Close to LA, cheap, great ski school
Can get crowded, lack of "resort" amenities, high idiot vs. skilled ratio
Small place, and I can see why some folks would give it a bad rap; but, it's worked out well for my kid and I. Anyone who does their due diligence in the age of Google will know that this is a tiny, local place that isnt going to fulfill their dreams of making themselves feel like Glen Plake. The lodges are little more than small buildings with rows of picnic table style seating inside. The parking leaves a bit to be desired, but if that's an issue, come early. The vertical is less than stellar (or even decent), but it's vertical and it beats the hell out of sitting on your damn couch watching TV. Hey, if you've got the time and cash to swing up to Bear or Mammoth and pay for restaurants/lodging/expensive lifts/tanks of gas every weekend, more power to you (I'm jealous, if I'm honest).
For a guy like me who doesnt make a million dollars per year but still wants his kid to learn to ski well it works out nicely. Because, let's be honest, the way for them to get better is to stack a ton of days together no matter where they do it in favor of going 3 or 4 times per year somewhere fancy. My daughter's 7 years old and she's got plenty of time to ski the bigger/better/nicer stuff. Right now all im concerned with is getting her out there as often as possible so she can get to a point where when we can afford to hit the Central and Nor Cal resorts she's got some chops.
No, it doesn't have the variety of terrain to keep me satisfied, but that concern is in the back seat. The mountain is plenty big enough for my kid and will challenge her for her first couple seasons, that's all I need right now.
Yeah, because it's close to LA there are a few yahoos. People more interested in making sure they look cool in their hoodies and smearing snow around with their snowboards than actually learning to get up on edge. You've got to keep an eye out for these idiots, because they obviously never bothered to learn mountain rules. The biggest offense I've seen is a lack of consideration for the safety of other people on the slopes. Hey, cool breeze, it's your responsibility to make sure you give slower boarders a wide berth, not theirs to make sure they don't get in the way of your intermediate-but-think-I'm-an expert warp speed run. Someone needs to shake these folks and remind them that just because they've figured out how to go fast doesn't mean they know how to stop that way, too. But, hey, that's life just about everywhere. Buy your kid a helmet and teach them to be aware up there.
By the way, as someone who grew up skiing in New England, all these complaints about the icy conditions make me laugh. Western skiers are pretty spoiled. That's not ice, kiddies. Ice is blue. Work on setting your edges and you'll be fine.