By Ross Mihalko
One of the reasons I moved from New England to Los Angeles is the amazingly beautiful California weather. Living in L.A. means lots and lots of sunshine and mostly mild temperatures and that’s just fine with me. But when the holidays roll around at the end of the year, I do find myself dreaming of a white Christmas.
Luckily, there are a few really cool options for enjoying snow in L.A. during the most wonderful time of the year.
The first one is to take a drive up North into the nearby San Gabriel Mountains. In just a couple of hours you can leave behind the moving and shaking of Los Angeles and get lost in the pure, powdery goodness of places like Mt. Baldy and Mountain High. At the many resorts up there, you can enjoy everything from downhill skiing to snowboarding to cross-country Nordic-tracking to the high-speed, hilarious fun of tubing.
As for myself, I prefer to enjoy some old-school sledding on a cheap-o plastic toboggan. It’s lots of fun with the kids and really affordable. For just $5, you can pick up an USDA Forest Service Adventure Day Pass – available at many sporting and outdoor stores – which allows you to park freely in places like the Angeles National Park, where you can then head out for some snowy excitement in the roadside wilderness. Adventure is just moments away.
And for just $30, you can get an Adventure Pass that’s good for the whole year and ride your sled until it shreds (which, depending on your ability to avoid rocks, could be a very long time).
If you don’t feel like driving up into the mountains, or bundling up for the actual snow, you can always enjoy the winter wonderland at the The Grove shopping center.
Located right next to the historic Farmer’s Market, The Grove is a beautiful, modern outdoor shopping area that feels like a hip little village with all the best stores. I hate going to the mall, but I love going to The Grove, especially during Christmas time.
During the holidays, you can enjoy the fantastic courtyard fountain as it dances in perfect time to the songs of the season and marvel at the deliciously decorated Christmas trees while riding atop the totally awesome double-decker trolley, which is totally worth the wait in line, whether it’s with your kids, your sweetheart, or all of the above.
And if you time it right, between 7 and 8pm, you can enjoy a sensationally sweet snowfall during your ride, courtesy of some Hollywood magic. Actually, the snow is really wonderful from almost anywhere in The Grove. I tell you, there’s nothing like a little snowy stroll amongst your fellow shoppers to get you into the spirit of the season.
Yes, life in L.A. is full of sun and fun, but it’s nice to know that you can still find a little snow for your Southern California Christmas. And it’s even nicer to know that you can follow up your morning romp in the mountains with a sunset visit to the beach. Now that’s what I call a happy holiday!