Fresh Snow on the Ground and Romance is in the Air

Romance is in the air and in bloom this winter season here in Big Bear Lake. Located just a couple hours’ drive from most major Southern California cities (Los Angeles, San Diego), Big Bear’s snow covered mountains provide the perfect setting to spark that romantic flame over the Valentines’ holiday weekend.

Big Bear Lake isn’t just for lovers – with an abundance of outdoor and recreational activities to spare – anyone and everyone can get into the spirit of finding themselves among Mother Nature all weekend long! As an avid outdoor-adventure-seeker I have always had a blast visiting Big Bear’s mountain community – and if you’re looking for romance, look no further than this great vacation destination spot at 7,000 feet!

Big Bear snowshoeing and hiking trails

Big Bear hiking trails

It’s time to take your loved one up to Big Bear Lake for a romantic viewpoint unlike the rest! Offering cascading mountain and lake views and hikes, epic tours that cross mountain ranges and an array of unique lodging and activities to treat yourself and your loved one – you’ll find yourself having a truly special and unique Valentine’s Day.

I started scouring the internet like any dutiful human being on a mission to plan a romantic getaway for two. I needed to find lodging and a few daytime activities for my partner and I. We both like to teeter on the adventurous side of things, so a quick glance at BigBear.com proved useful. Everything from helicopter rides, hiking, skiing and tumbling down some snow via tubes seemed like the bit of fun we would both enjoy all weekend long. When it came to lodging, it suddenly became a little confusing. Where did we want to stay? We were not interested in a rowdy setting for our weekend of romance nor did we think a large private home would be just right either. So, I dialed the useful phone line promoted on the website: 1-800-424-4232 and sat on hold for a very short time. A friendly voice soon greeted me and she explained to me that it was smart to book ahead of the rush. After a few minutes of learning about my needs, she found various lodging options available in the Big Bear area. In all of less than ten minutes, she had me booked in a romantic bed and breakfast inn close to the ski resorts. All I had to do was review a few photos and it didn’t even break the bank! The helpful agent also reminded me that Big Bear was a small town community, so anywhere you stay was going to be close to almost anywhere in the vicinity I would need (gas, shopping, dining). After writing down several local ideas from her about romantic places to eat as well as various activities, I started my hunt online once again to plan my dream Valentine’s Day weekend in Big Bear Lake for a little winter romance.

The events seemed easy enough to tackle first: live music at several bars around downtown plus events held at the local (The) Cave event center, including a live stage action play of “Point Break”. One event in particular caught my eye immediately: The Sweetheart’s Ball held at The Lodge on Big Bear Lake on February 14th from 5PM to 10 PM. Offering live music, a dance hall, drinks including wine and snacks it seemed like the perfect excuse to put on a nice outfit and get gussied up for the occasion. It’s even for a good cause! Proceeds from the live and silent auctions being held that night benefit Bear Valley Community Hospital’s planned renovation of patient rooms.

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Big Bear snow tubing

Another fun-filled local activity I wanted to attempt (that you can’t find in Los Angeles) is snow tubing! A multitude of groomed lanes at either The Alpine Slide or Bear City Snow play outfits are geared toward showing you a blast of a good time as you and your partner pile into the provided hefty snow tube and spiral your way down the hillside. You can go all day long doing this adventure! The provided magic carpet or lift chair will do most of the footwork for you, so all you have to do is sit down and participate in the whirlwind of fun! The locations of this activity are at 800 Wildrose Lane (Alpine Slide) or at 42825 Big Bear Blvd. (Big Bear Snow Play). Don’t worry, both lodges offer snacks and warm drink so you can still hold your partner’s hand even if the weather is colder.

Some essentials I always take with me to the mountains during winter season: gloves, sunscreen, chapstick and a good beanie or hat. You never know when the weather will change, so bring lots of water and plenty of cash in case any local gas stations or diners experience power outages. There’s no such thing as a “perfect” holiday, so be sure to arrive in Big Bear Lake prepared!

My partner doesn’t like heights, but I insisted we try something new this holiday instead of the typical bar or shopping crawl we have done year after year. After taking a peek at Action Adventures Tours online, I gave them a quick phone call and set up a Valentine’s date we’d NEVER forget: Zip lining! Offering a course through the National Forest, this three hour tour propels you over various stages of trees and debris to make it to your exit spot. Don’t worry, they fully train you before you even start swinging! We took an early afternoon spot so we could return just after check-in time to our suite, which I knew in advance offered a (hint perfect for romance hint) spa-style jetted tub.

Get cozy by the fire in your lodge.

Get cozy by the fire in your lodge.

After lounging about the room, we decided a full leisurely style dinner was in order after our adventure in the snow, ice and trees. We picked Evergreen from the Big Bear Visitor Guide (you can even order one ahead of your trip!) and when we arrived, discovered a view of the lake and all the trimmings one would expect from a full scale restaurant on a holiday. Our lovely host sat us across from a window with a bay view and offered us the wine list. We both decided on a fish dish with a fancy chocolate cake for dessert and enjoyed it very much!

After dinner, we strolled along the downtown streets – we even had warm coffee from one of the various vendors on display. We held hands and made it back to our accommodations as we enjoyed the peaceful winter evening. After such a long and eventful  day, I wondered how we could possibly top it tomorrow but, Big Bear Lake will always surprise you.

Tips on Enjoying the Snow During Your Big Bear Trip

Wintertime is a wonderful time to visit Big Bear Lake! ‘Tis the season – the 2016 season – for snowfall and fun at 7,000 feet! Big Bear Lake is one of Southern California’s favorite winter vacation destinations and honestly, do you need a reason to play in snow?

