The North Shore’s three big ski resorts have their own personalities, each catering to a certain type of rider. Coast with families at Northstar ($79 for an adult day ticket), which includes yellow “slow” zones designated for beginners and two Adventure Parks trails designed specifically for kids. Learn tricks at the Burton Snowboard Academy’s terrain park, where instructors can teach you to grind, spin, and flip like Shaun White (from $169).
Test your mettle at Squaw Valley ($83), a 4,000-acre proving ground that draws pros and wannabes after every storm. On powder days, a set of narrow cliffs and chutes called The Fingers becomes a diving board for daredevils, as spectators hoot and holler from the base.
Join the bearded powderheads and California longboard surfers at Alpine Meadows (from $59). Glide down Sunspot at around 11 a.m. for light-drenched runs and an unobstructed view of the lake off the Summit Six chair. On a powder day, get to the top of Ward Peak by 9 a.m. and take off down the back side for one of the best wide-open bowls in the country.