Dodge Ridge and Bear Valley are officially open for the 2015-16 winter season.
The mountains continue to get layered with fresh powder already more than in the previous four years.
It couldn’t be at a better time to hit the slopes as the region welcomes El Niño and its promised storms.
“I had no expectations this year that is why I didn’t order a tone of stuff because I'm still in survival mode,” said Sunsports owner and avid skier Denis Sondeno. “Now I have to reorder and move things around, which is a good problem to have.”
After a disappointing season last year, things are already shaping up for 209 mountain resorts, both within 106 miles or less from Turlock.
As of Dec. 22, Dodge Ridge has recorded over 31 inches of snowfall and Bear Valley has experienced 58 inches.
Both are located in the Stanislaus National Forest and within a reasonable proximity to Turlock and offer various attractions for the entire family.
Bear Valley is located in the heart of the Sierra Nevada, between Lake Tahoe and Yosemite. Dodge Ridge is located just past Sonora in Pinecrest and both are open from 9 a.m. till 4 p.m. daily.
“Usually, I like to go during [January] to either Dodge or Bear since I am at the store for the most part,” said Sondeno. “But the snow has been good, it’s been dumping good locally which is nice we just need to continue the coverage of snow and get more towards the end of the season as well.”
Both Bear and Dodge are also very accessible to new ski or snowboard enthusiasts by providing lessons for an affordable price.
Prices vary depending on the person’s age and date of lesson, but run from half-day package, full-day or lessons only.
Dodge Ridge adult lift tickets are $68 for all day and $58 for half day and can be purchased at local Save Marts at a discounted rate. Military members also receive a discount as do children and seniors.
Bear Valley adult lift tickets range from $69 to $59 for teens (13-19) and $25 for children from ages 6-12. Kids under the age of 5 are just $10. Seniors over the age of 75 get free admission.
Bear Valley Mountain has partnered with select Northern California retail stores to offer unrestricted, direct-to-lift, discounted Lift Tickets. These tickets are up to $12 off of the window rate, valid any day the mountain is open, and do not need redemption just go straight to the lifts. A complete list of retail locations are available on Bear Valley's website, local sites include Sunsports, 191 S. Golden State Blvd. and Bilson's Sport Shop, 201 Lander Ave., both in Turlock.
Whether you’re looking to get your heart racing or to just slow down and savor the Sierras, Bear Valley and Dodge Ridge are the perfect destinations to enjoy the outdoors this winter.
Approximately 1 hour and 57 minutes (85 miles) from Turlock
8,200 feet summit elevation
832 acres of skiable area with 12 lifts
Dodge has 62 runs, 20% beginner runs (green circles), 40% intermediate (blue squares) and 40% advanced (black diamonds)
Directions: Take Geer Road north to Oakdale. Turn right onto E. F Street / CA-120, which turns into CA-108. Once in Sonora, follow signs to continue onto CA-108. Turn right onto Pinecrest Lake Road.
Approximately 2 hours and 22 minutes (106.6 miles) from Turlock
8,500 feet summit elevation
1,280 acres of skiable area with 9 lifts
Bear Valley has 75-plus runs, 25% beginner, 40% intermediate and 35% advanced
Directions: Take 99 North to 4 East and continue to Bear Valley.