***This post has been UPDATED FOR THE 2018 WINTER SNOW SEASON.
The temperature has been dropping, the windshields are iced over and the foggy mornings add extra minutes to our commutes…yes, it is officially winter here in Sacramento!
For most of us, that means road trips to play in the snow. I have to admit, I’m not a snow bunny at heart. I don’t particularly enjoy being bundled up and walking in the snow – because no matter how thick your socks are, toes still get frozen! However, I DO love the fact that we live here in Sacramento – so close to the snow, yet be able to come home and cozy up on my own couch by dinnertime.
In under a 2 hour drive, we can be in the High Sierras and hitting some of the most famous slopes. My family loves to take advantage of this proximity and we always seem to be heading up the hill a few more times than I would personally enjoy.
If you are looking for places to take the family on a “snow day adventure”, then check out our list of snow parks that are currently open to the public:
Soda Springs Resort/ Planet Kids. Planet Kids is best described as a snow playground featuring tubing carousals, tubing lanes, ski/snowboard learning areas, snow volcanoes to climb and more. This unique facility is designed specifically for children (age 8 & under) to experience winter and play in the snow.”
For $34, your child can ski and/or snowboard all day long. Rentals are included in the admission price as well as full access to the snow mountains, inner tube carousel and more.
In addition to Planet Kids, Soda Springs also offers lessons, lifts and “Tube Town”. This is geared for children and adults 42″ and taller where a moving carpet is designed to escalate up the mountain so you can zip and zoom down the hill in your tube! And for those kids who are even a bit more adventurous, they have mini-snowmobiles for rent for kids ages 6-12 and under 100 lbs. Kids can hop on a mini snowmobile and cruise around a circular track made specifically for snowmobiling Located approximately 1.5 hours above Sacramento and off of Hwy 80, Soda Springs makes for a perfect winter family day trip!
Boreal – Conveniently located on I-80 at Castle Peak Exit on Donner Summit, they are now open 9am-9pm, 7 days a week for skiing and snowboarding. If you would rather just play in the snow then check out Boreal’s Playland Tubing Park. They offer snow tubing equipped with 2 moving carpets, groomed tubing lanes and tubes to rent. Cost is $34 for a 2 hour pass, or $44 for an all-day pass… the all-day pass is a much better deal, and who wouldn’t want to spend all day playing and zipping down the mountain?
Granlibakken Resort – Located off Hwy 89 near Tahoe City, this smaller snow park is perfect for families with younger children. They have a groomed snow play area and for $14 per person, you can rent and use their saucers and play area for the day.
Tahoe Donner – Located off I-80 at the Donner Pass Road exit, they offer a groomed sledding hill with several sledding lanes and the opportunity to try out snowshoeing as they rent snowshoes to adults and children. Admission into the snow park is $18 for an all-day pass to tube and play. Ski and snowboarding lift tickets are an additional charge.
So gather up your warm jackets, some hot cocoa and cameras and hit the slopes with your family (don’t forget the sun block and lip balm) and make some memories in our local winter wonderland!
By Heather Crivellone