If you can’t afford nearly $75 per day to ski, consider one of the smaller resorts near Truckee. Boreal (19659 Boreal Ridge Rd., Soda Springs, 530/426-3666, www.rideboreal.com, Apr.–May daily 9 a.m.–9 p.m., Thanksgiving–Apr. daily, 9 a.m.–4 p.m., adults $44–47, youth $39, children 5–12 $12) feels low-rent compared to Squaw or Alpine, but many Californians found their snow legs at this resort.
Boreal offers beginners’ ski and snowboard lessons, and a kids’ (and adults’) ski racing school. From Claimjumper at the center of the resort all the way over to Cedar Ridge at the east edge of the resort, beginner skiers and boarders can have a great time on a number of runs and small bowls.
The Accelerator chair serves Boreal’s Superpipe and its night skiing area, while the 49er chair services the intermediate and advanced “Core,” an area designed for boarders and freestylers.
The small back-of-the-mountain offers fun for intermediate skiers who want to avoid the major boarding hot-doggers who favor the front of the mountain. Even on weekends, the lines at Boreal seem pleasingly short compared to the bigger resorts.
While the services are minimal, you can get a hot meal, a cup of coffee, and a place to sit at the rather basic ski lodge at the bottom of the hill.
© Liz Hamill Scott from Moon California, 2nd Edition