Skiing, snowboarding … it’s happening every day now at Bear Mountain

Fresh powder is certainly a welcome thing at Bear Mountain and other ski and snowboard resorts in Southern California. (Bear Mountain photo)

Fresh powder is certainly a welcome thing at Bear Mountain and Southern California’s other ski and snowboard resorts. (Bear Mountain photo)

Thanks to the recent snowfall, Bear Mountain is now open for skiing and snowboarding every day of the week.

“We are so stoked that we received more snow than expected from the last storm,” said Rio Tanbara, Bear Mountain’s marketing director, adding that terrain is in very good shape due to the recent flurry of snow in the Big Bear Lake area.

“Our guests will be extremely pleased with what they see and experience here,” said Chris Riddle, Big Bear Mountain Resorts vice president of marketing. “Our team has worked hard to create and maintain more of what skiers and snowboarders are looking for – more jumps, more jibs, more snow and more fun.”

Bear Mountain’s hours of operation will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends and holidays.

Chairs 1, 6, 7 and 9 will be operating for beginner, intermediate and advanced riders with plenty of terrain features available. Five trail runs are currently available with more expected to open soon.

Lessons, rentals, retail and food service are open and available for Bear Mountain guests during regular hours of park operation. Snowmaking efforts will continue this week.

Season passes, individual tickets, group tickets and lift tickets are available. Guests should plan on arriving early, as ticket sales may be limited.

For the 24-hour snow report, call 800-232-7686. For other information, call 909-866-5766 or visit www.bigbearmountainresorts.com.

Hundreds hit the slopes on opening day in Big Bear

Snowboarders look to head up the chairlift at Bear Mountain Resort in Big Bear Lake, Friday, November 28, 2014. California is suffering  one of the worst droughts in its history. (Eric Reed/For the Sun)

Snowboarders look to head up the chairlift at Bear Mountain Resort in Big Bear Lake, Friday, November 28, 2014. California is suffering one of the worst droughts in its history. (Eric Reed/For the Sun)

By Joe Nelson, Staff Writer

Ricky Vega held his 3-year-old daughter, Brooke, steady as she stood atop a snowboard, feet buckled securely in bindings, at the Bear Mountain ski resort on Friday,

Vega positioned his daughter in place, in a safe area at the bottom of the slope, away from the throng of snowboarders zipping down the mountain. He whispered a few words of encouragement in her ear, then gave her a gentle push forward. He darted forward, several feet ahead of his daughter, then turned and held out his arms to receive her.

Clad in pink ski pants, a pink ski jacket and a knitted Curious George ski cap, Brooke was all smiles as she slid about five feet across the slope and into her doting father’s arms.

“My two nephews started doing this when they were 3, and now it’s her turn,” said Vega, 36, of Lakewood. “We’re trying to make it a family tradition.”

Vega was one of hundreds drawn to Bear Mountain on the cloudless and rather warm Black Friday for the resort’s opening day of the season. Neighboring Snow Summit opened for the season on Wednesday.

“It’s awesome. It’s beautiful weather,” said Vega, who along with his twin brother owns a cabin in Big Bear Lake, where he and his family spent the Thanksgiving holiday before taking to the slopes on Friday.

“I’m on vacation. It’s opening day,” Vega said, “and I wanted to get out here before all the snow melted.”

The two opening-day events, at Bear Mountain on Friday and Snow Summit on Wednesday, marked their first under new ownership by Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, which announced its purchase of the sibling ski resorts in September. The sale awaits the closing of escrow, said Rio Tanbara, director of marketing for Bear Mountain.

Read more of Joe Nelson’s story SKI

Help wanted: Bear Mountain, Snow Summit resorts host job fair

Big Bear Mountain Resorts is ramping up for opening day, but first comes the annual Bear Mountain and Snow Summit job fair. It happens Saturday at Snow Summit from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

While offering a fun work environment, Big Bear Mountain Resorts offers great privileges to all employees. Among them: free skiing and snowboarding for employees and their immediate eligible families under the age of 18 at both Bear Mountain and Snow Summit, discounted rental equipment, free and discounted lessons, discounted food and beverages and discounts in retail shops.