Many people are driving up to Big Bear on the weekends to get out of the city grind and back to nature – as much as 52″ has already fallen onto Big Bear Lake’s mountain-top community! Plus, we are expecting MORE SNOW as El Niño rolls into town through January and into the rest of the winter so, it’s best to be prepared to have fun! Here are some ideas on how to have fun during your visit to Big Bear Lake this winter:
Warm clothes are a must in colder temperatures, especially, for the little ones who will find endless amounts of energy to tumble, slide and run through the white, soft powder. I always suggest you wear layers such as turtlenecks, thermal tops or long sleeved shirts, sweaters or hoodies, jacket and waterproof pants if you want to roll around in the snow – in order to stay warm if it’s frosty outside. When preparing for your Big Bear Lake adventure, I strongly suggest you check the weather for possible snowfall in the area – if so, I recommend snow boots and thermal socks for your trip. Gloves are a necessity and so are beanies for that matter!

Snowfall also brings the much needed use of chains. This gear for your vehicle helps you drive safely on the mountain roads and, therefore, makes it a necessity for your safety as well as other mountain travelers. It’s the law you carry chains in your car throughout the winter months in the mountain areas, so be sure to buy a pair at your local auto store such as Pep Boys or Auto Zone before traveling. Tip: Practice putting them on in your driveway before reaching any mountain checkpoints. It’ll make your trip to the snow much easier on you! Don’t forget that there are three ways to drive to and from Big Bear.

Falling snow tends to remind people about the beauty of nature and it can get your (kids and adults) imagination whirling to make anything you want! Snowmen, snow angels, snow castles and other fun creations is just another activity in the numerous fun thrills you can partake in during your visit to Big Bear’s wonderland of snow this season.

Speaking of thrills, one of the must-visit-attractions during your trip should be to one of Big Bear’s tubing hills such as The Alpine Slide or Big Bear Snowplay – for $30 per person, you’ll be able to sled down perfectly groomed snowy hills on an innertube for as long as you like. Forget trudging up steep hillsides or rocky terrain to sled down elsewhere – these snow play areas offer a chair life and “magic carpet” to reach the top. The less time and energy you spend walking up hills, the more time you have to sled! The Alpine Slide is located on 800 Wild Rose Lane and Big Bear Snowplay is located across the street from Motel 6 on 42825 Big Bear Blvd. If you want to stay warm, both locations offer an indoor area where you can purchase fresh hot cocoa and snacks for your whole family.

When one visits Big Bear for snow, there’s no denying the lure of the two ski resorts. Snow Summit and Bear Mountain offer skiing and snowboarding for all ages – young, old or in between! Offering full service lifts, restaurants and rental equipment these ski resorts are ready for you to ski or snowboard on a whim on a day trip or a week long getaway. Both resorts make snow during the season with a little help from Big Bear’s Lake. Your lift ticket allows you access to both ski resorts for the price of one, making your trip well worth it for the use of both ski resorts. Bear Mountain continues to lure the young adult and teen crowd with their Park including freestyle jumps, a half-pipe and fun features on each run for all levels. Snow Summit has a more concentrated “family” atmosphere, with a top notch restaurant at the top of the resort. New this year: The Grizzly Ridge Tube park, where you can catch a lift to the top, and tube down as fast as you like! Of course, both resorts take reservations, which is also recommended, especially if you are new to skiing or snowboarding and need a lesson. Don’t forget, you can relax after a day on the slopes at their bar with a beverage and snacks. Big Bear Mountain Resorts is the perfect place to have fun in the snow!

Finally, if you want to have the ultimate experience, be sure to speak to a local 800-424-4232 for help with Big Bear lodging and tips for your first trip or your fifth!

MLK WEEKEND – Enjoy Fun and Adventure in the Snow

Martin Luther King weekend is here! Most likely, you’ll have some time off from work to celebrate the first 3-day holiday weekend of the year and we recommend you spend it wisely, in Big Bear Lake! You can spend the holiday weekend in the snow, outside among nature or snoozing until the afternoon in your private cabin or lodge. Big Bear Lake’s charming mountain community offers a plethora of activities, lodging, dining and sports for you to try when you visit and why not? At 7,000 feet, Big Bear Lake stands tall as one of the best vacation spots in California.

Let’s take a look at some of the events happening this holiday weekend:

Go-Pro Out of the Box at Bear Mountain, January 14th and 15th, is a event held in the snow and on the mountain. Four resorts will receive identical containers full of raw materials to create and modify as they see fit. The goal is to design the most fun and imaginative park possible! Bear Mountain’s creations will be unveiled and opened to the public initiating the second important phase of this competition. Of course, you can partake in this event by visiting Bear Mountain and trying your hand at skiing or snowboarding.

On January 15th, you can enjoy a round or two of Live music at various locales: Live Music with Steve Clark at Nottingham’s Tavern from 7 PM to 10 PM, Live Music at Chad’s Place Bar from 8 PM to 11 PM, as well The Cave whom will be having performances all weekend and week long including indie hitmaker, Vanessa Carlton! For more information on these events and more, be sure to visit Big Bear Lake’s event calendar to bring you up to speed.

Now, let’s not forget the activities:

If one is seeking adventure, you should certainly get yourself onto an adventure and in Big Bear Lake there is plenty if ACTION taking place. At Action Tours located in downtown Big Bear, you can suspend from feet off the ground during a zip line adventure, hang from trees for their tree-climbing experience, or you can talk a walk on the wild side with their snow shoe tours. Action strives to bring the best of Big Bear straight to you, so call ahead, and book your tour for the holiday today at 909-866-0390 for the next open spots.

