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It's all going downhill: Escapes for the ski season

Posted: January 14, 2010 12:53 p.m.
Updated: January 16, 2010 10:00 a.m.

Mammoth Mountain offers groomed slopes and off-track adventure.

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If you spent the past weekend lying out in the sun and working on your tan, it might be hard to believe that ski season is upon us.

But it is winter, after all, and hardcore skiers and snowboarders have been trekking to the slopes for some time. Many of the local ski resorts are operating on good bases, with more manmade snow added most evenings.

And, with some "weather" expected to happen in Southern California this week, there could be good things falling. Of course, as always, the Mammoth area is packing a solid base, with more snow arriving all the time.

Mountain High
With three resorts, only a mile apart, Mountain High offers a wide selection of terrain and atmosphere. There are 16 total ski lifts.

West Resort: The West Resort is filled with an assortment of technical trails and skillfully designed terrain features for progressive riders and skiers of all skill levels. It is also Southern California's only local resort open seven nights a week.

East Resort: The East Resort offers the longest trails in Southern California serviced by a single high-speed quad. Rising as high as 8,200 feet, the East Resort offers traditional skiers and snowboarders a true alpine experience without having to journey far from home.

North Resort: Mountain High's North Resort offers 70 acres of beginner terrain perfect for families and introductory skiers. It is also home to the North Pole Tubing Park, the largest tubing area in Southern California.

Location: Mountain High is just an hour or so from the Santa Clarita Valley, 24510 State Highway 2, Wrightwood, CA 92397.
Phone: (888) 754-7878

Mt. Waterman
Mt. Waterman is known as a "local's paradise, and it has some of the most challenging runs south of the Sierra Nevada - yet there is also plenty of beginner and intermediate terrain, with more than 100 runs, serviced by three chair lifts.

Location: Mt. Waterman is only 55 minutes from downtown Los Angeles, making it the closest recreational ski and snowboard park adjacent to Los Angeles County. The resort is located in the Angeles National Forest, just 34 miles north of the I-210 freeway on Highway 2 (Angeles Crest Highway).
Phone: (818) 790-2002, snow phone

Mt. Baldy
During the snow season, Mt. Baldy offers skiing, snow boarding, tubing, snow play and scenic chair rides. There are 26 runs spanning three mountains, with wide-open glades, tree runs, bowls, moguls, groomed runs, cornices and natural wave-like quarterpipes. The terrain park includes hits, jumps and rails.

Location: End of Mt. Baldy Road, Mt. Baldy, CA 91759. The resort is east of Highway 57 and west of the I-15 freeway. Arrive via the I-210 freeway or the I-10 freeway.
Phone: (909) 982-0800

Snow Valley
Snow Valley offers night sessions, terrain parks, a snow play area, a mini snowmobile area for children, and backcountry skiing when snow permits. It has 12 ski lifts servicing 35 trails.

Location: Snow Valley is only 30 minutes from the base of the San Bernardino Mountains. Take the I-10 freeway to Redlands and transition to the I-210 north to Highway 330. Follow Highway 330 up the mountain where it joins Highway 18 in Running Springs. Snow Valley is just five miles east of Running Springs on Highway 18.
Phone: (909) 867-2751
Snow report: (800) 680-SNOW

Bear Mountain
Bear Mountain is full of terrain parks, and offers more than 130 beginner to advanced jibs, a standard halfpipe and a "superpipe." There are 12 lifts, including two high-speed quad chairs and 17 miles of trails. There is 100 percent coverage for manmade snow, when necessary. Bear Mountain is offering free rentals to beginners, 8 years and older, who register for lesson packages throughout the month of January.

Location: Bear Mountain is located in the Big Bear Lake area of the San Bernardino Mountains. The address is 43101 Goldmine Drive, Big Bear Lake, CA 92315.
Phone: (909) 866-5766, for general information
(800) BEAR-MTN (232-7686),
24-hour snow report
(909) 866.5841, reservations

Snow Summit
Snow Summit is also offering free rentals to beginners, 8 years and older, who register for lesson packages throughout the month of January. The resort includes 240 skiable acres, with 31 trails and 14 lifts, including two high speed quad chairs. Superior snow grooming is maintained over the entire 240 acres. Snow Summit is offering free rentals to beginners, 8 years and older, who register for lesson packages throughout the month of January.

Location: Snow Summit is also in the Big Bear Lake area of the San Bernardino Mountains. The address is 880 Summit Blvd., Big Bear Lake, CA 92315.
Phone: (909) 866-5766 for information
Reservations: (909) 866-5841
Snow report: (888) SUMMIT.1

Mammoth Mountain
A truly "mammoth" operation, Mammoth Mountain receives more than 400 inches of annual snowfall, and the altitude usually allows the snow to stay on the ground until early summer. There are thousands of acres of ski terrain, 150 trails serviced by 28 chair lifts, and a variety of runs for all skill levels (including seven terrain parks and three pipes). Cross country skiing is available at Tamarack Cross Country Ski Center (

Location: 1 Minaret Road, Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546
Phone: 800-MAMMOTH

June Mountain
A delightful contrast to Mammoth, nearby June Mountain offers a more serene experience, yet the resort has 35 named ski trails, serviced by seven lifts.

Location: June Mountain is located about 20 miles north of Mammoth Lakes. From US 395, take Highway 158 west at the June Lake Loop. Drive approximately four miles to the ski area.
Phone: 800-MAMMOTH

Cross Country Skiing

Mt. Pinos
When there is enough snow on the ground, Mt. Pinos offers some of the best cross country skiing in Southern California.

Location: Take I-5 north from the SCV for approximately 35 minutes to the Frazier Park offramp. Go west and follow the signs past Frazier Park to the Cuddy Valley/Mt. Pinos turnoff. Turn northwest and proceed about 10 miles to the road up to the base of Mt. Pinos. Turn left at the Portero Highway intersection (chains are sometimes required from this point). Access to the best skiing is usually found from the parking lot at the top (approximately 22 miles). There is a Nordic Ski Patrol building in the parking lot. Ski up the unplowed road on the north side of the parking lot. Go early; the parking lot can fill up fast on the weekends.
Web: Current snow conditions for greater Frazier Mountain can be found at

Rim Nordic
Snow is also the issue at Rim Nordic. But when there is enough, the resort offers some great cross country skiing. (The resort was closed at press time.) There are rentals, ski lessons and 30 miles of groomed trails.

Location: The resort is located at 35050 Highway 18, Running Springs, CA 92382. Take I-10 east to I-215. Then drive north toward the Mountain Resorts on Highway 30. Follow the signs on up the mountain to Highway 18. Travel five miles east of Running Springs.
Phone: (909) 867-2600


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