Business is booming at Southern California ski resorts following disappointing snow seasons over the last few years.
Ski Haus owner Beverly Pickett told the Orange County Register that business at her Big Bear Lake rental shop has been “insane” recently, as skiers and snowboarders take to mountains covered with freshly fallen snow.
The table was set in early November, when a handful of SoCal ski resorts opened lifts early for the first time in years. Resorts usually delay opening until after Thanksgiving, but a series of winter storms in the Sierra Nevada had blanketed ski slopes with fresh powder.
“Business is going well,” Canyon Creek Inn owner Elizabeth Lafort told the Register. “We’re staying positive that it will continue and we’ll get some snow. With El Niño on the way, it’s very promising.”
The busiest time of ski season, the period between Christmas and New Year’s, is even busier this year. Many resorts are reporting being completely sold out, and slopes are covered in several dozens of inches of powder. Portions of Mammoth Mountain are closed due to blizzard-like conditions this week, according to Southern California Public Radio.
“We couldn’t have better numbers right now,” Mammoth spokeswoman Lauren Burke told SCPR. “Everything is booked. Everyone is excited. It’s really great to see people coming back to Mammoth.”
Resort owners have reason to be optimistic; the snowfall in the Sierra Nevada has kept on coming this week. Snowpack levels in the mountains are at more than 100 percent of average for this time of year, after years of dismal snowfall levels. In July, forecasters had feared the worst when the snowpack officially disappeared. Apart from providing powder for skiers and snowboarders, California relies on the snowpack for as much as up to a third of its water supply.
Meanwhile, ski resorts on the other side of the country aren’t faring as well. NPR reports that some resorts on the East Coast have brought back summer activities like mountain biking and rock climbing, as record temperatures have kept the snow away.