2018-19 California Detail

Updated May 15, 2019

Mammoth opened Broadway on snowmaking Nov. 10, followed by a couple of the race course runs by Nov. 17. 19 inches of snow fell over Thanksgiving weekend, opening Cornice and a few runs on chairs 2, 3, 12, 13 and 14. After 3+ feet during the last week of November, chairs 4, 5 and 10 opened. 14 inches fell during the first week of December, allowing 90+% operation as of December 8. 7 inches refreshed surfaces Dec. 17 and another 5 at Christmas, but some areas were still low tide, mainly on the Canyon side of the mountain. Full coverage of 7+ feet was attained with the 44 inches of snow Jan. 6-10 and another 50 inches Jan. 15-21. The dumps continued in early February, 88 inches Feb. 2-5 and another 3 feet Feb. 9-10. 5+ feet fell Feb. 13-17 and another 17 inches the last week of February, bringing the monthly total to a record 207.5 inches. 45 inches fell during the first half of March. Conditions remained excellent with 13 inches of of snow March 21-24, 10 inches March 27-29 and 6 inches April 2-3. Majority spring conditions developed during the first two weekends in April despite another scattered 11 inches of snow during the first half of the month. Mammoth lost about 3 feet of base during the second half of April, but 31 inches of snow fell May 16-27. The May snow resulted in great spring skiing in June, but the summer meltdown closed Mammoth July 28 vs. August 6 in 2017, which had 150 inches more snow than 2019.

Southern California's 2018-19 season can be compared to the past 43 years in History of Southern California Snow Conditions. 2018-19 was a similar season to 2016-17 with above average snowfall, but held back to mediocrity due to excessive rain. 2018-19 had 12 days of rain instead of snow in the SoCal ski areas, just shy of the record 13 rain days in 2016-17 and well beyond the prior record of 9 days in 1996-97. 2018-19 was slightly better than 2016-17 due to a cooler March with some new snow to extend the spring season longer.

November: was dry for its first half, but the Santa Ana winds lowered temperatures and allowed Snow Summit to open Nov. 16. No new snow was reported at Thanksgiving, so that storm was probably rain. 4-6 inches fell Nov. 30.
December: About a foot of snow fell Dec. 6-7. There was minimal expansion of open terrain after Dec. 8 and surfaces degraded in the warm weather over the next two weeks. It snowed 5 inches on Christmas at Big Bear and the ensuing colder temps enabled snowmaking to open most terrain there.
January: There was about a foot of snow during the first two weeks of January, with high hopes of a continuously stormy third week. Unfortunately it snowed a foot early in the week but rained to the top of all the ski areas Jan. 16-17. It rained again for three days at the end of January.
February: It then snowed 2-3 feet Feb. 3-5, opening considerable natural snow terrain. With another 8 inches, Feb. 9-10 was the first A weekend as defined in History of Southern California Snow Conditions in two years and only second such weekend since 2011. It rained heavily Feb. 13-14 with damage to both ski terrain and access roads, but 2-3 feet fell over the next week, resulting in another A weekend Feb. 23-24.
March: It rained all weekend March 2-3 and March 6 with just 4 inches snow on March 7. It snowed 12-20 inches March 12, so most terrain was open for the next week though with spring conditions in warm weather. It snowed about 4 inches March 21 but it had rained the previous day. Thus open terrain and surface conditions declined some during the second half of March.
April: Enough snow remained that Snow Summit was open to April 20 and Mt. Baldy and Snow Valley to April 21.

I consider the local areas worth visiting according to the following criteria (2018-19 summary):

Snow Summit: The Wall, Log Chute, Chair 10 and lower Westridge open. Miracle Mile and the beginner area opened Nov. 16. Summit Run opened in early December. Chairs 2, 7 & 9 opened Dec. 8 with 57% of terrain. Lower Westridge opened Dec. 15. Lower Log Chute opened at Christmas. Wall opened Dec. 28 and Chair 10 Dec. 29. 88% open Dec. 30, 95+% since mid-January. Summit was still in full operation Feb. 15, with surfaces restored by new snow over the next week. 100% open into late March, 91% March 31, 70% April 7, 39% at April 20 closing.

Bear Mt: Silver Mt. and/or Bear Peak open. The Bear Express opened during Thanksgiving weekend. 31% open on Dec. 8, 43% Dec. 15. Silver opened at Christmas and Bear Peak Dec. 29. 78% open Dec. 30, 90+% since mid-January. 100% open in February/March. 70% at April 7 closing.

Snow Valley: Slide Peak open. Limited opening by Dec. 15, 16% before Christmas, 39% Dec. 30, 60% mid-January into February. Slide Peak opened Feb. 11. Snow Valley's access road was closed Feb. 15, and reopened March 2. Slide Peak reopened March 4 and closed March 31. Lower mountain closed April 21.

Mountain High: East as well as West open. West opened Chisholm and the beginner area in early in December. West opened 60% on the fresh snow by Dec. 8 but fell back to 26% by Dec. 15 and 18% before Christmas. With the cold Christmas week West was 39% open Dec. 30. West was fully open with the early January snow, but fell back to 58% after the mid-January rain, 42% at the end of January. After the early February storm all of West opened and 90% of East opened Feb. 8. After the Feb. 13-14 rain both East and West were about 60% open for President's weekend but reached full operation with new snow by the next weekend. East closed before the end of February. West was 74% open in early March. For the weekend of March 16-17 West was 100% open and East 40%. East then closed and West declined to 68% open March 31 and 30% at April 7 closing.

Mt. Baldy and Mt. Waterman: A natural snow base of at least 4 feet. Baldy opened the beginner area and one run on Thunder Dec. 8. Baldy was perhaps 1/3 open mid-January, but the ungroomed was probably off limits the rest of the month. Baldy opened Chair 1 to skiing Feb. 6 and chair 4 the next day to reach about 90% open. Baldy's access road was closed President's weekend, reopened Feb. 19. Baldy had some lift closures for electrical problems during the latter part of February. Thunder Mt. had good coverage in March and was open weekends to April 21. Waterman missed the good Feb. 9-10 weekend because its road was closed but finally opened for the weekend of Feb. 23-24. Waterman was then closed two weekends but was open the last 3 weekends of March.

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