High Altitude Training: A Personal Journey

As I get older, I realize that my time to accomplish my “To-Do” list keeps on getting shorter and shorter. I have been thinking for some time now of becoming a “real” athlete. The word “real” of course has different meanings to different people. For me, it means accomplishing a marathon, a mud run or some other kind of athletic competition. Luckily, I live in Big Bear where year-round there are many athletic competitions.

Lately, I have been looking at the competitions that Open Air Big Bear promotes. They offer not only the extreme events, but they have many that seem doable for my skill level. First, let me give you a little history of my journey in becoming a healthier me and someday an athlete with some fun high altitude training in Big Bear.

High Altitude Training in Big BearI grew up in the era of pre-Internet and pre-handheld electronic days which meant I was usually outside climbing trees or riding my bike. When I wasn’t outside, I would go to my dance classes. Basically, I was moving all the time. Then as time continued on and I grew up, got a job, a husband, a home, had a family, responsibilities and about 90+ lbs. Somewhere in between childhood and now I had lost me and what I like to do. About five years ago I decided I needed to take some time and give it back to me. I was exhausted of doing everything for everyone and nothing for myself. I joined Weight Watchers and lost about 50 lbs with just eating right. I maintained that weight for the next few years, but I still wanted to lose more.

About a year ago, I started working out in the gym. I started with some of the classes like Zumba, Piloxing and Boot Camp. Since the weather in Big Bear is absolutely gorgeous during the summer months, I’ll ride the Sky Chair at Snow Summit to the top of the mountain and then hike down. Or talk a walk on the Alpine Pedal Path or rent a kayak at Captain John’s Marina. If you are visiting Big Bear, we have many gyms that charge per day usage fees as well. Exercising, what a life changer! For one hour a day I actually get to escape reality and just focus on me. For that hour, I don’t think about work or billings or any other responsibilities. I focus on me getting stronger and leaner. I am in control of what I what to become, an athlete. I still don’t consider myself an athlete just yet, but soon. I am not saying it is easy nor am I at my full potential, but I am saying it can be done. Eat smaller meals more often that are healthy choices, move your body, drink more water than you think you can and try to get some sleep. You have to do them all if you want results. I do track everything I eat with the app My Fitness Pal. If I can do it, anyone can. You can sit there and make excuses or you can make it happen. I made all those same excuses as you do and some were so ridiculous, I can’t even mention them. I was not ready to commit to myself. Since I started working out, I have lost another 40 lbs. I am now officially a healthy weight and feeling great! This is just how I was able to get healthy again. (Always consult with your doctor before starting any new exercise program.)

So, even though I am feeling great, I still want to be stronger before any of participating in any of the Open Air Big Bear events and continue my high altitude training. I know right now I could do several of the competitions, but I want to win or at least place. I guess that is the competitive nature in me. I thought about the Memorial 5K Fun Run. Only 5K! We all can at least walk that one. Then I thought about the Big Bear Paddlefest. At the Paddlefest there are three different courses, 5K, 10K and 20K. It is really cool that basically you don’t have to be an extreme athlete to participate in an athletic competition in Big Bear (unless you want to). New to Big Bear this year is the Big Bear Mountain Bike Gran Fondo. This event has three courses 30K, 50K and 100K through trails and forest roads. Maybe the Tour de Big Bear cycling race on August 2nd, would be a great event for me to participate. They also have several levels of courses to choose from; 25, 50, 70 and 100 miles! In September, Endure the Bear Trail Run also has many courses for the whole family; 5K, 15K, 30K and 50K. If you are an extreme athlete and need a challenge I would suggest the Kodiak 100. This trail run is through the San Bernardino Mountains and you have a choice of either 50 mile or 100 mile course. The entire run is at an elevation of anywhere between 5,100 to 10,000 feet. It is required that you must have completed at least one 50 mile run within the past year before participating in this event. I think I may have to wait on the Kodiak for now.

Big Bear, in my opinion, is one of the best places to accomplish one or all of these events with some high altitude training beforehand. With the beautiful landscape of the lake, the pine trees and just maybe you will get to see an animal or two. When you do decide on an athletic event in Big Bear, you must remember a few things if you are coming from a lower elevation. Try to take it easy on the first day. Talk a walk or a nap to help your body adjust to the elevation before a full workout. Also, remember to drink lots of water before you even begin to travel to a higher altitude. Your body will dehydrate faster at higher elevations. Eat some pasta because pasta produces extra CO2 which helps your breathing. Good luck on your journey and remember to give yourself the time you need.

Live It. Up.

