Skiing In the Central Sierra, Dodge Ridge Celebrating 70th Anniversary

The local ski area (base elevation, 6,600 ft.; summit, 8,200ft.) for Sonora is located within Stanislaus National Forest. It operates under a Special Use Permit from the U. S. Forest Service. When Dodge Ridge opened in 1950 the first owner, Earl Purdy offered a state-of-the-art chairlift built for $95,000, a considerable sum in those days, complemented by three surface lifts. On its opening day, 3,000 skiers flocked to Dodge Ridge. Tickets sold at three dollars for an all day lift pass and one dollar for a rope tow pass. Frank Helm and his family bought the resort in 1976 and have remained steadfast in the resort’s traditions ever since. Throughout their decades of ownership, the Helm family has dedicated themselves to the continued growth of Dodge Ridge. The most notable expansions began with the installment of chairlift 7 in 1985 and chairlift 8 in 1998, which subsequently tripled the skiable acreage available to Dodge Ridge skiers and riders. As part of their commitment to continual growth, the Helm family created the Dodge Ridge Master Development Plan. Stage 1 of this plan was completed in 2007 with the $6 million base area expansion, which included the addition of the 16,000 sq. ft. Family Lodge. The Family Lodge is home to the expanded Children’s Snowsports Center, tickets sales and guest services center, day use lockers and the North Fork Bistro. The anchor chairlift of Dodge Ridge, Chair 6, was upgraded in the summer of  2021. Sonora and the surrounding higher elevations in the Sierra see four distinct seasons and in winter snow falls at the 5,000 to 9,000 ft elevation, This winter snow will close Sonora Pass (9,300 ft.) for all of the winter months.  In addition to Dodge Ridge, Sonora is also located near winter sports areas on Highway 4, Ebbetts Pass and  Yosemite to the southeast. This places Sonora in the middle of all these winter recreation opportunities. Check out our metal ski sign