“Our goal is to provide our guests with the best possible service and experience. We’re looking for hardworking and dedicated employees that are personable, out-going and have a passion for snow sports,” said Chris Riddle, director of marketing for Big Bear Mountain Resorts. “Most of our employees, including myself, have worked here for over 10 years and we know firsthand how incredible a career in the snow sport industry is, as we get some of the coolest perks around.”

Full-time and part-time positions are available in both indoor and outdoor areas, including ski and snowboard instructors, snowmakers, snow sport lessons promoter, sport shop sales, parking, lift operators, food servers, bartenders, dishwashers, cooks and guest services.

For more information, call employee services at 909-866-5766, Ext. 140; email employeeservices@snowsummit.com or fill out an application and bring it to the job fair.

Bear Mountain presents built from scratch

Each winter, so many talented snowboarder flock to Bear Mountain, SoCal snowboarding oasis, to pick apart the top-to-bottom park created by the prestigious Bear park crew.

The creativity of the set up combined with the variety of progressive riders makes for some next level snowboarding.

In the first episode of Bear’s Built from Scratch, enjoy your favorite park riders as they build laps from scratch during the 2013-14 season at Bear. Featuring Scotty Vine, Lenny Mazzotti, Jake Schaible, Justin Mulford, Castro, Johnny Miller, Chris Bradshaw, and Zak Hale.

Check out the video

Cali4nia Pass good at Mammoth, Bear Mountain, June Mountain, Snow Summit

 

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border="0"Introducing the Cali4nia Pass, the best thing to happen to California skiing since stretch pants. The Cali4nia Pass gives you unlimited and unrestricted access to Mammoth Mountain, Bear Mountain, June Mountain and Snow Summit for $689. From a quick getaway to Big Bear to a full family vacation at Mammoth, we’ve got you covered. Every style, every skill level and everyone is invited.Plus, the Cali4nia Pass offers amazing perks like discounted tickets for friends, special early mountain access, and savings on food, lodging, equipment rentals and more.

Mammoth + Bear Mountain + June + Snow Summit = Cali4nia Pass. All the benefits of Mammoth & June plus anytime access to Bear Mountain and Snow Summit.

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Mammoth Mountain owner buys Bear Mountain, Snow Summit ski resorts

 

Despite the warm temperatures this winter, Bear Mountain and Snow Summit have been taking advantage of snow-making capabilities to improve conditions on the slopes. (Big Bear Mountain Resorts photo)

Bear Mountain, a popular place for snowboarders, is one of two resorts being acquired by the owner of Mammoth Mountain. Snow Summit also is part of the deal announced this morning. (Big Bear Mountain Resorts photo)

Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, owner of Mammoth Mountain and June Mountain, has entered into an agreement to acquire Big Bear Mountain Resorts, which operates both Bear Mountain and Snow Summit in Big Bear Lake. The two SoCal ski and snowboard resorts host nearly 800,000 visitors every winter.

The combination of these four iconic California mountain resorts creates diverse and unique offerings of both summer and winter experiences for day trips, weekend getaways and extended vacations, resort officials say. Bear Mountain and Snow Summit offer a full complement of outdoor activities from action sports to first-time family experiences, making it an excellent fit with the world class, big-mountain destination experience offered at Mammoth, they added.

“We couldn’t be more excited to enter into this agreement with Big Bear Mountain Resorts. These two uniquely Southern California resorts have been providing great skiing, riding and biking experiences to visitors from California and beyond. Millions have enjoyed their first mountain resort experience on the slopes of Bear Mountain and Snow Summit, and we look forward to expanding upon the legacy that Dick Kun and his people have created over the past six decades,” said Rusty Gregory, chairman and CEO of Mammoth Mountain.

“This acquisition represents the beginning of a renaissance for both Mammoth and Big Bear and is the first step in the next era of skiing and riding in California. In the coming months we will be announcing exciting new development and expansion plans for each of our four resorts designed to attract visitors from down the street, across the country, and around the world,” he added.

