People from all over Southern California flock to local mountains to ski, snowboard, and play in the snow.
A great time can be had by all, as long as you plan ahead and keep safety in mind. Here are a few tips if you are venturing into snowy mountains this season:
Check the weather forecast and road conditions before you go
Caltrans and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works have interactive road closure/condition maps that are updated regularly.
Let someone know where you are going
If you become stuck in the snow or lost in the forest, someone should know about it. The cell phone service in the mountains is unreliable, so you have to plan ahead. Before you leave, let a relative or friend know your destination, your route of travel, and what time you expect to return. Then check in with that person once you arrive home safely. If you don’t check in, that person should call the Sheriff’s Station and report you are missing.
LASD Search and Rescue has a great hiking plan you can fill out which covers all of these things. It’s not only for hiking, it can be used for any outing.Just complete the portions that apply. Download it here: http://file.lacounty.gov/SDSInter/lasd/163961_LosAngelesCountySheriff-HikingPlan.pdf
Carry snow chains
Snow chains are often required during winter months.Be prepared to show them at chain control, and know how to install them.
Dress appropriately and carry extra clothes and blankets in your vehicle
Weather and road conditions can change at any time and you don’t want to get stuck in the area without some extra warmth available.
Stay away from ice covered lakes and streams
Waters in Southern California do not freeze over with the thick ice that occurs in other, colder climates. The ice will not support your weight and a fall into the icy water can result in hypothermia or drowning.
Be careful walking on ice-covered surfaces, especially steep slopes
If you’ve never walked on icy surfaces before, believe me, it is not easy to maintain your footing. A slip could result in a serious injury.
Keep the roads clear
In our local mountains there are very few areas along the roads where you can legally park your vehicle.Blocking the road presents a hazard to other drivers and could prevent emergency vehicles and snow plows from being able to pass.Your vehicle could end up being cited or even towed.
Do not play next to the roads
Although the entire area is covered with snow, it is not one large playground or amusement park. Playing next to a road, especially a busy highway, can present a serious hazard to all. Children could run into the street during a snowball fight or a runaway sled could collide with a passing vehicle.
Respect private property
Do not enter residential neighborhoods. These areas are not open for public use. Treat these areas as you would want people to treat your own neighborhood. You wouldn’t want strangers stopping to play or have a picnic in your front yard; neither do the residents of the mountain communities. Also, entering private property could get you arrested and put a serious damper on your snow day.
Please bring a trash bag and clean up before you leave.The Boy Scouts have a great rule to follow for the outdoors, “leave it cleaner than you found it.”We can all work together to keep the area beautiful for your next trip.
Here are a few suggestions in the Wrightwood area for legal parking and snow play if you choose not to visit the local ski resort. All that is required is a “Forest Adventure Pass” for your vehicle which can be purchased at many of the local businesses.
Inspiration Point On Highway 2, west of Wrightwood
Grassy Hollow Visitor Center On Highway 2, west of Wrightwood
Peavine Campground On Big Pines Highway, north of Highway 2
Apple Tree Campground On Big Pines Highway, north of Highway 2
Arch Picnic Area On Big Pines Highway, north of Highway 2