Planning a ski trip around sunny San Diego may sound odd, but there are several ski-worthy spots just a short drive from the city. With around 10 ski resorts in under a 3.5-hour drive from the city, you can easily organize a corporate ski retreat, a big family reunion weekend hitting the slopes, or a winter field trip for your scout troop.

Need help figuring out which ski resort is best for your group trip? Keep on reading!

An adult and child on a ski lift

How to Travel

A 2- or 3-hour drive can normally be quite easy, but if you have a big group—getting out of San Diego may be a bit more hectic. You’ll have to organize a caravan in SoCal traffic and risk group members being stuck behind, which can inevitably throw off your ski schedule! That’s where a charter bus rental comes in handy. National Charter Bus offers efficient and comfortable transportation services for groups of all sizes. With a minibus or charter bus rental, your drive to the mountains will be smooth sailing. Everyone will be able to hop onto one climate-controlled bus and ride to your ski destination of choice with reclining seats, WiFi, TVs with DVD players, and best of all—a professional driver! Call (619) 344-0549 to chat with a National Charter Bus rental expert about booking a ride for your ski trip from San Diego.

Mount Waterman Ski Lifts

Distance from San Diego: 100 miles or 1.5 hours
Best for: no-frills skiing and snowboarding
Address: California 2, La Cañada Flintridge, CA 93553
Phone: (844) 462-2327

Mount Waterman is a small 150-acre ski area with 27 runs and 3 chair lifts. This bare-bones ski area isn’t a resort and the facilities are only for day use. Groups looking to avoid large crowds and focus on shredding the slopes may want to opt for Mount Waterman. The runs are primarily advanced black diamond trails, but beginner and intermediate trails are available too. The mountain’s ski area relies solely on natural snow, which means it’s important to check the snow and weather conditions before visiting.

Charter bus rental tip: Parking is relatively limited at the Mount Waterman Chairlifts. The main parking lot is located at the base of chairlift one but may be a tight squeeze for oversized vehicles. Parking areas along State Route 2 may be better suited for large vehicles.

Snow Valley Resort

Distance from San Diego: 135 miles or 2.5 hours
Best for: groups looking to avoid crowds
Address: 35100 CA-18, Running Springs, CA 92382
Phone: (909) 867-2751

Snow Valley is the oldest continuously running ski resort in Southern California. It opened as a roadside resort in the 1920s and was developed for skiing in the 1930s. Today, Snow Valley is one of 4 ski areas located in the protected San Bernardino National Forest outside of Los Angeles (The Big Bear Resorts and Rim Nordic Ski Area are also located in the forest). Snow Valley is a relatively small ski area but has a great selection of trails and 2 terrain parks for visitors of all experience levels. The Snow Valley Learning Center offers lessons for both first-time skiers and snowboarders.

Charter bus rental tip: A spacious parking lot can be found at the base of the mountain. Although Snow Valley is small and not as crowded as bigger resorts, the parking lot can easily fill up on busy days.

Kids in a ski school class

Mt. Baldy Resort

Distance from San Diego: 140 miles or 2.5 hours
Best for: groups traveling with children
Address: 8401 Mt Baldy Rd, Mt Baldy, CA 91759
Phone:  (909) 982-0800

If you’re looking for a family-friendly ski spot with activities on and off the snow, Mt. Baldy is a great choice. This resort’s skiing area spans across 3 peaks, with ski areas for beginners, intermediate-level visitors, and advanced athletes. Mt. Baldy’s Learning Center is located at the Top of the Notch Recreation Area and provides lessons for visitors of all ages.

Mt. Baldy also has a seven-lane tubing park that is fun for visitors of all ages but is especially popular with kids. Looking for a break off the snow? The resort has a zipline park for visitors ages 8 and up!

Charter bus rental tip: Parking is located at the base of the mountain. Oversized parking may be limited, so you’ll want to inquire about parking with the resort.

Mountain High Ski Resort

Distance from San Diego: 145 miles or 2.5 hours
Best for: groups with mixed experienced levels of skiers and snowboarders
Address: 24510 CA-2, Wrightwood, CA 92397
Phone: (888) 754-7878

Mountain High is a popular SoCal ski and snowboard spot because it doesn’t require mountain driving. You hop right off of State Route 2 and the resort is easily accessible! Mountain High is separated into 3 ski areas: West, East, and North. This makes visiting Mountain High a great location for avid ski groups who want to bypass beginners or beginning groups that don’t want to deal with fast advanced visitors. The North Resort is perfect for beginners and kids, the East resort is great for advanced skiers, and the West Resort is best for snowboarders with its varied terrain features. The East Resort is also home to Goldrush, a 1.6-mile intermediate trail and the longest run in the region!

Charter bus rental tip: Each resort area has a main parking lot. Limited oversized parking is available for $40 per vehicle. It’s highly recommended you notify the resort about your arrival at least 24 hours in advance and plan to arrive by 6:30 am before most crowds arrive.

A group of people walking up a hill with snowboards

Bear Mountain and Snow Summit Ski Resort

Distance from San Diego: 165 miles or 3 hours
Best for: groups of terrain park lovers
Address: 43101 Goldmine Dr, Big Bear Lake, CA 92315 and 880 Summit Blvd, Big Bear Lake, CA 92315
Phone: (844) 462-2327

Bear Mountain and Snow Summit are sibling ski resorts, often collectively referred to as Big Bear. The resorts are located next door to one another and offer passes with access to both ski areas. Bear Mountain and Snow Summit are popular spots for groups of intermediate visitors but have a selection of beginner trails for children and adults new to winter sports. The Big Bear resorts also boast a selection of black diamond runs for advanced skiers.

Bear Mountain in particular is a favorite among snowboarders for its irregular terrain and was a frequented spot by award-winning snowboarder Shaun White in his younger years. The resorts offer lessons for children, adults, and an adaptive ski school for visitors with mobility concerns.

Charter bus rental tip: Parking at Big Bear is often packed during the winter season. It’s recommended you call ahead to inquire about parking for a charter bus. Once you park your bus, it’s highly recommended you utilize the resort shuttle services. Free intermountain shuttles are available between Snow Summit and Bear Mountain if you choose to visit both resorts.

Plan a Ski Trip from San Diego Today

Booking your group ski trip ride starts with getting a free quote. National Charter Bus San Diego offers free, no-obligation quotes for every travel group! Just call our experienced rental team at (619) 344-0549 to get your quote 24/7/. We’ll make sure you have the best charter bus rental in San Diego for your winter festivities.