Southern California ski resorts closing early

By Kristina Hernandez and Neil Nisperos, Staff Writers

They’re packing it in. But unfortunately for local ski resorts, what they’re packing in isn’t snow. It’s the ski season.

Warm weather and extreme drought have combined to force ski resorts across California to close early, and Southern California ski hubs are no exception, even as some try to squeeze some extra days out of the season for visitors from throughout L.A. and the Inland Empire.

Because of the lack of rainfall and higher temperatures, Mountain High in Wrightwood closed up shop earlier this month. Snow Valley Mountain Resort in Running Springs also closed earlier this year. Both draw enthusiasts from throughout Southern California, who mountain businesses depend on to hit their bottom lines during the season.

•Video: Skiers enjoy Big Bear’s last bit of snow

Bear Mountain and Snow Summit, not far up Highway 18 from Big Bear Lake — both recently acquired by Mammoth Resorts — will remain open until Sunday, which will be the final day of the season.

Mountain High closed on March 3, part of a pattern of closures throughout the season, said John McColly, chief marketing officer.

He held out some hope that the resort would open if wintery weather returned before April 4. But with temperatures expected to top 90 in lower elevations in Southern California through the week, hope for snow was melting fast.

This was, as he put it, “atypical.”

“It’s a month and a half early for us (to close),” McColly said. “It’s really tough to be in the ski industry these last couple of years. It’s the worst possible thing for us and we would much rather be open until April.”

Read more in SNOW.

Breckenridge celebrates 30 years of snowboarding

Snowboarding legends and current pros converge in Breck’s infamous Freeway Terrain Park to celebrate Breck’s 30th Anniversary of snowboarding with the fourth annual Spring Fever Throwback Throwdown, March 28, 2015.

Presented by Mountain Dew, this throwback halfpipe competition is a chance to watch pro snowboarders from every era of the last 30 years compete for a $17,000 prize purse and take on a two-fold challenge: competing in our 22-foot halfpipe and then a specially constructed 6-foot mini-pipe that is an exact replica of the first one built at Breck in 1985.

Tricks no more than 540 degrees of rotation will be allowed, so each rider will have to get creative with straight airs, alley oops, huge slow spins, and hand plants. The competition takes place on the Superpipe at the top of Freeway in the morning and at the Minipipe in lower Twister after lunch.

Confirmed legends include: Chad Otterstrom, Chris Pappas, Mike Troppman, Todd Franzen, Meg Pugh and a special appearance by Steve Fisher. Current pro riders to watch: Zack Black, Arielle and Taylor Gold, Dylan Bidez, Benji Farrow, Broc Waring and Silvia Mittermueller.

In addition to the contest, the T-Bar Restaurant at the base of Peak 8 will be hosting a throwback party sponsored by Bud Light. Guests can wear their best throwback onesie or retro ski gear for a chance to win a VIP prize package for Spring Concerts, Burton hard goods, and some Helly Hansen apparel.

This Season Marks 30 Years of Snowboarding at Breckenridge Ski Resort!  Breckenridge was one of the first major resorts to allow snowboarding in the 1984-85 season and to host one of the initial major snowboard competitions in the industry, The World Snowboarding Championships, or “The World’s,” in 1986.

Breck solidified its place as the very pinnacle of freestyle snowboarding when it became the first first-ever resort to have a permanent halfpipe then supersized it to a permanent Olympic-sized 22-foot superpipe in 2010, which anchors the resort’s award-winning Freeway Terrain Park on Peak 8.

With four terrain parks, including the top-ranked Freeway Terrain Park and SuperPipe and the Park Lane Terrain Park, a park progression system for beginners and intermediates, Breckenridge remains on the forefront of the industry in both facilities and talent.

See some classic snowboard moments from Breck’s snowboard history on Breck’s You Tube Channel under “Breck Classic Moments” and learn more about some of Breck’s most famous snowboarders and the its rich history of athletes on the Breck Blog.

Breck’s Spring Fever Festival, the largest spring skiing party in the Rocky Mountain region, begins the weekend of March 20 with the GoPro Big Mountain Challenge.

The fun continues through closing day with a series of signature events including competitions and kids’ events in addition to the Bud Light FREE concert series.

