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Snow Valley has the best snow it’s had in years. But you can’t get there

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Snow Valley has plenty of snow but no way to get skiers and snowboarders to the slopes. The lone access road, Highway 18, needs to be repaired in a project Caltrans said could take at least two weeks.
(Snow Valley)

Snow Valley ski area has slopes covered in fresh, untouched powder — and more snow expected this week. The season couldn’t be better at the Running Springs site except for one thing: The same storms that brought snow also wiped out the lone access road to the resort, leaving Snow Valley completely cut off.

Highway 18, the most popular route to Big Bear Lake, has been closed from Green Valley Lake Road to Big Bear Dam since Feb. 14 because of a rock slide and other storm-related damage.

A Caltrans District 8 update Tuesday said Highway 18 will remain closed for “at least two weeks” while contractor Riverside Construction fixes lost and damaged parts of the road. It’s a $2.5-million emergency repair job.

There’s a winter storm warning in effect in the San Bernardino Mountains through 1 a.m. Friday that may bring heavy snow — as much as a foot at elevations above 5,000 feet — which could hamper operations further.

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On the ski area’s website, Kevin Somes, vice president and general manager, expressed his hope to restart operations as soon as the road reopens.

“After all, we have thousands of guests waiting to enjoy the snow and nearly 400 employees who we want to get back to work,” he wrote.

Highway 18 also is one of the ways to get to Snow Summit and Bear Mountain in Big Bear Lake. However two other routes — Highway 38 through Redlands or Highway 18 from Victorville — will get you to the sister resorts.

Snow Valley has no alternative access.

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It is refunding some lift tickets and sending season pass holders to Mountain High in Wrightwood, which also has road issues.

Skiers and snowboarders hoping to go to Mountain High using the Angeles Crest Highway, or Route 2, will find it closed between Grassy Hollow and Islip Saddle because of “extreme snow conditions.”

L.A. travelers instead are directed to take Interstate 15 to Highway 138 to Route 2 to get to the ski area, which is expecting 6 inches of snow by the time the storm moves out Thursday night.

Anyone going to the mountains should check road conditions with Caltrans and/or the resorts before leaving; the weather could change and chains could be required at any time.

Also, travelers are urged to carry a flashlight, extra food and water, blankets and warm-weather clothing in their vehicles in case snowy or icy road conditions cause delays.

travel@latimes.com

@latimestravel


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