Big Bear Ski Resorts opened for business Friday, marking the beginning of ski season, but there are some changes.
Night temperatures finally got cold enough to turn on the snow-making machines.
Skiers and snowboarders say even if the snow isn't natural, it's good enough.
"We were so pumped. We were talking about it on the drive up. We woke up at 5 a.m. from Los Angeles and got up right in time for lessons. It's been awesome. It's perfect weather," LA resident Liisa Jackson said.
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As of Friday, seven runs and four chair lifts were open.
"We do want to advise people that we have limited runs, meaning be careful when you are out there on the slopes. It might be a little more congested than it would be when we get more terrain open," Justin Kanton of Bear Mountain Resorts said.
Last winter, the pandemic limited daily capacity because of social distancing.
This winter, changes have been made to keep lift areas from getting too congested.
Skiers are given a ticket card that beeps them through a gate.
"You don't have to stop and scan your badge. You literally just put it in your pocket and it's a lot faster as well. The line was a lot quicker," San Diego resident Kimberly Villegas said.
Nearby businesses are also reaping the financial rewards of opening day, including the Copper Q coffee shop.
"It means that definitely for the next few months while they're open we are going to have plenty of business to keep us going," manager Loralye Burger said.
Burger says the pandemic and drought have taken a tough toll on small businesses in the area.
"You know we did lose a couple of restaurants in the village due to Covid so it's good to see people coming back up and having a good time again," she said.
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Even if the drive is a long one, people on the slopes say it's worth every mile.
"Like once you get up here you remember how much fun it is and you are stoked to be here," Jackson said.
If you are planning to come up, the resorts are open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the weekends.