Try on boots and find someone who knows how to fit them properly for you. Brands fit everyone differently.
I'm a 32 slut (flat wide feet), who can't wear Nikes(tend to run narrow, havent fit a Nike my whole life), maybe ur the opposite, same or competely different. Burton makes some good boots, so does k2.
Mammoth (over 5 hours) and Tahoe (3 1/2 at best)are the best major spots within reach with a spattering of smaller resorts in the central sierras there a little closer like Bear Valley or Pinecrest.
SF bay is really not comfy driving distance for daytrips unfortunately.
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