The first El Niño storms of the season have blown through Southern California and left rarely-seen levels of snow in their wakes.
The Mountain High resort in Wrightwood says it's looking at as much as 2 feet of snow. Bear Mountain in Big Bear Lake said in a statement that “our storm total ended up over 30 inches and the conditions are the best we have seen in years.”
Snow Valley in Running Springs called today a “record-breaking day” that's making “it possible for us to open a bunch of runs that were previously unavailable.”
The ski area says it has a 30-inch base.
Mt. Baldy Ski Lifts on Mt. San Antonio says one of its runs has “groomed pack powder conditions.” The area only opens if there's natural snow.
Same goes for Mt. Waterman, the ski area that's closest to the city. With 2- to 3-feet of snow, it's reopening next weekend after a five-year dry stretch. According to a statement on its Facebook page:
The hill is looking good with perfect conditions for our base, heavy wet snow. … We are thrilled to be announcing our opening after a long long wait.
In the San Gabriel Mountains (and not the San Bernardinos, like most of the area ski spots), Mt. Waterman's family ownership predates the Angeles National Forest. Opened in 1941, it claims to be the area's first ski run.
It appears people were skiing Mt. Baldy even before that, but the fellow San Gabriel Mountains area didn't get a lift until 1952.
The U.S. Forest Service warned Southern Californians flocking to the mountains this weekend to be careful. The weather turns fast, like a drunk old man, and snow chains are required.
“Visitors need to plan for heavy traffic this weekend,” the agency said.
Have fun, but come back in one piece.