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Mountain High At Wrightwood Reopens For Weekend

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LOS ANGELES (CBS/AP) — A strong spring storm lashed Southern California with rain, fierce winds and some fresh powder in the mountains, giving new life to some ski resorts that had closed for the season.

On Saturday morning, the Mountain High Ski Resort at Wrightwood announced that it will reopen for the weekend from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. as the “last hoorah” of the season, said John McColly, vice president of sales and marketing.

There would be no further extensions because the sun is rising too high in the sky for spring snow to last very long, he said.

West of Wrightwood, chains are being required on Big Pines Highway near the Mountain High Ski area.

To the east, Snow Summit at Big Bear Lake in the San Bernardino mountains said on its website that it would consider staying open past Sunday. Snow Valley ski area planned to be open through Tuesday.

Elsewhere, a portion of the Golden State (5) Freeway reopened Saturday morning through the Grapevine area north of Los Angeles after an overnight closure due to heavy snow.

The late season storm brought ½ inch of rainfall to Downtown Los Angeles on Friday, breaking the old record of 0.29 inches set in 1956, according to the National Weather Service.

The rain created a wet track as the three-day Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach began with drivers making practice runs.

That didn’t bother IndyCar driver James Hinchcliffe.

“I love driving in the rain,” he said. “Growing up karting in Canada, the beginning and end of every one of my seasons was a lot of rain. … It’s a completely different challenge. The limits are so much lower, but the penalties of going beyond those limits are so much higher.”

Driving a race car full-out on a slick track requires being much gentler with the brakes and throttle.

“It’s like driving on egg shells the entire time,” Hinchcliffe said.

In Riverside County, blustery conditions greeted thousands of fans attending Friday afternoon’s start of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. The National Weather Service warned of high winds in desert areas including the Coachella Valley through Saturday morning, with areas of blowing sand and overnight thunderstorms.

A high-pressure ridge will build over the state beginning Sunday, which should make for dry and warming conditions through the early part of the week, the weather service said.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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