Wanna get flying? Take a helicopter tour! Big Bear’s first and only helicopter tours at Helicopter Big Bear is one of the best ways to see Big Bear Lake in all its winter glory. From 30-60 minute flights you can enjoy the majestic scenery from miles above. Call 909-585-1200 to schedule your tour for the ultimate sightseeing adventure of a lifetime during your vacation.

Tubing in the snow is one of the most popular and fun activities in winter time at Big Bear Lake! With two designated tubing areas, you can be sure to find a tubing run that’s perfect for you and the entire family this season. At the Alpine Slide at Magic Mountain (located in Big Bear Lake) or Big Bear Snow Play (located in Big Bear City) you will encounter a lodge serving hot cocoa and snacks, along with a giant tube to sit in as you swoop down the groomed hills. You can tube all day if you want; they even have a chair lift or “magic carpet” to take you to the hilltop so you can spend more time tubing and less time waiting!

There are so many wonderful activities to discover during your vacation in Big Bear Lake from the numerous dining options, carved wooden bears around town, walking around the glorious lake, bowling, animal tours at the Big Bear Alpine Zoo, the Discovery Center’s nature walks and, most importantly, all the memories you’ll make this 3-day weekend.

See you on the slopes!

My Snow-Filled Winter Adventure

I don’t know anywhere better to share in the holiday spirit and fun than Big Bear Lake, CA! I live in Long Beach with family scattered throughout the San Diego area, and every year for 10 years we have been making Big Bear Lake our destination of choice for a weekend in January to enjoy the winter-time festivities. My family and I take the short drive (two hours) to Big Bear Lake for the arrival of SNOW! Might I say, we are never disappointed! Even if there are man-made-snow conditions… I can’t tell the difference versus natural snow! It’s all just SNOW to me!

Below I listed some of the fun and exciting activities and events my family enjoys most when it comes to visiting Big Bear Lake for a winter adventure:

Obviously, people come in droves to try their hand at the two major winter sports: Skiing and snowboarding. This can be done at the two fine ski resorts, Bear Mountain and Snow Summit. My family and I have visited both before – they make it easy – because one ticket covers both resorts and their access. Bear Mountain offers a trick park with fun jibs and jumps that you may want to try – but perhaps after a lesson or two! Snow Summit tends to cater more toward families and has a great restaurant at the top of the slopes! Try one of their kabobs or burgers before you ski down. Ticket and lodging packages are still available for purchase via bigbear.com.

Get Outdoors for Tubing and Sledding in Big Bear

Kids Tubing and Sledding

Whether you are 2 or 22, sledding and tubing is a great activity for the whole group! The cost affordable at $30 per person for the entire day and includes a giant inner tube to slide down on. The fun is endless and if you plan to drive or stay in Big Bear Lake, they are open on holidays too and some evenings! The toboggan run is located at the Alpine Slide at Magic Mountain on the West side of town in Big Bear Lake, while Big Bear Snow Play on the East side offers a large snow play and tubing area. Both locations have people movers to help you and your group up the hill with your tubes so you can spend more energy in having fun! Stay tuned, rumor has it that Snow Summit will soon have their own sledding area – for the first time! Keep your eyes on snowsummit.com for further details about their snow tubing hill addition.

If Big Bear Lake has received a fresh snowfall, chances are there’s enough white stuff to attempt snowshoeing! A popular sport among winter enthusiasts, one straps almost tennis racket-looking “shoes” to their footwear and trudge through a popular hiking trail for the perfect picturesque mountain setting. You’ll also get a ton of good exercise! If you want to talk to an expert, head over to Goldsmith’s Board House and Ski Rentals and ask for Fred who knows his stuff when it comes to the best and unique trails and hikes in the Big Bear Valley. If you want to try your hand – err, feet! – at snowshoeing, drop on by and rent the equipment and grab some of the best maps and advice in town. They are open from 7 AM to 7 PM daily, so you can check out their various equipment rentals at a variety of times to suit your day if you’re arriving late or enjoyed a day out on the slopes.

Big Bear SnowshoeingFor the folks who don’t want to work up a sweat, you can opt for a leisurely stroll down the downtown Village district complete with dining, movie theaters, shops and massage centers. Some of my family’s favorite restaurant options include the Himalayan Restaurant, Peppercorn Grille and just outside The Village, The Grizzly Manor Café. Working backwards, you can enjoy Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner at those respective places. If you’re the type that liked to picnic, Veteran’s Park is walking distance form Pine Knot Rd, the main Village Street. Be sure to stop into Nottingham’s or Murray’s in downtown on Friday and Saturdays if you’re interesting in seeing some live music… and even, magic shows! Dates and showings depend on performer schedule. The Cave Entertainment venue also offers weekend performers and cover bands, promising to be one of the best places for adults to gather and mingle with a drink and good fun. December 12th offers “Cash’d Out” a tribute to Johnny Cash – a band that has played to over a million fans since 2005! You can also catch the awesome “The Aggrolites” on December 11th – an amalgamation of two previous Los Angeles reggae and ska bands, the Vessels. They formed in 2002 and have been rockin’ ever since! Doors typically open around 6 or 7 PM and is located on 40789 Village Drive. Come and show your wild side during winter! You won’t regret the fun.

Hiking is still a fun activity we enjoy during our winter adventure! Drop into the local Visitor’s Center at 630 Bartlett Rd in Big Bear Lake to pick-up a handy local guide, complete with a hiking guides, maps, information on the area and local dining options. Plus, the booklet is FREE!

Tours such as horseback riding and zip lining still go on during the winter months! Weather depending of course, but, what’s cooler (literally) than taking a December zip line through the multiple courses, or taking a horse and following a guide down a snowy ravine – all these things and more are where Big Bear’s at! My kids also love the petting zoo located at Baldwin Lake Stables, which is only 15 minutes from Big Bear Lake. Locally, they never get to see animals up close and personal, but the folks at Baldwin make it a fun and educational experience. The same goes for the Alpine Zoo – cheap, educational and a lot of fun in wintertime!

