Bear Mountain, Snow Summit filling Easter baskets with ‘snow’ much fun

At Bear Mountain, peeps are playing board games for Easter weekend. (Bear Mountain photo)

Bear Mountain and Snow Summit have lots planned for Easter weekend and into next week, as spring break festivities continue at both resorts. Here’s a sampling:

Bear Mountain
Neff Beach Bash; highlights from last year’s events may be found here.

Social Media Easter Egg Hunt

Monday through Friday
Snowboarder Magazine’s “The Launch”

Wednesday and Thursday
Uniform Days (discounts for law enforcement, EMS, firefighters and active military)

Saturday, April 6
Ashbury Demo


Snow Summit
60 Grit Blues Band at Slopeside Pub, 1-5 p.m.
D-Team Race

Social Media Easter Egg Hunt

Uniform Days


#freshpow day on the slopes at Bear, Snow Summit and Mountain High

Snow Summit is a winter wonderland in March, thanks to productive cold-weather systems that went through Southern California on Thursday and this morning. This photo has attracted a lot of reaction since it was posted on Facebook earlier today. (Snow Summit photo)

By Jerry Rice

Fresh powder days in March are rare in Southern California – especially ones with storms that leave behind more than a foot of snow – so it may not be surprising that social media is burning up today with the latest reports from Bear Mountain, Snow Summit and Mountain High.

The photo of snow-covered tables and chairs at Snow Summit (above) has received more than 950 “likes” and 139 “shares” since it was posted this morning. Because a photo really is worth a thousand words, many of the comments have been appropriately brief: “Wonderland!” (from Freddie Merz), “Yes!!!” (Kelsey Elizabeth Stern) and “Wooooo Hoooooo” (Snuggle Bear Cabin).

Others said they were on their way up the hill (presumably after they called the boss to say they suddenly came down with some “ailment”), or that they would be there during the weekend.

With 12-14 inches of new snow at Bear Mountain, it appears to be time for some fresh-powder runs at the resort. (Bear Mountain photo)

Snow Summit reported 12 to 14 inches of fresh powder in the last couple days – about the same amount that fell at the resort’s corporate sibling, Bear Mountain, where the photo on the right was taken. Since being posted on Facebook today at about 10 a.m., the shot has received nearly 400 “likes” and 25 “shares.”

Snow Summit is 100 percent open, and only Bow, Deer and Goldmine canyons are closed at Bear, according to information on their websites. Also, skiers and snowboarders should note that Snow Summit will be holding its final night session of the 2012-13 season on Saturday.

With fresh powder at Mountain High, the snow depth on the slopes is 12-24 inches. (Mountain High photo)

At Mountain High in Wrightwood, they’re also excited about the conditions after receiving 6 to 8 inches of new snow. “We love fresh pow,” said the Facebook entry that was posted with the action shot on the left. “Share this photo if you love new snow as much as we do!”

The last time we checked, 61 of the resort’s Facebook fans followed through on that request.

Bear Mountain, Snow Summit have plans for the weekend

Here’s what’s on tap during the next few days at two Big Bear Lake mountain resorts:

Bear Mountain

  • Today and Thursday — Uniform Days (Law enforcement, EMS, firefighters and active military may purchase an area use ticket for $38.) Click here for more information.
  • Friday — KROQ-FM on the Bear Stage
  • Saturday — Power 106 Snow In with Kid Ink and T-Mills
  • Sunday — USASA Slopestyle (registration 8-9:30 a.m.); and DJ Jason Newman on the Bear Stage, noon to 4 p.m.


Snow Summit

  • Today and Thursday — Uniform Days
  • Saturday — KIIS-FM on the Slopeside Stage, 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Jimmy Blaze Band at the Bullwheel Bar, 3:30-7 p.m.
  • Sunday — Goldsmith Race No. 3


Double the fun for half the price on the slopes at Bear Mountain, Snow Summit

Bear Mountain and Snow Summit have a midweek two-for-one lift ticket deal for Valentine’s Day. (Big Bear Mountain Resorts photo)

Bear Mountain and Snow Summit have a special lift-ticket deal for February, just in time for Valentine’s Day. Buy one ticket and the second one is free when they are purchased online.

