Mt. Waterman Ski Area Still Threatened by Station Fire

Posted By: Zeke Piestrup on September 9, 2009 8:48 pm

Another day of the Station Fire, with the last uncontained flank of the fire threatening Mt. Waterman Ski Area.  Waterman’s history to Southern California skiing mirrors that of the Mount Wilson Observatory’s history to science.  The Observatory has survived the Station Fire, now Mt. Waterman ski area fights to do the same.

Lynn Newcomb Sr. and his son Lynn Jr. built the first chairlift in California on Mount Waterman in 1942.  Because of its lack of snow making capablities and Mt. Waterman’s reliance on natural snow, Mt. Waterman has struggled through some lean years.  Man-made snow long ago became a necessity for ski areas doing biz in Southern California.  But, like mearby Mt. Baldy, Waterman is blessed with incredible terrain, including great off-piste skiing in nearby Avalanche Canyon.   Mt. Waterman has been ressurrected because of that terrain.  And with El Nino coming, it should be a phenominal year at Mt. Waterman.

The ski area was shut down from 2001-2008 until reopening under new ownership.  Now the biggest fire in LA County history threatens this historic ski area. Rick Metcalf, who leads the ownership group of Mt. Waterman, told The Ski Channel he was “cautionsly optimistic” that the ski area would be saved.

On Wednesday, the ski area’s mountain operations crew were bulldozing a back-up fire break line.  Thankfully there are resources available to make a stand as one more of Los Angeles’ treasures is threatened by this massive 160-thousand-plus acre fire.

Zeke Piestrup ( More Posts)

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