Located in Southern California’s San Bernardino Mountains, Bear Mountain offers a 200-acre winter playground for skiers and snowboarders. Along with Snow Summit, Bear Mountain makes up the Big Bear Mountain Resort.
With 85% of Bear Mountain covered by over 200 freestyle features, the mountain features over 165 beginner to advanced rails, boxes, walls and other features and 4 pipes (8 foot, 13 foot, 18 foot and a Jib Pipe) that include Southern California’s only Superpipe, along with Bear Mountain’s Skill Builder Parks geared toward freestyle skiers with beginner skills.
The easiest way to get to the mountain is by car, either your own or a rental. It’s about two and a half hours from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) depending on traffic.
Bear Mountain comprises three different peaks: Silver Mountain, Bear Peak and Goldmine Mountain. Bear Peak at 8,805 feet is Southern California’s highest peak served by a lift. Since the resort is located in California, it’s warm most of the ski season, which means that you don’t need to bulk up on clothing – and it’s also extremely sunny throughout the season.
The Terrain Park is located off of every chair on Bear Mountain. There are a variety of jumps and jibs in the park, which is designed for all skill levels. More advanced boarders can head to the In-ground Superpipe (580 feet long, 77 feet wide and 18 feet high) or the In-ground Standard Halfpipe (400 feet long, 55 feet wide and 12 feet high).
With 748 skiable acres and a top elevation of 8,805 feet, Bear Mountain provides skiers and boarders with 1,665 feet of vertical drop. There is a total of 62 runs: 15% green, 15% low intermediate, 40% intermediate and 30% advanced. All are serviced by 12 lifts with a lift capacity of 16,590 skiers per hour. The resort receives 100 inches of snow. Base elevation is 7,140 feet. The longest run is one and a half miles.
If there has been sufficient snow, the tree runs will be open, including the out-of-bounds ones off of Chair 8.
Big Bear has it all, including restaurants located throughout the resort along with various stops to snack, coffee bars, repair shop, sports shop and lessons. The snowfall is bolstered by 100% snowmaking. Take some time to enjoy the big sundeck after you get off the slopes.
For smaller version of the features for which Bear Mountain is known, head to the Skill Builder Park. Most of the features are lower to the ground and 5 to 10 feet long. You can access the park by using Chair 6, 7 and 9. Your lift ticket gives you access to both Snow Summit and Bear Mountain. If you need a break from terrain parks, Snow Summit has a lot of traditional runs.
If you’re planning on spending a week or weekend there, take advantage of all the rental cabins and homes in the area. They’re pretty close to the slopes, some even within walking distance.
While many California resorts must spend a large amount of time making snow, Big Bear Ski Resort benefits from snow from Big Bear Lake, meaning that the resort can make “real” snow. After a day on the slopes, either head to the town for a night out, or go to the beach and soak up some rays.