Dodge is far and away the most convenient ski area to head to from anywhere in the Bay Area. Two and a half to three hours from Emeryville except during rush hours. The area's long suit is family friendliness, but if you need a challenge Six Shooter and Boulder Canyon should get your heart pounding and your thighs burning. Dodge is embarking on a major evolution over the next few years involving a new lodge, snow making and some new lifts that will make the area even more desirable.
The sports shop is a very impressive operation. The staff is well trained and knowledgeable. If you need new skis or boots they'll either have or order the right piece of equipment for you. But the best and most valuable part of getting your new gear at Dodge is that if it needs to be adjusted, stretched, tweaked or tuned it can be done right there, either while you wait or over night to be ready for the next day on the slopes.
Dodge is a real value. Not only will you save time and money on the drive up, the food and drink at both the base and mid-mountain lodges is a real bargin by ski area standards. While there are no overnight accommodations at Dodge itself, you can generally get a room at Pinecrest Lake Resort just down the road and between Pinecrest and Sonora there are numerous apres ski options.