Top 8 Summer Activities to Keep Your Kids Busy

Top 8 Summer Activities to Keep Your Kids Out of Your Hair Busy

Summer, it is almost officially here! The days are becoming slighter longer. The weather is getting warmer. The grill is getting fired up on a regular basis. My flowers are in full bloom. Actually, the neighbor’s flowers are in full bloom. I never can find the time to plant anything let alone flowers. I love summer just as much as the next person, but in two weeks my 10 and 8 year old sons will be out of school. Cue the horror music. Sure, they love the summer months too, but I can guarantee that within less than a week they will be bored out of their minds. All the moms out there you know what I am talking about. “Mom, I’m sooo bored!” “Mom, there’s nothing to do.” Usually when this happens, they then turn to bugging one another which then turns into irritating, you guessed it, MOM. So it is time to start planning out the summer. Unfortunately, I don’t live a lavish lifestyle but luckily we do live in Southern California namely Big Bear Lake! The main reason my husband and I moved to Big Bear, 11 years ago, was to start a family. We fell in love with all the activities and events that Big Bear offers and knew right away that this was the place for us. So as I mentioned, my main focus is to keep my kids busy!

Here are my Top 8 Summer Activities for kids and families:

1. Biking. As the over protective mom that I am, I do worry about my kids riding their bikes on our neighborhood streets. The Alpine Pedal Path is a great biking and walking path for everyone. It is paved and runs right along Big Bear Lake which is absolutely stunning this time of year.

Kids Fishing Catching a Trout Fish2. Fishing. I am not lying when I say this, but every time we have gone fishing we have caught fish from the lake. Of course, sometimes it isn’t the biggest fish, but it is a fish. We have caught blue gill, trout, bass and catfish. My youngest one day told us that we were fishing all wrong, because he wasn’t catching anything, and decided to bait his own hook and ended up catching the biggest fish out of all of us. Kids, they are smarter than we think sometimes. This year I think we may try a fishing charter to really find where the fish are hiding.

3. Alpine Slide. There is something about water that I believe almost every kid loves, at least my two crazy young men. If they could spend their entire summer in the water, they would. And hey, some water and some sun make them nice and tired too!

4. Hiking. Kids are natural explorers and learners. Some days we head on over to the Discovery Center to learn about the San Bernardino National Forest which is right in our own backyard, but we do learn something we did not know every time we visit the Discovery Center. Their volunteers are friendly and helpful. We also ride the Sky Chair to the top of Snow Summit. You get to have the best view of the entire Big Bear Valley and grab some lunch. If you get too tired you can always ride it back down too!

5. Zoo. So the more I learn about the Big Bear Alpine Zoo, the more excited I get when I visit the animals. Our zoo is one of only two alpine zoos in the nation! 90% of all the animals brought to the zoo for rehabilitation are successfully released back into their native environment. Those that remain with the zoo on exhibit are either too injured or have been imprinted by humans and cannot be released back into the wild to care for themselves. Our zoo is one of the best hidden gems of Big Bear. The zoo is going to have new occupants coming at the end of June, TWO snow leopards!

6. Kayaking. This is probably my most favorite thing to do on the lake, so I drag my family with me. Happy wife, happy life, right? I like to launch from the North Shore or Captain John’s Marina. When we got out there on the lake it is so quiet and serene that it just takes your breath away. With the sun shining down and the smiles of my family I wish I could just stop time for that moment.

7. Concerts. In the last several years Big Bear has become music concert central. Venues such The Cave, Music in the Mountains and Blues for the Zoo are just a few. The Blues for the Zoo is an annual fundraiser for the zoo that is held at Swim Beach. I love to just sit there and listen to the music while I watch my kids dance or try to dance. They got there moves from the father or should I say lack of moves. And did I mentioned the best part? Kids 10 and under are FREE!

Hiking via Snow Summit's Sky Chair with Family
8. Mining. Big Bear now offers mining made easy! At Gold Rush Mining Adventures we can pick a bag of rocks, minerals, gems, fossils, geodes and much more for the kids to explore. It is really a one one-of-a-kind adventure. And they get to wear a cool mining hat.

I only have two weeks left before I have to really set my summer plans into action and so do you. Plan your summer today. Over 300 days of sunshine, above the “clouds”, temperatures in the mid-70s to mid-80s and all there is to do?! It’s a no-brainer, Big Bear is where you need to be. Start making those memories and grab them before the moments are gone. Share your experience with us! How do you #LiveItUpBigBear?

Gathering memories,

Top Stars at Big Bear’s Alpine Zoo

When tourists or locals alike think of zoos in Southern California, one immediately thinks of San Diego’s Wild Animal Park or Los Angeles’s Zoo and Botanical Gardens. Yet, a little unknown gem resides just a short drive outside of LA and into the San Bernardino Mountains: Big Bear’s Alpine Zoo (formerly the Moonridge Animal Park)!

