Your situation is totally understandable, I would probably stay in socal too if I were you.
Though I am probably a lot younger than you, I left mission viejo when I was 19 for SLC. Work...I don't make much money...I'm in my early 20's, work nights, shred in the AM, take a few classes. It's enough for rent, season pass and car payment. But that's all I need right now. All my family is back in Orange County but I go back a few times a year.
Salt lake city isn't usually that bad in winter, but this year we've had record snowfall in the city, it's been in single digits since December - people this year are stoked if it hits the low 20's. We haven't seen the ground since early December as we keep getting pounded by snow and super cold temps that it just stays.
in SLC it will snow a few inches then melt away in a week or two, the average low
temps from November-April range from 20-35. Annual snowfall for downtown SLC is around 70-100 inches - it's very erratic year to year. To put in perspective, Big Bear Lake
receives an annual snowfall of 62 inches.
SLC is perfect for me, but I totally see how one would want to stay in california, warm, and
close to the mountains. SLC good though because you have four seasons, cold snowy winters, warm green spring, hot dry summer, "fally" cool falls. You got the mountains close and the desert close and tons of lakes in between. Plus I can hop a super cheap flight to LB/LAX/John Wayne in an hour an 15 mins. It's like a mini hollywood but for snowboarders and skiiers, seeing a lot of pros shopping at the local market and such
You should totally make the move to the sierras though!
After living in SoCal for almost 20 years, it's great to live in the mountains.