Winter is Coming...Or Is It?

Tina Lernø, Librarian, Digital Content Team,
John Stark being cold on an LA beach
Shall I journey north to PCH to the 10 to the 605 to the 210 to route 18 to find winter?

Winter in Los Angeles is a strange thing if you have grown up with “real winter” elsewhere. Where are the leaves changing colors, the bare winter branches...the snow? We experience everything from heat waves to perfect beach days, but no "real winter weather.” In spite of that pesky sun, there are still plenty of ways to enjoy winter activities in and around Los Angeles.

Colorful Fun Map of Southern California

Fun Map of Southern California, [n.p.1935]

colorful map of Lake Arrowhead

Lake Arrowhead, R. Winters, [ca 1925]

For one thing, we have quite a few decent ski resorts: There’s Wrightwood (Mountain High Resort), Big Bear (Bear Mountain Ski Resort), and Mount Pinos (for cross-country skiing), Snow Valley, Mount Baldy, and Mammoth. But just like everything else in Los Angeles, it will require a freeway drive. If the weather is not cold enough for real snow, they will pump in a steady supply of the man-made variety to enjoy the slopes.

women in the snow bending down to check skis

Photograph caption dated March 10, 1956 reads, "Patrolwoman answers call - With first aid belt around her waist, Mrs. Dale Rumbaugh of Van Nuys, veteran ski patrolwoman, fastens Arlberg safety strap before going on ski patrol at Holiday Hill, Wrightwood. Mrs. Rumbaugh has swerved with volunteer ski patrol three years." [Photo credit: Dave Siddon, Valley Times Collection]

vintage map of places to ski near Los Angeles

Los Angeles County Sport Land, [n.p. 1925]

There are plenty of places to ice skate as well. There is a rink at Pershing Square in Downtown LA, just blocks from our Central Library, LA Live, The Queen Mary, Hyatt Regency Century Plaza, ICE at Santa Monica, and The Lakes at Thousand Oaks.

Walt Disney and wife on ice skates

Movie producer Walt Disney and his wife found the winter sports in Yosemite decidedly to their liking in January 1935. It was the Disney family's first experience with winter sports, and they were learning to figure skate before they left Yosemite Valley. [Photo credit: Doris Schmiedell, Herald-Examiner Collection]

There’s also “holiday snow” to give the appearance of a cozy winter night, without the actual cold or snow. Plenty of places have “holiday snow” such as The Grove, Universal Studios, and of course Disneyland. And what is fake snow made of? Would it surprise you to know that everyone has their own super secret blend to make the white stuff? Not only are the formulas secret, but the devices used to pump them out are proprietary too. From what I gathered, it involves water and some sort of surfactant (the stuff in soap to make it foam). All are purportedly non-toxic and claim to not leave a residue on your clothes or person. I wouldn’t attempt eating it though.

Snow at the beach in Downtown Long Beach circa 1930s

Children in bathing suits sit on a pile of snow as they hold up handfuls of the white stuff that was brought to the beach at The Pike in Long Beach, 1933. [Security Pacific National Bank Collection]

Children eating snow

Kristen Wheatley (left), Jeff Reichmann and Gale Borden sample a giant snow cone on March 3, 1964, at their school. [Herald Examiner Collection]

Another way to enjoy winter is to sign up for our Winter Reading Challenge! The challenge begins on December 13 and goes through January 13.

Header Image: Sean Bean as Eddard Stark, HBO and Warner Bros. Television Distribution