In Your Backyard: Yosemite in Winter

Cross-country skiing is one of many wintertime activities available at Yosemite National Park.

In this edition of "In Your Backyard," FOX26 Sports Anchor Nick King heads to Yosemite National Park for some winter adventures. Yosemite is one of only three national parks with a functioning downhill ski area, and it's also the oldest ski area in California, founded in 1935. Additional options, starting from the Yosemite Ski & Snowboard Area (formerly Badger Pass Ski Area) include cross-country skiing and snowshoeing on more than 90 miles of marked trails.

One of the more ambitious cross-country skiing options is a 10.5 mile trek to Glacier Point, following a groomed section of trail all the way along Glacier Point Road. Here, you can spend the night at a ski hut, and wake up to the sun rising over Half Dome and the Yosemite backcountry. The hut is typically open from mid-December to March. Reservations are required, at $149 a night, but include wine, appetizers, dinner, a bunk bed, a bathroom, then breakfast and lunch the following day. Experienced skiers can make the trip to Glacier Point and back to Yosemite Ski & Snowboard Area in under five hours, but trust me, it's worth staying overnight.

You don't need to be experienced to make it to the hut, either. Hut keeper Ryan Mann says he gets beginners showing up every few days, and "if you’ve got determination and you give yourself enough time, a first-time skier can make it." Mann also adds, "sometimes people tell me that’s the trip of their lifetime. One of the most amazing trips they’ve ever had."

Founded in 1935, Yosemite Ski & Snowboard Area is beginner and family-friendly. With just four lifts (plus a tow rope) and 10 runs, it's an intimate experience. Prices for lift tickets and rentals can be found here.

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