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Snow Enthusiasts Flock To San Diego Mountains

Photo credit: Maggie Avants

Children are shown sledding in Murrieta where snow covered parts of the city on Dec. 31, 2014.

San Diego’s foothills and mountains are coated in a picturesque blanket of fluffy white snow. The rare winter wonderland has attracted thousands to Mt. Laguna and the historic town of Julian for sledding, snowball fights and apple pie.

"I’ve been here since 1998 and this is the busiest I have ever seen this town. It was bursting at the seams," said Krisie Morgan, office manager with Julian’s Chamber of commerce.

Morgan said there’s still a good six inches of snow on the ground and the town is well equipped with gas, food and plenty of pies. She said business is bustling.

"We’re calling it the perfect storm 'cause it was the holiday, the first snow of the year, and lots of it," Morgan said.

Mom’s Pies spokesman Teak Nichols said employees have been baking around the clock to keep up with demand.

"We peel our own apples, and we mix and press all our own dough from scratch," Nichols said. "So each day we're preparing for the next day."

Nichols said pie lines have been up to an hour long.

"Earlier in the day the wait is usually not that much, and by the afternoon you’re definitely going to stay in line for a while cause that’s when everybody’s trying to grab a pie before they go home," Nichols said.

Julian became completely gridlocked in traffic on Thursday. The freeway toward El Centro was at a dead standstill for several miles as thousands of drivers tried to exit at Route 79 or the Sunrise Highway — accessways to two popular snow play areas in the Laguna Mountains.

In North County, the CHP closed Route 76 to eastbound traffic at Valley Center Road on Thursday as the higher elevations to the east became jammed with parked cars. Both North Grade and East Grade roads up Palomar Mountain were also jammed, and closed to all but people who live up the mountain, the CHP said.

Weather forecasters said the winter whiteness will likely be short-lived as warm temperatures were expected to move in next week.

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