Too much snow to ski? Super storm closes some SoCal resorts

November 28, 2019 0 By JohnValbyNation

Snow Valley was a ski marketer’s dream Wednesday: a ton of early snow for the resort’s opening day. Or maybe it wasn’t such a dream. Because Snow Valley had too much snow to open.

That’s right, the little Running Spring resort two hours from L.A. postponed its opening day Wednesday. Weather permitting, the resort will open Thursday, if you can get there. Probably not. Weather cams were showing heavy snow, with limited visibility.

Up and down California, ski resorts were celebrating the long-term benefits of the white Thanksgiving of 2019, though high winds and blizzard conditions were forcing closures and causing logistical problems for the time being.

Mammoth Lakes, the grand dame of California snow, had a foot of snow in town and a couple of feet on the mountain, with way more to come. Mountain reps were citing forecasts of up to 5 feet on the slopes.

It was a blissful early season snow, cold and generous, for resorts from the San Bernardino Mountains to Lake Tahoe.

Access was an issue, though, with chain laws in effect in spots from L.A. to San Francisco. For the latest road conditions, call the Caltrans hotline: (800) 427-7623, or go to

Don’t remember how to put on chains? Here’s a primer.

As of 11 a.m., U.S. 395, the main road to the Eastern Sierra, was being blasted with rain and snow. Chain laws were in effect from Big Pine to 10 miles north of Lee Vining, just above Mammoth Lakes. North-south traffic was a problem throughout the state. Here’s how to avoid the Grapevine section of the 5 Freeway

The good news: Once this sweeping storm passes, conditions will be extraordinary and prices low during the usually slow period from Thanksgiving to Christmas.

Current ski status

(As of noon Wednesday)

Mammoth Mountain Resort (five hours from L.A.): Open with lots of cold, dry snow, but lots of wind as well. Beware the cold. Highs Thursday and Friday were expected to reach only into the teens. On Saturday, highs in the 20s are predicted.

Big Bear (two hours): Snow Summit is set to open Thursday and Bear Mountain on Friday, weather permitting. Up to 9 inches was forecast. High winds may be an issue, with southern winds of 30 to 35 mph, and gusts reaching 55 mph. Day temps will be near 31. Be sure to check road conditions.

Mountain High (90 minutes): L.A.’s nearest resort was closed Wednesday by the storms, but planning to open Thursday, conditions allowing, from 9.m. to 4 p.m.

Lake Tahoe (eight hours): Squaw and Alpine were expecting the heaviest snows Thursday, tapering off into the weekend. Again, beware of the cold. Temps in the teens were forecast through Friday.