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Incredible amount of snow falling in Big Bear

January 22, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
Since about noon Wednesday, the snowfall has been nonstop in Big Bear. The storm has been dumping snow in the local mountains, closing schools and making roads hazardous.The storm has even brought snowfall in Beaumont and Yucaipa, where snow is a rare sighting. Caltrans is requiring drivers on the 10 Freeway through Beaumont to carry chains, and classes have been canceled for the Beaumont Unified School District and the Yucaipa-Calimesa Unified School District.

The Big Bear ski resort already had about 30 inches of snow on Thursday, and that was before all the snow overnight.

"We had already booked the cabin, so it was like, well, let's just see if we make it up there, and see how it goes," said Cruz Alvardo of San Diego.

Some might call it a winter wonderland, but not everyone, especially drivers whose vehicles are stuck in snow.

"It's really pretty until you have to start digging out a car," said Renee Armstrong, who was visiting from Australia.

She was one of many drivers trying to extract their vehicles from dense heavy snow on Friday, but for them, the clock was ticking. Armstrong said she had to catch a plane at LAX later in the day.

While the worst of the storm may be over, the roads are the worst they've been all week, and some may not have a choice in whether they get off the mountain.

"We didn't expect this," said Robin Richards from Texas.

The roads to Big Bear were briefly closed Friday morning due to cars stuck on Highway 330, but they have since been reopened.

"The roads are pretty treacherous, we're doing the best that we can with the equipment that we have and stuff," said Henry Aldama, a Caltrans supervisor.

"The best advice I can give you is slow down and carry chains," he said.

The snow has caused intermittent power outages in the area for the past couple of days.

All schools are closed Friday in the Snowline School District, Apple Valley School District, Rim of the World School District, Bear Valley Unified School District and Victor Elementary School District.

But despite the frustrations that come with school closures, road closures and power outages, it's just part of the territory of being in the mountains, and there's not much residents and visitors in the area can do about it.

As one man put it, "It's just part of the program, part of the program, that's all you can do."