There aren’t many of the classic ski areas left – a least those your granddaddy may remember. But, Mt. Baldy, north of Upland, Calif. off the 10 Freeway, is all of that and more. It’s close to a vast populations base, but lift lines don’t often pile up.Today’s Mt. Baldy isn’t much different that Grandpa might remember, except for snowmaking to the top of Skyline and Robins run. OK, so there’s no lake like in Big Bear and that snowmaking depends on a reservoir staying relatively full during the cold winter months. But, when it’s snowing the real stuff, as they say, head for these hills.To be sure, there’s beginner terrain, but what sets Mt. Baldy apart is the steepest vertical drop in SoCal. Skiing and riding is spread over 800 acres, with 26 runs across 3 mountains. The terrain is best suited for intermediate and advanced skiers and riders. You can ski, snowboard, go tubing, play in the snow, or enjoy scenic rides (even during the winter).Mt. Baldy, for trivia buffs, is only a nickname. The 10,064 foot peak is actually Mt. San Antonio and is the highest in the San Gabriel Mountains. Its namesake is St. Anthony of Padua, a 13th century priest. So, if you are looking for it on a topo map as Mt. Baldy, you won’t find it.The ski area’s beginnings came during World War II when a group of friends combined their “C” Ration gas coupons to go skiing. An enterprise called Mt. Baldy Ski Tows began operations in 1944.Mt. Baldy inherited some of the Hollywood glamour of the day and became somewhat a popular winter hangout for movie stars and celebrities.Skiers and snowboarders living in the Inland Valley find Mt. Baldy Ski Area an ideal perfect place to escape during the week for a few hours or a whole day of economical, uncrowded skiing.Directions: Take the Mountain Avenue exit in Upland off the 210 Freeway and go north following signs to Mt Baldy. You can also take the Baseline exit in Claremont and go north on Padua and turn right on Mt Baldy Road. Mt Baldy Road dead-ends in the ski area parking lot.Mt. Baldy is likely the best kept secret in SoCal skiing and riding, even after all these years. But, hit it right, and it can be your best day ever. ActivitiesSnowboarding: Ride anywhere on Mt. Baldy, but the terrain really opens up for snowboarding when you get to Chair 3. That’s where you will find riding on double black diamond runs in the trees to a several beginners’ options. The terrain park is off of Chair Four.Cross Country Profile: Not availableLodgingMt. Baldy is best suited for day visits, largely because there is no night skiing, and nearby lodging is scarce and sells out quickly. Mt Baldy Lodge, however, is located in the center of the village. There are six cabins to rent. The restaurant serves burgers, sandwiches, and steaks. Get there early Sunday mornings for Missi's famous cinnamon rolls.Another good option is the Doubletree Hotel Claremont, 16 miles from the slopes at 555 Foothill Blvd.Winter RecreationSkiing and snowboarding, scenic rides and snow play.