February 6, 2020
By Ken Brafman, Image from Cathleen Ranney Altmeyer
SNOWY MOUNTAIN MEMORIES II: The Snowstorm of the Century: This week we’re going to spotlight a few more of the larger storms, including what many refer to as the “snowstorm of the century.” This week’s image depicts a familiar winter scene, that of a mountain cabin with snow nearly up to the roofline. Cathleen says that a big snowstorm had collapsed a lot of roofs in Crest Park. Their neighbor Mr. Wilson can be seen climbing up the roof using ski poles, from where he would ski down into the driveway. According to Chet, the first two days of 1974 saw eight feet of snow come down in 36 hours. Lori adds that students ended up with a three-week vacation and didn’t have to make up the days later! She remembers that a high school boy who worked for them got their little red truck stuck in 1000 Pines and he put a red rag on the antenna so the plows wouldn’t run it over. The March Miracle of 1991 saw record spring snowfall. The Narrows was closed because there was no space left to dump the snow.
For over ten days in 1969 the mountain experienced an epic barrage of snow, ice, rain and wind. Many roads were closed. In Big Bear a section of Highway 18 in Boulder Bay collapsed into the valley below. Duane recalls Arrowhead Villas getting so much snow that it broke the 2-inch standpipe fire hydrants. Cheryl says her family was living in Cedar Glen and the trucks couldn’t get up the hill, so the grocery store shelves were completely empty. They spent many hours playing Monopoly by candlelight. John has the distinction of having been born in Mountains Community Hospital during the snowstorm of the century. The hospital generator ran out of gas and patients had to be evacuated. The fire department brought he and his mom to their house in Skyforest where his dad had been shoveling a tunnel to the front door.