Mt Baldy Ski Resort is just one more reason to be jealous of the beautiful southern California. The weather is great almost year-round, the people are beautiful, the cities are modern and spacious, and the beach is never far away. With all this at their doorstep, it is just not fair that southern Californians should also have some great ski areas a short drive away. But they do: Mt Baldy California is just 45 minutes from Los Angeles.
Mt Baldy Ski Resort can trace its history to 1944, when Herb Leffler, a Navy recruit, and Jim Chaffee, a civilian working at a Naval aircraft plant, built a rope tow on the side of the mountain. By 1953, when the U.S. Forest Service gave permission to open a full-scale resort, there were already four rope tows. Herb Leffler continued to run Mt Baldy Ski Area until 1969. It is now operated by the Ellingson family, who also own Mt Baldy Lodge.
Mt Baldy Ski Resort bills itself as the largest and steepest resort in southern California. It rises to 8,600 feet above sea level, for a vertical rise of over 2,000 feet, one of the highest in California. There are just four two-man lifts, but they service over 800 skiable acres with 26 named runs. The longest run at Mt Baldy Ski Resort is over 2.5 miles.
The biggest drawback at Mt Baldy California is the inconsistent snowfall. Annual snowfall is about 170 inches and portions of the mountain are west or south facing. Many runs at Mt Baldy Ski Area remain closed until after Christmas.
Despite this, Mt Baldy Ski Area is popular with experienced skiers and boarders, who enjoy the challenge provided by the resort’s steep runs. When the snow is right, it compares favorable to some of the smaller Lake Tahoe resorts like Donner Ski Ranch or Diamond Peak.
Tickets to Mt Baldy Ski Resort are about $50 a day. Because many people head further into the Sierra Nevada, Mt Baldy Ski Area is not as crowded as one might expect based on its proximity to Los Angeles. A visit here is not the same as a trip to Squaw Valley or Heavenly Mountain, but if you are on a vacation to Los Angeles, a drive to Mt Baldy Ski Resort is a perfect change of pace.
If you choose to stay a night or two near the mountain, you can do no better than Mt Baldy Lodge. This great skiers restaurant is one of only two in the nearby town of Mt Baldy California. The lodging at Mt Baldy Lodge is simple but comfortable. There are six wooden cabins, heated the old fashioned way with a fireplace. These are popular when the snow is good, so it best to reserve in advance.
Where else but Southern California could you spend one night at a beachfront condo and the next in a mountain cabin just 60 miles away?