We visited California this summer in January. I went over a few days earlier to explore the Eastern Sierra and hoping for a chance to skate on natural ice. Best time to visit would have been before Christmas but because of the lack of snow for the time of year I was able to get some skating in. I took hockey skates and Nordics to cover a range of ice.
Stayed in Mindon, NV near the mountains the first night - and based on a tip from Facebook went early to Caples and Red Lake. Skated on ice that had remelt snow on top. Great skating on Caples - Red was rough in places. Good to meet and chat to a few locals - including ice fishermen. Fab scenery. Headed to overnight in Bishop (via Bodie) to check some skating spots. On the way checked out Twin Lakes but very windy and rough.