Dodge Ridge Ski Resort
Dodge Ridge is a small ski area located about a half-hour away from Sonora in the Stanislaus National Forest. Dodge Ridge features 62 trails with a difficulty blend of 20 percent novice, 40 percent intermediate trails, and 40 percent expert trails. The longest run at Dodge is a 2-mile intermediate cruiser that leads from the top of Lift 7 and travels down to the base of Chair 5. Dodge also features three progression terrain parks, some even suitable for beginner skiers. The vertical at Dodge is 1600 feet, with peak elevation at 8200 feet and base at 6600. Snowfall averages 400 inches per year, which is one reason why this 862 acre ski area attracts so many visitors from all over Northern California.
Dodge is broken up into three primary sections, each serviced by their own sets of lifts. The bottom half of the mountain is primarily novice and intermediate runs, with six lifts (five doubles and one triple) ferrying skiers about. The family area and learning annex have four trails and one easy progression terrain park to play around on, and access to easier intermediates is easy from the top of Chair 3.
Once an intermediate skier starts to grow past the shorter runs on the lower half, they should consider heading up Lift 7 to the summit and trying out the steeper and longer intermediates that Dodge offers. Stampmill is a great run that skirts the park’s boundary as a nice groomer that ends up at the drop off points for Lifts 4 and 5. For a little more challenging terrain, Graceland skirts the edge of the Sonora Glades and has a great end curve that lands you at the base of Lift 8.
Advanced skiers have a blast at Dodge Ridge. If you’re a fan of a type of alpine skiing, Dodge has it for you. Do you want chutes? How about some short chutes with a crazy drop in and bumps to give you serious air? Head up Lift 3 and into the corner and play around on The Nose and Center Chute. How about some glades to break up the lines? Head up Lift 7 and hit the Sonora Glades. Are steeps more to your liking? Exhibition, Sunrise to High Noon, or the double black Six Shooter are all waiting for you to find your perfect line. Dodge also has a wide open bowl for you to drop into and carve your way around. On days when the powder is fresh, Granite Bowl has to be skied to be believed.
After the Skiing
Taking a break between runs for a quick bite is easy at Dodge. If you’re on the upper mountain, Locals Café is found at the base of Lift 7. Ski in/out access to a BBQ sandwich and a hot drink between runs is a great way to relax. Kick up your boots on the deck to watch other skiers coming down Exhibition.
Near the base, North Fork Bistro is a family friendly place to warm up by the fireplace with a hot cup of coffee or a hot toddy. Hot Panini sandwiches are served fresh, and steaming espresso and baked goods are plentiful and filling. The Creekside Café offers pancakes in the morning; fresh from the griddle these will help you fuel up for the day. At 10:30, they start serving lunch, with grill items, hot chili, salads and pizza all available to keep you going. For something more in the adult variety, Boulder Bar in the Café offers 12 kinds of beer on tap and bar snacks to keep you happy while you chat with your friends about your latest runs.