It’s December 16th, 2008 and I’m heading out to the Point for a dawn patrol session. My car is covered in a thick sheet of ice so I melt it off with a couple of gallon jugs of hot water. The air is barely 32 degrees.
When I get to the point the waves are waist to chest and just peeling across through second. The cold has kept everyone home so I suit up to enjoy a rare day at the Point in solitude. I catch a few waves before I notice that the Santa Cruz mountains are covered in snow. Not a just a dusting near the summit, I mean solid white from top to bottom.
The water is a brutal 48 degrees so I barely last an hour. As I’m getting out, Orion, the former owner of Elizabeth’s Market, tells me the temperature is 33 degrees.
Hmmm, a whole degree warmer than an hour ago.
I get home and I tell my partner, who volunteers in my daughter’s classroom, to notify the teacher and office that I’m pulling her out of school at noon to go play in the snow.
It was a wise decision. About once a year we get a bit of snow on the summit, but this week was amazing with two back to back storms, and if you want to enjoy it before the sun sets at 4:30, you best be prepared to blow off school.
I was still cold from surfing when I picked up my daughter and then got even colder playing in the snow. It was probably the coldest day of my life but absolutely worth it. After the snow we grabbed diner at Taqueria Los Amigos in Boulder Creek. It’s pretty much a clone of the local Taqueria chain/group/syndicate/familia, but this one was opened by one of their former employees.
When you get to Castle Rock go park in the big lot with everyone else. This lot is in the intersection of Highway 9 and Skyline Boulevard. You then grab you sled, cardboard or whatever you want to play on and walk diagonally across the road to get to the main bowl. Well, don’t actually walk diagonally, take each section separately so you don’t get run over.
If you got boots and snow gear, wear them, but you’ll live with just sneakers and jeans. You’ll just have a cold ass and you’ll slip a lot.
The main area play area is a perfectly shaped bowl covered in long thick grass, perhaps two hundred yards across. It’s virtually rock free and the grass enables you to achieve frighteningly fast speeds on even the thinnest layer of snow. At the bottom it kind of flattens out into a shallow gully which will take down your speed just before you run into the trees. So just enough danger to make it a thrill, but not so much as to make you stressed.
I highly recommend you get a piece of the snow action when you can. The roads will be cleared so a regular two wheel drive will be fine and expect a good 45 minute drive from Santa Cruz.
File Under: Best Place to Play in the Snow Near Santa Cruz – Find Snow in Santa Cruz
Official Website: www.santacruzstateparks.org/parks/castlerock/