Badger Pass: A Comprehensive Guide to Yosemite’s Ski Area

Badger Pass is a cool little ski area located right in the middle of Yosemite National Park, surrounded by towering granite peaks and pristine wilderness. It was actually the first ski area established inside a U.S. national park when it opened back in 1935. Since then, it’s been a fun winter destination for skiers, snowboarders, and other outdoor enthusiasts.

The terrain at Badger Pass caters to all ability levels. You’ve got gentle beginner hills perfect for learning, along with more challenging black diamond runs for experts. It’s not just for downhill skiing and snowboarding though. Badger Pass also has over 90 miles of groomed trails for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing that wind through the beautiful snow-covered forests.

Whether you’re a family looking for an affordable winter vacation, a diehard skier searching for fresh powder stashes, or someone who just wants to get out and enjoy the stunning winter scenery, Badger Pass is a great option. It offers a nice mix of slopes, trails, and untouched nature to explore. Let me fill you in on everything you need to know to plan your own winter adventure at this laid-back ski area in the heart of Yosemite.

History of Badger Pass:

The history of Badger Pass Ski Area, also known as Yosemite Ski & Snowboard Area, dates back to the early 20th century. In the 1920s, skiing gained traction in Yosemite, drawing outdoor enthusiasts to its winter wonderland. The establishment of Badger Pass can be credited to the efforts of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) during the Great Depression. In 1935, Badger Pass officially opened its doors, offering a winter sports haven within the iconic national park. The CCC played a pivotal role in crafting the infrastructure that laid the foundation for Badger Pass. Ski huts, lodges, and trails were meticulously built, contributing to the development of this winter sports destination. Over the years, Badger Pass underwent expansions and improvements to meet the growing demand of visitors seeking winter recreation in the heart of Yosemite.

Recently, the ski area underwent a name change, reflecting a broader embrace of winter sports beyond traditional skiing, now known as Yosemite Ski & Snowboard Area. Today, it continues to be a beloved destination where outdoor enthusiasts can revel in the beauty of Yosemite’s winter landscapes, echoing the rich history that has shaped this iconic ski area.

Getting to Badger Pass:

Located at 7082 Glacier Point Rd, Yosemite National Park, CA 95389, reaching Badger Pass is an adventure in itself. If you’re driving, remember you MUST cary snow chains or snow socks by LAW, even if it’s a rental. To find out what the road conditions are call 209.372.1000. Push 1 & then 1 again to get to the road conditions line. It is updated as often as possible and will tell you if you need chains on the roads. Alternatively, free buses departing from the valley at 8 & 11 am offer convenient transportation to the ski area, providing flexibility in your schedule.

Prices at Badger Pass:

Whether you’re hitting the slopes on skis or snowboard, exploring the cross-country trails, or enjoying the snow tubing hill, Badger Pass offers various ticket options to suit your winter adventure needs. To see the current pricing for lift tickets, trail passes, gear rentals, and more, check their website HERE.

With its national park setting and limited amenities, Badger Pass is able to keep prices family-friendly and accessible to a wide range of budgets. You can enjoy a full day on the slopes or trails without breaking the bank. For those looking for an affordable winter adventure, the value pricing at Badger Pass is hard to beat compared to major ski destinations.

Ski & Snowboarding Experience:

When William and I think of Badger Pass, it brings back memories of when we first learned to ski here. The instructors at the ski school were really helpful in teaching us and helping us appreciate skiing these slopes. We’re not expert skiers by any means, but we really enjoy the beginner and intermediate runs. They remind us of our progression from total beginners to being able to ski confidently.

Badger Pass has runs for all ability levels. There are 10 runs total, ranging from easy bunny slopes to tough mogul runs. The runs are accessed by 5 different chair lifts. So whether you’re just starting out or are an advanced skier, there are trails for you. The Eagle lift accesses some of the harder intermediate and advanced stuff. The Bruin lift services a nice beginner run. We usually stick to the easier and moderate runs for now. The black diamond expert trails seem crazy to us still! But who knows, maybe someday we’ll work our way up to those. For the time being though, we just look forward to relaxed weekend ski days on the easier Badger Pass slopes.

Cross Country Skiing & Snowshoeing Experience:

If you’re really into cross-country skiing, Badger Pass is a great place to spend hours exploring the groomed trails. With over 90 miles of trails winding through the area, you can ski all day and still have routes left to check out. The trails range from flat, meandering loops through the valley bottoms to more strenuous routes that climb up to scenic overlooks. It’s pretty peaceful – you’ll feel like you’ve got the snowy wilderness all to yourself at times.

For a classic Yosemite ski experience, set out on the 21-mile round-trip trail to Glacier Point. It’s a long one, but the views along the way are totally worth it. If you’re really looking to get off-the-beaten-path, you can even book overnight hut trips that take you into the less-visited northern areas beyond Badger Pass.

When you need a break from all the skiing, rent some snowshoes and just wander around through the quiet, snow-covered forests on the marked wilderness trails. With barely any other people around and the beautiful winter scenery surrounding you, it’s like being in your own private snow globe world. Peaceful doesn’t even begin to describe it.

Snow-Tubing Experience

Depending on the snow conditions, Badger Pass Ski Area may offer a snow tubing hill, providing thrilling entertainment for both kids and adults. Similar to a snow slide, snow tubing is a fantastic activity to unite families for a delightful afternoon of sliding down the hill. The tubing area at Badger Pass is perfect for children who are at least 42 inches tall. It’s important to note that their tubing hill is smaller compared to those at other resorts, making it ideal for groups with children. Additionally, unlike most resorts, the Badger Pass tubing hill does not feature a conveyor belt, so you will need to transport your tubes to the top of the hill by yourself. Luckily it’s not that long or steep of a walk.

Tips for a Memorable Visit to Badger Pass

  • Check weather conditions: Before heading out, check weather conditions. You will not get a refund if you purchase a ticket and don’t get to use it due to weather conditions.
  • Dress in layers: Yosemite’s winter weather can be unpredictable, so dressing in layers allows you to adjust your clothing as needed throughout the day.
  • Arrive early: Beat the crowds by arriving early in the morning, giving you more time to enjoy the slopes and activities before it gets busy.
  • Stay hydrated: The combination of high altitude and physical activity can lead to dehydration, so be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day.
  • Pack sunscreen and sunglasses: Even in winter, the sun’s rays can be strong, especially when reflecting off the snow. Protect your skin and eyes by wearing sunscreen and sunglasses.
  • Take breaks: Don’t forget to take breaks throughout the day to rest and recharge. Enjoy a hot beverage or snack at the lodge while soaking in the mountain views.
  • Capture the moment: Bring a camera or smartphone to capture the breathtaking scenery and unforgettable moments during your visit to Badger Pass.
  • Check road conditions: Before heading out, check road conditions and closures, especially if you’re traveling during or after a snowstorm, to ensure a smooth journey to and from Badger Pass.
  • Bring your own food or budget for food. The lodge has a restaurant and bar with food and drink for purchase. It also has ample seating for you to eat your own food brought from home.
  • Fill your car with gas: There is no gas in the valley. The closest gas station is in Wawona.

Ever since those pioneering skiers first visited Badger Pass nearly 100 years ago, its magical snowy slopes and trails have been calling visitors to revel in wintertime adventures. This winter, heed the call yourself. Load up those skis, prep your snowshoes, and make the wondrous winter pilgrimage to the incomparable

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *