Storm leaves a dusting of snow on Big Bear; businesses have seen a decline in visitors

The lack of snow on Big Bear Mountain can be seen just off of the ski runs in this photo taken on January 31, 2014. The ski areas are being supplied with snow made by machines.
The lack of snow on Big Bear Mountain can be seen just off of the ski runs in this photo taken on January 31, 2014. The ski areas are being supplied with snow made by machines. Courtesy Dan McKernan/Big Bear Visitors Bureau

Big Bear Mountain got a dusting of snow from the storm that swept through the region Thursday. It only added up to about two inches – and the snowfall for the season is well below average due to the ongoing statewide drought

But officials are pleased to see any snow, since the mountain sides have been pretty bare this winter.

"With the winter we've been having, we're happy to get anything right now," said Dan McKernan, with the Big Bear Visitors Bureau.

He says the lack of snowfall has put a damper on businesses in Big Bear. He estimates there has been about a 10-percent drop in visitors to the area.

"People who enjoy the snow sports, they are going to come up anyway," McKernan said. "But it's the people who want to see the snow falling from the sky, those are the people we are noticing are not coming up."

One guest services worker at the Snow Summit resort believes a lot of people in Southern California have been busy surfing instead of skiing this winter. There have been several days that temperatures have been in the 80s along the coast.

But there is still plenty of man-made snow – up to 18 inches packed on the ski runs. That's pretty much the only white stuff around.

Just off the ski runs, the view is of green pines and grassy mountainsides. The weather forecast isn't indicating any more snowfall this weekend. But conditions are expected to be cold and dry, and those are good conditions for making snow.

"We are the best of the best when it comes to snow making," McKernan said. "Even if Mother Nature doesn't help us out."

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