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Storm Ushers in WInter – Big Bear Offers the Best in Winter Fun

A $2 million dollar upgrade mean more parking and better service for visitors.

As California’s first November storm brought rain to Southern California this week, winter weather advisories announced that snow could be expected in the area’s mountains at elevations of 2,500 ft and above.

For Southern Californians this meant one thing: the arrival of winter. Those anticipating a trip to Big Bear only had to wait until Nov. 12 to see some snow. Big Bear is Southern California’s highest peak and is connected with the Snow Summit Resort six minutes away.

The official opening date was Nov. 12 with preparations and snowmaking having been in motion for weeks prior. The expected opening dates were originally planned for late in November.

Big Bear Mountain Resort is located in the San Bernardino National Forest Mountains and Bear Peak, the tallest of three ranges at the resort, rises to 8,805ft. But when it comes to fun, Big Bear Mountain delivers like no other, the third largest ski resort has it all: terrain parks, snowboarding, freestyle skiing, and an Olympic-sized half-pipe. Big Bear Mountain has unbelievable views of Big Bear Lake.

Big Bear is known internationally for its freestyle terrain park which makes up more than three quarters of its winter sports space.

This season’s visitors can look forward to more parking options and faster service as the resort completes a $2m upgrade that added parking and much needed housing for seasonal staff. WIth more worker-housing available, better service is expected as the resort can be adequately staffed.

Renovations to Laybacks Bar at Bear Mountain have also promised to deliver better seating options and outdoor heating to accompany their outstanding 360 degree views.

If you prefer a more relaxing, less sporty getaway, Big Bear Village at the edge of Bear Lake may be your winter wonderland destination. The village offers cozy cottages, shopping and restaurants.

Big Bear Lake Brewing Company offers house-made craft beers and cocktails and a variety of yummy pizzas, pastas, salads, sandwiches, desserts and more. They have a 10 and under menu offering kids favorites.

Peppercorn Grille, a local favorite, offers a dinner menu with more selective offerings and a variety of meats and seafood prepared to satisfy the most selective palate, but they too have a fare of favorites like pasta, pizza, desserts, soups and salads.

Close to the village there’s the Magic Mountain Recreation area that offers the Alpine Slide (a bob slide type ride); Mineshaft Mountain Coaster and snow tubing.

Lift tickets for Big Bear are honored at Snow Summit. This means the two summits offer riders access to 28 chairlifts and 56 ski runs. Snow Summit has slopes for all levels of ability in skiing and snowboarding.

So how do you get there? There are three ways up the mountain, but before you go, remember that snow chains or cables are required by law, to be in your vehicle, from November to April during the winter season.

If you’re coming from Los Angeles, Orange County or other places west of Los Angeles, HWY330 / HWY 18 the Running Springs Route is the shortest distance. Check traffic advisories for estimated times.

Travelers from the south can use HWY 38 through Redlands. This is a more scenic route with less traffic and can be an alternative to the Running Springs route.

For those coming from high desert regions such as Barstow, HWY 18 the Lucerne Valley route is the fastest. It is the flattest of the three routes for those wanting a less mountainous journey.

Finally, if you’re going to venture up to Big Bear keep in mind your skill level and the purpose of your visit. From Chair 8 expert skiers can access Bear Peak’s expert vertical, the highest and longest expert run at the resort. Bear Peak has an intermediate level run accessed from Goldmine Mountain. For those just starting out or wanting to improve, Big Bear has professional certified instructors in a learning area that make the experience safe and fun.

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