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3/21/05 - Monday - Ski Valley CA
As I was on the northeast side of Los Angeles for business last week, made it a three day weekend and brought my wife down so we could visit some relatives on Saturday & Sunday. That left us footloose Monday so we decided to take a drive up into the mountains as the weather was mostly sunny with high scattered clouds. Drove east out highway 10, then took the 30 & 330 upcanyon into the San Gabriel Natl Forest headed to State Hwy 18 and Big Bear just to sightsee as we had no gear with us. Along Hwy 18 just north of Running Springs/Arrowbear we pulled off to "just take a look" at a small ski hill called Snow Valley. It was warm and sunny so Kerry suggested we look into renting some gear and take some runs instead of driving the rest of the way to Big Bear lake. Cool! Spoke with the nice folks in Guest Services (giving our tale of PNW no-snow-woe) and she hooked us up with a 2-for-1 coupon from Del Taco, $46 bucks for us both. Rented ski gear and snowpants, bought some spring gloves, goggles, and sunscreen and we were on the lift by 11a.m. Took a few warmup runs on chair 1 to get the feel of the K2 Omni Skis & Dabello boots and then hiked a top traverse to get to the "backcountry access" upper chair 11. Since this chair was some work to get to midweek (weekends, there are a couple of more lifts running for easier access), the lifties plus ski patrol outnumbered us 3 to 2 until it got "crowded" in the afternoon when a group of four showed up to cross our tracks. Snow cover was very good, just a few windward spots where bushes had just started to peek out from under the snow. We found an untouched hill with wide spaced trees and were able to take several slolam runs down. Since we had missed the early crustage, the snow surface was easy edging springtime corn, slushing up when we called it at 2p.m.