So it gets its fair share of snow, and this weekend brought even more.
All the fresh powder means Southern Californians have more reason to stay local, which means mountain businesses have good reason to stay positive.
"I think people would rather come closer than drive so far because of the economy," said store owner Judy Borg.
Just down the road in Running Springs, the owners of the Country Butcher say despite the economy, it's been a good season because of the snow.
"Yeah, we're hanging in there, but the snow and everything is helping us," said Borg.
It's the same story next door at Above and Beyond Sports.
"Snow brings so much more business. It's a resort town, so we thrive on the customers coming up from the bottom of the mountain and we really depend on them. It's been a decent year so far," said Daniel Williams of Above and Beyond Sports.
At Snow Valley Ski Resort, the snow base is triple what it was last year at this time.
"These are probably the best conditions I've even seen here. I remember coming here about this time, years in the past, and you had dirt and paths in the snow, so it's great conditions here, a lot of fun. I recommend people come check it out," described Vista resident Cory Glazier.
This has been the best winter since 1997, which was another El Nino year.
"The snow is great. It's powdery and the sky is blue and it's gorgeous, you can't ask for anything better," described Joy Glazier of Vista.
The storm has moved out and brilliant sunshine has moved in, but the wind has picked up Monday making conditions chilly.
All the freeways are open giving snow sport enthusiasts easy access to the mountains, but officials still advise commuters to carry chains.