04 OCT 2018: California may be best known in Canada for its great cities (San Francisco, LA/Hollywood and San Diego), long beaches, theme parks and enchanting coastline, but potential visitors shouldn’t forget the amazing ski options, says someone who should know. Freestyle skier and 1998 Olympic gold medalist Jonny Moseley told guests at Visit California’s recent annual sales and media mission in Toronto that there is something special about California’s Sierra Nevada ski resorts, especially Tahoe and Squaw Valley, where he trained.

“The slopes are awesome. There are a lot of options [for skiing] but there’s something unique about Tahoe,” he enthused.

For one thing, California is known for a ski environment that’s warmer than some of its neighbouring states, as well as, according to Moseley, “massive snowstorms” – something only a skier could love.

Born in Puerto Rico, Moseley, who has subsequent to his athletic career become a TV personality and star of Jonny Moseley’s Wildest Dreams adventure videos on Visit California’s web site, said he’s come to love the state, which he now calls home.

“I’ve travelled everywhere [in my career]… but always wanted to come back to the Bay,” he said, citing the unique juxtaposition of the ocean environment and mountains near San Francisco, and the ability to “go back and forth between both.”

A large delegation of tourism officials from the Golden State, who also visited Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver during the mission, were quick to agree, adding a myriad of other travel opportunities in California for Canadians, who rank as the state’s second largest international market (after Mexico).

Here is a quick synopsis of mission participants and their message to Canadians:
•    Beverly Hills: Group sales exec Megan Roach invites travel trade professionals to contact the CVB to get more info on LA’s luxe neighbourhood, arrange fam trips or hotel site inspections. (www.lovebeverlyhills.com; meganroach@lovebeverlyhills.com)

•    Gold County: Accessible from Sacramento, the 10 counties that nestle the Sierra Foothills are connected by Highway 49, which runs from the capital to Yosemite. (www.calgold.org)

•    Palm Springs: Outdoor adventure, luxurious resorts and, of course, the Coachella music festival, draws visitors of all ages to the diverse desert city. (www.visitgreaterpalmsprings.com; www.visitpalmsprings.com)

•    High Sierra: The mountainous interior region includes Mammoth Lakes and Lake Tahoe, a side of California that is sometimes overshadowed by the coast. (www.californiahighsierra.com)

•    Los Angeles: Food, sports, and more museums than any city in the world set the vibrant city apart, not to mention its many unique communities, from Hollywood to Beverly Hills. (www.DiscoverLosAngeles.com)

•    Mammoth Lakes: Skiing rules in winter but summer presents an outdoor playground for hiking, fishing, mountain biking, bird watching and much more. (www.visitmammoth.com)

•    Monterey: Cannery Row, Pebble Beach, Carmel, Big Sur, the Monterey aquarium – there’s no shortage of options for the classic coastal city south of San Francisco. (www.seemonterey.com

•    Newport Beach: In between LA and San Diego, Newport Beach is celebrated for its seaside setting and yachting culture, while epitomizing sophisticated southern California style. (www.newportbeachandco.com)

•    North Lake Tahoe: Home to 12 distinctive resorts and towns, including Squaw Valley, the latter one of 20 ski resorts that make up the largest concentration of alpine ski resorts in the US. (www.gotahoenorth.com)

•    Pasadena: Home of Sheldon Cooper and friends on The Big Bang Theory, the LA community is also known for shopping, 500 restaurants, and the Rose Parade. (www.visitpasadena.com)

•    San Diego: Touted for its near-perfect year-round climate, city attractions include SeaWorld, the USS Midway aircraft carrier, numerous golf courses, and 120 km of beaches. Mexico is also just a border-crossing away. (www.sandiego.org

•    San Francisco: Surprisingly small and walkable, the city by the bay is packed with unique and iconic attractions, from Alcatraz and cable cars to the Golden Gate Bridge and Pier 39. (www.sftravel.com)

•    Sonoma: The heart of California’s wine country features 425 wineries, but also redwood forests, Pacific coastline and small towns with boutique hotels, galleries and great dining. Located about an hour north of San Francisco. (www.sonomacounty.com

•    Napa Valley: The other name in California synonymous with wine, Napa is comprised of many small communities boasting family-owned wineries, boutique shops, restaurants, museums, galleries, and festivals. Also close to San Fran. (www.VisitNapaValley.com)

•    Santa Barbara: A food enthusiast’s paradise with over 200 wineries and abundance of restaurants, plus signature Spanish architecture and relaxed, sophisticated vibe. About 160 km north of LA, visitors might even bump into residents Oprah, Ellen, or Kevin Costner. (www.SantaBarbaraCa.com)

•    Anaheim: Home of Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm, the city just south of LA has everything a visitor needs, but also makes a great base for exploring the rest of southern California. (www.visitanaheim.org)

•    Huntington Beach: Known as Surf City USA, there’s 16 km of beaches, pristine coastline, and, easy access to, for a change of pace, Disney, LA and San Diego. (www.surfcityusa.com)

•    Santa Cruz: Fourteen state parks (including redwoods) and beaches are nearby, though the Monterey Bay-side city between San Francisco and Monterey is better known for its legendary boardwalk and amusement park. Can you say chocolate-covered bacon? (www.visitsantacruz.org)

•    West Hollywood: WeHo comprises five square kilometres in the heart of LA and is home to the Sunset Strip, Santa Monica Boulevard and 17 hotels. Noted for its nightlife and large LGBTQ community, it’s also a great base to explore LA, central Hollywood, adjacent Beverly Hills, and the Hollywood Hills. (www.visitwesthollywood.com)

(Other mission participants included Universal Hollywood, Santa Barbara Hotel Group, and The Grand Hotel Sunnyvale & The Cupertino Hotel).

Cathy-Reynolds-Moseley

Olympic gold medalist Jonny Moseley shared some wine, and a selfie, with Cathy Reynolds of US Travel.

Check the Video.


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Michael Baginski

Editor at Large, Mike Baginski is well known and well respected within the industry across Canada, the US, in the Caribbean, Mexico and numerous other destinations outside North America.

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