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CHP turns away motorists en route to Mountain High Ski Resort near Wrightwood

January 23, 2010 |  2:10 pm

Rain-weary Southern Californians seeking a break at Mountain High Ski Resort or a play day in the snow won't be able to get there this afternoon. Angeles Crest Highway, north of La Cañada Flintridge, is closed because of storm damage. And there is so much traffic on the northern side of the mountain, via Highway 138, that the California Highway Patrol has shut off access at the Los Angeles County line.

"There is just no where to put them," CHP Officer Francisco Villalobos said of the multitudes of travelers hoping for a sunny, snowy day.

Some frustrated motorists have pulled off the highway, parking on the side of the road. Hopeful snowboarders and sledders are walking up the last few miles of the mountain in search of a snowy slope. Parents are letting kids out on the side of the road for a round of snow fights. All this has caused even more traffic woes and potentially dangerous conditions on the ice-slicked roads.

Chains are required on all mountain passes.

In La Canada-Flintridge, motorists with skis and inner-tubes tied to their cars were being turned away just north of La Canada, where the suburb meets the forest.

"Until it's safe, they are going to maintain the closures," said Villalobos.

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputy Bonnie Jones spent the morning patiently explaining to travelers that the road was closed and directed them to Frazier Park in Kern County if they were looking for snow.

Among the disappointed was 14-year-old James Gregory, who arrived at the barricade with members of his church group from South Los Angeles. He and his friends were bundled up in sweaters. They had taken the wheels off their skateboards to use as makeshift snowboards.

Elizabeth Brown, an attorney from La Cañada, had planned to take her family up to play in the snow after checking to make sure the road was open. "I called the sheriff's office this morning and they said to look on the Caltrans website. We tried the CHP website and it also said to check with Caltrans ... and here we are."

-- Bob Pool reporting from Angeles Crest Highway, Irfan Khan reporting from Wrightwood, and Rong-Gong Lin II and Corina Knoll reporting from Los Angeles.

Earlier: 11:48 a.m.: Spectacular scenery but horrible traffic on the road to Mt. Baldy, Mountain High and Big Bear