Thursday 21 August 2008

California - surf, sun and ….snow

It snows in California….who knew? Famous for long stretches of golden, sandy beaches and months of dazzling sunshine, few Australians know that California is also home to 30 ski resorts meaning you really can ski and surf in the same day.

While there are ski regions throughout the state perhaps the best known areas can be found at Lake Tahoe, Mammoth and Big Bear. North Lake Tahoe alone has 12 resorts, giving it the highest concentration of ski resorts in North America.

Only four hours drive from San Francisco, ‘the Big Blue’ as Lake Tahoe is affectionately known is an astoundingly beautiful but also very comfortable place to ski. The benefits range from the average 10-metres of snow and 300 days of sunshine annually – more than San Diego. At an altitude of 1,900 metres it is an easy environment to acclimatise to meaning skiers won’t feel they are in the ‘nose-bleed’ section. Lake Tahoe enjoys a long ski season – resorts are open from December sometimes right through to April.

One thing all visitors to the region comment on is the beauty of the lake – a federally protected lake known for its crystal clear water and vivid blue hues. The second deepest lake in the United States it never freezes over with the effect being skiers and boarders often feel like they are skiing right down into the lake.

The Australian snowfields are coming off one of the best seasons in years, so for those needing an extra hit of the white stuff this year now is the time to get in and book a trip to the California skifields. and

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