevada, and casinos in the resort village. Completely unique, it’s our favourite Tahoe base. Kirkwood and Sierra at Tahoe are two of the nearest neighbouring resorts.
Squaw Valley - This north shore resort has both challenging back country and excellent beginner slopes, as well as good value luxury hotels. It’s an hour’s drive from heavenly, while Northstar, Alpine Meadows and Mount Rose are nearby.
Tahoe road-trip - From Lake Tahoe, make a three or four hour road trip through the Sierra Nevada mountains to Mammoth. It’s worth timing your drive to see lakes Mono and Topz at sunset.
Mammoth - Spend three days enjoying huge open bowls and steep glades in this super-sunny resort. The Terrain Parks are also some of the best in the world and the après bars are excellent.
Las Vegas & Death Valley
Vegas road-trip - Drive to Las Vegas through the Death Valley and go from 10,000ft high at Mammoth to 200ft below sea level on the desert floor. Stop at sunset and watch the shadows shift across the desert.
Las Vegas - Stay a night in Vegas and experience the light shows, casinos and flamboyant hotels. With more time, you could drive out to the Hoover Dam, go Factory Store Outlet Shopping, or take a helicopter tour to Grand Canyon.
Los Angeles - Alternatively, fly home from Los Angeles to visit Universal Studios, spot Hollywood celebrities and stroll along Venice Beach.