Business & Economy

For California ski resorts, a Christmas to remember

MAMMOTH, CA - JANUARY 10:  Nicholas Sibayan competes during the finals of the slopestyle portion  of the 2010 U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix on January 10, 2010 at Mammoth Mountain ski resort in Mammoth Lakes, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Nicholas Sibayan
MAMMOTH, CA - JANUARY 10: Nicholas Sibayan competes during the finals of the slopestyle portion of the 2010 U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix on January 10, 2010 at Mammoth Mountain ski resort in Mammoth Lakes, California. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Nicholas Sibayan
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

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The week between Christmas and New Year's is usually one of the busiest times of the year for ski resorts. The past couple years have been short on snow, but this year it’s a different story, especially if you’re willing to leave Southern California.

The past two seasons at Mammoth Mountain have been so dry it seemed like the snow might never return. But this year, it has with vengeance, so much so that the upper mountain has been closed much of this week because of blizzard-like conditions.

Mammoth spokeswoman Lauren Burke certainly isn’t complaining. 

“We couldn’t have better numbers right now,” said Burke. “Everything is booked. Everyone is excited. It’s really great to see people coming back to Mammoth.”

As of Thursday, Mammoth had 50 inches of snow at the base and 70 inches at the top. Snow is forecast for Christmas day, but you will need to bundle up. Temperatures are forecast to be in the single digits.

Lake Tahoe resorts are also off to their best start in years. Heavenly Resort said Thursday it has gotten 44 inches of snow in just the past week.

Unfortunately, conditions have not been nearly as good at Southern California mountains, which have been mostly been getting rain this week.

Bear Mountain has a base of 36 inches at the top and 24 inches at the bottom, which is considerably better than last year, but still disappointing for an El Nino year.

“We’re always up here doing the snow dance,” said Dan McKernan, Director of Marketing & Public Relations at the Big Bear Visitors Bureau. “It’s kind of a daily routine. When we wake up, it’s snow dance time.”