Big Bear Alpine Zoo Grizzly BearThe Big Bear Alpine Zoo organization has been saving wildlife since 1959 with dedicated volunteers and staff whom aim to rescue, rehabilitate and release hundreds of animals in need. This wildlife zoo offers an experience unlike any other, built into the National Forest of Big Bear Lake’s scenic atmosphere, guests are able to walk through the exhibits and view and learn about animals not normally seen in domesticated city zoos.

The zoo’s experience at 7,000 feet in fresh mountain air also includes special programs including “Adopt an Animal”, “Flashlight Safari’s” and Jazz Fundraisers year round. You will also find panels educating both young and old about animals placed into the zoo for rehabilitation and assistance. The zoo also offers public tours daily in the afternoon, consisting of feedings and speaking candidly about the animals, teaching you facts you wouldn’t know otherwise! It creates an entertaining and memorable atmosphere for everyone involved.

The Alpine Zoo also offers a varied gift store completes with stuffed (toy!) bears, necklaces, earrings, postcards and Big Bear Lake memorabilia to treasure. One of the knowledgeable volunteers will be more than happy to help you select the perfect treasure! You’ll also find a delightful snack bar with drinks and finger foods for the whole family.

Beloved animals in the zoo have been given names by the staff due to their unique and individual personalities! Listed below are 5 “Star” animals we think you’ll just LOVE to visit:

  1. Hucklebeary! The zoo’s most recognizable superstar bear has three legs and is a huge fan of cookies. In the wild, their diet consists of roots, nuts, berries and grasses.
  2. Shakespeare! At the zoo since just after its birth, this bobcat is loved by staff and fans alike. This animal is named for the short, bobbed tail.
  3. Aurora! Famously rescued from a roof in Beverley Hills, this Arctic Fox now calls Big Bear home at 7,000 feet. The unique feature of the Arctic fox is their thick fur that allows them to maintain a consistent body temperature.
  4. Tutu! Tutu resides at the Alpine Zoo and may just grin and BEAR it for the cameras! Tutu is the mother of the Alpine Zoo’s other two grizzlies, Harley and Ayla, and they are the only family of Grizzly Bears together in captivity in all of California, and possibly in the U.S.
  5. Nono! This adorable barn owl came to the zoo in 2007 and has made everyone his friend. You can find him by listening for his raspy calls, unlike the hoots of other owls.

You can also book longer tours (over an hour long) for groups/schools over ten guests for Docent led guides year round, mid-week. You’ll learn interesting facts such as how long a wing span is, what a lion’s tongue feels like and why the animals remain in their care. You’ll also learn how animals are released and what climate they are best suited for!

Ticket costs for guests 10 year and up is only $12 with smaller children and seniors only $6 per person. The Zoo also offers a military and group discounts along with free parking.

On your next visit to Big Bear, make sure to stop by Big Bear’s Alpine Zoo!

Kelly Garfield

Fishing is at Top of Mind

Southern California weather is one of the most sought after climates in the world. This winter proved it as the Midwest and East Coast got hammered with the polar vortex. Even though people from these regions are envious of our sun-kissed weather, the actuality of it is this season was very unusual weather, even for Southern California.

Spring in Big Bear LakeMy hat goes off to the Big Bear Mountain Resorts team for the ability to deliver good snow coverage considering the situation. The ski and snowboard season is still happening at Bear Mountain, so there are still opportunities close to home if you want to get in some turns. I still plan to get in one more day this week; however my way of thinking is starting to shift.

Fishing is now at the top of mind. I have already bought a new fishing rod, and plan to get a new reel later this week. I’m trying to get a head start on what is expected to be a fabulous fishing season this spring.

I’ve already spotted some anglers getting an early start on the season. Why not? After all the weather conditions are ideal for shoreline fishing. If you prefer trolling from a boat, then you will be glad to know the marinas in Big Bear Lake plan to open earlier than usual, so boat rentals will soon be available. Be sure to check back, and I will be sure to report when the marinas open for the season. If you have your own boat the public launch ramps will open April 1.

No matter if you choose shoreline fishing or from a boat, the one thing I do know for certain is the rainbow trout in Big Bear Lake are hungry. In the next two or three months trout will be chomping at just about anything that is thrown their way. If you like trout then Big Bear Lake is the best spot in Southern California. Not only do you get a great day of fishing, but the scenery that surrounds is superb!

