It's finally cold enough in Southern California's mountains to start making homemade snow at area ski resorts.
You probably aren't crazy about 20 degree weather, but the people who depend on snow for a living love it -- and they'll be a lot happier this week.
The two major resorts at Big Bear are finally open for business, thanks to three nights of perfect snow-making weather. The cold, dry conditions found in the latest Santa Ana fit the bill, allowing the snow makers at Bear Mountain and Snow Summit to put their $12 million in new equipment to good use. The resorts are opening with a 8- to 12-inch base, good coverage and four chairlifts operating.
Mother Nature is expected to pitch in over the weekend, and again next week with at least a couple of chances of natural snow. The National Weather Service is reporting that the region could get a couple of feet of fresh powder between Sunday and Thursday, and another big storm is forecasted for the weekend before Christmas.
Operators of the two resorts said that even if they don't get dumped on by the storms, they should be able to make a ton more snow on their own. Temperatures should be well below freezing above 6,000 feet for much of next week.
Even San Diego's Mount Laguna, Cuyamaca and Palomar should see a few inches of snow sometime next week. If this keeps up,locals could see a white Christmas without having to drive too far. In fact, if the storm is as bad and gets as cold as some forecasters predict, snow could fall in Julian or even up on Interstate 8 around Pine Valley.