The Best Places to Ski and Surf in the Same Day
Yeah, that’s a real photo.
Candide Thovex rips and sure, you could combine the two sports if you wanted, but you could also split them up within the same day. Howboudah? Here’s the details by region.
A quick disclaimer about the Northeast. Only plan on doing this if you B) have a dry suit and B) are a bit crazy. In case it wasn’t assumed, winter is cold and snow falls when it’s cold. If anyone remembers, the water off the coast of Massachusetts was quasi-frozen, slushy, (see video) and yet, as humanity continues to amaze us, people were surfing it. Now, moving on.
As is well established, if you learned to ski on the East Coast AKA the Ice Coast, the rest is cake. As far as surfing goes, if you can surf frozen waters, chances are pretty good that you can surf the fully liquefied version too.
The great state of Maine is your go-to for coastal and mountain recreation. With Portland’s Higgins Beach serving as the well-established watering hole for local surfers, you could theoretically get some real goods all in a day’s work. Tides at Higgins are known to fluctuate up to ten feet and the sandbar shifts around too making every run a little different. When your arms are worn out, start driving West, grab some lunch and pick up the afternoon at Sunday River Resort.
A quick note about Sunday River. When a kid is willing to rep a Sunday River sweatshirt on live television while taking selfies with Justin Timberlake during the Super Bowl halftime show, you should probably consider going to that resort.
Drive Time: Just under 2hrs
Now to a place that’s more climate controlled. Santa Cruz is known for consistent waves, which may interfere with your plan to hit the slopes, since you won’t want to leave. Better yet, you have about a 4 month gap to catch waves and head up to Tahoe for the snow. Santa Cruz is one of the coolest surf towns on the coast with the Wharf, the Boardwalk and countless places for surfing from beginner to expert. Start with a few hours paddling out until you’re gassed then ski the Sierra well before dark. Head to Squaw Valley on the NW side of the lake, so it’s an easy drive on I-80 and is rated the best Overall and All-Mountain Terrain in Tahoe. It has a great view of the lake, best terrain for all levels of skiing and Squaw is big enough to avoid lines, gapers and tourists.
Drive Time: 4-5 hours
The winter wreaks havoc on the region, so your best bet is to hit the surf and slopes in the spring. As the weather is gradually decreasing, your swells are sizable and continue to rumble. Start your day at La Push Beach, catch huge waves in the winter or manageable surf in the spring. What has been called “mesmerizing surf in a 3rd world town”, where the scenery is amazing and the waves are strong, you’re in for a ride. Save some energy when you head to the slopes at Crystal Mountain. This mountain gives you the best bang for your buck. This mountain is mostly intermediate and expert skiing that you won’t be waiting in long lines behind noobs all day. Hit the chutes, steep & bowls to bring out your extreme side and check out some awesome views of Mt. Rainier, the 14,000+ foot volcano.
Drive Time: 4 hours 45 minutes
You’re about to set the bar high with 2 of the best places to ski and surf in 1 day. Starting off at the “Lower Trestles”, which is part of a line of numerous surf breaks collectively know as the “Trestles.” This is one of the best spots in the OC, if not the state. You’ll find many pros, natives and long boarders and one of the best views you can find. Although busier than most spots, you’re visiting one of the best places to surf in America. Wrap up the morning and in just under 3 hours, you can make it to Bear Mountain Resort. The only resort in SoCal with 3 different Super Pipes, the famous “Park Run” off Chair 9 or “Central Park” off Chair 5. You won’t wait in line long since most of the chairs are high-speed quads. Finish the day off with Bear Mountain’s infamous Bloody Mary.
Drive Time: Just under 3 hours
Alaska!? Yep. This isn’t a mistake. Now, don’t expect to be getting totally pitted on monster tubes, but the fact that surf exists in Alaska should be worth getting excited about. Just be prepared to bring your stand-up paddle board instead of your surf board.
It’s all about Turnagain Arm’s bore tide just outside Anchorage (also conveniently close to Alyeska Resort). A bore tide is a phenomenon that occurs when tides on their way run into tides coming in and creates waves, the largest of which occurring in China with waves that can reach over 30ft in height! But there’s so skiing there so you might want to take a look at this video for visual evidence of Alaska’s famous Turnagain Arm bore tide waves.
When it’s not occurring, however, get to Alyeska Resort where the goods aren’t on a phenomenon-based schedule. The resort receives 669″ of snow at its summit on average. That’s a bunch of snow, folks! It’s a powder hound’s paradise.
Drive time: 30min
Taking it all the way to New Zealand, we’re heading to the North Island where there are plenty of places to surf and ski in the same day even within just an hour.
Head to Boulders Bay in New Plymouth for the water. The beach isn’t crowded, has fast and fun waves, public access, and is suited for all levels of surfers.
For the snow, head to Mt. Tanaraki for great skiing on a large volcanic snowfield with breathtaking views. After all that you might want to call it a day.
Drive time — 1 hr
Finally, we would be amiss not to include our friends to the far south that also have access to both world class skiing and surfing (ideally in the spring).
With over 2,600mi of coastline, the Southernmost country in South America is in no shortage of surfing areas or waves–tubes can range in size from 5 – 12 feet! For the most action packed day, hit Reñaca.
Then when you’re ready for snow snow, head to the hills to the world famous Valle Nevado where you can find some of the biggest skiing in the world. The Andean ski resort boasts a cool 7,000 acres of skiable terrain, putting it at over two times the size of Vail Resort.
Drive time – 3 hrs
Ski, surf same day. Ya. As someone who lived in the Sacramento area on Folsom Lake, between the coast and Lake Tahoe, bragging rights was to snow ski, water ski, surf, and play 9 holes of golf in the same day. But, to be honest, I much preferred to snow ski all day. Bragging rights is skiing on July 4th at Squaw Valley… and wearing the free T-shirt Squaw gave those that celebrated the July 4th holiday by snow skiing.