Breck Spring Fever 2015 Signature Events include:
•               The Bud Light Concert Series, with national acts performing live on April 11, 12, 18 and 19 on a specially-constructed stage on the mountain, at the Peak 8 base
•               GoPro Big Mountain Challenge on March 21
•               The 19th Annual Imperial Challenge – bike, uphill and downhill triathlon on April 11
•               The fourth Annual Spring Fever Chili Cook-off on April 4
•               On-mountain Easter egg hunt on April 5
•               First Annual Winter Edition of the Kids Adventure Games on April 5

For the latest news and details on all the events taking place or how to participate, visit www.BreckSpringFever.com.

Join the Biggest Party in the Rocky Mountains for as low as $129!
Lodging options start at $129 weekday; $149 weekend from 3/23 – 4/19 with a two-night minimum length of stay. Rules and restrictions apply. Offer exclusive to the official lodging sponsors of Spring Fever.

Save on spring season at Big Bear ski resorts

Despite what the thermometer might be telling you, snow season in Southern California is far from over. Thanks to some late snow, Bear Mountain and Snow Summit have top to bottom coverage, a base depth between 16 and 24″ and more terrain features than any other resort in California. And the best part – it’s getting downright cheap.
Big Bear/ Snow Summit are currently offering a spring pass, good through the remainder of the 2015 ski season for $99. That $99 is also good as a credit towards a 2015-16 season pass (including the Cali4nia pass). So either you’re getting a great deal on spring skiing, or you’re doing it for free and buying a pass for next season.
Bear Mountain and Summit also have some great events coming up, including the Neff Beach Bash this Saturday, March, 21. Primarily a snowboarding competition, it features DJs spinning all afternoon and a man-made pond for contestants to skim, hop, flip and slide across.

Grand Targhee beckons with 22 feet of snow

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Grand Targhee Ski Resort is pushing 22 feet of snow to date and conditions continue to be incredible as we roll into March! If you’re looking for some of the best spring powder in the nation, then you need to book your vacation today. With our slopeside accommodations, you’ll be steps from the lifts enjoying the world famous Teton powder, Wyoming-style.

Spring Breakaway

March is here and it’s time to start planning your spring break vacations. Follow the powder and head to the Tetons! Our annual Spring Breakaway event kicks off March 27 with an incredible lineup of après music at the Trap and the annual GTK9 Fundraiser. The fun keeps going through April with fun in the sun every weekend. Don’t miss the Golden Egg Hunt, the Pattie Layser Mary’s Nipple Challenge, Teton Slopestyle, The Cardboard Box Derby, Pond Skim, and Crazy Horse Hill Climb. Stay and Ski FREE starting at just $82 per person when you book four or more nights! We’ll have plenty of fun events to keep the whole family enjoying their time at Grand Targhee Resort.

Easier Than Ever

Getting to Grand Targhee has just gotten easier!  We are launching a new airport shuttle to and from the Jackson Hole Airport. There are daily direct flights into JHA from San Francisco, Los Angeles, Denver, Atlanta, Seattle, Boston, Chicago, Houston, JFK – New York, Newark, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Salt Lake, and Minneapolis. Keep an eye on Airfare Watchdog for the best deals on flights. Book a room, and we’ll pick you up. Let our reservation team put the finishing touches on your next ski vacation.

Pack Light

There is no need to bring that large ski or snowboard bag because we have a large selection of the latest skis and snowboards for you to demo. We’ll match you up with the best tools for the mountain conditions, simply bring your boots.

What’s Happening

Burton U.S. Open Snowboarding Championship at Vail

The month of March is off to a strong start at Vail Mountain with seven inches of new snow reported Wednesday, 14” in the past 48 hours, and more than three feet in the past week!

In addition to fresh powder, guests visiting Vail this week can also catch some of the world’s best snowboarders live in action at Golden Peak during the 33rd Burton U.S. Open Snowboarding Championships.

The Burton US Open, which first took place in 1982, is the longest-running snowboarding competition in the world and draws the best riders to compete for a coveted US Open title.

On the heels of the 2015 Alpine World Ski Championships, snowsports enthusiasts can get their fill of world-class, Olympic-level slopestyle and halfpipe snowboarding competitions in Golden Peak by day, and enjoy free concerts from names including Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Moon Hooch, Girl Talk and more by night.

