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.
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.