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Mount Baldy Ski Area, Southern California

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Mount Baldy's claim to fame is having the "steepest vertical drop in Southern California" for a ski area. Yes there are beginner trails. However, with the steepness attribute in the forefront, Mount Baldy appeals to more advanced skiers. When the winds blow some of the steep trails can become icy, making it that much more challenging to ski down.

Mount Baldy Ski Area
flickr image by randomduck

The ski area is situated on the tallest mountain in the San Gabriel Mountain range---a mountain called Mount San Antonio, which rises over 10,000 feet. And guess what? It is located just an hour outside of Los Angeles! Hard to imagine but true. You could be shopping along palm-tree-lined Rodeo Drive one day and skiing the next at Mount Baldy. You can even see its snow capped peak from most places in Los Angeles county.

Its proximity to a major metropolitan area is a blessing as it provides a recreational outlet that normally would take hours or a plane to get to. More than that, it actually provides the only serious advanced skiing opportunity in southern California---making it a great winter outlet for experiencing snow when you are so close to the warmth of Los Angeles.

Once there you will notice that it lacks what you expected from it: modern big resort amenities. This is not a resort. No shopping. No big attractions. No crowds. There are not super fast lifts or even modern lifts. Just a great huge mountain with spectacular views and snow for people who love skiing. The skiing and scenery are awesome.

There are 26 trails on over 800 acres spread out over three mountains, and good food, a friendly bar, and rentals at the lodge. The area also has space for tubing and a terrain park for snowboarding.

The scenic ride up to the mountain is half the fun. There are wonderful snowy views to get you in the mood for skiing. Once you arrive, the parking is free. From the parking lot you board a lift that carries you to the other side of the mountain and to the snow.

For accommodations near the ski area, try The Snow Crest Lodge for rustic individual cabins. Snow Crest provides breakfast, lunch and dinner at the Lodge. Another option if you want to be near the mountain is to stay at Mt. Baldy Lodge in the cabins. The lodge has a cool restaurant with homey comfort food and a bar scene at night. With a fireplace in the corner and wild boar heads hanging on the walls, if it snows the lodge really fits the bill with tons of ambiance.

Or you can make Mt. Baldy a day trip from Los Angeles and stay in one of the boutique hotels there so you have multiple options for your family to choose from. Some may want to stay in the city, go to the beach or shop, while some may hop in the car and head for a great day of skiing at Mt. Baldy.


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