Mountain High is a ski resort in California with three areas, each offering a different experience. It claims to be the closest ski resort in Southern California, only 90 minutes away from LA and Orange County. For us, it was an hour and forty minute drive. Close enough. The only problem was, traffic was terrible.
We went on a Sunday and before we reached town central, traffic was already bumper to bumper. I thought there was an accident. Nope. Just a lot of people. So the great thing about Mountain High is the closeness. The bad thing is the closeness. Being closest ski resort in SoCal, it’s the go-to for everyone in SoCal.
I wouldn’t consider Mountain High a big ski resort. Not that I’ve been to many ski resorts, but I’ve seen a lot of movies with ski resorts. It’s convenient because of it’s location, making it the ideal day trip. But because everyone seems to see it this way, it’s become a hassle trying to get there.
There are 3 different areas to ski: The East and West Resort are mainly for skiing and snowboarding while the North Resort is more family-friendly and offers snow tubing. The entrance to the East and West resort are not that far from each other. The North resort on the other hand is way up the mountain. At least, that’s how it felt like.
I checked the weather on their website and on my mobile app to make sure it was okay to take my little IS250. Weather was clear and driving conditions were good. Our main destination was the North Resort. I had my kids with me and my brother and his family with his two little ones. All we wanted was to have a fun snow day. The location of the North Resort made this impossible. Though the roads were reported as “clear”, this wasn’t the case towards the North Resort. The road was slippery and wet with frozen ice on the pavement. The road was steep and narrow and barricaded between 4-5 feet of snow. Before entering the trail that led up to the North Resort, there stood a sign telling me I needed chains on my tires or a 4WD vehicle to continue. This sign looked permanent, and this information was not included on their website.
We decided to ignore the sign and continued upward. After about a mile of driving, we decided the road was too hazardous. We busted a uee and headed back down, very slowly. This was the only resort that had this kind of driving condition. And of course, it had to be the North Resort– the family-friendly resort. How does that make sense? Families like mine taking a day trip could not access the only area that would allow us to play.
We tried entering the East and West resort with no such luck. The gatekeepers would not let us in because we weren’t there to ski or snowboard. All we wanted to do was play in the snow. This was not allowed at the East and West resort. I felt the resort has gotten more strict since the last time I was there (about 8 years ago), probably due to the popularity it’s received. From what I witnessed that weekend, the place was overcrowded. Not wanting to make it a “play in the snow” type of resort that would deny skiers the ability to actually ski and snowboard, they did not allow non-skiers to enter. It’s also probably why they opened the North Resort. The only problem is, the North Resort is so hard to get to.
On our drive up, people were parking their cars alongside Highway 2 and just started playing in the open areas.
Since we couldn’t get in any of the resorts, we decided to do the same. I finally got my snow day!
DISCLAIMER: Parking along Highway 2 is not permitted at anytime, neither is snow-playing in the surrounding areas outside the resort gates. Please be courteous of the residents of Wrightwood.
At the time, we were following the crowd (when in Rome…) and was unaware that we were trespassing. Cops came and kicked us out. Just in time too because we were already packing up to go home. Was it worth it? Yaaass!