Top 3 skiing and snowboarding destinations near the Bay Area

Skiing and snowboarding are rather unique hobbies that are a great way to expend energy and enjoy the outdoors, but they require a relatively cold climate and snow. Unfortunately, the homes for sale in the Bay Area typically experience mild temperatures and very clear weather, and some people believe a move to San Francisco, Oakland or San Jose necessitates means giving up dreams of fresh powder and white peaks.

However, this is not the case. The Bay Area is situated near some of the best ski and snowboard resorts in the entire United States, and if you are willing to drive for a few hours, you could easily make a trip to the following three destinations.

Squaw Valley
This resort has a bit of international history behind it, as it hosted the Winter Olympics in 1960. Hundreds of athletes from around the world strutted their stuff at this world class attraction, so why shouldn't you do the same?

This option is perfect for either the beginner, amateur or professional skier - the trails are nearly evenly split between the difficulty levels of green circle, blue square and black diamond (easy, intermediate and advanced).

In addition to the miles of mountain trails, the five-star hotels, renowned retail outlets and fine dining establishments make Squaw Valley a top destination for a day trip, weekend or even month-long vacation. Head on over to the lodge at 201 Squaw Peak Road to begin your adventure today.

Diamond Peak
Located in the same Lake Tahoe region as Squaw Valley but situated on the Nevada side of the area, Diamond Peak attracts thousands of visitors each year due to its sparkling peaks and valleys.

This resort is geared more toward families, as the trails here tend to lean toward the beginner side of skiing and snowboarding. However, over a third of the trails are black diamonds, and most are accessible by taking the high-speed quad all the way to the top of Diamond Peak.

Snowboarders and skiers who wish to perfect their aerial tricks will be pleased to learn that the area also is home to a terrain park that includes jumps, railings and a half-pipe. For more information, head to 1210 Ski Way in Incline Village, Nevada. The entire complex plans to open on December 13th, 2012, so if you have just moved to the Bay Area, why not celebrate your arrival with a weekend trip.

Dodge Ridge
If you prefer to avoid the crowds that usually converge upon Lake Tahoe during the winter, you might consider heading to Stanislaus instead and checking out the Dodge Ridge Ski Resort. The mountain still extends over 8,000 feet above sea level, and the trails here border on intermediate to advanced. However, it still has many amenities and features that cater to families.

"Thanks from the Whitehurst Family for another great season," wrote one reviewer in a testimonial on the resort's website. "Over the past eight seasons my wife and I and our three sons have made Dodge our winter home, returning to the valley during the week to take care of annoying details such as work and school, things that get in the way of real important stuff like powder days."

For a challenge, head up the quad chairlift and ski to the left - the only way down from this point is through black or double-black diamond trails.

If you have just relocated to the Bay Area, you are in luck - you have arrived just in time for skiing season in one of the best regions of the United States. Head out to one, two or all of these resorts to experience great trails and fantastic conditions.