I recently drove along the north shore to investigate and see what the early-season anglers are having any luck with. The very first fellow I approached was grinning from ear to ear. He had just reeled in a good-sized two-pounder five minutes upon my arrival. He said he was using Pautzke Fire Bait, and said it was his second of the day. The first one he caught was too small so he threw it back. I also ran into a group of guys from Pasadena that came up to snowboard in the morning and fish later in the afternoon. They had been fishing for a couple hours, but no one in their party had reeled anything in yet. They did however claim to get a few good bites. One of the guys explained to me that it doesn’t really matter if they catch anything because they got to snowboard in the morning, and he said now it’s all about enjoying the beauty of the mountains while trying to reel in a good-sized trout.

String of Trout Fish Big Bear Lake CAThe spots that seem to have the best potential right now are on the north shore from Juniper Point to the Solar Observatory. The other key spots are at the Dam on north shore side to Windy Point. These areas are well-known as hot spots during the spring months.

I plan to get a new reel this week, stock up on some bait, and possibly buy some new lures. Once I get all of my new gear in line, then I’m ready to catch some big holdover rainbow trout. The weather is great, and there is plenty of shoreline to find a good spot to fish.

Two of Big Bear Lake’s fishing tournaments are now open for registration. The May Trout Classic is May 17 and 18 and Fishin’ for $50K is scheduled for June 7 and 8. These tournaments always add to the excitement to the fishing season because they stock the lake well with trophy-sized fish and they give out some great prizes from rod and reel combos to cold hard cash. In fact, what could be more exciting than the opportunity to catch a trout with a tag on its fin that is worth $50,000?

My mind is made up; I plan to turn the next couple of months into a fishing frenzy in Big Bear Lake. I hope to reel in some big ones and get my barbeque fired up earlier than usual this spring.

Reel em in,
Daniel Pea

Girlfriend Getaway to Big Bear

I still remember my first trip to Big Bear on a girlfriend getaway weekend during the winter of 2003.

Snowboarding at Bear MountainA few of my girlfriends and I were in desperate need to take a break after finals and before we all headed home for the holidays. Rather than getting each other presents, we opted to take a well deserved and much needed girls snowboarding vacation to Big Bear since it was located close to San Diego. I grew up skiing but we decided to all try something new on this girls trip.

Before heading up to Big Bear, we searched online through many different types of lodging and found Northwoods Resort. It was our first time to Big Bear and we thought it was safe for us girls to stay in a full service lodge and it didn’t hurt that they were running a lift ticket and lodging deal that we gladly took advantage of! So there we were with a full tank of gas and hotel reservations and music on our iPod and headed up to Big Bear after school on a Friday night.

The drive was relatively easy and the hotel was easy to find since it was in the beginning of the main Village. We checked in and were pleasantly surprised with the hotel. It had ample parking, elevators (important to girls lugging a lot of luggage) and was decorated in a cute woodsy theme. After sprucing ourselves up a little after the long drive, we headed out to “play like the locals.” We really wanted an authentic Big Bear vacation. After asking a few friendly locals, we ended up at Teddy Bear’s Restaurant, which is an oldie but goody diner in the Village, partly because not many restaurants were open (Hey, it took us a while to spruce up, it was a long drive!). After eating some yummy sandwiches and pancakes, we headed to the recommended local’s bar Chad’s for some dancing and drinks. It was the exact type of mountain bar we were looking for with a good mix of locals and tourists rocking out to the live band, playing pool, killing it at darts and competing at friendly games of table hockey. Chad’s was a hit and killed two birds with one stone because we found some cool locals to take us out on the slopes the next day, after our beginner lesson, of course!

girlfriend getaway in Big Bear On Saturday, and us being…well girls, we decided to hit the local ski shops for cute outfits, I mean snow gear. We stopped at Blauers Board Shop and they had so many stylish options to choose from and try-on that we almost forgot we still had to hit the slopes at some point in the day. After some retail therapy, we finally headed to Bear Mountain where parking was a nightmare at the top parking lots (EEK! I guess we shouldn’t of shopped for so long) but it was no big deal since they had free shuttles from the lower parking lots to the resorts. Once we got there, we decided that we would trade in the lift ticket we received from the hotel package for some beginner lessons. I should rephrase “for some MUCH needed beginner lessons!” Our instructor was awesome and by the end of the lesson we were confident enough to ride the beginner lift but getting down that first run was another challenge. Snowboarding was so much fun even as a beginner and we felt like Big Bear was the perfect spot to learn because it was warm and the mountain isn’t as intimidating as the ski resorts I grew up skiing on. After snowboarding and many falls, we hit the Beach Bar for some much needed refreshments.

