Nobody in Orange County has a snow-covered slope in their backyard to practice slalom runs. Some think they can just march up a mountain and dominate a black diamond on courage and instinct alone. Instead, they wind up face first in snow, wishing they?d practiced.
In order to prepare skiers and snowboarders for the real deal, and to spare them from slushy, frostbitten shame, two-time world ski champion Bob Salemo devised his innovative Virtual Snow training system. In a controlled indoor environment far away from menacing ski lifts and snowballs tossed by mountain goats, winter-sports enthusiasts perfect their maneuvers in fun training drills led by skilled instructors. The faux ski-course simulator, which resembles a large conveyor belt, mimics the smooth surface and wily turns of a downhill slope as its carpeted surface rolls beneath the feet of students on skis or snowboards. Future Picabo Streets or Shawn Whites not only expand their abilities to new levels, but they can also practice tricks without bailing out and shake off any bad habits they learned from sleet gangs.
From this high up, the world seems small and compact, framing the ocean, mountains, and desert in the same field of vision. Though Mt. Baldy's soaring peaks seem to shrink the globe to the size of a globe, they also grant access to nature's majesty throughout the year. Four chairlifts gently propel skiers through the San Gabriel Mountains over the trails and 600 acres of skiable earth ranging from gentle slopes to natural quarter pipes. In the warmer months, hiking trails blaze through mountainsides, affording glimpses of historical mining facilities and natural wonders, such as canyons, fauna such as bighorn sheep, and Mother Nature's secret collection of acre-long coffee spoons.