For more information visit www.Vail.com/Burton or www.Burton.com/USO.

Mammoth completes buy of Big Bear ski resorts

Rusty Gregory signing agreement.

Rusty Gregory signing agreement.

Mammoth Resorts has completed the acquisition of Big Bear Mountain Resorts as first outlined in September, becoming the leading four-season mountain operator in California.

Mammoth Resorts now includes Mammoth Mountain, Bear Mountain, Snow Summit, and ​June Mountain, which collectively host two million annual skier and snowboarder visits.

Uniting these four resorts under one umbrella paved the way for the Cali4nia Pass, providing skiers and riders with access to 200+ named runs on approximately 4,000 acres of terrain, serviced by 54 lifts.

Beyond the winter season, with the addition Mammoth Resorts will now operate two of the top mountain bike parks in North America ​along with numerous lodging properties, multiple golf courses and other guest attractions.

“This is more than a merger of ski resorts, we’re creating greater access to year-round mountain experiences with a distinctly southern California feel,” said Mammoth CEO Rusty Gregory. “At Big Bear Mountain Resorts our goal is to provide the best first-time ski, snowboard and mountain bike experience in the country.”

Seasoned resort executive Dave Likins has been named Chief Operating Officer of Big Bear Mountain Resorts with long-term CEO Dick Kun stepping back from day-to-day operations.

“The sale of Big Bear Mountain Resorts to Mammoth Resorts is a win-win for shareholders, suppliers, local businesses, the Big Bear economy, and most importantly, Southern California’s skiers and snowboarders,” said Dick Kun. “I am both humbled and proud to have been able to help lead the way in making the sale happen as the culmination to my life’s work.”

About Mammoth Resorts Mammoth Resorts is the leading four-season mountain resort operator in California. The company owns and operates a variety of recreation, hospitality, real estate development, food and beverage and retail enterprises.

This includes Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, Snow Summit, Bear Mountain and June Mountain, which collectively host two million annual skier/snowboarder visits.

Mammoth Resorts is also the owner-operator of Tamarack Lodge and Resort, Mammoth Mountain Inn, Juniper Springs Resort, the Village Lodge, Mammoth Mountain Bike Park, Snow Summit Bike Park, Mammoth Snowmobile Adventures, Sierra Star Golf Course, and Bear Mountain Golf Course.

For more information visit MammothMountain.com or www.bigbearmountainresorts.com.

Mountain High offers spring season pass sale

Winter weather has returned to Southern California, just in time for Mountain High’s Spring Season Pass Sale.  Now through March 31st, skiers and snowboarders can purchase an adult Anytime Season Pass good for the remainder of this season and all of next for just $249 ($229 for Young Adults ages 13 to 21).

That’s a savings of 64% over a traditional single-year pass.  Plus guests can upgrade to a VIP Season Pass for just $50 more and receive terrific benefits like free tickets to the North Pole Tubing Park, discounts on lessons and rentals, and three free days at 11 other Powder Alliance Resorts.  That’s 33 free tickets!

Click here to learn more “http://www.mthigh.com/season-pass-salehttp://www.mthigh.com/season-pass-sale

Says John McColly, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, “This is the best value in Southern California!  $249 for the rest of this year and all of next?  You can’t beat it.”

Mountain High’s Anytime Season Pass is good any day or night the resort is open with no restrictions.  At just $249 it pays for itself in less than 5 visits.  Children’s Passes for ages 12 & under are also available for just $199 (Regularly $279).

Children six and under ski FREE when accompanied by a paying adult.  Please note there is a $10 processing for all new passes purchased.

Ride the longest high-speed quad in the region at Mountain High’s East Resort.  Ski under the stars at Mountain High’s West Resort.  Or take the kids on an exciting winter adventure at the North Resort.

A season pass is good at all three areas and this year Mountain High has added a new Burton LTR Center, increased snowmaking, an updated smart phone app, new terrain features, and an enhanced family atmosphere.

Pass holders also have the ability to track their days ridden, runs per day, vertical feel, and more.

Mountain High’s Spring Season Pass offer is available through March 31st or when the resort closes, whichever is later.  At $249 it is the best deal of any major resort in Southern California.

