I love it when my friends say that California doesn't have winter weather. Of course it does...it's just not as extreme as it is in most places in the world. What they don't understand are the geography, the climate and the population spread in this great Golden State o'mine.
California is long...very long...with at least 3 mountain ranges running along it. In fact, it's so big and long that, according to Wikipedia, if it were a country it'd be the 59th largest country in the world (for what it's worth). Along most of the coastline is the Coastal Range, which has quite a few mountains on it. Well, we call most of them 'hills', but for many they are truly mountains. There is also plenty of flat land, which is partially why most of the population lives on the coast, from the San Francisco Bay Area down to the San Diego/Tiajuana border. The weather is quite mild usually (Mediterranean, as a Spanish friend of mine says), although the further south you go, the warmer it tends to get in the summer...and the further north you go, the wetter and colder it gets. But there are peaks around here which will get a dusting of snow in the winter, when the precipitation comes 'round and the temps get freezing cold--see for example Mt. Hamilton (from the Lick Observatory), Mt. Tamalpais, or Mt. Diablo.
In the middle is (appropriately enough) the Central Valley...the fertile agricultural capital of the world, or so it seems. Also it's where our state capital, Sacramento, is. It gets very rainy there in the winter, and can get quite cool. There is an occasional freeze in the winter, but it doesn't happen often...when it does, the farmers bellyache (and rightly so).
Along the eastern edge of the Great State, two mountain ranges hold their place. The Cascade Range starts in California and goes northward into Oregon and the like. Not much to say about that, except that Mt. Shasta is technically part of this range, and it's quite a site to behold. The main one, though, is the Sierra Nevada...and it's the right monicker, as the mountains in the winter are constantly covered with snow. It's the winter playground for millions--Lake Tahoe and Yosemite are both part of this range, as is Big Bear. Yes, folks, there's quite a bit of winter weather up there, which is why the 1960 Winter Olympics were held at Squaw Valley.
Ok, so most of us on the coast don't have to worry about blizzards every other day, or bitter cold, or even driving rain for months on end. I get it. But, seriously, we do have winter weather here. It's just better