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WINTER SPORTS

Recent Snowfall Big Business for Eastern Sierra

January 05, 2006|Pete Thomas

As folks in Mammoth Lakes were ringing in the new year, Mother Nature was wringing the clouds free of moisture, generating a 36-hour snowstorm that left eight feet of light, dry powder on the local slopes and brought the resort community to a virtual standstill.

Nobody's complaining now, with the townsfolk having dug out in time to embrace thousands of skiers and snowboarders expected to flock from the Southland to the Eastern Sierra this weekend to take advantage of some of the best conditions in the country.

"A lot of the long-timers thought it was the largest accumulation we've ever had in a 24-hour period," resort spokeswoman Joani Lynch said of the 50 inches that fell during the first 24 hours, at times at a rate of up to six inches an hour.

Mammoth opened the top-mountain terrain Wednesday and will be in full operation beginning today. Nearby June Mountain also has opened all of its terrain.

Locally, the primary resorts in Wrightwood and the Big Bear Lakes area reported five to eight inches and finally can boast of having natural snow surrounding trails, which had been covered solely with machine-blown snow.

While more natural snow is needed to enable full operations, all were able to open more beginner-to-advanced terrain, and cold nights are making more snow-making possible. The forecast through Monday is for mostly clear sky and daytime temperatures from the high 40s to mid-50s.

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-- Pete Thomas

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