California ski resorts get their first taste of snow, plan openings

Mountain High ski resort near Wrightwood received a little bit of snow last weekend, but not enough to open.
(Mountain High)

Southern California ski resorts are hopeful about the weekend’s thin layer of snow that fell in the San Gabriel Mountains. It wasn’t significant enough to think about opening, but it was enough for local Mountain High ski resort to crow “It’s Snowvember!”

Mammoth Mountain ski area farther north got the real deal: 12 to 16 inches of snow fell at the Sierra resort during the weekend, and it has been making snow too.

“We have had the [snow] guns blazing since Friday and will keep them on as long as [temperatures] allow,” a spokeswoman said in an email.

When will resorts open for the season amid the state’s record drought? It’s all weather-dependent, not just based on how much snow falls this month but also how cold it gets.


Mammoth is aiming for Nov. 13, with the first chair heading up the mountain at 8:30 a.m. (Mammoth does a countdown.) Lift tickets for the day cost just $50 each.

In the Lake Tahoe area, Heavenly and Northstar California plan to open Nov. 21, and Squaw Valley is aiming for Nov. 26.

June Mountain Ski Area has set a Dec. 13 opening date, and Alpine Meadows plans to open Dec. 12.

Southern California ski resorts enjoyed an early dusting, but hot, dry weather is about to return. Mountain High near Wrightwood has assembled a “first snow” gallery on its Facebook page and is hoping for a mid-November opening. (Average opening date for the past decade is Nov. 16.)

Bear Mountain resort in Big Bear Lake closed its seasonal bike park and chair lift Saturday because of the inch or so of snow it received. Its website says the resort will return to summer activities for now, with no prediction of an opening date for skiing.