Once we got back to our hotel we were too exhausted to go out so we stayed in and had one big slumber party which included board games, hot cocoa, late night runs to the snack machine and we even hit up the arcade room downstairs! This is what makes a girl’s getaway so much fun for me and I continue to do them each year!

girlfriends trip ideas to Bear MountainThe next morning we were told that we MUST stop at this breakfast spot called Grizzly Manor Café. It’s one of those places you don’t really notice on the side of the main Big Bear Blvd but you do notice the line of people standing outside waiting for their table. Let me say that when I go to the mountains, breakfast is always my favorite meal. There is something about waking up early to hit the slopes and breathing in the cold mountain air and enjoying breakfast and coffee while talking about the new experience you are going to have or have had. The pancakes were enormous and the bacon came well done, my favorite! We made the mistake of ordering the Sissy’s and if you haven’t yet, then order one and wait for the reaction from the staff! After one of the best breakfasts we have ever had, we went snowboarding one more time for a couple of hours before heading home.

All in all, it was a great trip and a few weeks later the girls and I decided to do it again! But this time it snowed! Putting cables on was a cinch for us since my dad taught me over the holiday break because he knew I was hooked on snowboarding. Even as college students we were still able to put together the extra money and the experience was well worth it! Over 10 years later, I now call Big Bear my home. When I go out or hit the slopes, it is great to see a group of girls on vacation in Big Bear because I know it takes just one trip to affect how you enjoy the rest of your life. I hope my girlfriend getaway ideas help you plan your next trip!

Remember, memories last a lifetime.

Winter Olympics Fever Cured in Big Bear

The Winter Olympics are on for one more week, and the fever is really catching on.

There are many people who are watching the Olympics getting the fever to get out and participate in these winter sports, or at least get a feel for it. Some might even be happy to just watch winter sports live in person. Well, the only place in Southern California to get a glimpse of some of the winter sports happening in the Sochi Olympics is right here in Big Bear Lake.

Big Bear Family Fun Winter Olympics StyleFirst and foremost Big Bear has both of its mountain resorts open with about 80% of the runs open. This means great skiing and snowboarding are available. Some people are excited to try the Park at Bear Mountain to get a taste of slopestyle snowboarding and skiing. Bear Mountain is well known in the ski industry as one of the leaders in slopestyle park features. Another great option for slopestyle is at Snow Summit’s Westridge run. Now is a great time to come up and show your stuff, especially if you have Winter Olympics fever.

Big Bear is the only place in Southern California with a concrete luge track at Alpine Slide at Magic Mountain. Another fun activity that is winter related, but not necessarily in the Winter Olympics, are two inner tube parks. Big Bear Snowplay has an excellent base with six open runs and Alpine Slide has a slicker surface with six open runs including the windy snake run.

My friend Bob called me last week and admitted he had the itch to do some winter sports because of all the Winter Olympics cover he had been watching on NBC. I invited him up so he could cure his Winter Olympics fever. He agreed and brought up his family.

We had planned out to do some inner tubing and alpine slide. We suggested that we would time our runs and the winner would win medals. We had every intention to time our runs with both activities, but once we got there and started to slide down the hill it became a free-for-all. Ask any parent and they will tell you when kids are involved best made plans can go awry because they tend to make their own rules. My friend and I put away our timers and joined in the fun with the kids.

Even though it turned into a non-competitive day it still felt good to get out and take part in winte rsports that are similar to what we had been watching on TV. After a day of sliding down the snow-covered hills an zipping down the alpine luge-style course we headed over to Bear Mountain to watch some of the snowboarders do tricks at the Park. We were there on a good day because some of these guys had natural talent. We got to see aerial tricks, rail slides, boxes and jumps. It was exciting for our entire group. It felt like we were watching a version of the Olympics live in person.

We ended the day back at my cabin for dinner and of course we turned on NBC Sports for more Winter Olympics in Sochi. It was a great day dedicated to the love of winter sports and the Olympics. My friend and his family definitely got their fix and best of all cured their Winter Olympics fever in Big Bear Lake.

Daniel Pea

Romance Abounds in Big Bear Lake

Romance blooms around the Big Bear Valley during this special time of year, and we want you to take advantage of the numerous deals and adventures to be had this Valentine’s Day weekend.

No matter your type of getaway – romantic, long weekend or just to experience the great outdoors, we have the top events and deals in the Big Bear Lake Valley this Valentine’s Day weekend!