Mining-Hats-GemYou can mine for treasure, even if it’s snowing! We have stayed in Big Bear  before, when we have encountered a storm that made us keener to stay inside to order pizza than go out and snowboard and, at time, kids can get restless from being indoors in a cabin or room for too long. We just discovered that not far from The Village is Gold Rush Gold Mining and tours! A neat little facility, it offers mining starting at $10 and has protection from the nasty weather outside if the day is gloomy. You and the kids can take a crack as Geode cracking (using a professional machine) or take a swirl in the sluice and see what majestic rocks and – yes – gold you can find! When that pesky storm clears out you can make your way to the Alpine Slides for sleddin’ or to the resorts for some shreddin’ for the best of what Big Bear Lake has to offer!

That’s it for now! We hope you enjoy Big Bear Lake’s wintertime as much as we do! Cheers.

Affordable Winter Fun in Big Bear

During the winter months when visitors think of a winter vacation in Southern California and beyond, the activities that come to mind are snow tubing and skiing or snowboarding as the popular winter contenders for favorite snow-time recreation. We want to share with you more affordable winter fun ideas to make your next vacation even more memorable!

This winter season, we want to bring you more affordable tips than ever before to having fun in the wintertime and in the snow here in Big Bear Lake – at 7,000 feet, you can’t find more adventure!

Big Bear SnowshoeingBig Bear Snowshoeing! If you are looking to get up close and personal with nature, then snowshoeing is a wonderful winter activity for couples, friends or the entire family! There are several off-the-beaten path forest trails to peak your interest or you can make your own route in your own backyard or downy a snowy trail. Snowshoeing provides exercise and allows you to see nature and the backcountry without paying for a life ticket! You can rent snowshoes at Goldsmith’s Boardhouse & Ski Rentals (starting at $20) or Bear Valley Bikes. Stop in and ask for Fred at Goldsmiths Boardshop and he can point out the best trails and best maps for your new adventure. Please Note: Snowshoeing is weather dependent. Please call ahead to 1-800-424-4232 for more details concerning snow depth and trails.

Tubing and sledding down snowy hills in a mountainous landscape is what winter memories are all about! Big Bear offers tubing, tobogganing and sledding….with people movers! At Big Bear Snow Play and the Alpine Slide a people mover takes you, the kids and their tubes back to the top of the runs; a parent’s dream! For $30 per person all day you can get your fill of playing in the snow! If the kids are under 6, they are free! If you are still looking for good old-fashioned tubing, bring your shovel from home and pick up some sleds at a local gas station or store. Sometimes, building your own sledding hill is just what the kids need to stay entertained while you stay inside to enjoy a cup of coffee by the fireplace. Just remember, the pay-n-play areas are free of potentially dangerous street traffic and have plenty of snow all winter long!Snowball fights and building forts are one of the best FREE activities for all ages! Snow is easy to find either on the side of the road, in your yard, or the parking lot in the Village; especially after a storm hits the valley! Just make sure to purchase an Adventure Pass if you decide to pull off the road and park on US Forest Service property (such as the Aspen Glen Picnic area). Adventure Passes are available at most gas stations and the Big Bear Visitors Center located in the Village and only costs $5 for an all-day pass. Just remember to look online for current snow conditions, and have yourself an all-out snow war!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor many visiting Big Bear Lake, snowboarding and skiing is still a must – and for most people marks the first time they visit our community! There are affordable ways to still enjoy time up on the slopes no matter if you’re a beginner or a pro! Going midweek offers the best deals on lift tickets and lodging, if needed. BigBear.com offers lift and lodging packages for your entire group starting at $99 per person based on double occupancy. Take a “snow” day and bring the kids up when the lines are shorter and less busy! Lodging in the valley can range from a small resort lodge to a private cabin with a personal spa – what better way to relax after spending a day on the slopes?

If you don’t want to enjoy the slops from 8 AM to when they close, check out their rates on Snow Summit’s website for a half day! With more time on your hands, you can check out The Big Bear Lake Village. Speaking of The Village, adults and kids love to walk, shop and dine downtown! Stop by Amangelas for a hot chocolate or the North Pole Fudge for homemade fudge or candied apples. The new fire pits attract those looking for a warm spot to sit outside and people watch while others browse the quaint boutiques and shops. The dining options in the Village are endless and provide enough variety to make everyone in your party happy; from Nepalese, Thai, American and Pizza! That’s just the basics! They also offer Italian food AND Italian ice cream! If it snows, no problem! The heated sidewalks allow shoppers and diners to continue on with their fun-filled-day in Big Bear Lake.

If you want to learn more about the forest in wintertime then head over to the Big Bear Discovery Center, located on the North Shore of Big Bear Lake toward Fawnskin. The Discovery Center is co-operated by the Mountains Foundation and the U.S. Forest Service and provides hands on learning for all ages to make everyone a more responsible caretaker of the forest while increasing your enjoyment and knowledge of California’s most visited forestland, the San Bernardino National Forest. The new Nature Discovery Zone, recommended for kids ages 2-7, allows kids and parents a hands on approach to learning about the forest, animals, enhance nature play and exploration as well as forest preservation. The Discovery Center also has many classes such as storytime, animal tracking, FREE Nature Walks on the weekends. Most of the classes are free with donations accepted or a minimal cost starting at $3. Visit their website for a full schedule and costs.

