Almost smack dab between Bear Mountain Resort and Snow Summit Mountain Resort lies the Big Bear Hostel, perhaps one of the best wintertime lodging deals in the mountains of Southern California.

You can bunk down for as little as $29.99 per night midweek, with other like-minded snow seekers in a dormitory setting (private rooms start from $39.99 and weekly rates are also available and relatively cheap). The hostel, which opened in February 2008, is ideal for travelers and outdoor enthusiasts who are on a tight budget and open to communal-style lodging.

Big Bear Hostel is located next to the village of Big Bear Lake in two converted single-family homes. Guests share a huge party deck overlooking the lake and mountains, six full bathrooms, two kitchens, two lounges, two dining rooms, and an exercise room with other guests at the hostel.

The hostel, located across the road from the lake and a mile from Snow Summit and two miles from Bear Mountain, also offers packages that include reduced lift-ticket prices at the two Big Bear Mountain resorts. Other perks include free internet WiFi, free linens (but bring your own towel), and no chores, no curfew and no lockout.

Visit the Big Bear Hostel Web site for reservations and further information.