“Last year, we had a couple get married on the top of Snow Summit,” says Chris Riddle, vice president of marketing for Big Bear Mountain Resorts. “We were thrilled to add a uniqueness factor to their big day. The Sweetheart Deal gives people the incentive to grab a partner for an out-of-the-ordinary date, with midweek skiing on our great snow conditions at half the price.”

The Sweetheart Deal lift ticket deal is available online only. Lift tickets are valid for use Feb. 12-14. The special is available for Adult and Young Adult tickets, and valued up to $118. Same day purchase is not available.

If the tickets are not used Feb. 12-14, they may be used on another day after paying the difference between the original purchase price and the prevailing rate on the new date that they are being used.

Kids ski/ride free all season long at Snow Summit and Bear Mountain

Big Bear Lake resorts are offering kids a chance to ski or ride for free.

At Snow Summit and Bear Mountain, the Kids Ski/Ride for Free promotion is good weekdays all season long, including spring break. This special offer requires an overnight stay, Sunday through Thursday, at the time of booking.

“Spring break just got more exciting in Big Bear because we now offer free lift tickets for kids,” said Rebecca Hrabia, Big Bear Lake Resort Association director of operations. “Parents will save money, and the kids will have an absolute blast. It’s the perfect solution where everyone in the family wins.”

The Kids Ski/Ride for Free package must include lodging at one of Big Bear’s participating lodges. One free kid’s lift ticket voucher will be given for each paying adult lift ticket.

Free tickets are valid for kids 12 years and younger. Lift tickets are good for either or both Snow Summit and Bear Mountain.

Packages are good for lodging arrivals Sunday through Thursday and skiing or snowboarding Monday through Friday. Midweek skiing generally has no wait time at the chair lifts, and the runs are wide open. Lift ticket vouchers are not valid on weekends and during the holiday period Feb. 16–22.

Families also qualify to participate in Big Bear’s new Kids. Get Outdoors. Win. program that gives kids an opportunity to collect stamps in an adventure stamp passport. Kids who collect three stamps or more will qualify to win a grand prize trip for four to Big Bear.

Other prizes include a new bike, new snowboard, zipline tickets or a season pass to Bear Mountain and Snow Summit. Families are encouraged to go to guest services at either Snow Summit or Bear Mountain to receive a stamp for the passport.

For more details about the Kids Ski/Ride for Free package and Kids. Get Outdoors. Win. program, including a list of Outdoor Fun Spots locations, prize listings and official rules visit or call 800-424-4232.

Artificial snow saves the day at SoCal mountain resorts

Early December conditions were disappointing at best at all of the mountain resorts in Southern California. Thanks to some natural snow and lots of manmade powder, 2013 is off to a great start at several of them. This photo at Bear Mountain was taken on Jan. 7. (Bear Mountain photo)

By Art Bentley

Back in December, a red Christmas seemed like a distinct threat to the balance sheets of Southern California ski resorts. Only Bear Mountain remained in business, and it was limping at best.

Uncooperative weather forced Snow Summit and Mountain High to halt their lifts after all three resorts had opened before mid-November, amid optimism prompted by the prospect of a profitable Thanksgiving holiday weekend clearly in sight.

Meanwhile, Snow Valley, Mount Baldy and Mount Waterman — the other Southern California ski areas — had yet to sell a lift ticket. (Waterman is the only local area that depends entirely on nature for snow. Consequently, it’s also the only area that remains closed.)

“We’d had three days of snow-making, we were open to the top at Snow Summit, and we had the beginner area open at the bottom,” said Chris Riddle, vice president for marketing for Big Bear Mountain Resorts, which operates Summit and Bear. “Then we had three weeks without one night of snow-making. It was a very strange warm spell.”

Visions of a strong start disappeared along with the Thanksgiving turkey, and the leftovers were disappointing enough to give an accountant heartburn.

Toward the middle of December, cold weather returned, bringing several small snowstorms. Far more important, however, it brought the kind of consistently frigid temperatures that play particularly to the strengths of Snow Summit and Bear Mountain, where huge snow-making systems draw unlimited quantities of water from Big Bear Lake.

