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Rain turns to snow at Southern California ski resorts but roads remain tricky

December 21, 2010|By Mary Forgione | Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger

Suddenly, it's going to be a white Christmas for Southern California skiers and snowboarders. What started out as condition-killing rainstorms, which shut many resorts, have turned gloriously snowy in the last 24 hours.

"After four days of heavy rain, it turned to snow after midnight, and we got 5 to 8 inches of snow,” Chris Riddle, marketing director for Big Bear Mountain Resorts, said Tuesday.

The best part? More white stuff is on the way. Riddle said forecasts of substantially more snow should bring 2 feet to 4 feet of the white stuff to local resorts -- meaning perfect conditions for Christmas and beyond.

Bear Mountain was open Tuesday, but Snow Summit was still shut, with plans to reopen by Thursday, Riddle said.

The real wild cards for local resorts are road conditions, which change quickly. The main roadways into Big Bear, California Highways 38 and 330, were closed Monday night. Highway 38 from Redlands reopened Tuesday morning, and Highway 18 from the Lucerne Valley also remained open. As always, chains are required on snowy roads for all vehicles.

Other resorts were also shut down by the storms, but officials hope to reopen them in time for the holiday crowds. Mount Baldy's website reported that it was snowing on the mountain but that roads to the resort were closed. The website also said Mt. Baldy hopes to reopen in time for Christmas.

And Mountain High in Wrightwood closed down but plans to reopen Wednesday, according to its website and phone line.

Bottom line: It could be an amazing time to hit the local slopes, but check to make sure the resorts, and the roads leading to them, are open.

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