California ski resorts blanketed in record snowfall
LOS ANGELES — After years of drought and barren slopes, skiers and boarders have a bonanza of snow at resorts from the Sierra Nevada to the mountain ranges of Southern California following a barrage of storms.
The only hitch is whether they can get to the powdery paradise — given chain controls on icy roads.
Mammoth Mountain in the Eastern Sierra reported Tuesday that January shattered its record for most monthly snowfall.
The resort said it accumulated nearly 246 inches of snow — or 20½ feet — at Main Lodge, where its historical measurements are taken. The old record was 209 inches set in December 2010.
Spokesman Tim LeRoy said, however, that the total was much greater at the summit of the 11,053-foot mountain. The season-to-date total at Main Lodge was 350 inches, or more than 29 feet.
Chain and snow tire controls were in effect Tuesday on U.S. 395, the main route to the resort 300 miles north of Los Angeles.
It was a similar story at Sierra resorts around Lake Tahoe.
The latest storm pushed the snow total since Jan. 1 to more than 23 feet at both Heavenly Mountain Resort and Kirkwood Mountain Resort.
Stephanie Myers, a spokeswoman for Vail Resorts, which owns both resorts, said it’s the snowiest January ever at those resorts. Heavenly was established in 1955 and Kirkwood in the early 1970s.
Since Nov. 1, more than 31 feet of snow has fallen at Kirkwood — a total of 381 inches, Myers said. She said 365 inches has fallen since then at Heavenly Mountain. Northstar near Truckee, has received 283 inches this month, and 376 inches for the season.
Chain controls were in effect for the Big Bear Lake region of the San Bernardino Mountains 90 miles east of Los Angeles where the Bear Mountain and Snow Summit resorts reported their largest January total, 70 inches, boosting season-to-date snowfall to 108 inches.
Nearby Snow Valley called conditions “epic” and the word was echoed just to the west in the San Gabriel Mountains.
“This is the biggest snow storm we’ve seen in the past 6 years,” said the website for Mountain High, a 75-mile drive east of Los Angeles, where two of its three resorts were fully open after more than 4 feet of snow in the past week. Access roads were unrestricted except for State Route 2, which usually closes all winter.
“It’s been a long time coming for us down here in SoCal,” the ski area on 10,064-foot Mount Baldy said on its website. “We’ve received almost 5 (feet) of snow and that could be selling it short.”