We packed our black mid-size SUV with snowboards, winter clothes, helmets, and good cheer. It was the day after Christmas and we were ready to burn some money and calories at Mountain High where we would spend the day snowboarding. We’d been discussing a trip to “Southern California’s closest winter resort” for a few weeks, and were pleased that Mountain High finally had snow.
As we drove along Pearblossom Highway and made our way towards the San Gabriel Mountains, we grew perplexed. “Where’s the snow?” was the question running through our minds and out our mouths. Had we heard incorrectly that the mountain had just gotten fresh snow? Unsure as we were, we carried on, determined to find our answer.
With every mile, more Joshua Trees faded in the distance. The colorful fall leaves and overgrown trees welcomed us as we began our ascent up the unintimidating windy roads. A spectacular desert view emerged behind us, as patches of snow appeared outside our windshield. Much to our surprise, we arrived at Mountain High West Resort minutes later. It was time to grab our gear and explore this unassuming ski resort.
After an eventful day of snowboarding, we gathered at the car, repacked our gear, and turned on the seat warmers. It was time to head home, and as we did, we drove through the thick of an orange colored sunset and reflected on the day.
To read more about my thoughts on Mountain High, check out my pros and cons list below.
*As always, this post is based on my experiences and opinions*
- The Drive
As advertised on the website, Mountain High is “Southern California’s closest winter resort with no mountain driving.” Mountain High is located approximately one and a half hours from Los Angeles and Orange County. Compared to other local ski resorts, the drive is fairly mild with a gradual ascent that only lasts 15 or 20 minutes.
When we arrived, we were directed to park in the lower lot, which was slightly further than the other lot. Unsure where the ski lifts were in relation to our car, we quickly spotted a paved ramp just a few steps away that led us on a short walk to the ticket booth, rental shop and lifts.
- Three Resorts
Mountain High consists of three ski resorts: West, East and North. While we spent our day at the West Resort, I was pleased to learn that our lift tickets were also valid for use at the other resorts which are accessible through the mountain’s shuttle service.
- Night Skiing
As I walked toward the car around 4 PM to call it a day, I saw people just arriving at the lot, unpacking their gear and heading up towards the ticket booth to purchase lift tickets for night skiing from 5-10 PM. Night lift tickets are only $49 and are cheaper than half day and full day lift tickets.
- Lift Tickets
When my friends and I tried to purchase our lift tickets online a few days prior to our trip, we were confused as to why the website wouldn’t work. The next day, my friend called Mountain High directly to find out what the issue was, but was told that lift tickets must be purchased on site. She was also told that we should arrive early in the morning to ensure they weren’t all sold out. We were disappointed that we could not buy them in advance and were also disappointed that we could not buy a discounted lift ticket pack at Costco like we could for Big Bear or Mammoth.
- Subpar Snow
Having just experienced the slopes in Banff, Canada, I may be biased, but the consensus amongst my group was that the snow at Mountain High was icy, hard and slippery. The snow was not powdery in the slightest, and much of it was man-made as there were many snow machines running on the mountain to create fake snow.
- Rental Process
It took my friend and I around an hour and fifteen minutes between the time we got in line to purchase our lift tickets/rentals, to the time we exited the rental shop. The process appeared to be extremely unorganized and inefficient and the lines were not being accommodated in a timely or satisfactory fashion. I would not rent from their shop again.
All in all, we enjoyed our day trip to Mountain High and appreciated the easy drive, but definitely preferred the slopes at Big Bear which is another Southern California ski resort.
Have you been to Mountain High? If so, what was your experience like?