Yosemite prides itself on its 350 miles of cross-country skiing tracks and trails throughout the park. In fact, many places in Yosemite are accessible in winter only by cross-country skis or snowshoes.
Check out the Cross Country Ski School (www.yosemitepark.com/BadgerPass.aspx) for classes, rentals, and guided cross-country ski tours. If you’re looking for a fun day out in the snow, the groomed tracks from Badger Pass to Glacier Point run 21 miles and are frequented by day skiers.
You’ll see fewer other skiers on the backcountry trails, which can also be traversed in a single day by a reasonably strong skier. For the hardcore XCer who wants a serious skiing experience, check out the overnight and multi-day tours—hiring a guide for these trips is recommended for most skiers.
Downhill skiing at Badger Pass (Glacier Point Rd., five miles from Wawona, mid-Dec.–Apr., daily 9 a.m.–4 p.m., prices vary) is another favorite wintertime activity at Yosemite. Badger Pass was the first downhill ski area created in California. Today, it’s the perfect resort for families and groups who want a relaxed day or three of moderate skiing.
With plenty of beginner runs and classes, Yosemite has helped thousands of kids (and adults!) learn to ski and snowboard as friends and family look on from the sun decks at the lodge. There are enough intermediate runs to make it interesting for mid-level skiers, too. Double-black diamond skiers may find Badger Pass too tame for their tastes since there are just a few advanced runs.
But everyone agrees that the prices are more reasonable than much of what you’ll find at Tahoe’s huge resorts, and the focus is on friendliness and learning rather than showing off and extreme skiing.
© Liz Hamill Scott from Moon California, 2nd Edition