- Overall Rating 4
- Family Friendly 2
- All Mtn. Terrain 5
- Terrain Park 5
- Nightlife 1
Pros: Closest to LA/OC, Low Traffic, Challenging Terrain
Cons: No Nightriding, Not Beginner Friendly
Recommended For: Single/Newlyweds, Family Friendly, Empty Nesters
Date Visited: Jan 1, 2008
Imagine, a beautiful day with a few lingering low clouds. You're climbing the mountain on the chair, enjoying a slow relaxing ride up 1300 ft. You hop off, and behind you you can see all the way down to the shores of Newport Beach. The blanket of low clouds seem to hover below you and the sun hits the atmosphere just right so that you're watching beautiful hues of red. After taking the next chair to go higher, you drift along the skyline with that same serene background. That's it. You're in heaven. The best part is you only have to share it with the 30 other people on the mountain. This is Mount Baldy!
I love Baldy because distance + promotional $15 tickets = economically good times! It doesn't get any better when you can have the trail practically to yourself, and not waste the time or gas to go get that same if not better experience at other parks.
Now, let me botch up the picture a little bit. Say it hasn't snowed in weeks and you decide to go. You take off down a trail. It's a little bit slushy, some hard packed areas and you're ok with it because well, you went when it hasn't snowed in a while. But all of a sudden you fall hard on your butt on a huge bed of ice! You look around, and its a flippin ice skating rink!. This is also Mount Baldy!
When Baldy is great, it beats every other park SoCal has to offer. When Baldy hasn't had snow, it's the worst place to be. So how often does Baldy get snow? I've observed that snowfall levels are frequently higher than that of mountain high or big bear. It was their lack of snowmaking that pulled so many to other parks because SoCal doesn't get that much rain/snow to maintain the park. But, the owner may change all that because he just installed a 7 million gallon snowmaking system to keep Baldy more consistent and fresh throughout the season.
Regarding beginner friendliness, this may be dependent on your learning curve. You would appreciate the learning experience at Snow Summit or Mountain High better than here. Despite the huge crowds, their terrain is groomed and taken care of more, and they have more beginner runs to raise the incentive. Parks like those try to simplify the experience so you can learn in baby steps. I learned to snowboard at Baldy and had my share of pain, when it came to riding at Summit, their runs ended up being easier but still really fun nonetheless.
To conclude, I compare Baldy to surfing - inconsistent and as such it can be a drag (I haven't gone this season with the snowmaking), but when it's good, that stoke will last you till the next season. Just check out the photos that onthesnow.com has of Baldy.