Mt. Baldy Ski Lifts, CA
Alpine and Steeps
Advanced to Expert Alpine Specialists
The steepest and most challenging terrain the marginally wintered climate of SoCal offers.
Roots. 60s time warp. Mom and Pop.
Ninety percent of Mt. Baldy’s terrain is off-piste trees and bowls—precisely why core riders swarm the area during major storm events. The six or seven groomed runs are narrow and set on multiple fall lines. The double chairs are antiquated, but they access the steepest terrain in Southern Cal. Baldy has nearly 2000 feet of vert, bunches of steeps, and plenty sidecountry to scratch at.
Although it is the closest ski area to LA, most Angelinos have barely heard of Baldy. The resort doesn’t have much for park and pipe, so it appeals to alpine specialists. If trees, cliff hucks, bowls, sidecountry, and chutes excite you, Baldy is the place. Baldy has a cult-like following of locals who split time between Mammoth.
Unlike surrounding areas, Baldy doesn’t have the unlimited snowmaking to build parks. And because Hugh Heffner’s pool is a larger than Baldy’s snowmaking reservoir, hit Baldy during the storm. Those that don’t live for the storm should get their groomers on in the myriad surrounding resorts with snowmaking. Looking for predictable and wide groomer runs, mellow terrain, and trash targets to catch objects from the lifts? Don’t come to Baldy.
If you believe the term Perfect Groomer an oxymoron, cruise to Baldy in the next big storm. During a big snow year, Baldy can be epic. Baldy has a loose boundary policy, and the trail maps intentionally obscure most of its secrets. Baldy’s best should be accessed only with a local or a good topo map.
On powder days head to South Bowl, off Chair 3. When entering, stay high and rider’s left, traversing into the rock chutes. Be sure to look for boundary signs, or commit to a hike from the bottom of the canyon. At the signs, near the bottom of the bowl, traverse right and skate the comeback trail to the bottom of Chair 3.
When everything is tracked out, head for Gold Ridge trees—rider’s right of the run off Chair 3. During good snow years, ride to the parking lot on Nightmare, Bently’s or any surrounding pitches. Access rider’s left of Chair 1.
Park and Pipe
Not much here. Sometimes there is a jump or two and a couple of rail lines rider’s right of the inner tubing area.
Chair 4 also has a natural quarter pipe running the entire length of Turkey Chute. Formed by a cornice with a variety of irregularities, creativity is the only limiting factor.
Baldy historically opens with minimal snow cover and continues well after the majority of the snow has melted. Not a bad thing—the mountain’s philosophy: if you want to ride it, go for it.
Reported snowpack depth is often optimistic.
Plan your drive to arrive at the parking lot before eight a.m. during snow events. The road can close, traffic up the steep (very steep) road can logjam, or CHP might close the road to limit the endless supply of flatlanders driving up for snowplay.
Carry chains; even 4WDs are sometimes required to strap ‘em on. Don’t even think about cable chains; those washers will just spin on the steep and icy road.
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-The Gravity Guide Team-
From 210: Exit Mountain Ave in Upland, drive north on Mountain Ave. After a few lights you will see a stop sign, continue straight (north). When the second stop sign appears, continue slightly left (west) onto Mountain Ave. Continue, passing dam on your left and Ranger station on your right. After the ranger station, you will cross small bridge. Take the next turn right (north) uphill onto Mt Baldy Rd. Continue 4 miles to the village and another 3 miles to Ski Lifts.
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