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Mount Waterman, California

About Mount Waterman LLC

Driven by a passion and love for Mount Waterman Rick Metcalf stepped up to the plate and saved the day. It was the summer of 2004. The forest service was going to remove all the equipment from the hill and restore this historical mountain back to the National Forest. He immediately contacted four Waterman enthusiasts, Craig Stewart, Brien Metcalf, Robin Hoffner and Roberto Martinez. They formed Mount Waterman LLC and began to transform the mountain into the great skiing and snowboarding mountain that it is known to be. It is a local’s paradise, with the most challenging runs south of the Sierras. With three chairs and over 100 runs there is plenty of beginner and intermediate terrain.

Thus began the next chapter in Mount Waterman’s glorious history!

Mount Waterman History

Much land in the San Gabriel Mountains was leased from the US Forest Service in 1888 to a master trailblazer and cabin builder by the name of Loise Newcomb. The official name of the hill is Waterman Mountain. Robert B. Waterman, pioneer mountain man and a ranger in the San Gabriel Forest Reserve. Waterman, together with his wife Liz, and their friend Perry Switzer, completed a three week hike from La Cañada-Flintridge, California La Cañada to the Antelope Valley and back again May 1889.

With this epic feat, Liz became the first white non-Indigenous peoples of the Americas Indian woman known to have crossed the San Gabriel’s. Along the way, she placed a cairn on this summit and it was thus christened Lady Waterman's Peak. However, then current attitudes toward the "weaker sex" didn't deem this a fitting name.

The peak has subsequently been called by different variants, all of which leave out the "Lady". To his credit Robert Waterman made numerous futile efforts to have the full original name restored.

Article from LA Times dated February 2008.

Mt. Waterman ski resort to open Saturday.

Yup, you read that right. Mt. Waterman, the oldest ski resort in Southern California, plans to open Saturday — at least four years after the chairlifts last delivered skiers and snowboarders up the slopes of the Angeles National Forest resort.

Recent storms created an impressive 7-to-8-foot base of snow at the ski resort that’s just an hour’s drive from downtown Los Angeles.

But the snow was also a mixed blessing: For two weeks, conditions kept skiers away because Highway 2, the only road to Waterman, was closed. Caltrans recently plowed the road, and the resort has been telling folks about the proposed opening mostly by word-of-mouth, according to spokesman Roberto Martinez.

“We’ve got more than 1,000 people on the e-mail list,” said Martinez.

Martinez is part of the Waterman crew who has “a tremendous passion for the mountain.”

“If you see 18 guys going down the same line flying down the mountain, that’s us,” he says of the investors who have been skiing Waterman since they were kids. Martinez says the group plans to open nearby Kratka Ridge as a tubing-snow play park next year.

So why has the resort been closed for four years? It’s complicated — and explained on the website. Since Rick Metcalf and his crew bought the resort in June 2006, they’ve spruced up and upgraded the neglected resort. They also had to wade through national forest and other permits (the land is leased) and fix the place up.

“We certified the lifts, we’ve really cleaned up the mountain and made it nice,” he said.

Curious visitors and old fans will find a small but “challenging hill known for its steep terrain,” Metcalf said. Like generations of locals who learned to ski at the little resort, beginners will find less-intimidating runs on which to practice their turns. Three chairlifts serve a 1,500-foot vertical drop and a top elevation at 8,000 feet.

The resort doesn’t rent equipment on the mountain but contracts with Sport Chalet in La Cañada Flintridge (920 Foothill Blvd., near the Highway 2 offramp of the 210 Freeway).

Mt. Waterman will be open 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursdays through Sundays and on holidays. Lift tickets are $49 weekends and holidays, and $39 Thursdays and Fridays. It is located on Highway 2, 33 miles northeast of La Cañada Flintridge. Details at www.skiwaterman.com.

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Alpine Meadows
Kratka Ridge single chair.

Mt. Waterman

Humble Beginnings

Lynn Newcomb Sr. and his son Lynn Newcomb Jr. built the first rope tow at the area in 1939.

Mount Waterman claims to have had the first chairlift in California, opened by the Newcomb’s on January 1, 1942. The chairlift broke down during the opening day and riders had to jump off, but the resort continued operations.

Lynn Newcomb Jr. took over the operation when his father passed on, and ran the ski area for all but a two-year period, when it was sold to two San Gabriel Valley businessmen in the 1990s. Those new owners returned the resort to Newcomb when their ambitious plans for snowmaking and other improvements at the ski area fell through.



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