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Local mountains packed with snow

January 24, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
The winter storm has already dumped several feet of snow in local mountains.Up on Bear Mountain skiers and snowboarders seemed right at home Thursday. Big Bear Lake got approximately five inches of snow overnight.

Residents are expecting to get pounded with more snow over the next couple of days.

"I love the snow, loving the snow. I am loving the fresh powder. People here are loving it too," said Jesse Aguillar, a resort employee.

"I love it because I do not get to see snow very often. I thought it was going to be more slushy, but I love the fact that it is snowing," said Marissa Rosenberg, a snowboarder.

Marissa Rosenberg is from San Francisco. She cannot believe that Southern California actually gets a real winter season.

"No, I usually snowboard in Tahoe. This is definitely holding up to Tahoe standards. The drive up took way to long. Heading out of Los Angeles was hell enough," said Rosenberg.

The storm forced the California Highway Patrol to shut down Interstate 5 late Wednesday on each side of the notorious Grapevine section of Tejon Pass.

Conditions are expected to get even worse Thursday evening. Authorities say that no one is allowed on the San Bernardino mountains without chains.

Tow truck operators were busy Thursday having to rescue drivers who attempted to drive without chains.

"We do not know this pass very well. We do not know as much because we are tourists. We have to make sure that we are safe," said Jose Sosousa, tourist.

Jose Sosousa is visiting from Brazil and he stopped and asked a CHP officer some important questions about the road conditions.

The CHP says that the most important thing to remember is to bring your chains if heading up to the mountains.

"We do set up chain control right here on Highway 18 at Boulder Bay. That is actually the reason you guys caught me here is because I was checking chains as traffic goes by southbound. If people do not have chains we stop them, site them and turn them around," said Officer Bill Mearse, CHP.

Officers warn drivers to be prepared because if they are caught without chains it will be a costly citation.


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