BIG BEAR (CBSLA.com) — With snow in the forecast, Saturday was a day to prepare for the arrival of both the weather and the people who want to see it in Big Bear.
CBS2’s Greg Mills reported that there was almost dirt as there was snow on some slopes at Snow Valley heading into the weekend, but the skiers and snowboarders were arriving with the coming storm on their minds.
“A lot of people started showing up yesterday,” said Rob Ochtera of Snow Valley Ski Resort. “This morning we’ve seen tons of people coming up. We’ve got a lot of phone calls asking about road conditions.”
The expectation of up to a foot of snow over the weekend will improve conditions greatly.
“This is going to help out quite a bit,” Ochtera said. “This should help us see the end of a normal season, which would get us through at least Easter, somewhere in that neck of the woods.”
The current base at Snow Valley is made up of some leftover holiday snow as well as man-made snow, Ochtera said. The snow has been getting mixed reviews, Mills said, but the Skinner family from La Crescenta was happy they made the trip.
“Really cold, but it’s a perfect day. It was snowing earlier,” said Aubrie Skinner.
“A lot of people but it’s still nice,” added her dad, Adam Skinner.
The incoming snowstorm has people at Snow Valley expecting the crowds to grow on Sunday and even Monday.
Meanwhile, shopkeepers were looking at a big weekend.
“The village is full today. It’s awesome,” said Teri Garrett, store manager of the Shirt Shanty in Big Bear. “And they’re people here for the whole weekend.”
Garrett said the snowy forecast gets the credit.
“Some of them are disappointed because it hasn’t really snowed yet.”
The Rakow family drove up from Aliso Viejo, with grandma and grandpa coming along, despite the fact they see their share of snow at home in Wisconsin.
“Figured they’d never been in the mountains, so I’d show them a little bit of the California snow,” said Brian Rakow. “They’re used to the Wisconsin snow.”
Mills said with the snow yet to come the drive up the mountain was not difficult. There was heavy fog just before Running Springs. The road was wet, and slushy in spots, between Running Springs and Big Bear.
California Highway Patrol put a chain requirement into effect on State Route 18 as of 8 p.m. Saturday, however.
The requirement effects all non-4-wheel-drive vehicles with snow tires and spans the 5 miles north of the junction of State Route Pine Knot Avenue.
To check for the latest chain requirements, visit the California Department of Transportation website and search the highway number.