New snow and high winds reach SoCal mountains and more is coming

Fresh snow fell Tuesday at Big Bear Mountain Resort.
(Jared Meyer / Big Bear Mountain Resort)

A new blanket of snow fell on many Southern California mountains Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, adding 5 inches to the slopes at Big Bear’s winter resorts.

The National Weather Service said there was a 40% chance of more precipitation Wednesday in Big Bear, with more snow possible Friday, Saturday, Sunday and early next week.

The NWS has issued a high wind warning, saying gusts could reach 70 mph in parts of Riverside and San Bernardino counties.


Officials at Big Bear Mountain Resort said lift tickets for daytime skiing on Saturday are already sold out, but night skiing remains open.

The slopes in the Big Bear area have a base depth of 36 to 48 inches of snow. At Mountain High in Wrightwood, which had 3 inches of fresh powder Wednesday morning, base depth is 18 inches.

Before you head for the mountains, know that state officials forbid overnight leisure travel stays, whether in hotels or short-term rentals. They also urge against trips of more than 120 miles.

The Angeles Crest Highway, gateway to many San Gabriel Mountains destinations, is closed in multiple spots for wildfire cleanup. Mt. Waterman, a small, ski area along that highway, remains closed.

Before any winter mountain trip, check weather conditions and/or make sure you have chains in the car. Also, as part of COVID-19 prevention measures, these resorts all require advance reservations for lift tickets.

The following winter resorts are within 100 miles of L.A. City Hall:

  • The Big Bear area, in the San Bernardino Mountains, is about 90 miles east of Los Angeles. Skiers and snowboarders often head for Snow Valley or the two mountains of Big Bear Mountain Resort, Bear Mountain and Snow Summit.
  • Lake Arrowhead Resort is perched in the San Bernardino Mountains about 80 miles east of Los Angeles. The nearest skiing is Snow Valley.
  • The Mountain High resort in Wrightwood, about 75 miles northeast of L.A. in the San Gabriel Mountains, has three mountains for skiers and boarders; an ice rink for skaters; and Yeti’s Snowplay, which includes tubing and sledding for young ones.
  • Mt. Baldy sits about 45 miles northeast of Los Angeles in the San Gabriel Mountains. The Mt. Baldy Resort, closed Wednesday and Thursday, typically offers scenic lift rides and tubing. The top of its Sugar Pine chairlift is about 7,800 feet.
Fresh powder arrived at Big Bear Mountain Resort Tuesday.
Fresh powder arrived Tuesday at Big Bear Mountain Resort.
(Jared Meyer / Big Bear Mountain Resort)

Other areas that often get snow:

  • Idyllwild is about 110 miles southeast of L.A. in the San Jacinto Mountains. It’s popular with hikers, rock climbers, mountain bikers, artists and families connected with Idyllwild Arts Academy. There’s no ski resort. Also, recent reports in the warn that a surge in snow-play visitors has brought a spate of illegal parking, trespassing and littering, along with stress on the community’s handful of portable toilets. The community (about 5,400 feet in elevation) is neighbored by Pine Cove and Fern Valley.
  • Mt. Pinos, near Tehachapi Pass, is about 90 miles northwest of L.A. To get there, exit Interstate 5 at Frazier Park, follow Cuddy Valley Road to the Chula Vista Campground and the neighboring Chula Vista Trailhead and Mt. Pinos Campground, all part of Los Padres National Forest, all prime spots for snow play and sledding.