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Skiers still visit Big Bear despite icy roads

December 21, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
If you're looking for a winter wonderland, you don't have to go very far, because the local mountains will do just fine. Snow has been falling throughout the day Tuesday, making travel in-and-out of the mountains very difficult.

For drivers wanting to make their way up to the San Bernardino Mountains, the only road open was through Lucerne Valley along Highway 18.

A portion of Highway 18 had to be shut down. Highway 38 was shut down overnight, but it was reopened Tuesday morning.

Heavy rain brought swollen rivers and flooded streets to the desert community. But higher up, rain turned to snow.

At a shopping center in Big Bear Lake, backhoes cleared the way for shoppers.

Wet snow steadily fell throughout the day, creating winter-like conditions. On mountain roads, snow chains helped drivers navigate wet and slushy streets.

Another round of heavy storms is expected to bring another five to eight feet of snow, making for dangerous road conditions.

"When it turns to ice, forget it. No matter what you have on, snow chains or whatever, you got to drive really slow," said Richard Ritz of Sugarloaf.

Even slowing down may not be enough. Caltrans warned that it will shut down all roads leading up the mountain if conditions call for it.

Meantime, at Bear Mountain Ski Resort, skiers and snowboarders didn't seem to mind the conditions that blanketed the slopes with plenty of fresh snow.

One person from San Diego made his way up the mountain Monday night to be on the slopes early Tuesday morning.

"To have snow here like this in Southern California is just epic. You can't beat it," said Aaron Essley.

The ski resort has already received eight to 10 inches of snow in the last 14 hours and is expecting another four feet just in time for the holiday weekend.


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