Snow day in the Angeles National Forest

Right around Christmas, I started to pester Trinity about what we were going to do for Mikey’s 3rd birthday. As a couple, Trin and I are really low key, and plus we just had a birthday party for Chris — we weren’t too keen on trying to put on another production just five months later. After several days of thought, Trinity suggested taking the boys to play in the snow — perfect!

Mikey’s birthday is on New Year’s Day, so as the day approached, I began to worry that it was going to rain, and we might need to look for an indoor option. New Year’s Day is a great birthday, and Mike will love it when he’s older — but dagnabit, its a pain in the butt for his parents to plan stuff. Long story short, Mike’s birthday was a beautiful, dry day, we found snow and both boys were happy as clams.

On the work site, there is a pretty extensive list of places where you can play in the snow in Southern California, but most of those options were either over or too far for us in Ventura County. Franklin Avenue’s impromptu jaunts into the Angeles National Forest inspired me, and I decided we would drive to Newcomb’s Ranch and find snow around there.

The plan ended up being perfect — we ate a hearty breakfast, left at about 11 (because we went to Sports Authority first to get gloves and beanies, which happened to be on sale!), and got to Newcomb’s Ranch by 12:30. We stopped for a bathroom break, and ended up having a little snack there before our snow break. (If you do plan to go to Newcomb’s, just be prepared to pay resort prices — our little “snack” of the appetizer sampler, 2 glasses of orange juice and 2 apple juices set us back almost $30.) After leaving Newcomb’s (where we had also wanted to buy the $5 Adventure Pass, but they were sold out and we didn’t end up needing it anyway), we ventured maybe 10 more minutes down the road before finding a great turnout with lots of flat area and quite a few hilly areas for folks who wanted to sled in the snow. (We didn’t have a sled or sled-equivalent.)

The night before, we had spent about $80 or so at Burlington Coat Factory on “snow clothes” for the boys — snow bibs and snow jackets. The usual snow attire for Southern Californians is generally jeans, extra sweatshirts and jackets, I know, but I didn’t want the boys to get too cold or have wet clothes on the long ride home. Somehow, someway, we’ll have to use those snow clothes again one more time before this year’s snow season is over.

All in all, it was a perfect day trip to the snow. The boys saw real, remarkably powdery snow — not the packed, icy stuff I’m all too familiar with — and we weren’t exhausted or annoyed by the crowds or terrified by having to ride a snow lift to find snow (which I also read about and was determined to avoid. Do you have any idea how hard it is to keep Chris still these days?). We weren’t exhausted by the drive to or from the snow, and the boys got just enough time to play in the snow (which mostly consisted of them walking around in it) to make it feel like a snow day — which was probably less than an hour. I know that we’ll have to spend more time in the snow as they get older, but for them being 1 and 1/2 and 3, less than an hour was just right.