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Ski resorts: December snow sets records at Mammoth and Squaw Valley

December 23, 2010|By Mary Forgione | Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger
  • Powder at Squaw Valley near Lake Tahoe last week made for perfect conditions.
Powder at Squaw Valley near Lake Tahoe last week made for perfect conditions. (Hank deVre )

“Most snow in the world.” That’s what it said in huge letters on Mammoth Mountain's website Thursday. That claim likely comes from an Orange County Register article Tuesday that compared snow levels at 10 ski and snowboarding resorts around the world and found Mammoth's to be the highest.

Indeed, 255 inches of snow have fallen at the resort so far this season.

For four days, starting Dec. 17,  the flakes fell at the rate of 1.5 to 2 inches per hour,  Mammoth spokesman Daniel Hansen said. That stacked up to 16 feet of new snow. Mammoth's white windfall set a record for the snowiest December since 1969, when the resort started keeping records, and the snowiest November in 25 years.

With news of all that powder, Hansen said, the resort is gearing up for Christmas weekend. "It's our busiest time of the year anyway," he said. "And with this snowfall, the entire 3,500 acres will be open for skiing." The weather forecast for Christmas shows a slight chance of snow.

Mammoth isn't the only resort enjoying big-snow giddiness. Squaw Valley near Lake Tahoe has received a record-breaking 246 inches of snow so far this season, spokeswoman Amelia Richmond said. And now it too is looking toward the holidays for an influx of skiers and boarders.

"Some people want blue skies, some people want snow. It's definitely going to be a white Christmas," she said.

Other Tahoe-area resorts report good conditions as well. Here are some snow-depth reports as of Thursday from Skireport.com:

Mammoth, base of 128 to 192 inches
Squaw Valley, base of 120 inches
Alpine Meadows, base of 78 to 146 inches
Heavenly, base of 69 to 90 inches Northstar-at-Tahoe, base of 60 to 98 inches

In Southern California, Snow Summit, which reopened Thursday, Bear Mountain and Mountain High reported 1 to  2 feet of new snow. However, road closures continue to be a problem; check the resort websites for the most up-to-date information. Mt. Baldy remained closed, its website said, because the road to the resort was washed out. Officials hope to reopen it Saturday.

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