Just a few score miles beyond the celebrated jumping frogs of Calaveras County lies one of the gems of central California - Bear Valley.

This midsize resort of some 1,280 skiable acres is situated on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada range at the eastern terminus of the plowed portion of Highway 4, meaning there are no passes to cross and the road is seldom, if ever, closed.

The ski hill is a two-sided beast, with the legendary steeps and deeps of Grizzly Bowl on the front side and the long cruisers served by the backside Hibernation lift. Top to bottom, the vertical isn't great - only 1,900 feet from the summit of Bear Top to the Pad at the base of the Grizzly chair - but the variety of trees, chutes, boulevards and parks serviced by nine chairs will keep most Bear visitors occupied for several days.

To make things even more attractive Bear is offering a great lift/accommodations deal - dubbed the mid-week Stay-and-Ski-Free program - for the remainder of the season (blackout dates excluded). For $65 per person per night (Monday-Thursday only and double occupancy is required), Bear visitors get a lift ticket and a room at the cozy Bear Valley Lodge.

Call 209-753-2327 for further information.