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Ski areas in Southland enjoy robust business despite recession

January 30, 2009 | 11:35 am

Bear11

Outposts yesterday reported that Mammoth Mountain Ski Area had laid off 101 employees because of poor business caused by the recession.

Business has not been so bad locally. In fact, January has been kind to the local resorts, in large part because snowboarders and skiers are sticking close to home because it's cheaper.

Chris Riddle, director of marketing at Bear Mountain and Snow Summit in Big Bear Lake, said this morning that business was "above budget" for January and down only slightly for the season, because of a late opening caused by lack of snowfall.

"We've found that more people are taking weekend or day trips versus long trips to Mammoth, Lake Tahoe or Utah," Riddle said.

Ticket prices at the Big Bear resorts are $2 higher than last year -- $53 midweek, $66 on weekends and holidays -- but both are offering $10 coupons for weekday visitors, who can redeem them after March 2.

The Big Bear resorts, Mountain High in Wrightwood and Mt. Baldy boast very good conditions, thanks to cold, dry nights that have enabled daily snow-making.

Neither boast the type of terrain Mammoth offers, and all of them could benefit from more wintry weather. But they're keeping busy, which in this gloomy climate is refreshing news.

--Pete Thomas

Photo of Bear Mountain courtesy of Big Bear Mountain Resorts

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