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Cold snap grips the Southland

November 22, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
Back-to-back storms dumped several inches of fresh snow on local mountains just in time for Thanksgiving week, and many Southlanders are taking advantage of the powdery conditions.Over the weekend, two storm systems brought snow levels down to nearly 5,000 feet, hitting Big Bear and Mountain High areas with approximately four inches of fresh snow.

Past Running Springs, motorists were required to carry chains on Highway 18, Highway 330 and Highway 38 about 9 miles west of Onyx Summit to 7.5 miles west of Big Bear Dam. By afternoon it warmed enough that chains were no longer required.

A.J. Pallante with Mountain High Resort said the establishment could extend skiing and snowboarding hours for night skiing if optimal conditions keep up. The hours are currently for 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., but closing time could be extended to 10 p.m.

Pallante estimated that nearly 1,000 people packed the slopes Monday.

The low temperatures are allowing for daytime snow-blowing, which is good for business.

"We can get up to three feet with blowing all day long. It just depends on how conditions continue," said Natalie Jenkins of Mountain High Resort.

The weekend storm brought six inches to Snow Summit resort, where skiers and snowboarders were grateful for the fresh powder.

"Yesterday it was stormy - windy and lots of snow. But today it's gorgeous - lots of sun, perfect conditions," said Christy Findeisen.

Snow Summit is open almost two weeks earlier than last year, thanks in part to the La Niña weather system, which could mean a colder, dryer winter.

"While it doesn't snow as often, it's generally colder. So what snow is on the ground and what we make - the surface stays better. And the real bonus is the roads are open and clear," said Chris Riddle at Snow Summit Resort.