Just as Southern California ski operators were preparing to write this season off as a total loss, a series of storms began dropping the best snow of the year.
After suffering through an unusually warm and rainy mid-winter, the welcome snowfalls began last week and culminated in a major storm that rolled over the mountains during the weekend, dropping two to three feet of the white stuff, ski operators said Monday.
Still, the "Big Four" ski resorts--Snow Summit, Goldmine and Snow Valley in the San Bernardino Mountains and Mountain High in the San Gabriel Mountains--do not expect to reduce their business losses by much. Business is running 25% to 50% below normal for the season, which ends in mid-April.
"This (snow) has really helped," said Richard Kun, general manager of Snow Summit at Big Bear Lake, about 80 miles east of Los Angeles. "It has taken a terrible year and made it a very bad year."
"The rain didn't ruin us completely," agreed Evelyn Beaman, assistant marketing director at Goldmine Snow Resort, about a mile southeast of Big Bear Lake. "I think this will make it possible to make up for a bit of that percentage (of business losses)."
Hotel, restaurant and ski equipment rentals were also reporting gains and hoped that the natural snow would last through the busy Easter holiday.
"This is the best snow we've had in a long time," said a spokesman for Escape for All Seasons, a 126-unit condominium rental operation near Snow Summit. "Reservations are beginning to run in as fast as they were canceling two weeks ago."