This weekend we took a family trip to Dodge Ridge near Sonora in Northern California. After visiting Tahoe last month we wanted more time on the slopes, without the long drive and traffic. A Google search turned up an article about the closest places from San Francisco to ski, and Dodge Ridge became our destination.
Dodge Ridge is new to me but not to lots of my friends—as soon as I posted photos of our trip on social media comments began pouring in from friends who learned to ski there as kids. I immediately saw why its such a draw for Bay Area families: its close enough to drive up and back in a day, the separation between expert and newbie skiers makes the space feel safe, the staff is awesome, and the grounds and lodges are comfortable and warm (literally)!
Ski lessons for kids are super popular here, so much so that they were full more than a week in advance. If you want to get younger kids a lesson, get your reservations first. I was the designated non-skier for the day in case Mia hated it (turns out she's a natural). So that meant I took full advantage of the lodge area to hang out. The bar has beer and wine, and the grill serves standard stadium food—burgers, hot dogs, chicken fingers and the like. You can also bring your own food and use the outdoor tables.
Even though we were too late to get Mia a lesson, Jole put his skiing experience to use giving her her first real taste of the slopes. She had a meltdown in the morning, but after lunch and an hour or so of watching everyone else enjoy themselves, she buckled down and was all over the bunny slopes! I was so proud :)
Although we could have driven back same day we opted to stay overnight in the little town of Twain Harte at Lazy Z Resort, about 20 minutes away between Dodge Ridge and Sonora. We rented a cabin at the resort and hung out around the fireplace until bedtime. Before that we stuffed ourselves with comfort Italian food at a family-friendly Italian restaurant a short drive from our cabin called CiBO Famiglia. We had a great time and are already planning our return trip to the resort (and that Italian restaurant)!
Since we drove to Tahoe with friends we opted to rent a bigger car for our gear. My husband took advantage of a new carsharing service called Turo to get rent a Honda Pilot from a neighbor, which was perfect--the kids sat in the back and watched movies on the drive, and I had a whole row to myself. Turo has lots of high end cars and four wheel drive vehicles, which are perfect for snowy roads.
Twain Harte, CA
Twain Harte, CA
Turo (use the link to get a discount on your first rental)