4 Seasons Sports on Cluff Avenue is nestled in a maze of nondescript warehouse buildings. But inside is a colorful spread of snow parkas and pants, and enough snowboarding and skiing gear to satisfy any winter sports fanatic.
Owner Joe Stacher said the shop was packed on Wednesday, thanks mostly to the great snow conditions in the Sierra Nevada.
Lodi's wet Christmas has meant a white Christmas in the mountains to the east. Resort operators, in fact, say the snowpack is setting records for this time of year. In just the last few days, in fact, Donner Summit has received more than 80 inches of snow, said Deanna Schoopman of the California Department of Transportation.
"We're getting just tons of snow," she said.
And tons of snow means tons of people outside to enjoy it.
Russ Peccararo, director of communications for Heavenly Resort at Tahoe, said they have seen record snowfall. The snow depth has reached 11 feet in December, with a few days remaining. He did not release numbers of people enjoying the resort, but said it is full.
"When people are out of school and work, people are out there enjoying winter," he said.
At Dodge Ridge, advertising and creative director Jeff Hauff said the resort has gotten 5 feet of snow in the past week.
"It's great for powder lovers and fair weather skiers," he said. "These are they days skiers and riders dream about."
All lifts and runs are open, making for a much better start to the season than in 2011. Hauff said it was too warm last year for any snowfall to last or for the resorts to make snow. This season is pretty much perfect in comparison, he said.
Stacher says to prepare for the trip before you leave town. Get lift tickets and rentals online or from local retailers, and reserve rentals ahead of time.
"If you're a beginner, make sure you do your homework. If you just drive up and go, it will be a lot more expensive," said Stacher.
Erin Smith and her husband Gordon Smith were in the shop getting fitted with rental boots, skis and poles for an adventure to Sierra-at-Tahoe today. Erin Smith's 79-year-old father was visiting from Florida, and planned to take his first trip to the slopes in five years.
"Mom said if we were going anyway, he could come along," Smith said.
One Lodi family skipped town over the weekend to take advantage of the conditions. Valerie and Bryan Pannino and their 5-year-old son Tony left home at 5:30 a.m. Sunday to make the drive up to Kirkwood Mountain Resort for a whirlwind daytrip.
Just in case, they packed blankets and overnight clothes, along with snacks and water, to stay safe if conditions on the road didn't allow them to complete the drive home along Highway 88. The family car made it through the light snow with chains on, and was back in Lodi by that same evening.
"It wasn't horrible. We've definitely driven in worse conditions," Valerie Pannino said. "We thought we'll just be ready for whatever Mother Nature is going to throw our way."
Drivers should check the California Department of Transportation website for current driving conditions, including whether chains are required.
While the snow piles up on the mountains, it seems Lodi might be done with rain, at least for a few days. Mike Pigott, a meteorologist with AccuWeather, a private weather forecasting service, said some decent cloud cover will remain through Sunday. Temperature highs will reach about 50 degrees, with lows in the mid-30s overnight.
Contact reporter Sara Jane Pohlman at email@example.com.