Guests are encouraged to purchase their passes online at mthigh.com however passes can also be purchased at the resort and by phone at (888) 754 7878.

Mammoth Mountain weekend: Snow, sun then more snow

While it was snowy much of the weekend at Mammoth Mountain, the skies cleared on Saturday for a few hours of spectacular bluebird conditions. (Photo by Peter Morning/MMSA)

While it was snowy much of the weekend at Mammoth Mountain, the skies cleared on Saturday for a few hours of spectacular bluebird conditions. (Photo by Peter Morning/MMSA)

Winter’s not finished yet – certainly not at Mammoth Mountain, where 16 inches of new snow fell during the past 72 hours.

“After a slow start, winter has come roaring back to the Eastern Sierra,” says Tim LeRoy, resort spokesman.

The fresh powder gives skiers and snowboarders a base depth of 32 inches at McCoy Station and 48 inches at the summit.

Even today, the white stuff continues to fall at Mammoth. The forecast calls for another inch of snow by 6:30 p.m. with nighttime temps dipping into the mid-teens.

Information: www.mammothmountain.com

Snow alert! At Northstar, 16 inches of fresh powder … and counting

Snow, snow and more snow. Here was the scene at Northstar California Resort today at 9 a.m. (Northstar photo)

Snow, snow and more snow. The scene at Northstar today at 9 a.m. (Northstar photo)

As of 11 a.m. today, Northstar California Resort has received 16 inches of fresh snow in less than 24 hours.

The mountain continues to experience very intense snowfall and an additional 6 inches of snow is forecast for tonight. Overnight temperatures are expected to dip into the teens and low 20s.

Information: www.northstarcalifornia.com

Ezakimak promises to be one crazy 5k under a pink moon

EZAKIMAK 11,053′ FULL MOON CHALLENGE

Date / Time
Apr 04 / 4:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Location
Category
Winter Events, Family Fun, Entertainment, Cross Country Ski, Après
Challenge yourself.  Race from the base of Mammoth Mountain to the top of Eleven53 on cross country skis, snowshoes or by foot.  The Ezakimak will bring participants from 9,000ft to 11,053ft in a winter trial featuring both competitive and novice classes.

Spectators and family can take an evening gondola ride to witness the spring Pink Moon from atop the Sierra and cheer on their participant.  The top of the mountain will be buzzing with indoor/outdoor fun for the whole family including the Ezakimak finish line, music, food and drinks, kids activities and more.

5K | 2,000ft of Elevation Gain

Dates: Saturday, April 4, 2015
Time: 4pm-10pm 

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About Ezakimak

Ezakimak is Kamikaze spelled backwards.  Our legendary Kamikaze mountain bike trail spans from Mammoth Mountain’s peak, weaving through the “backside” of the mountain and finishing at our Main Lodge.  We’re bringing summer fun to the snow with a backwards race, we’re sending you uphill.  Participants can cross country ski, snowshoe or run their way up the Kamikaze trail under the light of a spring full moon.

Event Registration

11,053 Ezakimak Ski/Run/Show Challenge | $40*

Entry fee includes race, finishers beer, bag check at registration, gondola ride down

after race, food & water stations, on-course DJ’s and bag check delivery to the top.
Race classes:
–Open Run (Male/Female)
–Open Ski (Male/Female)
–Open Snowshoe (Male/Female)
–Novice Run
–Novice Ski
–Novice Snowshoe

Register Today on Active.com

Event Schedule**

  • 4pm-6:30pm – On-site registration and bib pick up in the Main Lodge Ticket Office
  • 5-6:30pm – Ezakimak Practice on Lower Minaret Mile (Chair 11)
  • 6:30pm – Panorama Gondola Opens and Activities Begin at Eleven53
  • 7pm – Ezakimak Challenge Starts at Broadway Express (waves)
  • 8:20pm – Ezakimak Awards at Eleven53
  • 9:45 pm – Activities at Eleven53 close
  • 10pm – Panorama Gondola closes

- See more at: http://www.mammothmountain.com/winter/events/event-detail?url=11-053-ezakimak-ski-run-show-challenge-mammoth-pink-moon#sthash.A3dIIiAt.dpuf