2012-13 California Detail

Updated May 1, 2013

Mammoth had 17 inches October 22-23 and some of that base remind when it snowed 34 inches in mid-November. The dense snow enabled 60% of the mountain to be open for Thanksgiving. The late November/early December storm dropped 54 inches. The next storm was rain below 9,000 feet, so Canyon and Eagle lodges opened Dec. 7 with spring conditions. There was 9 feet of snow during the rest of December for excellent holiday conditions on a 133 inch base. There was a week+ dry spell through the end of the holidays and 11 inches snow mid-January and a foot late January. Mammoth had only 5 inches in February, but 2 feet in the first half of March. Mammoth had just a few inches after that and was majority spring conditions mid-March, unusually that early. 8 inches fell on Easter but it was all spring conditions within a week. There were a couple of small 2-4 inch storms in April. Mammoth will run to Memorial Day with the deep upper snowpack from December.

Southern California's 2012-13 season can be compared to the past 36 years in History of Southern California Snow Conditions. Snowfall was the lowest and this was the worst ski season since 2006-07. The San Gabriel Mountains got about the same snow as Big Bear, when they normally get twice as much. So skiing was essentially nonexistent on natural snow dependent terrain all season.
November: There was only 1 inch of November snow and Big Bear and Mt. High had their usual mid-November snowmaking openings.
December: The late November/early December storm storm was all rain so most of that early snow was washed out. The season restarted the second week of December with a foot of new snow and ensuing snowmaking. The last week of December had excellent snowmaking plus 6-8 inches natural snow.
January: The first half of January had some small storms totalling about 10 inches and very cold weather to get most snowmaking runs open. The late January storms were mostly rain with about 4 inches snow at the end.
February: The second week of February's storm was 6-10 inches at the San Gabriel resorts but up to 18 inches at Snow Valley and Big Bear. The next week brought another foot or so to most areas but it warmed up again.
March: A foot in early March was followed by another warmup. Continued warm weather closed much more terrain than usual by the end of March.
April: Big Bear closed April 7, a week or two earlier than normal. No new snow during the month.

I consider the local areas worth visiting according to the following criteria (2012-13 summary):

Snow Summit: The Wall, Log Chute, Chair 10 and lower Westridge open. Limited opening at Thanksgiving, then closed 2 weeks. Log Chute opened Dec. 22, Lower Westridge by Christmas, Chair 10 Dec. 28 and the Wall Dec. 29. Full operation into late March, closed April 7.

Bear Mt: Silver Mt. and/or Bear Peak open. Bear was the only mountain to stay open in early December. Silver opened Dec. 26 and Bear Peak after New Year's. Full operation into late March, closed April 7.

Snow Valley: Slide Peak open. Opened 30% mid-December, Slide Peak open Dec. 28 to mid-January, 64% open mid-March, one run open final day March 31.

Mountain High: East as well as West open. West opened mid-November but then closed with the rain. East opened one top-to-bottom run Dec. 26 but closed in mid-January. The same run reopened the first weekend of February but closed again within a week. West was occasionally at or close to full operation shortly after storms but was only 35% open mid-March and closed before the end of the month.

Mt. Baldy and Mt. Waterman: A natural snow base of at least 4 feet. A foot of snow mid-December and the 10 inches for small January storms was not enough to natural terrain. Baldy was about 10% open on snowmaking from late December to mid-March: the beginner areas plus a couple of runs on Thunder Mt. February and March storms were no more than a foot each and a natural base was not built due to intervening warm spells. Mt. Waterman never opened for the second year in a row.

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