Nestled within the towering granite peaks and pristine wilderness of Yosemite awaits a magical winter wonderland called Badger Pass. As the first designated ski area in a US national park, Badger Pass has been thrilling outdoor enthusiasts since 1935 with its captivating blend of stunning scenery and heart-pumping slopes. From gentle bunny hills to challenging black diamond runs, Badger Pass caters to skiers and snowboarders of all abilities. Not just for the downhill crowd, the area also boasts over 90 miles of meticulously groomed cross-country ski trails and snowshoe paths that traverse through ethereal snow-draped forests.
Whether you’re a family looking for outdoor winter fun, an avid skier chasing powder stashes, or a nature lover seeking solitude amidst the glaciated grandeur, Badger Pass promises an unforgettable alpine adventure. Join me as I transport you into this mesmerizing winter playground and share everything you need to know to plan your own rendezvous with its magical snow-cloaked wilderness.
History of Badger Pass:
The history of Badger Pass Ski Area, now 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 pristine 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. In a notable chapter of its history, Badger Pass made headlines by submitting a bid for hosting the Winter Olympics. Although the bid did not materialize into an Olympic event, it underscored the significance of Badger Pass as a premier winter sports venue. 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 check out current prices click HERE.
Compared to the much larger ski resorts the prices at Badger Pass are way more family-friendly.
Ski & Snowboarding Experience
As William and I gaze out across the pristine expanse of Badger Pass, memories of learning to ski here flood our minds. Guided by the fantastic instructors at the ski school, we developed a deep appreciation for these slopes. While we may not be expert skiers, the beginner and intermediate runs hold a special place in our hearts, reminding us of our journey from novices to confident adventurers.
For those seeking thrills on the slopes, Badger Pass offers a range of experiences suited to all skill levels. With 10 runs spanning from gentle bunny slopes to challenging mogul fields, accessed by 5 separate lifts, there’s terrain to accommodate every ability. From cruising down the intermediate and advanced runs accessed by the Eagle lift to the beginner run via the Bruin lift, there’s something for everyone.
While we may not venture onto the black diamond runs just yet, the thought of someday conquering them adds an extra layer of excitement to our skiing adventures. And on those snowy weekends, we look forward to hitting the slopes.
Cross country skiing & Snowshoing Experience
Meanwhile, Nordic skiing diehards can get lost for hours gliding along Badger Pass’ extensive network of groomed cross-country ski trails. With over 90 miles of meticulously tracked terrain ranging from meandering valley bottom loops to scenic overlook routes, you’ll feel like you have the snowy wilderness all to yourself. For a quintessential Yosemite ski tour, head out on the legendary 21 mile return track to Glacier Point offering non-stop vistas. Overnight hut trips into the less-visited northern wilderness beyond Badger Pass serve up even more adventure.
When you need a break from all that skiing, strap on a pair of snowshoes and wander off on your own through snow-laden forests on one of Badger Pass’ marked wilderness trails. With no crowds and Mother Nature’s winter magic dazzling you from all sides, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into your own secluded snow globe world.
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
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 alpine retreat of Badger Pass in Yosemite!