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Mammoth getting a blanket of Christmas snow. A look ahead to the holiday weekend

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In town, this morning’s snow was up to two inches. Only an inch was predicted.
(Cynthia Hayes / For The Times)

A storm system brought precious pre-holiday snow to Mammoth and Lake Tahoe Wednesday, as California resorts prepped for the busy weeks to follow Christmas. By 11 a.m., 2 inches of snow had fallen on the village in Mammoth Lakes, with the storm expected to last through the day. Only about an inch had been predicted from the one-day storm.

After a promising start, the Sierra has faced weeks of warm and dry weather.

Early season snows provided a healthy base, and snow-making crews have been working through the nights to open terrain. Mammoth claims to have the most terrain open of any resort in the country. But as of late Tuesday, there was only a smattering of snow on the ground in the village itself.

Closer to home, the San Bernardino Mountains have also been warm and dry, but cool enough at night to make snow. Mountain High, Big Bear and Snow Valley are all open.

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The National Weather Service predicts snow for Mammoth Lakes till about 4 p.m. Wednesday, with strong winds gusting to 55 mph.

Though snow will be light, ski conditions should be good through Christmas and into next week. The forecast calls for mostly sunny skies starting Thursday, with highs of about 40.

The forecast for Lake Tahoe is much the same, with up to 3 inches of snow predicted, and clearing skies and temps in the 30s through next week.

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A helicopter view of Mammoth Mountain before Wednesday's storm. Coverage was good, despite a slow start to winter.
(Peter Morning / Mammoth Mountain )

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Panic? Not yet. Locals point out that last year started out slowly as well. Everything changed Jan. 5, and by Feb. 21, Mammoth was at 253% of normal precip, leading to an epic season.

Well, unless the sky really opens up Wednesday, expect to ski on mostly machine-made snow.

Mammoth Mountain, five hours from Los Angeles, currently has all lifts and all lodges open, as well as the Village gondola.

Base depth, resort reps say, is 20 at Main Lodge and 60 inches at the summit.

Nearby June Mountain, expected to open last week, is still not spinning the lifts due to a lack of snow.

At Lake Tahoe, all downhill resorts are open, top to bottom, with up to 64 inches at the summits.

Mammoth holiday events

Northern Lights Tahoe

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Merry Days & Holly Nights at Squaw Valley

Northstar Noel Nights (every Friday)

New Year’s Eve Celebrations

California road condition hotline: (800) 427-7623.

travel@latimes.com


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