Joe Sagona, Mammoth Mountain, CA. PHOTO: David Reddick

This article, and distribution, was paid for by Visit California and produced in conjunction with POWDER.

Skiing in the Golden State offers more than perfectly blue days and groomers to schuss. The Sierra Nevada mountains, extending 400 miles along the state's eastern edge, are a catcher's mitt for storms that brew on the Pacific Ocean and move across land with a lot of moisture. That means plenty of snow—more than 800 inches on a good year. The best part? When it's not snowing, it's a bright, clear day of sunshine.

Here is our guide to skiing powder in California.

Eric Bryant. Squaw Valley, California. PHOTO: Ryan Salm

Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows

Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows are two world-class ski resorts that add up to more than 6,000 skiable acres, 450 average inches of snowfall, and 42 lifts, united by one ski ticket. But the comparisons between the two end there. The two mountains are distinct, each with its own history, culture, and style of skiing. Read more…

Daron Rahlves. Sugar Bowl, California. PHOTO: David Reddick

Sugar Bowl Resort

Sugar Bowl Resort has been a family-owned ski resort since 1939, when Austrian ski racer Hannes Schroll built the first chairlift in California. The Disney Lift—named after Walt Disney for his investment in the ski area—was 3,200 feet long with 13 steel towers. It cost a quarter for a ride up, or $2 if you wanted to ski down. Today, the ski resort features 12 lifts, 1,650 acres, 1,500 vertical feet, and 500 inches of annual snowfall. But it still retains that old timey, Bavarian ski spirit that Schroll established here almost 80 years ago. Read more…

Heavenly Valley, California. PHOTO: Courtesy of Heavenly

Heavenly Ski Resort 

Heavenly Ski Resort is a place where nightlife table and powder days go hand-in-hand. Where après spotlights go-go dancers, and the evening entertainment is not just an open mic night at a rustic ski lodge, but also show-stopping live music performances or festivals with DJs and neon lights. At Heavenly Ski Resort, the skiing is just one part of the resort experience. Read more…

Darren Johnson. Kirkwood, California. PHOTO: Hank de Vre

Kirkwood Mountain Resort

Kirkwood Mountain Resort is way out there, and that's how they like it. The 2,300-acre ski resort sits on the crest at the northern post of the High Sierra, a geography that blesses them with abundant snowfall. The ski resort receives an average of 354 inches of snow a year, but when Mother Nature focuses her attention on California, it's not surprising to get upwards of 600 or even 800 inches of snow here. Read more…

Joe Sagona. Mammoth, California. PHOTO: David Reddick

Mammoth Mountain

Mammoth Mountain’s gondola unloads skiers and snowboarders at an elevation of 11,053 feet, where the view is 360 degrees to domes on the western slope of the Sierra, the jagged Minarettes, and the Long Valley Caldera—a volcanic crater just east of the Sierra. The view below your ski tips? More than 3,500 acres of sprawling terrain that is mostly above tree-line. Thanks to its exposure, every morning the mountain wakes up with smooth, wind-buffed slopes. Its high elevation also means that Mammoth often gets more snow than anywhere else in the state. So, while it’s raining in Tahoe, it’s snowing in Mammoth. Read more…