20151116_082848The Big Bear Alpine Zoo is one of the only alpine animal rehabilitation facilities in the country that offers wild animals a safe place to heal or permanently stay if they are unable to make it in on their own. I love seeing the grizzly bears such as Hucklebeary, the famous 3 legged bear! The snow owls, bald eagles and foxes are just some of the other beautiful wild animals to see. Admission is only $12 per adult, $9 per child or senior citizen. Free to ages 2 and under; admission fees goes to the care of the animals and operation of the Big Bear Alpine Zoo. You’re not bound to find any other zoo in California with a zoo situated among the snow at 7,000 feet!

If you want to party at night, there is a variety of affordable nightlife, including concerts and karoke! Murray’s Saloon & Eatery is Big Bear’s original 5 star hole in the wall with decent drink prices and free karaoke or live music. The Cave in the Village offers live concerts and entertainment on the weekends. I recommend stopping in one of the Village establishments like Club Bombay and enjoy one of their drink specials, especially if the kids are enjoying the skiing! It’s time for somew YOU time in Big Bear Lake!

If you find yourself forgetting these fun, free and/or affordable winter activities and events, don’t fret. Stop in the Big Bear Visitors Center parking lot where there is access to 24 hour Free Wireless Internet and public restrooms. Yes, the free didn’t stop at just the activities… now go visit Big Bear and enjoy everything it has to offer during your winter trip! Call in “sick”… don’t worry, we won’t tell!

Big Bear Mountain Resorts Open for the Season

The time has arrived! Southern California’s favorite ski resorts, Snow Summit and Bear Mountain, open for season today.

Opening November 13th, the temperatures are lowering into the 40’s to create the perfect snow making atmosphere in Big Bear’s finest Ski resorts. Located only a mere two hours away from major LA and San Diego cities, you can go from beach to snow within hours on the same day. Where else can you surf and snowboard in the same day? Only in Southern California and at Big Bear Lake’s Mountain Resorts!

Big Bear Mountain Resorts open for seasonAs the fire restrictions lower, the snow starts a-brewing! An unexpected earlier snowfall last week also brought cooler temperatures and the ability to start making snow at the popular resorts! That means that they are opening sooner than their projected Thanksgiving Day weekend. Man-made vs. natural is all the same if you have any trepidations about it looking fake – snow is snow, there is no difference! Since the weather brought early snow and colder weather, you can enjoy the fully open runs at Bear Mountain from top-to-bottom with the use of Chairs 9 and 7 spinning. At Snow Summit you’ll find the Miracle Mile and Chair 4 beginner area ready to go for the tots and the adults to test their skills on the newest powder. Tickets this weekend will be a low-cost $35 per adult. Of course, if you’re like me and a frequent visitor to those gorgeous slopes, I suggest still purchasing a Bear/Summit season pass before they sell out. Like the idea of skiing all season long? Call 1-844-GO2-BEAR and they will hook you up with your new winter hobby over the phone.

Keep in mind, the ticket windows and rentals will open at 8:30 AM with lifts opening from 9 am to 4 pm. After opening on the 13th, Bear Mountain will be weekend only until Dec. 11th. However, Snow Summit will continue to be open 7 days a week for your enjoyment. You can get a head start on the early season and take advantage of the lack of crowds before the Holidays hit by driving up to Big Bear Lake and testing out the freshly open slopes for the weekends ahead of the busier time periods – Bear Mountain and Snow Summit will be happy to be your host – so be sure to check out both mountain resorts while you visit. The best part: tickets are interchangeable and shuttles will soon be running to take you easily from each resort to the other.

If you’re new to the area or new to the resorts, you may be wondering what the difference between Snow Summit and Bear Mountain is. Don’t fret, I can help sort you out: Bear Mountain is mainly a laid-back, chill trick part that offers half pipes, jumps and jibs for the skilled riders who wish to attempt such feats. Snow Summit caters more-so to families and beginners, including offering the biggest training area in Southern California. From beginner to expert levels, they will have you covered (and likely covered in snow too – it’s all a part of fun and learning!) when you sign up for one-one one training or group lessons. Learning a new skill of any kind, but especially a new sport, helps a child or even adult grasp a new skill or technique that they never dreamed possible. Sometimes the help of another person really matters! Sign up today and master the mountain as your speed!

For rentals and equipment you can take advantage of the sales and rentals directly at Bear Mountain and Snow Summit, offering complete packages including safety gear and all necessary sporting items. If you want to support local small businesses, you may want to check out Goldsmith’s Board house located a couple blocks from the resort able to also outfit you in plenty of attractive gear for all ages and sizes.

Opening day should be a blast, join in on party at the base areas as they kick off the awesome ’15-16 winter season for skiing and snowboarding in the Big Bear Valley! Pack up some warm clothes, dress in layers, and grab a bite to eat at the mountain because up here at 7,000 feet you’re about to have the best boarding and skiing of your California life all winter long!

Planning for the Upcoming Winter Holiday Season

holiday season in Big Bear villageWith there being only two months left before the upcoming winter holiday season it made me start to think of planning for the winter break. Vacation planning for either a short or long trip, with a large or small family, can be a vacationer’s greatest fear or biggest feat of the year. Traveling has been made more and more adaptable to schedules, websites, learning curves and precious time for the everyday or short-stay travelling man or woman but, when it comes time for a family trip to Big Bear this holiday season we know that getting a head start early allows for better lodging options to fit your needs. With your lodging out of the way, questions such as where to eat, stay or even have fun – they tend to bubble up to the surface and bring with it a truckload of questions and good intentions.

Big Bear Lake is THE premiere winter destination! Home to not just one but two popular full service ski resorts (now under new ownership by Mammoth Mountain) you will have the chance to soar down a snow-filled run like never before! Featuring it all, from bunny slopes to black diamond runs, you and your entire group can ride or ski for a weekend, a holiday or for even a day to experience two of the best resorts in skiing and snowboarding circles. With el niño expected this year to bring more wet weather than in recent years to Big Bear Lake, you don’t want to miss the opportunity to ski or board in the best conditions in years.

