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White Christmas no longer a dream for skiers and snowboarders

December 18, 2008 |  8:58 am


A white Christmas will be enjoyed in Big Bear Lake, which provided the accompanying photo as proof, and in mountain towns throughout the West.

"It's like having your very own north pole," said Ken Brengle, chief executive of Big Bear Lake Resort Assn. "There's nothing like Christmas shopping in the snow. It really brings out the holiday spirit in everyone."

Shopping? How about skiing and snowboarding? The series of storms that rumbled through Southern California, along with frigid temperatures, have provided the best conditions locally in recent memory.

Bear Mountain and Snow Summit are reporting 3 to 4 feet of fresh powder. That is a snowfall of Mammoth proportions. Mammoth Mountain, by the way, received more than 5 feet and the Eastern Sierra resort will open 100% of its terrain before the weekend.

Snow Valley in Running Springs, Mountain High in Wrightwood and Mt. Baldy above Upland have likewise been transformed into snowy wonderlands.

Skiers and snowboarders will soon have other options as well. Venerable Mt. Waterman, located alongside Angeles Crest Highway, will open Dec. 26, and Alta Sierra Ski Area overlooking the Kern River Valley above Bakersfield will open Friday. June Mountain north of Mammoth also will open Friday.

I can't recall the last time all these resorts were open at the same time, boasting such prime conditions. Maybe it was during the El Niño winter of 1997-98. In any event, not even the Grinch could spoil this holiday season for those who enjoy snow play. Enjoy, and stay safe!

-- Pete Thomas

Photo: Used by permission of Big Bear Lake