Although most skiers and snowboarders in Southern California know well about the Big Bear Resorts (Snow Summit and Bear Mountain), not as many are familiar with Mountain High, another top-notch ski and snowboard resort in Southern California. There are a number of features that make Mountain High a good alternative to the Big Bear ski resorts.
Mountain High Ski Resort: Location
The first good feature of Mountain High is its location, which for many people, is significantly better than Big Bear. Mountain High is located in Wrightwood, CA, just a short drive from I-15. In addition, that short drive involves no mountain roads. There will be a bit of a climb in elevation, but a gradual one over mostly straight terrain.
During times of the year when it has just snowed and vehicles require chains to get up the mountain to Big Bear, there are often no chain restrictions on the road to Mountain High, which means that you can get there much faster, and get there in general if you don’t have chains for your tires. Therefore, the trip to Mountain High is generally faster and smoother than the trip to Snow Summit and Bear Mountain
Mountain High Ski Resort: 3 Mountains in One Resort
Similar to Bear Mountain and Snow Summit, where one lift ticket will get you into both mountains, Mountain High actually has three different mountains: East, West, and North. North is a new addition that is not open very frequently, but the East and West mountains are both open for the large part of the ski season, and there is a free shuttle that will take you the 5 minute drive from one mountain to the other.
Mountain High Ski Resort: More Natural Snow
Because of its location, Mountain High typically has more natural snowfall than Snow Summit and Bear Mountain, in addition to blowing snow as the Big Bear resorts also do. This means that the slopes will be less crusty, and have overall better coverage.
Mountain High Ski Resort: Lifts and Trails
One place where Mountain High could do with some improvement is in its actual mountain. Both sides of the resort are relatively small, with not as much variety in terrain as Snow Summit and Bear Mountain. In addition, the runs at Mountain High are quite short, with much of the West resort turning into beginner slopes all across the bottom half of the mountain. If you prefer longer ski runs, you might enjoy Big Bear resorts more.
In addition, although Mountain High has a high speed quad on each side of the mountain, the rest of the lifts tend to be pretty old and slow, making for a lot of sitting on those cold windy days. The lines are not too bad – they can get long, but they are usually efficiently managed on busy days to keep people moving.
Mountain High Ski Resort: Price
The price for lift tickets at Mountain High is overall quite steep, as are most ski resorts these days. Adult 8-hour tickets will cost $54, or $64 on peak days. However, there are a number of other options, such as season tickets (highly discounted if bought before the end of October), 6 packs of lift tickets available at chain supermarkets, and a free lift ticket if you come to the mountain on your birthday.
Mountain High Ski Resort: Overall Impressions
Overall, Mountain High Ski Resort is a great place for a quick day trip snowboarding in Southern California. Because it is so accessible, you will be able to spend less time traveling and more time on the slopes, which have a decent variety of terrain for everybody from beginners to advanced skiers and snowboarders.
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