Get Cozy in Big Bear on Valentine's DaySnow Summit and Bear Mountain ski resorts are offering THE deal of the weekend – get 50% off on Friday, February 14th – Valentine’s Day. The “Ditch your Date” special is the perfect start to your long weekend in Big Bear Lake! Make your reservation online ahead of time and get yourself a 50% off ticket for Friday February 14th! Valid for 50% off an all Adult, Young Adult, Child or Senior lift tickets on 2/14/2014 – reservations must be made online at least one day in advance. Unused tickets will be worth face value; restrictions may apply. Take advantage of this rare lift ticket deal by checking out snowsummit.com!

For those who want to ski or snowboard or go tubing, all day and all night, take advantage of night skiing sessions on Friday or Saturday this weekend and enjoy the cooler temperatures with your sweetheart! Sip cups of hot cocoa at the Bear Bottom Lodge dining area and enjoy the night with your favorite person at one of Southern California’s premiere ski resorts! Tickets for night skiing start at $35 and are available via snowsummit.com or at the ticket windows – take advantage of the slopes! If snow sports aren’t your thing but you still want to take advantage of the snowy fun in Big Bear, look no further than Big Bear’s Alpine Slide and snow play – priced at $25 per person from 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. or night sessions priced at $20 per person from 5 p.m.- 9 p.m., you and your partner can toboggan down the hills all day for an adrenaline rush like no other! If this is a family outing, you’ll find your kids overjoyed to experience the snow with the mile-long toboggan run and fun!

Love is in the air! Going out for dinner remains the top choice of most couples over Valentine’s day weekend. In Big Bear Lake, you can experience an array of dining options no matter your style or taste. The Peppercorn Grille offers a limited Valentine’s Day menu located in the heart of the Village for a perfect romantic flair with ten different meal options! Reservations are highly recommended. You may find the perfect drink and entrée at Captain’s Anchorage, Big Bear’s popular vintage restaurant. – they will be serving a wonderful lobster dinner over the holiday starting at $50 per person. The Stillwells restaurant also offers a premiere dining experience and location in downtown with numerous menu options for the holiday.

Experience romance this weekend at the Wolf Creek Wine Room near the downtown Village area – enjoy a glass of bubbly and appetizers Valentine’s Day evening as the sun sets in Big Bear Lake, the perfect end to your day and the start of your night.

Big Bear Lake is fast becoming a popular destination for live entertainment! This holiday weekend features “The Comedy Bash” at the downtown events center, The Cave. Featuring an array of performers, including Grant Lyon, Matthew Claybrooks, Maronzio Vance and Bebos J. Rafael – you are sure to have a hilarious time this weekend! Show starts at 8 PM and tickets are available via bigbear.com.

If you and your loved one want to get away for the weekend, look no further than calling 1-800-424-4232 or visiting www.BigBear.com for lodging options – everything from cabins, rooms and bed and breakfasts are at your fingertips to create a romantic setting for your getaway.

Quick Winter Getaway

Imagine your perfect, quick winter getaway…in Big Bear Lake! The rising temperatures throughout Southern California do not hinder the snowmaking capabilities at Big Bear’s two popular mountain resorts – Snow Summit and Bear Mountain. Boasting several open and favored runs, Bear Mountain and Snow Summit combine the best of both worlds – family fun and trick park atmosphere. Ever ski or snowboard in perfect warm weather? Now’s your chance! Big Bear remains one of LA’s best weekend destinations despite warmer temperatures throughout the Southland.

Snow Summit ski conditionsBesides the snow at Bear Mountain and Snow Summit, you’ll find everything during your quick winter getaway you need to keep the fun levels running high. There are two restaurants, full-service bars, equipment rentals and sessions for training. The area is abundant with helpful staff and even locals to help guide you during your trip to the resorts. Snow Summit is just two miles from Big Bear’s downtown Village area, where you’ll find everything you need within a short distance during your ski or snowboard trip including: movie theaters, dining, shopping, art galleries and a bowling alley. The newly renovated Village provides fire pits for those cooler nights as well as a brand new concert venue, The Cave, where you can see a live show almost every weekend. The local candy, tea and coffee shops will help keep you fueled your entire trip! Need a map or a local tip? Visit the Big Bear Visitor’s Center in the Village at 630 Bartlett Road from 9 AM to 5 PM and a worker there will ensure you find the adventure right for you and your guests. If you aren’t looking to ski or snowboard, perhaps a hike in the forest or zip line tour is more your style.

Still looking for snow? There are not one but TWO snow play and tubing hills in Big Bear Lake, complete with as much as two feet of freshly groomed snow. The admission price includes the use of a tube for sliding down the snowy runs. It’s the perfect adventure for kids and adults alike! Big Bear is just under a two hour trip for most LA residents, and kids will enjoy the snow tubing, local parks or Zoo as the weather remains perfect for any activity Big Bear currently has to offer.

