Peak experiences at Wrightwood resort
- Details: Three areas, each with distinct personalities, make up the winter sports experience at Mountain High. West has 30 trails and 100-plus terrain features for riders and skiers of all skill levels. East rises to 8,200 feet and boasts the longest trails in Southern California serviced by a single high-speed quad. North has 70 acres of beginner terrain, and also is home to the North Pole Tubing Park. All three are connected with free shuttle service.
- New for 2012-13: An enhanced family learning center, which will help students learn and execute the basics faster and with more fun; the resort’s first “all-natural” terrain park, Woodworth Gulch, will have features that cater to most ability levels; a new park cat; expansion of the Foggy Goggle Lounge; updated smartphone apps; and increased snowmaking are all part of the $1 million in off-season improvements.
- Best lift deal: Freedom Pass is good any day or night the resort is open with no restrictions. It also can be used at Sierra-at-Tahoe near Lake Tahoe and at Stevens Pass in Washington.
- Snowmaking: Covers more than 80 percent of the slopes.
- After dark: Riding and skiing up to five nights a week at the West Resort.
- Hidden gems: First, the beginner terrain at the top of the mountain at East Resort. “If you’re a beginner skier looking to get away from the crowd and actually want some great quality snow, that’s where you should go,” said John McColly, Mountain High spokesman. “It’s 8,200 feet, the highest point on our mountain, and there are three beginner trails that most people overlook. It’s really the best terrain on the mountain for beginners.” Second, the entire North Resort is waiting to be discovered, McColly adds. “Our guests are so used to East and West, and North is not that busy — even on powder days,” he said. “North is wide open; it’s very expansive. There are trails, but they aren’t separated by lines and growth of trees. It’s great for lower level to lower-intermediate.”
- Spotted last season: Neal McDonough, Nicole Richie and Adam Sandler
- Address, phone, website: 24510 Highway 2, Wrightwood, CA; 888-754-7878, www.mthigh.com
- Social connections: Twitter, Facebook
- Where to stay: The Rhinestone Rose bed and breakfast (760-912-3838, www.rhinestonerose.com) is a two-story wooden Victorian with three themed bedrooms, each with a private bath. One of the getaways is The Hideout, with a gangster theme that recalls Al Capone and Bonnie & Clyde; another, Romance & Roses in Paris, has a Jacuzzi and is popular with couples. For more lodging options, visit www.staywrightwood.com.
- Eats at the resort: At the top of the mountain at East, the Grand View Bistro has an Italian-themed menu and, as its name implies, affords spectacular views of the mountain, the Mojave Desert and, on clear days, Catalina Island. It has indoor and outdoor seating for 100 diners, and is open on weekends during the peak season. At West, the expanded Foggy Goggle Lounge has a variety of burgers (including veggie), pulled-pork sandwiches, and quarter-pound brats on the menu, and also serves up microbrews and live music. It’s located less than 20 yards from the Roadrunner and Coyote lifts.
- Eats nearby: The family-owned Grizzly Café (760-249-6733, http://grizzlycafe.com) is a casual dining spot known for its large, delicious burgers. For breakfast, order a cinnamon roll then burn off the calories on the slopes. Located on State Highway 2, the main road through Wrightwood, the Grizzly will celebrate its 10th anniversary in 2013.
- Après-snow hotspot: The Yodeler (760-249-6482) is a casual bar and grill that has been popular with visitors and locals alike for more than 20 years. Burgers, dogs, pizza and salads populate the menu, and there are 20-plus craft brews and imports available including several on tap. There is live music featuring local entertainers on several nights. The Yodeler is closed on Tuesdays.
— Jerry Rice