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