Despite the biggest snow storm to hit the ski resort all year, skiers and snowboarders were not converging in masses on Bear Mountain ski resort today.
It could be the difficult driving weather, but more likely it’s due to a report that murder suspect Christopher Jordan Dorner could stil be in the Big Bear area. The Bear Mountain ski resort is 90 miles east of Los Angeles in the San Bernardino National Forest.
Despite 18 inches snow, crowds stay away
Bear Mountain was reporting 18 inches of fresh powder today, the single largest snowfall so far this season. Snow totals are 28-42 inches at Bear Mountain, which has nine lifts and has a peak elevation of 8,805 feet.
“We’ve got people coming up here to ski and snowboard, but maybe not as much as we would expect on a typical Saturday morning after a snow storm,” a Bear Mountain spokesperson said this morning. “We couldn’t say (Dorner) is the reason we’re not as busy. The roads aren’t that great, either.”
Safe to ski, ride Bear Mountain today?
The spokesperson, who didn’t want to be identified, said it feels safe to be skiing or riding today at Bear Mountain or its sister resort, Snow Summit, which is about 10 minutes away.
“I’m sure law enforcement wouldn’t allow us to be open if they didn’t feel it was safe,” added the spokesperson. “People don’t know where (Dorner) is. Nobody knows.”
Resort in lockdown mode Thursday
It’s not often that a ski resort gets put on lockdown, but that’s what happened Thursday at Bear Mountain, which is located in the mountainous region of Southern California. The resort did open again Friday and could be open this evening for night skiing and riding, weather permitting.
“We are in constant contact with federal and local authorities regarding this situation," said Chris Riddle, spokesperson for Big Bear Mountain Resorts said on Thursday following its afternoon closure. “We felt it was in the best interest of the search to close Bear Mountain for the rest of the day."
The burned-out carcass of Dorner’s truck was first reported Thursday morning in the 2000 block of Club View Drive, which is south of Big Bear Lake, near the ski resort.
Dorner a murder suspect
A former Los Angeles police officer who was dismissed from the force, Dorner is accused of fatally shooting a couple in Irvine on Sunday as part of a revenge plot against law enforcement. One of the victims was the daughter of Randal Quan, LAPD’s first Asian-American captain who was mentioned by name in a manifesto apparently written by Dorner.
Dorner also allegedly shot at four police officers early Thursday morning in two separate encounters. One officer was killed and another severely wounded.
In between the two shootings, the suspect was likely in San Diego, according to police. His LAPD badge was discovered by a shuttle driver near the city’s airport, and a man meeting Dorner's description attempted to boatjack a 42-foot sundeck cruiser from a San Diego yacht club on Wednesday.