Snowboard and ski (or beer) goggles?

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Cal Expo

1600 Exposition Blvd.
Sacramento, CA 95815

(877) 225-3976

This weekend at Cal Expo is a great opportunity for two days of drunk shopping and daydreaming about hitting the slopes around Lake Tahoe—or the Rocky Mountains in Colorado or across the border in Canada.

With already a little snow on the ground in the Sierra Nevada, and more expected soon, now’s a good time to plan for the upcoming ski and snowboard season. Luckily, the two-day Snowbomb Ski & Board Festival happens this weekend (Saturday, November 10; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Sunday, November 11; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.) at Cal Expo, and it features a huge tent sale, vendor booths, and beer and wine tasting.

On Saturday, prepare to shop while enjoying unlimited wine tasting from more than 50 wineries, including Northern California favorites, such as Michael David Winery, Beaulieu Vineyard and Chateau St. Jean. Or, on Sunday, sip microbrews from the likes of Lagunitas Brewing Company, North Coast Brewing Co. and Deschutes Brewery. Regardless of your libation preference, buzzed shopping sure takes the edge off decisions such as: Do I really need a new winter beanie or pair of ski goggles? (The answer, of course, is yes.)

General admission ($20) includes three lift-ticket vouchers to Sierra at Tahoe, China Peak Mountain Resort or Dodge Ridge. But you’re probably better off with getting the VIP ticket ($40), which also includes unlimited wine or beer tasting, a two-night hotel stay at Grand Sierra Resort and Casino, and a one-year subscription to Ski Magazine or Transworld Snowboarding—in addition to the aforementioned lift-ticket vouchers.

Pro tip: Don’t be afraid to check out booths for out-of-town resorts. Sure, Squaw Valley and a few other Tahoe resorts are nice, but Mammoth Mountain Ski Area (Mammoth Lakes, Calif.), Whistler Blackcomb Ski Resort (British Columbia, Canada) and Aspen/Snowmass (Aspen, Colo.) are also great winter vacation destinations. During a vacation a few years ago at Aspen/Snowmass, I was treated to a week full of endless powder, mile-long snowboard trails, and plenty of good food and drink. It was by far the best snowboarding experience I’ve ever had.