Snow play ends 2014 in San Diego mountains

Bundled-up visitors took selfies with snowmen. Kids flew into drifts. Snowplows cleared major highways.

Adults and children enjoyed afternoon sled rides in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park on the last day of 2014. Photo by Chris Stone

So it went Wednesday, the last day of 2014, during a Times of San Diego tour of the San Diego mountains.

Heading east on Interstate 8 and taking the state Route 79 turn toward Julian, the Times found cold conditions (low 20s by 5 p.m.) but safe roads around Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. Sledders were everywhere.

“We had to make the drive up,” said Ray Martinez of Point Loma at the Thousand Trails campground. It was the first snow trip for his son, Wyatt, 1 1/2.

Lemon Grove’s Krysta Allen watched her daughters Cali, 7, and Katelyn, 4, frolic near a sign showing the “fire restriction danger” as high.

A middle-aged Emilio Presiche of San Diego sledded headfirst, while Chris Litthachak of San Marcos played snowball catch and watched his 6-year-old daughter, Allyana, soak up the winter wonderland.

Lake Cuyamaca was surrounded by snow on the final day of 2013. Photo by Chris Stone

Vanna Chham of Bankers Hill and Austin Brooks of San Carlos built a snowman with two legs. (They decided realism trumped tradition.)

On a sunset return via Sunrise Highway, we saw Sharon Simmons, 18, of Poway climbing up a snowbank with falling-down laughter. Kimberly Stevenson of Lakeside had her jacketed Chihuahua on a leash, looking for a place of relief.

As of 7 p.m. Wednesday, Julian had reported 7-9 inches of snow and Mountain Laguna 8. Palomar Mountain had 12-18 inches with 1 inch in Descanso at the lowest elevation.

New Year’s Day in the mountains will be mostly sunny and not as cool, according to the National Weather Service, with highs of 38 to 46 and light winds.