If you know where to look you can still find evidence of the cradles of Southern California skiing. How that sport has grown can be measured by the fact that the area now is the largest market for skiing and snow boarding in the country.
On Mt. Able and Mt. Pinos above Frazer Park, especially at Big Pines a few miles west of Wrightwood, and in the San Bernardino Mountains an old automobile wheel attached to a sturdy tree with cable shows where rope tows once operated for hardy, quaint folk who got a thrill riding two wooden boards down a snow slope.
Skiing and ski clubs are certainly nothing new in Southern California. American Ski Annuals dating back to the middle 1930's
Chronicle the doings of ski clubs, ski races and the gradual introduction of ski areas as we know them today.
This progress over almost three quarters of a century can be mirrored at Big Pines located at the junction of Highway 2 and Largo Vista road in the San Gabriel Mountains. Here one can still find evidence of those early tows both on Table Mountain, now called Ski Sunrise and Mountain High Resort.
If Big Pines was once a center for early skiing it has come full circle with Mountain High Resort hosting 577,000 skier and snow boarder visits last season, a record not only the Resort but for every Southern California ski area.
Those many visitors have little idea that the run now called Conquest was once, a long time ago, named Sun Bowl and the site of one of the early rope tows. Or that the run now called Gunslinger originally was the site of one of the first ski jumping hills in Southern California.
The high speed quad Express lift at Mountain High East that now takes skiers 1600 vertical feet to the top of Blue Ridge is the site where the first double chair lift in Southern California was located. And that it once was the scenic backdrop for a Science Fiction movie. In those early days it was called Holiday Hill while Mountain High West was simply called Blue Ridge for the ridge that tops the resort.
This writer has now skied these areas for 46 years, through good snow years and bad, and several ownerships as well. In the past four seasons Mountain High Resort has expanded at a rapid rate for a number of reasons including consistent snow making and slope grooming, new enlightened management and the ever rising popularity of snow boarding in Southern California.
This season $1.5 million was expended on capital improvements, mostly at Mountain High East where the high speed quad was relocated and a new Learning Center developed.
From Los Angeles and surrounding cities Mountain High Resort is reached by taking Interstate 15, exit to Highway 138, to Highway 2 and the Resort. From the San Fernando Valley take Interstate 5 to Highway 14 to Pearblossom exit, thenHighway138 to Largo Vista road and Big Pines. For information call 760 249-5808, on the web at mthigh.com.
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