Ski – Board
Most groups rent a cabin and make it a weekend outing, but day trips are also easy from most Northern California cities. The big question is always whether to rent equipment at home (cheaper but a hassle) or at the resort (expensive and long lines). For beginners, it’s usually better to rent equipment onsite as part of an instructional package, but do your homework. There are always special prices available. Most resorts offer group rates at substantial discounts if you can prepay (and guarantee) attendance.
Truckee and Tahoe North Shore
Easiest access from the Bay Area and lots of resort options, from the small Soda Springs Resort for beginners to the huge Sugar Bowl and North Star areas for all kinds of skiers. The problem is getting everyone to agree on just one place. http://www.skitahoe.com/lake-tahoe-skiing
Tahoe South Shore
A little harder to get to on Hwy 50, and a little more expensive, but the South Shore has lots of skiing options. http://tahoerentalconnection.com/TahoeSkiGuide.htm
Drive up Highway 4 past Arnold to find Bear Valley Resort, a popular place for people who like things a little less crowded and a little more intimate. They also have a Snow Sports Merit Badge Program and a special package for Scouts. But you have to ask. http://www.bearvalley.com/
Small ski area but popular for some groups because it’s so close to beautiful Pinecrest Lake (which is empty in the winter). Drive through Sonora then continue on Highway 108. http://www.dodgeridge.com/site/
Cross Country Skiing
More physical than downhill skiing, but easier to master, cross country ski trips are becoming more popular for all kinds of outdoor enthusiasts. If you don’t like skis, you can also wear snow shoes instead, but it will be harder to keep up. Just remember to drink lots of water, because the physical workout is intense.
Royal Gorge near Truckee
Many say that Royal Gorge is the best cross country ski resort in North America. And it’s very close to cabins in Soda Springs and downhill ski areas like Sugar Bowl. http://www.royalgorge.com
Spooner Lake near Tahoe South Shore
Drive across the Nevada border to get to Spooner Lake with some of the most beautiful ski trails in the Sierras.. http://www.spoonerlake.com/
There are many cross country trails in the area, and many places to rent your gear. http://www.bearvalley.com/
While you are at it, there is no reason not to earn the Snow Sports Merit Badge, one of the easiest on your sash. Requirements for the Snow Sports Merit Badge.