Dodge Ridge sits on the edge of the million-acre Stanislaus National Forest, one of the oldest national forests in the country, home to the Merced and Tuolumne rivers and to the Carson-Iceberg, Emigrant and Mokelumne wildernesses. It is a glaciated landscape of volcanic ridges and peaks strewn with alpine lakes and meadows typical of the High Sierra. Originally the region was home to the Miwok and Paiute Indians but, with the advent of the Gold Rush in 1848, the area became busy with miners, homesteaders, ranchers, dam builders, and loggers. Dodge Ridge Ski Area opened in 1950 equipped with one double chair and three rope tows. Founder and designer Earl Purdy and his family ran the resort before selling it to Frank Helm in 1977. Helm is still owner/operator of the resort and has steered it through several major expansions, including the addition of Chair 7 in 1985, which increased skiable terrain by almost 75 percent. In 1998, Helm added Chair 8, and struck gold by opening an additional 265 acres on the backside of the mountain with some of the steepest and most interesting skiing at the resort. Called Boulder Creek Canyon, the newest terrain stretches 4,100 feet in skiable length. Sporting a vertical rise of 1,100 feet, the area once coveted by out-of-bounders has been officially opened to the public. For the 2000 season, Dodge added a new PB200 snowcat with Shredder half-pipe attachment to be used for the new Santa Cruz Half-pipe, located above the existing Santa Cruz Snowpark at the top of Chair 8 (the Canyon Quad). The pipe opens as soon as conditions permit, usually by the end of December. Less well known, the Dodge Ridge Ski Area is fast becoming recognized as the quieter alternative to the resorts of the greater Tahoe Basin and has been well planned to utilize the best of what’s available. Dodge Ridge has grown steadily as a family-oriented, year-round destination resort by offering easy accessibility to those seeking winter challenges without either the crowds or a lengthy trek. Topping out at only 8,200 feet, Dodge Ridge has a shorter ski season than other major California resorts, but with its 3.5-hour proximity to the Bay area, reasonable ticket rates and its simple mountain town charm, it’s a good bet for a quick ski weekend. This eTrail contains a thorough description of the resort including driving directions, mountain statistics, trail profiles, extensive lodging & dining information, travel tips, and much more.
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