Storm brings snow, some operational delays to Southern California ski resorts

Southern California’s mountain resorts reported up to 18 inches of fresh snow over the weekend, good news for winter sports enthusiasts though the storm disrupted operations in some cases.

According to the National Weather Service, Mount Baldy got 10 to 18 inches of snow, Bear Mountain and Snow Summit got 12 to 17 inches, Snow Valley 8 to 12 inches and Mountain High 7 to 10 inches over the weekend by about noon Monday, Jan. 16.

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Although some resorts reported delays in operations due to the wind and icy conditions earlier in the day, lifts were up and running by the afternoon for visitors on the last day of what for some is a three-day weekend. Schools, government offices and others were closed Monday in observance of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday.

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Mountain High Ski Resort in Wrightwood got a late start Monday morning, according to a social media post warning guests about high winds and a wind hold for lifts. Most of the West Resort was ready for guests, with the exception of Conquest, by about 10 a.m., the resort reported.

“The storm is on its way out and this is the last storm out of almost two weeks of weather,” said Mountain High spokesman John McColly. “So we got a fair amount of snow out of these storms and things are looking great on the hill and from tomorrow on it looks to be partly cloudy or clear clear skies … so I think the weather is behind us and nothing but blue skies ahead.”

Big Bear Mountain Resort, which operates Bear Mountain and Snow Summit, reported more than a foot of snow had fallen over the weekend.

“We haven’t really had any issues,” said spokesman Justin Kanton. “The main issue is the snow gets cleared off of all the chairs so people can physically sit on them and doing some general maintenance each morning to make sure the lines are properly de-iced.”

Kanton said the resort had a good turnout over the weekend as people came up for the fresh snow and he expects it to continue through the week as the storm tapers out Tuesday.

“Looks like we should see some more going into tonight which should set us up for the rest of the week going into the weekend,” Kanton said Monday.

Mount Baldy resort reported a weather hold Monday due to icy conditions brought on by alternating snow and rain, but two lifts were opened by the afternoon.

“The weather we have today is particularly difficult,” said General Manager Robby Ellingson. “Yesterday it was snowing down to 5,000- and 4,500-foot elevation and accumulating and then the temperatures went up and it started raining and that combination of rain on top of fresh snow is just a disaster.”

The combination of rain and snow paired with dropping temperatures creates icy conditions which make it hard for crews to work in at lower elevations, Ellingson said.

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The weather hold was in place as crews worked to de-ice cables and wheels on the lifts, he said. As the storm moves east, he added, he expects bigger crowds at the resort to experience the fresh snow left behind.

The storm should move out of the Inland area late morning or early afternoon Tuesday, according to Philip Gonsalves, a meteorologist for the NWS.

“When this system moves off to the east it is unlikely that we will get another precipitation event like this or similar to this in the next seven to 10 days,” Gonsalves said.

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