TRAVEL
01/10/2012 03:56 pm ET

Alta Sierra: A Huffington Post Travel Ski Resort Guide

Alta Sierra Ski Resort in California is a popular destination for skiers and snowboarders. As part of a series on ski resorts, Huffington Post Travel offers our guide to Alta Sierra Ski Resort, featuring all the key information snow lovers need to know before they hit the slopes.

The Basics

Nestled in the southern Sierra Nevada Mountains, the Alta Sierra Ski Resort sits about an hour's drive away from Bakersfield, which is home to the resort's closet airport. Right in the heart of the Sequoia National Forest, Alta Sierra lures visitors with 80 acres of skiable land and low prices for lift tickets and equipment rental. Prior to 2006, the resort was named Shirley Meadows.

The Mountain

Shirley Peak at Alta Sierra reaches 7,100 feet high at the summit. The vertical drop at the park runs 400 feet down the mountain. Annual snowfall at Alta Sierra can reach up to 80 inches. The resort also has snowmaking capabilities to help Mother Nature along as needed. Opening and closing dates at the resort largely depend on snowfall amounts, but the park typically opens in mid-December and runs through March.

Trails And Lifts

The mountain at Alta Sierra has eight groomed trails, two of which are designated for beginners. Four trails are designed for intermediate skiers, and the remaining two are appropriate for advanced skiers. Advanced skiers can also try out an additional four ungroomed black-diamond trails. Visitors can use one of the resorts two chairlifts to get up the mountain. Alta Sierra also features a terrain park and a snow tube area.

In The News

Shirley Meadows Ski Resort opened in the early 1980s. In 2003, a group of businessmen brought the property, intending to keep local skiing alive in the Bakersfield area. In 2006, the group changed the name of the resort to Alta Sierra to indicate major changes at the resort, including the addition of snow machines and upgraded rental equipment. Buildings at the resort were upgraded and renovated in 2007 and 2008.

Cost

Alta Sierra prides itself on being an affordable ski destination. Full-day lift tickets for skiers 13 and older cost $40, while kids 4 to 12 pay $30 for tickets. Visitors can buy lift tickets in packages of six for $210. Season passes are available for $340 for adults 13 and older. College students and military personnel receive a 20-percent discount on lift tickets at Alta Sierra. Ski and snowboard equipment costs $30 and $35 per day to rent, respectively. One-hour private lessons for skiers age 5 and younger cost $35. Skiers 6 and older pay $65 for each hour of private lessons.

Apres-Ski

When it's time to take a break from the snow, skiers can head into the Alta Sierra warming hut. Visitors warm up with hot coffee and hot chocolate. The hut serves simple lunches, offering hamburgers, hot dogs, soups and salads. Outdoor seating around two fire pits is also available.

WATCH: Alta Sierra



Snowboarders try their best to jump a pole during a 2011 ollie contest at Alta Sierra.

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