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Storm hammers mountains with heaps of snow

January 21, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
Local mountains are suffering near-blizzard conditions due to the heavy snow which is great news for skiers, but bad for anyone trying to get down the mountain.

Since about noon Wednesday, the snow has not stopped, and over the past day, nearly 2 feet of snow has fallen.

For people looking up from the valley floor, it's a great view, but for people on the mountains, it's going to be a tough time just digging out of the mess.

Driver David Lamb had a tough time digging his car out of the snow Thursday.

"I tried to get out this morning and I was out here digging for about an hour," said Lamb. "Nothing happened so I figured I would sit it out and hope for better luck tomorrow morning."

Like many people, heavy snow changed his plans perhaps for the next several days.

"I had a great day of skiing yesterday," said Lamb. "I had planned on staying the night, but now we are staying two nights."

He is not the only one who has had to roll with the punches.

"I ended up breaking my chains and I ended up getting stuck," said Huntington Beach resident Joe Sextro. "I had to sleep in the parking lot here because there was no place to park."

All throughout town folks were dealing with heavy snow. It's one of the strongest snowstorms lifelong Big Bear resident Ian Odom can remember.

"It is up there and it is still coming," said Odom. "We are going to be getting a lot of snow."

Many people were stuck having to shovel, snowblow or plow the thick snow from different local parking lots.

"I wasn't quite expecting this much," said Big Bear resident Scott Diederick. "Even though the forecast said it was going to be this much I didn't really think it was going to be like this. It has been quite an experience."

It is going to be quite an experience for skiers and snowboarders as more fresh powder falls at local resorts.

"I can't believe that there aren't more people up here," said Orange County resident Chris Bowen. "It was almost knee-deep coming down the wall."

"It has been like a winter wonderland and you just don't get it like this in Southern California very often," said Chris Riddle, Big Bear Mountain Resorts.

Chains have been required on the mountains for the past several days, but conditions were at their worst on Wednesday afternoon.

Despite efforts by Caltrans snowplows and snow-blowers, they just couldn't keep up with all of the heavy snow. Highway 330 was closed for a while because of all of the accidents, and Interstate 15 through the Cajon Pass was also shut down briefly because of all the cars stuck in the snow.

Schools in the Snowline Unified School District, the Rim of the World Unified School District and the Bear Valley Unified School District are closed Thursday and Friday due to the snow.

All of the highways in the mountains are open. Buses and trucks won't be allowed up, and at this point, chains are required on all vehicles unless you have four-wheel drive.

Up at Snow Summit Mountain Resort, everyone was quite pleased with all the fresh powder.

"Great [conditions], it's nice, nice having some powder," said Torrance resident Lindsay Artinger. "They recondition it at night, and it snows through the day. It's great."