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Early snow draws crowds to SoCal mountains

November 6, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Winter's unexpected arrival could translate into big bucks for Southern California ski resorts and early fun in the snow for skiers and snowboarders.

The slopes officially opened for the season Saturday at Mountain High, and the resort is welcoming droves of snow sport enthusiasts.

The Wrightwood resort decided to open its hills after Friday's snowfall added to the snow that crews there already made.

The resort has a 6-to 15-inch base. That's enough to cover some runs and terrain park features. About 4 to 6 inches fell Saturday and another 1 to 2 inches fell Sunday morning.

Mountain High fired up the lifts again Sunday at 8:30 a.m. and planned to remain open until 4 p.m.

Snowboarder Scott Barr trekked out to Mountain High from Redondo Beach after he saw the slopes opened early on the resort's website.

"I was expecting like 1 to 2 inches. I was actually expecting rain, too, because I didn't think it was going to be this cold," said another snowboarder, Alex Chu from Pasadena.

There were some chain requirements, but only on the Mt. Wilson access road off Angeles Crest Highway. That means it was a fairly easy drive for a lot of skiers and snowboarders heading to Mountain High.

Bear Mountain and Snow Summit, both in Big Bear Lake, received 4 to 6 inches of snow from weekend storm and they hoped to open early next week.

Snow also fell in Julian in San Diego County. Resident there got about 1.5 inches of snow.

However, the winter-like weather wasn't good news in nearby Mira Mesa. Heading into the weekend, rain caused a big accident on the southbound lanes of the I-15 Freeway involving a semi truck and four cars.

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