From October 19th through October 30th the Big Bear Visitors Bureau will be offering one super sweet deal: Secure your holiday lodging for a small deposit of only $50. You pay the rest 30 days before arrival making it easy to secure your lodging during the sold-out holiday break! This is the first time the Visitors Bureau has offered guests to only pay a small deposit to hold a reservation especially during the holiday season! Just visit BigBear.com for all the details and to search through a variety of lodging options. Finding an appropriate lodge, cabin or hotel can be stressful this time of year as you try and get things done – simplify your time spent and call 1-800-424-4232 today to speak to local, qualified vacation specialists in the Big Bear Valley. You’ll want to check a few items off your vacation wish list such as location (near the slopes or by downtown), access to parking, close to areas of interest among other local tips you can only get by calling the toll free number provided.

Big Bear Lake is a quaint town, so where you stay will be a short trip to almost anywhere from the slopes and snowplay to the nearest grocery store (there are two major chain locations) in town! Taking advantage of early bookings for lodging increases your chances of securing a more decent location, lower prices and even better yet – less stress – from the various questions your family or loved ones are bound to have. With all the free time from the planning stages of going up to Big Bear Lake done and done you’ll have more time to think about the real planning… such as planning for the holidays!

The Park at Bear MountainBig Bear Lake is frequented the most during the winter season, between the months of December-February, and have a high expectation to meet thousands of tourists daily at the two local ski resorts – Snow Summit and Bear Mountain – but they also have a high expectation to bring out the best cheer during the holidays. There is something magical about visiting Big Bear during the winter holiday season – it may be the gently but beautifully decorated downtown village with its warm fire pits and well lit store fronts, or perhaps the music played throughout, or even the smile on everyone’s faces at each store or pub you go into… there is something special about spending your holiday break taking in the crisp mountain air and gazing at the tall pines located at every turn in the bend.

Big Bear Lake doesn’t just offer skiing and snowboarding during the winter months, there is fishing, hiking, mining for gold, sledding, off-roading and tobogganing and even zip line tours. One of my favorite vacation experiences yet was horseback riding in the snow! It’s a unique experience you can’t find in any Southern California neighborhood. So whether you want to hit the slopes or enjoy one of our winter activities or learn the true meaning of “R&R” if you decide you just want a massage or a new dining experience… you’ll find that there is something for everyone.

There’s a reason why you should plan your holiday in Big Bear Lake, and for most people it will be the rare opportunity to possibly see snow for the first time, or the magic of sledding down a hill with your child, or even sipping hot coffee beside a towering furnace, everyone has their own special Big Bear Memories and I hope you return again and again each year to keep spreading the cheer around.

Get Outdoors this Fall for an Adventure

The glorious colors of fall have started to accumulate all around in Big Bear Lake! Soft orange hues, magnificent yellows and contrasting reds are showcased among these mountainous lands as far as the eye can see.

The Big Bear Lake Valley is home to the four glorious seasons of the year – spring, winter, summer  and, of course, Fall. If you live in the inner city, you can sometimes forget the sheer beauty of Mother Nature during her finest time. City life is different than Mountain life – instead of the surrounding sky scrapers, the mountains have tall pines right in your backyard. You may be wondering what could possibly be exciting or adventurous during the fall season here at Big Bear Lake but, on your next weekend or longer get-a-way during the fall, keep in mind the unique activities and events Big Bear has to offer during such a gorgeous time of year:

Mountain Biking Alpine Pedal PathBiking! If you’re coming up to Big Bear and you’re a novice or even a speedster mountain biker, you will be able to experience a ride at 7,000 feet weekends only at Snow Summit. Titled “Snow Summit Summer” the trails typically used for skiers and snowboarders by the thousands in winter is transformed into a bike-riding haven for biker enthusiasts. I love riding the sky chair to the top of the mountainside and taking in the sweeping views. Open on weekends now for the rest of the fall season, you can get a pass and bike around and off the trails for hours. If you’re hungry, stop and grab a kabob or salad at “The View Haus” Restaurant at the top of the mountain high above views of Big Bear Valley – you’ll be certain to see the glorious colors of Big Bear Lake all around you.

Big Bear Lake Village Scarecrow Festival! Running September 25th to November 8th in the Big Bear Lake Village area is the 2nd annual Big Bear Lake Village Scarecrow Festival. During the festival, you’ll be able to find numerous unique homemade Scarecrow standees and craftsmanship from surrounding businesses and properties. This special contest is once a year and celebrated only during the fall season. The merchants compete for best scarecrow in different categories from spookiest to best use of natural materials and you will have your chance to vote for your favorite by October 30th. Ballots can be picked up at different locations including the Big Bear Visitor’s Center at 630 Bartlett Road in The Village. Winners of this charming contest will be announced on Halloween, October 31st.

Off-Roading! The ultimate off-roading adventure is waiting for you at Big Bear Lake. Of course, you can bring your own vehicle and discover the back roads via information from the local Big Bear Lake Discovery Center or you can choose to participate in a tour given by local experts and guides of the area. From Jeeps you can drive off-road yourself to tours off the back roads on an all-terrain Pinzgauer by the pros. Experience the Big Bear Lake forest like never before on these tours designated for all levels and all experiences. The off-road tours are popular all year round.

Action Zip Line Tours

Action Zip Line Tours

Zip lines! The zip lines available in Big Bear are unlike most in Southern California – situated high above the pines on private property you switch between various levels of platforms with gorgeous views of the surrounding valley. Action Tours presents zip lines like you’ve never seen and fall colors like you’ve never dreamed!