Mammoth has announced a new season pass that includes unrestricted access to all four mountains at $689 for adults. The new Cali4nia Pass will go on sale at the Hot Dawgz and Hand Rails event at Bear Mountain on Saturday, and then will be available online at www.snowsummit.com and www.Cali4niaPass.com.

“The Cali4nia Pass will cut through the clutter in the market by providing the most diverse set of resort options available in California by allowing you to ski where you want, when you want and as often as you want,” Gregory said.

This transaction will create one of the nation’s largest ski companies with more than 2 million visitors per year.

Dick Kun, the driving force behind skiing and riding in the Big Bear region and long-time CEO of Big Bear Mountain Resorts, said, “Mammoth has always been the natural long-term fit for the Big Bear family and we are thrilled to enter this agreement. I am deeply grateful to the employees, shareholders, and the Big Bear community for their work and support during the 63 years of our operations.

“Mammoth’s experience and leadership will ensure that Southern Californians will continue to enjoy recreating in the local mountains and will undoubtedly bring in a new era of experiences and opportunities for all of our constituents.”

#Winter2014 recap: Skiing, snowboarding at Bear Mountain and Snow Summit

OK, we know that winter 2014 was a bummer of a snow season, but we’re going to take a look back anyway with dispatches from many of California’s ski and snowboard resorts – starting today with Bear Mountain and Snow Summit.

Season start/finish: Bear Mountain, Nov. 27-March 30; Snow Summit, Dec. 6-March 17.

Snowfall: 20-30 inches at each resort; the season average is 75 to 100 inches.

Comment: Despite a shorter season and lack of natural snowfall, we’re very proud of what we were able to accomplish for the 2013-14 season at Bear Mountain and Snow Summit,” said Chris Riddle, vice president of marketing for Big Bear Mountain Resorts. “Each year we strive to provide the very best conditions, and this year was no different. Thanks to our advanced snowmaking system and our dedicated park crew, we were able to offer some of the greatest skiing and snowboarding in California – especially earlier in the season. We were able to successfully keep open the vast majority of our runs, with some of the very best conditions in the state. It was a great achievement for us.”

Looking ahead: Big Bear Mountain Resorts will be reducing the price of all passes for the 2014-15 winter season, with savings up to $110 from last winter’s rates. Dual-mountain pass holders will have unlimited access to 26 lifts, 438 developed acres and more than 55 runs.

Media: Here are video highlights from the slopes at each resort. First, Bear Mountain. >>>

Now it’s Snow Summit’s turn. >>>

Sans fresh pow, Snow Summit shifts from boarding to biking.

After storing skis and snowboards in the attic, at Snow Summit it's time to break out the mountain bikes. (Snow Summit photo)

After storing skis and snowboards in the attic, at Snow Summit it’s time to break out the mountain bikes. (Snow Summit photo)

Snow Summit will open its renowned bike park for the 2014 summer season on Friday, making it the first lift-serviced bike park to open this year in North America.

“We can’t wait to kick off another great summer season at Snow Summit Bike Park,” said Chris Riddle, vice president of marketing for Big Bear Mountain Resorts. “We’re excited to be the first bike park to open for the season, and we’ll be one of the last to close. It’s going to be a long, fun season here at Snow Summit.”

The resort’s inaugural Summer Kickoff Party will be held on Saturday. The bash will transform the base area at Snow Summit into a Vendor Booth City, featuring dozens of brands like Troy Lee Designs, Five Ten, Smith Optic, Ryders Eyewear, Marin Bikes, Freestyle USA, and Trek. DJ Slip Matt will be spinning from the Red Bull MXT, and guests can enjoy raffles, prizes and product giveaways all day. Drink specials will be available for the 21 and older crowd.

The Snow Summit Trail Crew and Gravity Logic are preparing new features and trail designs, including a re-routing of the Westridge Trail. A new, top-to-bottom beginner trail is set to open by July 4.

