The Los Angeles area has many sunny beaches but we also have great nearby ski resorts. How cool is it that we can soak up sun in Santa Monica in the morning and then hit the slopes in Big Bear Lake in about two hours (time it right and you can avoid traffic). I recently brought my daughter, Megan, and her BFF, Kristin, for a weekend of skiing (for me) and snowboarding (for them) at this popular four season mountain resort, nestled high at 7,000 feet elevation in the San Bernardino National Forest. Big Bear Lake is accessible via three roads.
Big Bear Mountain Resorts
It began to snow as soon as we pulled into the parking lot at Big Bear Chateau Best Western (http://www.bestwesterncalifornia.com/hotels/best-western-big-bear-chateau/). Soon it was dumping and by morning my car was buried under nearly two feet of snow!
We caught up with some friends at the hotel’s complimentary breakfast (everything from eggs, bacon and potatoes to cereal, muffins and fruit) and contemplated how to dig out our cars. We located a shovel and managed to free my car from under the snow (I had chains, they didn’t) to reach the slopes, about one mile away. The hard work was worth it. Bear Mountain was blanketed with fresh powder and had short lift lines.
Bear Mountain, which typically attracts a younger, snowboarding crowd, had ideal ski and snowboard conditions. Bear Mountain’s terrain park is a snowboarder’s haven but it’s got amazing ski runs too. We usually ski at nearby Snow Summit, an especially family-friendly resort with groomed runs and the Family Park (a gentle terrain park). Snow Summit also has night skiing.
This time we stayed at Bear Mountain since out hotel was closer to this resort. Lift tickets are valid at both ski areas – Big Bear Mountain Resorts. There’s usually a free shuttle that transports guests between the two resorts but on this super snowy weekend it wasn’t operating.
New this year at Bear Mountain is the Skill Builder Park, a relaxed setting for beginner skiers and snowboarders away from the main terrain park. Megan and Kristin practiced riding their boards at this spacious new park.
That gave me an opportunity to make tracks in fresh powder on upper ski runs. We caught up with each other for lunch at the base lodge, which has several casual dining options. My favorite are the BBQ burgers grilled on the outdoor deck, where we could watch people swooshing down the slopes.
Back at the hotel, we soaked in the outdoor Jacuzzi during a light snowfall – it was very cozy! Ski conditions the next day were superb. The skies were clear and we didn’t have snow blowing in our faces. Unlike the day before when it was snowing heavily, we had sparkling lake views from the mountain trails.
Big Bear Lake Discounts
Big Bear offers many discount packages throughout the year. In winter and spring, the midweek lift and lodging package is usually the best deal. The rate varies depending on whether you stay in a cabin, hotel or condo.
Regular lift tickets are: $56 adults, $46 ages 13-21, $25 ages 7 – 12. Kids 6 and younger ski free. Ski free on your birthday! For more information, visit www.bigbear.com
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