There is something about the New Year that always has me craving the snow. I once spent a winter working for the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah where enjoying the winter wonderland was effortless, but ever since I arrived in LA I've been looking for the right SoCal mountain to call my own. I have yet to ski Mammoth or Big Bear (crazy. I know) but I am less inclined to fight the traffic, ever since I stumbled upon Mt. Baldy. It may only have 4 chairs, but it has the perfect amount of terrain to keep you skiing for a full day. From beginners to experts, there is something about it's small mountain charm that is a proper throwback to the days of cable bindings and leather pole straps. Tickets can be pricey, but with so many discounts available online, it's the best bargain in town. I purchased a season pass for $50 in a promo deal by the Chamber of Commerce. The town of Mt. Baldy is tiny, but at the same time it is the epitome of "quaint"...and don't forget...you ski free on your birthday.
Get me there: Only 40 minutes east of downtown on the 10. Exit Mt. Baldy and follow the twisty turvy two lane road up the mountain to LA's closest snow. There are a lot of bad drivers and the traffic can be a bit of a headache if you get there between 9 and Noon, but if you plan ahead and check the road reports, getting there is a breeze.
Give me food: If you like a hardy breakfast before you hit the slopes, make a quick stop at the Mt. Baldy Lodge. Don't be fooled by the pre-historic website, the lodge is cozy, has a decent selection of beer on tap and a roaring fireplace to recharge your body heat. On the mountain make sure you lunch at Top of The Notch. it is a must stop après-ski. Just the irony of the yacht club decor and proudly displayed pet photos make it worth it. On a clear day the view is miles and miles, enjoy a PBR while towering up at 7800 feet.
Let me sleep: in my own bed.
Show me something: I'd rather make my own video to share with you, and the music choice in this flick is definitely NOT my taste, but the below Youtube gem gives you a good sense of the magic of Mt. Baldy. Mute and enjoy.