The Mountain’s of Big Bear
Two hours’ drive from LA and San Diego, Southern Californian families flock to Big Bear every weekend, when it’s quite normal for tickets to sell out (book in advance on the website if you feel like braving the crowds). And so influential is the surf/skate/snow triptych over young SoCal minds that the powers that be decided to pass on the pistes and turn all of Bear Mountain into a terrain park leaving Snow Summit as a refuge for beginners, recreational skiers, and park novices. It hasn’t hurt their ticket sales one little bit.
Big Bear has 438 Acres of ski-able terrain or 27 km of slopes
1 Funicular Train, No Cable cars or gondolas
6 Chair & 4 Drag Lifts
1 Park & No Pipes
Night Opening & no summer skiing/boarding
Though both mountains have large beginner areas and a wide range of lessons to choose from, slightly more sedate Summit is a less intimidating place to find your feet. For those who are happily linking turns on cruisers like Mainstream and Eastway, scoot over to the Family Park, where mellow bumps and rollers serve as an introduction to airtime.
19 Easy Runs
Start the day at Summit, warming up on the cruisers before tacking the beginner to intermediate jib and table lines in Westridge, the mile-long, top-to-bottom park that first brought Big Bear fame. In the afternoon, take the bus over to Bear Mountain and start working your way up their menu of obstacles.
39 Intermediate Runs
You get to ski/ride at two separate mountains for the price of one and the sun is always shining. The park is always groomed and there are jibs for everybody. Come during the week as it’s always slower. On the weekend the LA crowds come up which can be fun for people watching. You never know who you’re going to meet!
Hit Bear Mountain mid-morning, no need for an early start when the entire mountain is a park. After shutting down the superpipe, exhibitionists can work The Scene in the afternoon, a collection of jibs right by the base area. Come nightfall and it’s time to head over to Summit, where the Westridge hits are groomed every Friday,Saturday and holiday afternoons in time for a session under lights.
19 Expert Black Runs
Known as The People’s Park, Bear Mountain is hugely popular with freestyle fans. 1-Superpipe 1-Halfpipe 1-Beginner pipe Freestyle Park Southern California’s only Superpipe, over 120 jumps, more than 80 jibs, one standard halfpipe, and plenty of exclusive designs. The Parks motto is “other resorts claim it, we build it”. Skill Builder Park Special intro level park includes features designed to make you better on your board and gain the confidence you needed to take on the rest of the bigger features. Red Bull Plaza Downtown meets the mountains, revamped for the 2013/14 season the Plaza is an urban oasis of billboard wall rides, dumpster hits,32 foot long stairs, close-out rails and a multi-use objects in a city center setting.New this year is the Hot Dawgz and Hand Rails features.
|Top Lift||2685 m|
|Vertical Drop||507 m|
|Bottom Lift||2177 m|
- No Funicular Trains
- No Cable Cars
- No Gondolas
- 9 Chair Lifts
- Whoo who no drag lifts
- 1 Park
- 3 Pipes
- No t open in summer
- Yes , opens at night
39 Intermediate Slopes
|1 Day Pass||US $ 71|
|3 Day Pass||US $ 161|
|Season Pass (Cali4nia Pass)*||US $ 1,049|
*covers Big Bear Mountain, Mammoth, June Mountain & Snow Summit
Los Angeles(LAX) Airport is the resorts nearest at 185 Km or 116 miles away.
Clusters of wooden cabins, tumbledown motels, diners and weekend homes sprawl along the south shore of Big Bear Lake, a year-round country retreat for harassed southern Californians for over a century. Yet despite the weekend crowds, the place feels sleepy and suburban once the last of the SUVs has departed down valley, more an annex of LA than a stand-alone resort.
Try elegant B&B at the historic Gold Mountain Manor.
Bypass the strip mall fast food and hit up El Jacalito for super cheap, authentic burritos and tacos. Fill upon a breakfast of champions at the Grizzly Manor Café and splurge at Sushi lchiban. Good veggie options are available everywhere.
Apres Ski & Nightlife
Sunny afternoon partying goes down at the base of both resorts both weekends, but those left in town after sundown may find it a little dead. Chad’s Place has pool and weekly live bands.
|Jibs and hits in all sizes: progress your park riding.||Lack of natural snow and natural|
|Perfect slopes for beginners.||Low on resort ambience.|
|Inexpensive and quiet midweek.||Seriously crowded at the weekend.|
Twin peaks above Los Angeles with over 200 jumps and jibs between them, for riding day and night. Molehills in size but mighty in stature, so long as you like parks.
At the eastern end of Big Bear Boulevard is a large Vons supermarket handily located close to the Real Deal Ride Shop.
Health & Wellbeing
There’s a full range of spa treatments at the mountain hippy-style Believe In Magic.
Free access at the library on Garstin Drive.
Bear Mountain and Snow Summit came under joint ownership in 2002. Though 2 miles apart, both are covered by the same ticket and linked by a frequent free shuttle service.
For children 3 to 6 years of age, Riglet Park, young jibbers-in-training learn to ride miniature terrain park features by using Burton’s innovative Learn-to-Ride Technology. Riglet Park emphasizes learning in a playground-like setting, while introducing new possibilities for younger riders. Children learn balance while riding a custom made snowboard with soft flex boots and bindings over mellow rollers, small berms and ground level features. With the Riglet Reel tow, a certified instructor will pull the child over the variety of mini-features, allowing young riders to experience the excitement of learning to ride on their own. Full-day lesson packages include equipment, shelter and lunch.
Bad Weather Days
Though it can get icy occasionally, all the slopes at Big Bear are flanked by trees, and flat light is seldom an issue. Check out Bear Mountain’s base area jibs first if in doubt.
Summit Run, the top to bottom highway at Snow Summit. It’s a minefield of out-of-control weekend warriors and shakily snaking beginners.
An Interesting Little Fact
Justin Timberlake, Shaun White and Tom Cruise all have season passes at Big Bear.
Bear’s recognizable signature hits and jibs: keep an eye out for the inanimate stars of countless ads and photo shoots.
|Ski/Ride midweek for cheaper tickets and quiet slopes.||Often wear jackets. T-shirts and hoodies are the norm.|
|Take Highway-38 instead of the I-la route at the weekends, to beat the traffic.||Pay attention to trail classification. The so-called black runs here just aren’t.|
|Ski/Ride free on their birthday: just show the ticket office ID.||Drive anywhere in weekend rush hour. The out-of-town traffic is a nightmare.|