Mountain bikers can enjoy dozens of downhill and cross-country trails, as well as new features that will change throughout the season.

Summertime season passes for the bike park are available for $279.

Other summertime activities including hiking, sightseeing, and the Scenic Sky Chair. Guests can take in breathtaking views at 8,200 feet from the Scenic Sky Chair and spend the day enjoying the outdoors, wildlife, and fresh mountain air while hiking Snow Summit’s many trails. Or, guests can take a break from the action and relax with games, delicious barbecue, and panoramic mountain views from the View Haus restaurant located atop Snow Summit.

The Sport Shop also will be open with a great selection of summer gear and accessories.

Information: www.bigbearmountainresorts.com/summer

War of Rails returns to Bear Mountain this weekend

The fifth annual War of Rails, presented by Under Armour, is returning to Bear Mountain on Feb. 28 to March 1. The country’s top freestyle skiers will hit The Scene at Bear Mountain to compete for bragging rights and a $30,000 cash purse.

“War of Rails is the biggest ski competition on the West Coast,” said Craig Coker, the event’s founder.

Coker has partnered with Bear Mountain and title sponsor Under Armour, as well as Red Bull, Bern Helmets, Wahoo’s, Power 106, Windells, SnoCru, Outdoor Tech, and Ion to make War of Rails V possible. Anon will sponsor the Best Trick with a prize of $2,000.

The top 15 competitors from Friday’s qualifying competition will throw down on Saturday among some of the best freestyle skiers in the world for a chance to earn the title of War of Rails champion, as well as the $30,000 cash prize. More than two-dozen top freestyle skiers are already confirmed to compete.

On Saturday, guests can enjoy the perfect spring skiing conditions at Bear Mountain, then make their way to The Scene to catch the non-stop action. Spectators can head to the 13,000-square-foot Beach Bar to soak up the sun and enjoy drinks, live music, games and giveaways, then see one of the biggest and best ski events of the year.

Red Bull will be streaming the competition live from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The live stream will be available at newschoolers.com and freeskier.com For more information, including the invited athletes list, course layout and live updates, visit warofrails.com or Bear Mountain’s website.

“We’re so excited for the return of the War of Rails event this year,” said Rio Tanbara, Bear Mountain’s director of marketing. “The course is the biggest and best one yet, and all the top riders will all be here to throw down their best tricks. We hope that everyone will head up to enjoy this one-of-a-kind event.”

Snowboarding workshop brings strength, healing to veterans

The Southern California-based nonprofit Strength in Support on Thursday will head to Bear Mountain for a snowboarding workshop designed to help veterans overcome challenges resulting from years of service and sacrifice.

Strength in Support (www.strengthinsupport.org) was founded in 2013, and provides mental health services, including counseling, mentoring and workshops to active military, veterans and their families.

“We’re so happy that Strength in Support is hosting their workshop at Bear Mountain,” said Chris Riddle, Big Bear Mountain Resorts spokesman. “We want to say ‘thank you’ to our military service members, and welcoming groups like Strength in Support is one way we can do that.”

The snowboarding workshop is not only for veterans, but is also led by veterans. This “vet-to-vet” experience will allow participants to interact in a fun and relaxed setting, while receiving encouragement from one another to break down isolation issues and foster healthy and supportive relationships.

“Our recreational snowboarding workshop is being offered for the first time thanks to SIS’ board, donors and volunteers, as well as Big Bear Mountain Resorts,” said Jill Boultinghouse, Strength in Support board vice president. “Our vets are looking forward to a fun and healing day on the slopes. We need more organizations like BBMR that are supportive of our veterans, and can help make these types of events a reality.”

Strength in Support is one of dozens of military groups that BBMR has welcomed this season. In addition, BBMR hosts a number of Uniform Days throughout the year. On these special days, all active duty military, firefighters, EMS and police officers can take their identification to any Snow Summit or Bear Mountain ticket window to receive $38 lift tickets.

“It’s just one more way we can salute those who serve,” Riddle said.

The remaining Uniform Days for the 2013-14 season are March 5-6 and April 2-3.