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TEXT BY LAYLAN CONNELLY/ PHOTO BY MINDY SCHAUER, THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
More than 100 varieties and colors of snow googles decorate the wall of Surfside Sports in Costa Mesa. Make sure you talk to a sales rep about what kind of conditions you like to ride in because lenses will vary, depending on whether you like to ride in stormy, powdery conditions or sunny, bluebird days. Goggles can run from $19.99 to $600. Oakley, Smith and Zeal offer the "Recon" technology with GPS and bluetooth installed, and Zeal has goggles with a built-in video camera for $400.
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Must-have styles for the slopes

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

Recent storms have finally dropped enough snow for you to get excited about the snowboard season – but if you've dusted off your gear and realize your pants don't fit or your style is out of date - don't worry, we have you covered on tips for must-have gear on the slopes.

"Prior to Christmas, there was little snow and there was a 'poor season hang over' in people's heads from last year," said Duke Edukas, co-owner of Surfside Sports in Costa Mesa. "We needed snowfall like this for people to come out of their shells."

Edukas recently helped us check out some fun looks on the slopes this year with the latest snowboard styles selling at his shop. Surfside has the largest selection of snowboard products around, and always has a staff that is knowledgeable about what's hot on the mountain.

We picked out some of the latest styles, along with the wackiest items that caught our eye in the shop – so if you got skunked for Christmas on snowboarding gear, maybe it's a good time to treat yourself.

While we're in between storms, it's a perfect time to hit the slopes for a fun bluebird day. If you have a few more days of holiday vacation, it would be a perfect time to hit Mammoth Mountain – they've gotten a ton of snow so far, with a 150-inch base.

"This is Mammoth's fifth best December in history. It's looking good," Edukas said.

At local mountains there's enough to have a good time, especially with new snow falling last weekend. Bear and Summit mountains in Big Bear reporting a 14 – 24 inch base, and Mountain High with an 18-24 inch base.

In addition to outerwear and boards, Surfside will also wax your board or sharpen your edges for $25, and also can do major repairs. Edukas said the repair department has been very busy since the recent snowfall started to hit the slopes, and "that's a key indicator that people are going up to enjoy the snow," he said.

Some resorts may have increased holiday rates until after Jan. 6, so check prices, and always check chain requirements before heading up.

And enjoy – who knows how long the season will last!

MORE INFO:

- Mammoth Mountain has 28 lifts to access 3,500 skiable acres of 11,000 feet in elevation – the highest ski resort in California. Driving takes about six hours, depending on traffic. Take 91 Freeway toward Riverside to I-15 north, get on 395 north to State Route 203.

Ticket price: 1-day lift ticket: adult (19-64): $94; youth (13-18): $73; child (7-12): $30 and seniors (65 -79): $80.

Information: mammothmountain.com

- Bear and Snow Summit Mountains are owned by the same management company – Big Bear Mountain Resorts – but they couldn't be more different.

Snow Summit is a family-friendly establishment with about 240 skiable acres with 31 trails. There's 14 lifts, and the elevation hits 8,200 feet.

Bear Mountain is the smaller, grittier place to ride. It's known for its scene with riders wearing the latest gear, and boasts a park like no other. There are 165 beginner-to-advanced jibs including rails, boxes, and walls. There are also four pipes, including Southern California's only Superpipe.

Getting there: The trip requires stomaching a windy and congested road up the main route. It usually takes about 2.5 hours. Take State Route 330/Highway 18 through Running Springs, but check road closures beware of high traffic on weekends and holidays. Highway 38 through Redlands is a bit longer, but the roads are more tolerable and usually have less traffic.

Tickets can be used at both resorts. Prices: adult: $59, seniors: $49, young adults (13-21): $49, children (7-12): $25 and children under 6 are free.

Information: bigbearmountainresorts.com

- Mountain High, a group of smaller resorts in Wrightwood, is closer to Orange County, and takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes to get to – perfect for a quick fix or half day of riding.

There are three mountains that make up Mountain High. The West Resort is the most popular and can get pretty crowded, and just about every weekend there's some kind of contest or concert happening. The East Resort – about a mile away from the West resort – is known for its moguls and tree-skiing areas. The North Resort is new and offers 70 acres of beginner terrain perfect for families and introductory skiers. It also has the largest tubing area in Southern California, called the North Pole Tubing Park.

Getting there: Take the 91 Freeway to I-15 north. Exit Highway 138 west and make a left on Highway 2. Mountain High is three miles past Wrightwood.

- Tickets: adults: $59, adult half-day: $54, adult night: $30, child (7-12): $25, 70 and older or 6 and under: free with paying adult.

Information: mthigh.com

- Snow Valley is a smaller resort for beginners, but also has options for black-diamond runs. It's a great option if you don't want to take the windy roads to Big Bear.

Directions: Take the 91 east to the I-15 north, then take the 210 east to 18 towards Running Springs. Price: Adults: $57, ages 13- 19 or seniors: $47; children 7-12: $24.

Information: www.snow-valley.com

Contact the writer: lconnelly@ocregister.com


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