Tree Robe climbing! Also by Action Tours, you can climb your way to the top! The colors of the Big Bear area have never been prettier than situated at the top of a tall pine tree. This three hour hands-on tree climbing adventure tour gives you the most unique view at 7,000 feet and beyond. Don’t forget, some of our trees are unique to our Valley, so this experience will be unique to any other. You’ll be guided by professionals on how to shimmy up a tree and how to hold on tight, so what are you waiting for? Go climb a (pine) tree!

Oktoberfest! During the dates of September 12th to October 31st on weekends, you can check out one of Southern California’s favorite festivals – the Oktoberfest! A favorite event of every age, it offers more than just high-energy German music, beer and food – it also offers, contests (such as stein-carrying and yodeling), games, dancing and unique local vendors and crafts. Held every year at the Big Bear Valley Convention Center, you can even get a FREE ride home if you’ve had a little too much fun. I’ve personally experienced the Oktoberfest every year and it just keeps getting better and better! On Saturdays the festival runs from 12 Noon to 12 Midnight so be sure to buy tickets ahead of time to avoid longer lines. If you decide to visit the Oktoberfest on Sunday, you’ll find a more family friendly experience since the doors close at 5:30 PM. Be sure to take a spin on the giant dance floor! Please remember to drink responsibly and take advantage of the free shuttles both to and from the venue.

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Fall Fishing in Big Bear Lake

If you want to get out of bed and into the great outdoors, perhaps you should grab a rod and bait and reel in some adventure! Big Bear Lake covers 22 miles of shoreline which means there are a lot of different areas to fish from! What better way to see the beauty of the Big Bear Valley than by standing at the edge of the water, serene and peaceful, with beauty all around? Even if you don’t have your own gear, you can rent your rod and reel from various local shops around Big Bear itself. If you are over 16 years of age, please be sure to purchase a California Fishing permit from a marina or sporting goods store to make sure you abide by county laws. Don’t worry, it won’t break the bank at around $13 per person for the daily license. There are several recommended areas to fish from around these parts – take a look at the North Shore area, Stanfield Cutoff and Boulder Bay.

End of Summer Activities in Big Bear

As the temps cool off and the end of summer quickly approaches, you may feel it is time to get outdoors and enjoy some last minute relaxation or accomplish some activities or events you’ve, perhaps, never tried before. Big Bear Lake is the perfect place to visit! Here are our favorite end of summer activities to create memories to last you through the months ahead.

Learn to Off-Road with Big Bear Jeep Experience

Learn to Off-Road with Big Bear Jeep Experience

There are two different off-roading Tours to enjoy out in Big Bear Lake– “Big Bear Off-Road Adventures” and “Big Bear Jeep Experience.” For the Jeep tour, depending on age and experience, YOU or a friend get to drive the Jeep and follow your guide down a rocky or mild terrain of your choice! Places such as Skyline, Pine Knot trail and unique back roads are up for exploring! They even offer a children’s mining experience for the under 14 years of age crowd. The trails they take you on go from easy to experience-is-necessary and is considered the coolest off-roading experience in the valley. The Big Bear Off-Road Adventures is Big Bear’s ONLY and ORIGINAL fully year round 4 wheel drive tour which includes varied trips and locations, from meadows to mountains. There are group discounts available as well as different tours for all types of participants varying on age. Big Bear Off-Road Adventure takes you in a Pinzgauer off-road vehicle and you can savor the sights of Wild Horse Meadow, Lodge pole Pine and more on this terrific trip.

Fishing isn’t just for the guys! My kids love the great outdoors and the water, so why not combine the two – Mom can even help! Any person(s) over 16 years of age will require a standard California state fishing license available in numerous sporting goods shops and local marinas. If you wish to help your child reel in a fish or fix a snare, you’ll need a license even if you aren’t technically “fishing” out in the lake, trust me, I learned the hard way that fines can be upwards of $250! Better to play it safe when fishing in Big Bear Lake.

Views from Snow Summit's Scenic Sky Chair

Views from Snow Summit’s Scenic Sky Chair

There are a variety of lures, bait and capturing devices out there to fish with in Big Bear Lake. You can purchase the equipment locally at sporting goods stores, Kmart and at a bait shop at several marinas in town and get some advice of the current fishing conditions. Cast off and have fun!

For biking enthusiasts, there isn’t a better collection of trails on the horizon than Big Bear Lake’s own Snow Summit Bike Park, appropriately titled Snow Summit Summer. Featuring exclusive features you can’t find anywhere else (it is the only downhill park in California), such as jumps, downhill groomed trails, skill builder parks and cross-country biking. For an additional charge, you can even include lunch at the delicious View Haus Restaurant, the perfect place to dine in and capture amazing views of the Big Bear Lake Valley. If you don’t want to ride the Scenic Sky Chair or have a fear of heights you can still choose a trail around the valley to ride your bike for a variety of levels. If a riding on the bike trail isn’t in your plans, check out a hike! Better yet, check out a guided hike. Explore the surrounding National Forest and learn more about Southern California’s habitats from a Mountains Foundation Naturalist on a 3-mile hike geared for anyone looking for a new adventure. The Tours meet at the base of Snow Summit Resort in front of the larger Trail Map up front. With this tour, you can definitely see the forest through new eyes! For more information please contact the Big Bear Discovery Center at 909-382-2790 or the www.mountainsfoundation.org to secure your trip.

Action Zip Line Tours

Action Zip Line Tours

As the colors change, you’ll find no better view than by taking a tour with Action Zip Lines! Forest meets fun in an exciting, 3 hour adventure suspended in the trees. A round trip and fully guided tour costs $120 per person and will provide you with the necessary instructions and training for a tour in the Big Bear Valley. This fine tour starts off with smaller zips as well as a training area in order to get you accustomed to moving in a harness and bounding through the trees. Both the young and old will get the thrill of a lifetime with this exciting tour! The Big Bear tour includes 9 high-speed-runs and a suspension bridge!

