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Frazier Park: Lots of snow, but road to Mt. Pinos is shut this weekend

March 25, 2011|By Mary Forgione | Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger
  • The top of Mt. Pinos, about 8,300 feet in elevation, got hit with 3 feet of snow from recent storms
The top of Mt. Pinos, about 8,300 feet in elevation, got hit with 3 feet of… (Los Padres National Forest )

The Mt. Piños snow-play area in Frazier Park, north of Los Angeles, won’t be ready for cross-country skiers, snowshoe trekkers and tobogganers this weekend because of a partial road closure and heavy snow blocking access to the backcountry. Officials are advising visitors to stay away until more work on snow clearing has been completed.

Three-plus feet of snow (and more falling), plus repair crews working on downed power lines from recent storms, have shut Cuddy Valley Road from the 5.3-mile marker to the top of Mt. Piños in Los Padres National Forest.

"I’ve been here since 1988, and this is one of the worst storms to damage trees from the heavy snowfall," said Ian Lauchlan, winter sports manager for the Mt. Piños Recreation Area. "Anywhere you look, trees are down or leaning on roofs." A tree was pressing against the roof of the Mt. Piños Ranger District that sits slightly above 5,000 feet as a light snow fell Friday morning, Lachlan said.

Though the forest recreation area isn’t officially closed, spokesman Andrew Madsen said people coming to ski, snowshoe or play in the area might find themselves turned back by the California Highway Patrol.

"A small army of [Southern California] Edison trucks are working to get this fixed but they’re having to park partially alongside the road,” Madsen said. That, plus the high snow banks, have rendered some roads where visitors typically park impassable. For updates, visit the Los Padres National Forest news page.

Meanwhile, those hoping to take advantage of late-season snowfall in the Angeles National Forest will find that direct access to much of the area remains blocked.

The Angeles Crest Highway (California 2) has been closed from La Cañada Flintridge to the Angeles Forest Highway since winter rains in December washed away a slope below the highway at Mile Marker 28.8. Repairs are underway, and Caltrans estimates the roadway will open in spring, according to an update on its website.

The Angeles Forest Highway via Tujunga remains open,  though backcountry access to trails has been closed since the Station fire swept through two years ago. The highway provides access to the Mt. Waterman Ski Area, which is open this weekend.

Check out this earlier Daily Travel & Deal blog post that updates what's happening at California ski areas.

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