Why stay home all weekend long? The short trip to Big Bear offers the perfect quick winter getaway for travelers looking to enjoy the snow without all the fuss.

-Kelly Garfield

Slopes & The Big Game are a Great Combo

The big Super Bowl game is this Sunday, and it looks like a great matchup between the Seahawks and the Broncos.

If you don’t have Super Bowl plans here’s some food for thought…head up to Big Bear this Saturday night or drive up early Sunday morning and ski or ride the slopes at Bear Mountain or Snow Summit. I suggest you start early about 8 a.m. or 9 a.m. For those that stay out late Saturday night you’re going to have to buck up for this one, after all its Super Bowl Sunday for crying out loud.

Try to get in at least 10 runs. I was at Bear last Saturday and rode for the first four hours, and I must say the mountain resorts are doing a great job at keeping the snow maintained and groomed. Hands down Big Bear is the best in the business for snowmaking and keeping the slopes in good condition.

Once you get in your 10 runs or so, head to the resorts’ bars. The game starts at 3:30 p.m., so you might want to get there by 1:30 p.m. to reserve a good spot. The cool thing about the resort bars is there are plenty of TVs, which makes finding a good spot easier. For the diehards it’s probably best that you get in some more runs in before settling in for the big game. Also, for those of you who could care less about a football game are in for a treat. You’ll notice from about 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. that the slopes are wide open because most people choose to watch the game.

Here is a key tip for the real football fan. If you finish skiing or riding early on Super Bowl Sunday take your ticket to the ticket window before 1 p.m. to receive $19 credit voucher on your next visit, lessons or rentals. And once you hang up your skis or board for the day then take advantage of Big Bear Mountain Resorts Super Bowl XLVIII discounts on food and beer.

My favorite bar is Summit Inn. It has all the charm of mountain motif and historic photos of the good ole days at Snow Summit. The bartenders make great drinks and there is always a good vibe as laughter and happiness fill the room. I like to sit at the bar and watch the game from there. There is a set menu, however I think the kitchen closes at 4 p.m. So I suggest getting your order in by 3:30 p.m. There is also other munchies you can order from the bar. There is nothing like skiing or riding the mountain all day, and then settling in for an ice-cold brew and a great football game afterwards.

If you’re up here, but want to check out a different scene then check out the Super Bowl party at Stillwells Restaurant at Northwoods Resort. It’s a BBQ-themed party that includes free appetizers.

Murray’s Saloon and eatery is having a pig-roast and drink specials. They are also selling commemorative Super Bowl t-shirts. Stick around after the game to route for your favorite karaoke singers. Who knows you just might get the courage to get up there and belt out a couple songs.

Nottinghams Tavern is also having a shindig for the big game. There are drink specials, football pools, prizes.

It’s a toss-up who is going to win the Super Bowl, but one thing for sure is it should be a good battle to the end. If you are in Big Bear for the big Super Bowl game you are certain to have a good time. Remember to keep it safe and if you have too much to drink call Big Bear Cab at 909-866-8294.

Have a great Super Bowl Weekend,
Daniel Pea

My Romantic Getaway to Big Bear

My fiancé, Tom and I have been making trips to Big Bear for several years. We enjoy the activities, the beauty and the sense of calmness whenever we are there. But until now, and for as many times as we have made the short trek from our homes in San Diego and Orange County, we had never come without at least one of our 3 sons and their entourage. We decided it was time to make the journey by ourselves and discover Big Bear from a new perspective, capturing a bit of romance in the process.

Big Bear SunsetOur mini vacation to Big Bear began mid-day on a Friday in early June and couldn’t have come a better time. I’ve had my fill of the May-Grey and June-Gloom at home. I felt revitalized as we drove up the mountain when somewhere around Running Springs we are released from the clouds. The sun shines bright with a promise of the romantic adventure that lies ahead. My spirit yearns for a few fun-filled days in the sunshine.

As we arrived in town we drove through the Village before checking into our rented cabin. There were so many cute little shops and restaurants I planned to explore. After moving into our cabin (featuring everything “bear” related) near the base of Snow Summit, we promptly hopped onto our bikes for a leisurely ride. Tom is more inclined to tackle a thrilling downhill run at Snow Summit, but I am a real estate junkie. I can’t wait to uncover all the quaint and sometimes elaborate homes in the neighborhood, imagining that one day one would be mine.

After a tumble off my bike, and being no worse for wear, we headed back to our cabin for a glass of wine on our deck. We aren’t wine snobs, but with a good glass of red (like Tempranillo or Super Tuscan) enjoyed under the pines, everything seems perfect, in particular my perfect fiancé.