Looking for a new Big Bear Lake adventure to be remembered? Kids will have a blast at the Big Bear Gold Rush Mining experience! Starting at just $10 and up kids, teens and even adults can enjoy mining for REAL treasures in an old fashioned mining sleuth complete with a covering and a geode cracker at the ready if you want to knock open your own mined rock for the glowing, earthly treasures crystalized inside. The grounds also feature a wind mill, gift shop, resort rental office and displays. Absolutely nobody goes home empty handed and no two bags of mining ore or pay-dirt are exactly the same at this mining adventure. Take home the best souvenir in Big Bear! If this floats your boat, check out their newest tour: The Ancient Sea Treasure hunt, featuring even more new and unique fossils, gems and even… shark teeth! Instead of mining bags or buckets, you’ll receive your very own mini treasure tank featuring anything and everything from the sea. The Gold Rush Mining offices open their doors in sun, rain or even snow. You can always find something to do in Big Bear Lake, young or old, all year long!

As the colors change in this vast mountain range, you’ll never run short of fun and exciting items to participate in at Big Bear Lake, let your imagination run wild! Come up to 7,000 feet and explore nature at the finest point in time.

Labor Day Weekend Activities

Do you recall your last Labor Day weekend? Do you remember your last trip to the mountains? Make this Labor Day memorable, and spend it in Big Bear Lake.

A charming mountain community boasting a serene lake with 20+ miles of shoreline, you’re bound to find an activity – or even a yard sale – to fit your three day weekend. As a community member of this resort town, I’m happy to blog about Big Bear Lake’s finest.

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Beautiful Summer View in Big Bear Lake, CA

Boating is an activity for both young and old(er) and is one of the more prominent water activities here. In a town with 6 full service marinas and 2 public boat launch ramps, you can partake in this sport so long as you have a standard driver’s license. From pontoon boats with ample shade from the sun to speed boats equipped with the best motors, there is little better than fishing from your own boat or traversing a small cove on the blue waters of our lake. You may have heard that the lake level is lower this year but, don’t worry, there is still plenty of lakeside fun to be had! You won’t miss anything if you choose to take a guided boat tour of the gorgeous lake, with a kind guide at-the-ready with historic and interesting Big Bear Lake facts. You can pick from 4 different boats to tour upon for an hour and a half – The Pine Knot Miss Liberty Paddlewheel Boat, The Big Bear Queen, Holloway’s Time Bandit Pirate Ship and the Captain John’s Cruise Boat. Be sure to bring your camera, sunscreen and a hat before setting foot on the boat for a great experience!

Water sports and Jet Ski rentals also happen to be popular on Big Bear Lake, and are sure to give you a thrill! Start off slow and take a lesson with a pro and you’ll be off and flying on a wakeboard in no time. Kids especially love to try the “snowboarding” of water sports, and wake boarding school is available for all ages throughout the summer season on Big Bear Lake. While enjoying your holiday, you can also rent a Kayak or Canoe for two and sail along the gorgeous shoreline. Picnicking by the shore is a great way to have lunch with an amazing view – I suggest Meadow’s Edge Picnic area on the North Shore – and there are even barbecues for your use. Just keep in mind when parking in the National Forest that a $5 Adventure Pass is required during your trip when parking your vehicle off-road. However, the rest of the town will be available with FREE parking at every location.

Driving around Big Bear Lake during Labor Day weekend, especially in a residential area, you’ll run into an assortment of treasures and odds-n-ends for sale at the locals’ yard sales. Labor Day is considered the most popular day in the USA to go on treasure hunts, and Big Bear Lake’s unique rustic atmosphere is bound to offer a different assortment of items to find.

Looking for something cool to do this Labor Day weekend? Check out the rod riders of Big Bear’s Cool Run in the Mountains car show. Featuring 20 awards, classic and vintage cars, raffles and 50/50 drawings – this event takes place September 5th from 9 AM to 2 PM at 42825 Big Bear Blvd next door to the previously mentioned Big Bear Speedway. Check it out on your own or with the whole gang! You can even invite Fido (so long as/he is leashed).

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Mining for Treasure

Do your kids get bored easily? Even over the holidays? It’s hard to imagine a bored child in Big Bear but, it’s happens and one company in particular strives to take the boredom out of the kid with their “Ancient Sea” Treasure Hunts. You pick the adventure and select a different treasure tank filled with precious treasures: shells, gemstones, sea life… even shark teeth! You then take your chest and use the provided sleuth to “mine” for the treasures. It’s a really popular activity, and one to surely take the boredom out of anyone’s day.

Check out the newest sport craze to hit our small mountain community – Tree rope climbing! Featuring aerial views and a course in climbing with experts, you get the full scope of a tour through the trees with Action Tree rope climbing tours. Their motto is safety first, fun second – so you don’t have to worry about training or specific exercises – they will guide you with the skills and determination of a pro. Each tours lasts 3 hours and costs $101 per person. Climbing trees like a kid has never been easier here in Big Bear Lake!

sunset helicopter tour

Sunset Helicopter Tour

Try something different during your three-day-weekend! Check out the Segway Tours offered by Action Tours. Take a ride on a X2 Segway for an incredible 2 hours through their unique town and forest tours. Learn the history of big Bear from reliable and educated guides, all the while speeding along on your Segway. The tours are even offered year round! As you speed past the tall pines and views of the lake, you’ll remember why the call this holiday a three-day-weekend.

Thanks for reading. We hope you have a fun and amazing Labor Day Weekend in Big Bear Lake, CA!