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Overnight snowfall a boon to local ski resorts

November 28, 2009 |  1:00 pm

Local ski resort operators greeted with glee today an overnight blanket of snow ensuring that they will be open throughout the Thanksgiving holiday.

In recent years, mountain areas were devoid of snow when Thanksgiving rolled around, hurting the season.

Chris Riddle, director of marketing for Big Bear Mountain Resorts, which includes Bear Mountain and Snow Summit resorts, said the weather forecast had called for a 30% chance of snow today.

"I expected a minor dusting at best," Riddle said. "But lo and behold, when I woke up this morning, it was snowing real hard."

Riddle said between 4 and 6 inches of snow had fallen at Big Bear today.

Visitors driving up the mountain were required to use chains and traffic was slow-moving, he said. "But we're seeing a very strong volume and very good skier and snowboarder interest," Riddle said. "There's a lot of pent-up demand."

Riddle said that Bear Mountain opened on Oct. 30 and Snow Summit opened on Thanksgiving Day. It was the first time in four years that the resorts had received enough snow to allow them to open for Thanksgiving, Riddle said.

"This is a good start for us to have this much snow, close to Thanksgiving," he said, adding that the resorts had also been making their own snow.

The ski and snowboarding season typically runs through late April, Riddle said. Representatives of the Mountain High Ski Resort in the San Gabriel Mountains off I-15 in Wrightwood were equally uplifted by the snowfall.

Kim Hermon, Mountain High's marketing manager, said between 2 and 3 inches of snow had fallen overnight.

"And there are still light flurries," she said. The resort remained opened into the night on Friday and was sold out, Hermon said. The facility would also stay open tonight until 10.

"This is our first natural snowfall of the season and it couldn't have come at a better time, than at Thanksgiving," Hermon said.

--Ann M. Simmons