BY: BRIANNA FLORES
With our beaches, surf and nearly year-round sunshine here on the California coast, the snowy mountains, skiing and snow tubing may seem far away. But one winter wonderland is closer than you might think. Mountain High in Wrightwood, and is about 70 miles from Cal State Long Beach. It’s the perfect destination for someone who wants to spend some time on the slopes but can only commit to a day-trip.
This winter resort features an enormous machine that generates snow at night and three separate mountains with slopes ranging from novice to expertise. Each mountain features restaurants, rental departments, ticket booths and sport shops, making it easier for visitors to choose the area that suits them best, without feeling obligated to start at one side first.
Mountain High is also home to the largest snow tubing park in Southern California. Located on the north side of the resort, the park features up to 10 open lanes that costs $35 for an entire day – tubes included.
For those who want to enjoy scenic sunsets and starry skies while skiing or snowboarding down the mountain slopes, night lift tickets allow you to ski between 5 and 10 p.m.
Temperatures at Mountain High resort are normally between 20 and 30 degrees colder than in the city. You can check the current weather and get more information regarding rental prices, hours of operation, ticket purchases and directions at mthigh.com or (888) 754-7878.
Here are five more fun spots to enjoy some snow and ice this winter:
- CHILL: The Queen Mary turned into an arctic amusement park on Nov. 21, featuring more than two million pounds of ice sculptures within a 14,000-square foot igloo, the 6,500 square foot ice rink and the 100-foot long ice tubing mountain. Guests are encouraged to wear the parkas provided to protect against the 9 degrees Fahrenheit temperature maintained inside. Food, beverages and entertainment are also available. Tickets start at $34.99 at queenmary.com.
- Outdoor Ice Skating Rinks: There are a number of outdoor ice skating rinks within a day’s drive of Long Beach. One of the most beautiful, Skating by the Sea at the Hotel Del Coronado (hoteldel.com), allows visitors to skate while enjoying picturesque views of the Pacific and Coronado Beach, and is open through Jan. 4. The L.A. Kings Holiday Ice Rink at the Nokia Plaza in L.A. Live (lalive.com) is open through Dec. 31, and general admission is $13. Skate Spectrum (skatespectrum.com), an intimate rink inside the Irvine Spectrum, sits in front of a lit Ferris wheel and is open through Jan. 1. Admission, which includes rental skates, is $18.50.
- Snow Drift: The oldest snow tubing park in Southern California, Snow Drift in San Bernardino National Park, is approximately 65,000 feet above sea level. It’s dedicated to snow tubing and features easy, intermediate and advanced slopes. Coffee, hot chocolate, hot dogs and other refreshments are also available. $12 per person, per hour. snowdrift.net