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Skiing in Orange County? Here’s how a group of friends pulled it off

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ORANGE COUNTY (KABC) — Skiing in California may not seem like a big deal — until you find out that the mountain is in Orange County.

Spencer Buchanan discovered a winter wonderland on Monday when he decided to go skiing. The Newport Beach resident and his friends didn’t have to travel far to find snow.

Buchanan had hoped that weather conditions on Saddleback Mountain, also known as Santiago Peak and the highest point in Orange County, would be just right if a storm moved through the area early in the week.

“It snows about once a year and the snow only lasts for a few hours, so we had to time it right,” said Buchanan. “It says it’s going to rain, but it would be cold enough. So we drove over, I think it was Sunday night, and camped there, had a miserable night, slept in a van for about an hour or two.’

On Monday, he said the group trekked about 10 miles through mud and water in search of enough snow.

“We hiked as high as we could, which was probably 5,000 feet,” Buchanan said. “We eventually got to a point where we thought we wouldn’t completely destroy our skis, even though we mostly destroyed our skis.”

His friend, Julian Doyle, was just as thrilled.

“I didn’t really expect it to be that much snow, but it was like Big Bear,” he said.

Doyle said the views were spectacular.

“It was super foggy above us and it was all snowing and then you look down and it looks like a normal sunny day in Newport or Long Beach or wherever,” he said.

Tower camera footage from the top of Santiago Peak on Wednesday morning showed some snow still on the ground.

Buchanan said it shows anything is possible in the OC.

“We didn’t ski too far, but we’re still going to say we skied in Orange County,” he said.

Buchanan and his friends said the hike was not an easy one and would not recommend it to anyone who has no hiking experience.

They said they are ready for their next adventure the next time it snows in Orange County.

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