BIG BEAR LAKE — Less than 24 hours after holiday throngs departed the surrounding ski slopes, a new snowstorm arrived at the Southland's higher elevations Tuesday, spreading a fresh layer of powder to cover their tracks.
Starting on Dec. 26 and continuing through Monday, Snow Summit sold out of lift tickets every day as skiers took advantage of some of the best local conditions in several years. In fact, spokeswoman Bonnie Tregaskis said, "It was a record week for us, and skiing was really good, especially away from the base area."
Nearby Bear Mountain was also jammed and, as expected, the "No Vacancy" signs stayed lit throughout the week in this San Bernardino Mountains resort town.
Now, quiet has returned, along with the softly falling snow. About five inches had accumulated by noon Tuesday, and more was in the immediate forecast.
"We should get up to 12 inches from this storm," Margi LaPorte said at Snow Valley. "The timing is great, too, so it looks like Mother Nature is on our side this winter."
Snow Valley, near Running Springs, had a "very strong week," with skiers able to roam over the entire mountain--a change from last year when only part of the terrain was open during the holidays.
In the Wrightwood area, Tracy Henry said Mountain High was "really busy" beginning the day after Christmas, when the east side was opened for the first time. And the new Ground Zero snowboard park, with its 400-foot-long halfpipe, got heavy play on the west side.
Also continuing to operate daily are Ski Sunrise, Mt. Baldy and Kratka Ridge. Mt. Waterman could conceivably pick up enough additional snow to join the party any day now.
It has been the same story at Mammoth Mountain and throughout the Sierra: big turnouts and plenty of snow, topped by Tuesday's coating of powder.
Mammoth skiers, incidentally, will soon have a new form of transport--a 1 1/2-mile-long monorail whisking two 30-passenger cars between the base of Chairlift No. 2 and the Main Lodge's sun deck. Work is more than half finished, meaning it should be ready by late next month.
Those not-so-identical U.S. downhill twins, Picabo Street and Hilary Lindh, warmed up for the World Cup's resumption in Europe by splitting a pair of North American Championship Series super-G's this week at Sugarloaf, Me. Street won the first race, Lindh the second. Defending world downhill champion Kate Pace of Canada was runner-up in both.
The women will compete in a super-G and giant slalom Saturday and Sunday at Haus im Ennstal, Austria, with Heidi Zeller-Baehler holding a slim lead over Swiss teammate Vreni Schneider in the standings, 485 points to 466. Lindh is fifth with 304, Street eighth with 225.
The revised men's schedule lists a giant slalom Friday at KranjskaGora, Slovenia, and a slalom Sunday at Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. Alberto Tomba of Italy, with 550 points, has a 248-point margin over defending champion Kjetil Andre Aamodt of Norway.
There will be two more weekends of racing later this month before everyone gathers at Sierra Nevada, near Granada, Spain, for the biennial World Alpine Ski Championships Jan. 29-Feb. 12.
So far this season, the Pro Ski Tour has been a clean sweep for Bernhard Knauss: four races, four victories by the Austrian who has already earned $1.4 million in a little more than six years.
After his early December success at Purgatory, Colo., Knauss won both races at Schladming, Austria, defeating a couple of his countrymen--Hans Hofer in Friday's slalom and Sebastian Vitzthum in Saturday's giant slalom.
Next stop for Knauss: Telluride, Colo., where he will try to run his streak to six this weekend.
Camilla Lundback of Sweden opened defense of her Women's Pro Ski Tour title by beating former U.S. ski team star Julie Parisien in the final of the giant slalom Saturday at Wachusett, Mass., and again in the quarterfinals of the slalom Monday. In the slalom final, Lundback defeated Heather Flood.
The women will race at Davis, W. Va., this weekend.
Freestyle skiers continue their World Cup tour Friday through Sunday in the Owens-Corning World Freestyle meet at Whistler/Blackcomb, Canada. The ballet will be held Friday, the moguls Saturday and the aerials Sunday. The ensuing schedule includes stops at Breckenridge, Colo., Jan. 13-15; Le Relais, Canada, Jan. 20-22, and Lake Placid, N.Y., Jan. 26-28, before the troupe returns to Europe. . . . The third jump of the International Four Hills competition is set for today at Innsbruck, Austria. Rainer Schwarzenberger of Austria and Janne Ahonen of Finland won the first two events, with World Cup leader Andreas Goldberger of Austria second both times.
The American Lung Assn. of the Inland Counties is offering its 94/95 ski coupon book, containing coupons good for free or discount skiing at several Southern and Northern California ski areas, for $25. Information on the book, proceeds of which benefit the fight against lung disease, may be obtained by calling the association at (909) 884-5864.
Two comprehensive publications offering skiers information on resorts in North America are in ski shops and bookstores: "Yellow Pages of Skiing" ($9.95) is a 596-page directory of North American ski areas that includes information for Alpine, Nordic and snowboard enthusiasts plus 750 coupons worth an estimated $11,600 in savings. "Peak Ski Guide and Travel Planner: United States and Canada" ($24.95) is a 440-page guide to 704 Alpine locations, endorsed by U.S. Skiing, with trail maps and facts about each area's skiing, sightseeing, lodging and dining facilities, along with feature articles.