Snow Summit and Bear Mountain make up the resorts of Big Bear Mountain Resorts, an appealing alpine region in the wintry, pine-and-snow San Bernardino Range, often referred to as a place to ski and board that’s “less than a tank of gas away, round-trip” from Southern California cities.
A little more than two miles/3.2 kilometres apart, the two resorts, connected by a free Inter-Resort express shuttle, let you choose from more than 50 runs slicing through the snow. Natural features and terrain parks are big here, so if you’re into tricks (or just watching them) you’ll have plenty of opportunities to let loose or be entertained.
Skiing and boarding aren’t the only ways to get your kicks on the slopes though: At the Alpine Slide at Bear Lake’s Magic Mountain, you can whoosh down a winding flume on your own true bobsled with Teflon runners. And tubing is another huge draw here, especially for snow newbies, young and old. For after-dark fun on weeknights, try the Grizzly Ridge Tube Park, at Snow Summit ski resort, which has lighted runs and tubes labeled as “high-speed.” (Children must be at least 42” tall to ride a snow tube by themselves.)
Wind down after your snowy tromp with some choice libations and “high-altitude Mediterranean” at the indoor and sundeck dining at Skyline Taphouse, located at the top of chair 1. For some comfort food and a beer or Bloody Mary, head to Slopeside Speakeasy at the base of chair 2. Or warm up with a meal at Bighorn Smokehouse, also located right next to the slopes. The town of Big Bear Lake has a friendly alpine feel, with lots of places to kick back for some low-key après ski relaxation.
One of the more invigorating ways to unwind, though, is to kick off your skis or snowboard and step into a pair of snowshoes. After all that downhill and terrain park fun, there’s something especially alluring about escaping into the wintry beauty of the San Bernardino Mountains.
With its inviting destinations and uncrowded wilderness, this region feels like an insider’s secret amid the bustling excitement of Southern California.
Mount San Gorgonio—nicknamed “Old Grayback”—is the tallest peak in Southern California, at 11,502 feet/3,506 meters.
Surprising alpine scenery around Lake Arrowhead and Big Bear beckons, with pine-scented trails in summer and winter sports when the snow flies. If you’re into action, get the adrenaline rush of seeing the world’s best NASCAR racers compete at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana. For a dreamier escape, float in a hot-air balloon above rolling Temecula Valley wine country.
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