Romantic Hiking Biking Snow SummitA quiet, intimate dinner in the Village is on the agenda for our first night. We had received several recommendations of romantic places to dine and romance is what I wanted. Peppercorn Grille, Sweet Basil Bistro, Bistro at the Mansion and Ooh La La Bistro were high on the list. We chose Ooh La La Bistro for an evening we wanted to make out of the ordinary.

The restaurant was small but cozy with white linen tablecloths and massive chairs that appeared to be designed for royalty. It was all very charming and perfect for an intimate dinner. Ooh La La serves French cuisine; not our usual fare. Some of the items on the prix-fixe menu were unfamiliar to us, but there was not a single item we did not fully enjoy. As to be expected from a French restaurant, we were more than satisfied with our choices of wines. Hot and cold appetizers, the main course and dessert came in under $30 per person. The ambiance was perfect and the meal was delicious.

After dinner we strolled through the Village and stopped at Club Bombay for an after-dinner drink. Club Bombay is an upscale cocktail lounge that surprisingly still subscribes to offering free bar food on Friday nights. After Ooh La La, we weren’t hungry, but good to know for the future. Nestled into one of their comfy loveseats, we were treated to contemporary live music by a very talented artist. The couple playing chess next to us informed us that Club Bombay is well known for their signature cocktails. Of course we had to sample one. If you love chocolate or martinis or both, don’t leave without trying their White Chocolate Martini! As we finished off our second round, our second round finished us off and our romantic evening on the town drew to a close.

Saturday we were up bright and early for a brisk walk to a coffee shop on the Boulevard for breakfast. We love taking walks together. From where our cabin was located, it seemed we were within walking distance of virtually everything from the slopes to the lake to the Village. June mornings can be chilly, but this morning was exceptionally warm and by 8 a.m. I was already in shorts. What a gorgeous blue-sky day!

Romantic Fishing in Big Bear Lake, CAFishing was the plan for the day. To some that won’t sound very romantic, but Tom is a fisherman so this appeals to him. If he’s happy, I’m happy. My idea of fishing is basking in the sun until the fishing pole starts to shimmy. Then, maybe, I jump into action. We rented a small pontoon boat from Big Bear Marina and took off for our adventure on the lake. Once on the lake it was a little chillier than I had expected, so be forewarned and bring a light jacket and wear long pants. We had very little luck fishing except for a few small trout that had to be released. We pulled in our rods and headed over to Papoose Bay, a protected cove out of the wind and simply relaxed (as always soaking in the sunshine). These are the moments that I remember the best. This is the romance. There is only the two of us and nature. No phones, no TVs and the beauty of the lake and mountains surrounding us. It is the perfect setting to reconnect with each other.

We drove the pontoon over to B’s, a local’s hang-out for people and dogs alike. They have a public boat dock if you’re lucky enough to find an open slip. This day we were lucky. We tied off and headed to the beach to enjoy a beer. We were fully entertained by the dogs allowed to run off their leashes. If you’re not fond of dogs, this is not the place for you. The dogs are pretty well behaved, but you never know when, after a dip in the lake, one is going to give a good shake next to you.

Big Bear SunsetI could have sat and enjoyed the view from the beach for hours. The sun began its slow descent just beyond the dam and we watched the sky’s spectacular show of colors with awe. Tom used this spectacular moment to share with me that “this is why we will live in Big Bear one day.” Without taking my eyes off the setting sun, and without further need for explanation, I understood and silently agreed.

Back at the cabin we enjoyed a quiet evening and set up dinner in front of a roaring fire. Tom prepared the meal himself (which almost never happens). There was something special in the air that night!

Our last day at the lake is upon us and we know all good things must come to an end, but we intend to make the most of it. With an 8 a.m. tee-time at the Bear Mountain Golf Course, we’re up and out early. Tom is the “real” golfer. My golf game isn’t the best. Fortunately, this is a course that doesn’t intimidate me. To get in a full 18-hole game of golf here, you must play two 9-hole rounds. In the essence of time, we end our game after 9 holes. We finished our morning of activities with another bike ride, this time along the pedal path of the North Shore. It’s a breathtaking ride through the trees and open fields along the lake.

Before we headed back down the hill we had to stop at Murray’s Saloon & Eatery. It is another local’s (dive) bar offering some great food. Every time we come to Big Bear Tom must stop and have the foot-long grilled chicken sandwich and an Arnold Palmer lemonade. This trip is no different. On the surface, a chicken sandwich at Murray’s is not very romantic. But there is something very romantic about sharing our history here.

There is an unspoken love that involves me, Tom, Big Bear, Murray’s and that chicken sandwich that no one else ever needs to understand.