Both resorts were in almost full operation by Christmas. At one stretch, Snow Summit, which returned to the lineup Dec. 15, was pumping 7,300 gallons of lake water per minute into its artillery.

“What really sets us apart is our access to that big storage unit down there,” Riddle said recently with a nod in the direction of the lake. “Wells (on which other Southern California resorts must rely for their water) don’t have the same level of recovery that we do. To go from closed to 95 percent open in two weeks without a big storm is unprecedented.”

Shopping for deals on the slopes

At Mountain High, the Express Pass opens the way to money savings on the slopes and several special features. (Mountain High photo)

By Jerry Rice

OK, everyone knows that skiing and snowboarding can be expensive – traveling to the resort, lodging, equipment rentals, lift tickets…

But there are many ways to save on costs without cutting cut corners on the fun. Some examples:

> Free rentals for first-timers, ages 8 to adult, when a beginner lesson package is purchased at Bear Mountain and Snow Summit during the month of January. It’s part of a Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month promotion in partnership with the National Ski Areas Association. Information: 909-866-5841,

Mammoth Mountain’s January midweek pass is $249 – $50 less than last season. With regular adult lift tickets at the resort running $99 per day, the cost of the special midweek pass essentially means it more than pays for itself after three days on the slopes. Other price levels are $179 for youth, $69 for children and $199 for seniors. The pass is valid Monday-Friday through Feb. 1, but must be purchased by Monday. Information: 800-626-6684,

> At Mountain High, spend $10 on a rechargeable Express Pass, load it with almost any lift ticket and start saving – $10 on all flex ticket options – and enjoying other benefits. Those other benefits include guaranteed reservations in case of a sellout, a free eight-hour non-holiday ticket after every five visits, and the ability to track the number of runs you’ve completed, the total vertical feet and other individual stats. Information: 888-754-7878, 

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Mother Nature smiling on Big Bear Lake ski resorts

Looks like Mother Nature has shifted gears again, and the ski resorts in Big Bear Lake are getting a fresh blanket of snow. At 4 a.m. the snow began falling, and has been going strong. By 9:30 a.m., Big Bear Lake had gotten more than 3 inches of snow. This storm is expected to drop at least 8 to 9 inches of snow.

Bear Mountain is the only ski resort open in Southern California, and has two chair lifts operating. Its snowmaking crew has worked hard to make snow on the upper portion of Bear Mountain Express (chair lift 9).

With a combination of new and man-made snow, Bear Mountain hopes to have up to three chair lifts open Friday to increase the amount of skiable acres.

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Snowmaking important to the success of many ski resorts

No natural snow? No problem at resorts with snowmaking capabilities, as long as temperatures dip low enough so crews can put the systems to work — like they did at Bear Mountain in early November. (Bear Mountain photos)

By Art Bentley

Although Sun Valley’s Bald Mountain offers nearly three times the vertical of our own Snow Summit, these two great ski areas ensure their success with the same winning formula.

The fortunes of Sun Valley are linked as inextricably as those of the 60-year-old resort at Big Bear Lake to a prodigious capacity for turning water and compressed air into a four-letter word of supreme importance to that segment of the populace transported to ecstasy by its “plentitude” or driven to madness by its lack thereof.

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Ski, snowboard season ramps up

By Art Bentley

The 2012-13 ski and snowboard season has begun in Southern California. Barely.

Snow Summit and Bear Mountain, which share ownership at Big Bear Lake, and Mountain High West near Wrightwood are selling lift tickets at sharp discounts, reflecting operations that are severely limited by mild temperatures after the cold snap two weeks ago that enabled them to make enough snow to open a couple of runs apiece.

The result is not extensive, but diehard skiers and snowboarders have long displayed a readiness often bordering on masochism to drive heroic distances at the drop of a man-made snowflake in the local hills to relieve the long withdrawal between spring and late fall.

They don’t demand a lot, just enough space on a surface of reasonable slickness to permit the fast turns that restore meaning to life.

In a perfect world, rocks would be buried sufficiently to prevent damage to expensive equipment — but, hey, we’re sliding again, right? Don’t sweat the small stuff.

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