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SKIING

Resorts open; rain has effect

December 01, 2007|Pete Thomas

Good news for skiers and snowboarders: All four major local resorts opened during the past week and have slowly been expanding ridable terrain.

The bad news: Friday's storm delivered rain, not snow, to the San Gabriel and San Bernardino mountains, turning much of their manmade snow to slush.

"The good news is that we really need the moisture -- the trees need it, the lake needs it and the mountains really need it," said Chris Riddle, director of marketing at Big Bear Mountain Resorts, which includes Bear Mountain and Snow Summit.

"But I just wish it had come as snow instead of rain, because then we'd be all set for the beginning of the season."

Bear Mountain, nearby Snow Valley and Mountain High in Wrightwood closed Friday because of rain but are scheduled to reopen today.

Much cooler temperatures -- perhaps even some genuine snowfall -- were expected by nightfall. However, if snow did not come and it remained cloudy with high humidity, the resorts would not be able to fire up their snow-making guns and place a more powdery layer back on the slopes.

Before the storm, which arrived from the south and was not supposed to slam Southern California the way it did, three of the resorts were in pretty good shape.

Snow Summit, Bear Mountain and Mountain High had multiple trails open and top-to-bottom skiing and riding on base depths to about 18 inches.

Snow Valley is more reliant on natural snow but had opened its jib park at Lift 12.

-- Pete Thomas

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