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Snow coming early this year to California ski areas

October 11, 2009|Chris Erskine; Susan Spano; Leslie Anne Wiggins; Judi Dash

Snow coming early to SoCal

Southern California ski areas are gearing up for an early season. Snow-making is already taking place at Mountain High (above, photographed last week), thanks to the October cold snap. Meanwhile, Big Bear and Mammoth are awaiting the real stuff as more storms were predicted this week. For Mountain High, where wildfires threatened just a week ago, the snow-making was the earliest ever. "We . . . will open as soon as possible," says John McColly, the resort's director of marketing. "Could be a day. Could be a week." Big Bear Mountain is being more cautious, with officials saying they preferred to wait until winter arrived before making snow. Mammoth Mountain, which has already received 8 inches of real snow, reports that it is preparing to open Nov. 12.

-- Chris Erskine

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A big footprint

As enlightened souls -- or is that soles? -- surely know, it's all about shoes. So we have to take note when what's billed as the world's largest footwear emporium opens at the venerable Galeries Lafayette department store on the tres chic Boulevard Haussmann in the 9th arrondissement of Paris. The 34,500-square-foot shoe Parnassus opened in July. Reached by a gold and white staircase worthy of Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire, it has chocolate-brown leather sofas for the trying-on ritual, 150 brands of shoes and 12,000 pairs altogether. Need a few more foot-fetish amenities? The store, which shows sandals and boots all year round for travelers, has a cobbler on staff and a foot salon specializing in pedicures.

-- Susan Spano

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Da Vinci show

Drawings by Leonardo da Vinci will be part of an exhibit opening at the Vancouver Art Gallery in honor of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Canada. The artwork, which will be presented as "Leonardo da Vinci: The Mechanics of Man," has been lent by Queen Elizabeth from the Royal Collection. The gallery will also feature British Columbia's natural and urban elements in a two-floor presentation, "Visions of British Columbia: A Landscape Manual." The exhibits will be on display Jan. 23 to March 21. Info: (604) 662-4719, www.vanartgallery.bc.ca

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

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An arm pack

What if you could keep your cellphone or MP3 player safe and usable while in vulnerable conditions? The Armpocket Sport 20 is a little zippered "backpack" for your upper arm, with a shield that lets you operate a touch screen (up to 3 1/2 -by-2 inches) without exposing it to the elements. The water-resistant pack, available in a choice of bright colors, has an insulated audio port for headphones, light-reflective piping and a padded vented Velcro-closure arm strap. There's an extra inside pouch for keys, IDs and other essentials. Armpocket Sport 20 with Touch-through Screen is $34.95 at (877) 276-7628, www.armpocket.com.

-- Judi Dash

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