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Storm turns Southern California mountains, high desert into winter playgrounds

Residents of the Antelope Valley awoke from sleep to an unfamiliar sight Saturday morning as snow blanketed parks, lawns and surrounding desert scrub.

Rogelio and Anthony Medrano, a father-son duo in Palmdale, immediately rushed outside to duel in a snowball fight before grabbing donuts and firewood to relax during the chilly morning.

While Anthony threw snowballs at the white grass across the street, Lancaster residents Spirit, Terrell, and Laura Jones enjoyed the view of Pelona Vista Park beyond.

The trio attempted to go as far as Acton in northern Los Angeles County, but were held back by highway closures, so they detoured to take in the Palmdale scene.

“You don’t have to drive all the way to Big Bear to enjoy the snow,” said Terrell Jones. “We benefit from it.”

Arnan Lopez, who was out with his wife and four kids, echoed the feeling as he took in the beauty of a snow-capped hilltop in the Ana Verde Hills neighborhood.

All-terrain vehicles roared in the background and tires sloshed in the melting snow on the street, but Arnan seemed to be in a state of zen as he took in the beauty of the Antelope Valley, a place he fell in love with when he moved from Los Angeles. moved. Angeles six years ago.

“Then we had to drive two hours to Big Bear. Now it’s our backyard,” said Lopez, who described Saturday as “a perfect day.”

Steven Lopez, a 10-year-old, built a snowman as tall as himself while his siblings, Chelsea and Brandon, took turns sledding through desert bushes.

The sun was supposed to start shining in a blue sky at 11:30 a.m., but cars continued to drive up the mountain to enjoy the rare opportunity.

Don Black and Christina White, a couple who parked nearby, couldn’t help but happily jump right into the white powder.

“I’ve lived here all my life and it’s bizarre to see it snow like this,” said Black.

“My prayers have been answered,” White called out in the background as she picked up a snowball. “It’s soothing. This is the kind of weather that brings families together.”

Heavy snow began falling again in Acton around 1pm and within minutes white powder had covered the hood and roof of Edgar Corona’s black Honda Civic.

“I think I have to wait and see if this stops, because I don’t think I can drive,” said Corona. The 40-year-old father-of-two had driven his children to Acton to enjoy the day as they played in the snow.

“It’s something we’ve never really experienced,” he said. “So I brought them here. It’s been pretty good.”

At the Acton Plaza Liquor Store, owner Sam Bellat, 61, said business was slow due to the partial closure of State Route 14.

Bellat, who lives in Canyon Country, was stocking up on drinks when he looked outside to see the heavy snow. He considered what he estimated would be an hour’s commute.

“Maybe I’ll sleep here tonight,” he said.

Meanwhile, ski resorts across the state also celebrated the heavy snowfall, even though the storm made it difficult or impossible to reach them.

Roads to and from Big Bear Mountain resorts were closed Saturday, but the Bear Mountain and Snow Summit properties were open to visitors who were in town before the closures. It was calmer than usual, with snow falling steadily throughout the morning, spokesman Justin Kanton said.

“It’s kind of a bubble now,” Kanton said. “We’re kind of in our own little snow globe.”

Similarly, U.S. Route 395 in Mammoth has been closed in both directions for two days. But the Mammoth Mountain resort was open Saturday, with skiers and snowboarders in town before the closures enjoying “really great conditions,” spokeswoman Lauren Burke said.

As of Wednesday, the resort has seen about four and a half to five and a half feet of snow. “The storm has turned very cold, so the snow is fantastic.”

Mountain High in Wrightwood, which had more than five feet of snow in 24 hours, was closed Saturday as storm-induced road closures made it impossible for guests and staff to access the resort.

“We know this isn’t great news for today’s cardholders, but in the long run it’s great news for snow lovers,” a statement on the resort’s website said.