For skiers and snowboarders, Thursday's snow was a first chance to actually see some real fresh natural powder on the slopes. For drivers, it was their first chance to take part in one of the most anticipated traditions of the year, chaining up the car.
With snow levels down to around 4,500 feet, drivers had to chain up early Thursday. Even with four-wheel drive, vehicles without chains weren't allowed into the mountains. Once past the chain check, the reason for that requirement became clear with Highway 18 covered in snow and ice through the Arctic Circle.
"People who live up here pretty much know how to drive it," said Michelle Capps of Big Bear City, "But people who don't, go a little bit too fast. We tend to have a lot of accidents, but this is gorgeous, we've been waiting for this for weeks."
Bear Mountain Resort is open, after getting about six inches of fresh powder Wednesday night and Thursday morning.
"This is the real first good snowstorm of the season, and it's real good to be out here," said Mitch Welch of Brea.
Officials said Mountain High in Wrightwood is set to open within the next couple of days.
"We are super excited. This is amazing. We are hoping to reopen the resort possibly this weekend," said Kim Hermon with Mountain High.
Meantime, children in the Rim of the World School District will have their first snow day Friday; the district says all classes have been cancelled.