Mount Baldy Ski Lifts
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|Mt Baldy Ski Lifts|
Ski lift from parking area on a snowy day
|Location||Mount San Antonio and Telegraph Peak|
|Nearest city||Mount Baldy, California|
|Vertical||2,100 ft (640 m)|
|Top elevation||8,600 ft (2,600 m)|
|Base elevation||6,500 ft (2,000 m)|
|Skiable area||800 acres (320 ha)|
|Longest run||2.5 mi (4.0 km)|
|Snowfall||170 in (430 cm)|
The Mount Baldy Ski Lifts, or "Baldy", is a ski resort located on Mount San Antonio—Mount Baldy in the San Gabriel Mountains. It is in San Bernardino County, Southern California. It is located 45 mi (72 km) from Los Angeles, the closest ski resort to the city. Mt Baldy is the first ski resort in the world to install hollow plastic shade balls in the reservoir to reduce water evaporation.
The vintage ski lifts were installed in 1952 by Harwood Developments. They were operated as Mt Baldy Ski Lifts Inc, and managed by Herbert Leffler from 1953 until his retirement in 1969. The resort was sold to an investment group in 1969.
The ski resort features traditional runs, open bowls, chutes, and tree runs; and claims to be the "largest and steepest resort in Southern California," with 26 runs spanning 3 mountains featuring a peak elevation of 8,600 ft (2,600 m). Baldy spans 800 acres (320 ha) with a 2,100 ft (640 m) vertical drop.
The ski area is multi-directional, with portions of the main ski area facing south or southwest and other portions north-facing. Thunder Mountain areas serviced by Chair 3 are north-facing, resulting in longer-lasting snow conditions. The majority of the steep Chair 1 terrain down to the base area and parking lot along with the Chair 4 portion of the resort faces west and south, resulting in frequent spring conditions and corn snow. Snow on the lower portion of the mountain is typically hard with afternoon softening on north-facing slopes due to brief thaw/shade conditions. In times of abundant snowfall, prior to complete solar melting of the snowpack on south-facing slopes, there is sunny skiing on the slopes from Chair 4 down to the base area.
The annual snowfall of Mt Baldy is highly variable, as is the case across the southern California mountains. In some seasons there is insufficient natural snow to operate the ski area for more than a few days (if at all). In other seasons, (particularly certain El Niño years), several feet of snow can accumulate and provide for good daily operation of the ski area and widespread off-piste skiing.
Chairs #1 and #3 were built in 1952 by Ringer Chairlifts and featured double swiveling chairs which allowed riders just to stand up when unloading. The chairs would automatically move out of the way. The design was not without its flaws and did not take in account people's instincts to move away from the unloading area as soon as possible. Ringer Chairlifts went out of business just two years later.
In 1975 Swiss company GMD Mueller was contracted to upgrade the existing lifts reusing the old towers and to build chairs #2 and #4.
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