Mountain High Ski Resort
Mountain High is located just northeast of Los Angeles, about an hour’s drive from downtown. It is frequently billed as “Southern California’s closest ski and snowboard resort,” and this is actually not completely true. Mountain High is actually Southern California’s closest three ski and snowboard resorts. Mountain High is divided into three resorts: East, West, and North Mountain, each with their own terrain and offerings. Between the three areas, there are 14 lifts: four quads, three triples, four doubles, and three surface carpets. There are also 59 named trails and one terrain park with a difficulty mix of 20 percent novice, 42 percent intermediate, 34 percent advanced, and two double blacks. The park sprawls out across 290 acres with 73 of them lit up for night skiing seven days per week. Annual snowfall averages out at 132 inches per year, but there is snowmaking coverage over 80 percent of the trails.
Navigating the Resort
North Mountain is where you want to go if you’re a novice or headed to Mountain High with family. The area is serviced by one high speed quad and has four beginner runs and six intermediates. The vertical at North is 600 feet, but it’s a gentle slope that’s perfect for skiers making that transition from beginner slopes to intermediates. North is also home to a 10 lane tubing park with two carpet lifts that service the area. Although North is only open on the weekends and holidays, access to the tube park is included with the basic lift ticket price.
West Mountain is home to one of the largest terrain parks on the West Coast. Six lifts and two surface carpets lead to five novice runs, 12 intermediates, 15 advanced, and a double black steep that lives up to its name of Vertigo. There’s not much of this park that isn’t lit for night skiing seven nights per week, so even if you’re driving in from LA after work, there’s still plenty of skiing to do. If you’re in the mood for inventive boxes, rails, and jumps, West is the place for you. Pretty much every intermediate and novice trail is dotted with terrain features that will challenge you to find the best line. However, even if you aren’t in the mood to do a 720 off a box, there’s still plenty to ski here, especially if you’ve got some experience. The glades and black diamond trails are going to challenge you as you’ll find insane lines through trees and in chutes with crazy drop ins.
East Mountain is all about the vertical. Specifically, there is 1600 feet of vertical that can be experienced in one huge rush. Take the Mountain High Express to the peak and look down. Where you go depends on your experience level. This is the best powder skiing in Southern California. Everyone starts out with the intermediate drop in at the Goldrush. You can take the entire route down the left side, or head right onto Sundance for a little bit steeper of a run. The best route, if you’re up to the challenge, starts at Goldrush. Head left, then take Magnum down until the end of the trees. A sedate little cruiser, Stampede bends into Route 66. Before you join back up with Goldrush, however, take the drop into the Olympic Bowl. The bumps and jumps on this steep have to be experienced. It’s too bad that there’s not a lift that services the Bowl directly, but the run is definitely worth the trip.
There’s plenty to do in-between and after your ski adventure at Mountain High. Whether you’re after café style food at East Mountain or just wanting to kick your feet up on a deck and watch other ski, there are nine different restaurants waiting to ply you with whatever you desire. North Mountain has the lodge that has tons of family-friendly fare, like pizza, hot dogs, and burgers. For those looking for more adult refreshments, Foggy Goggle at West and Snowshoe at East both have plenty of cold beer on tap and friendly people to share ski stories with. For a more sophisticated après ski venue, head up to the peak at East and sit down to dinner at the Grand View Bistro. An Italian themed menu combine with a stunning view of the Mojave to make it a meal you won’t forget. Keep in mind that Mountain High is also only an hour away from downtown Los Angeles, so there is no shortage of venues to keep the party going long after the slopes are closed.