Who was first in the West? Yosemite’s Badger Pass fired up its ski school in 1928. That’s well before most of today’s mega-resorts were even drawn up on paper. Badger Pass Ski Area continues its unassuming, budget-friendly take on this glamorous sport through a menu of inviting ski and snowboard options.
Badger’s guaranteed version of the learn to ski package does what it says, with unlimited classes until you’ve mastered the basics. The 1- to 2-hour classes for first time skiers takes never-evers to the lifts and beyond, gaining confidence and learning the sport’s technique and etiquette from experienced professionals. Next Step lessons take those who know the basics just a bit further, honing skills and learning new tricks. Private lessons, scheduled at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m., address individual learning on a fast track with some of our top instructors, polishing ski and snowboard technique to perfection. Badger Pups treat 4-6 year olds to a day on the hill with gentle learning and tons of play.
The area has two terrain parks packed with jumps, rails, and boxes. The upper park appeals to the advanced beginner and intermediate skier and snowboarder. The lower park, with its large jumps and intricate details, is more suited to an advanced intermediate to expert athlete.
Skiers and boarders move up the mountain’s ten runs on five lifts. There’s a triple chair, three double chairs, and a handle tow. The 800-foot vertical spreads out a map of 35 percent beginner terrain, 50 percent intermediate, and 15 percent advanced. Temperatures at the 7,200 base average between 30 and 60 degrees F during the season, making the lodge’s deck a perfect perch for mom and dad to watch the kids as they begin their skiing careers on this friendly mountain.
Facilities include instruction desk, equipment rental, well-stocked ski shop, solid cafeteria and lounge. Parents can drop kids at the child care center, with the stipulation they return to enjoy lunch with the kids.
Badger Pass opens in mid-December, continuing operations until conditions permit. Often skiing into April on good years, early closures for lean snow years can shut things down as early as March, so monitor the website for current year conditions, and enjoy the ride, knowing it’s one of the best ski and snowboard values in the West.