Visiting Big Bear Mountain, California

Latest visit: January 2017

Tips for visiting Big Bear Mountain:

  • Get to Big Bear before traffic hits (before 3 pm).
  • There are plenty of rental equipment shops along the way to the mountain. I used Goldsmiths and they did a good job!
  • If you want a good parking spot, get to the mountain at least 1 hour to 45 minutes before it opens (at 8:30 am). If you’re lazy and want to wake up a little bit later, you can pay $20 for a VIP Parking at the bottom of the mountain. Otherwise, you will end up in a lot further down the road and will have to wait in line for a shuttle to bring you up to the mountain.
  • There are multiple cottages to rent in the area. Ours was called the Bear Cave, was cozy with a huge living room, a fireplace,  jacuzzi, game room and wooden decorated rooms.
    • You should know that at the end of your stay, you have to bring all your trash to designated sites around Big Bear.
  • Restaurants that were recommended to me: Local Tropicali, The Copper Q (bakery), The Pines Lakefront (old school setting).
  • Bear Mountain:
    • The mountain is bigger than I thought, with 12 lifts, 198 developed acres and the highest peak at 8,805 feet.
    • So many snowboarders. I think this is the first mountain I’ve ever been to where more than the majority of people board!
    • The snow park was decent and you can also play in the 2 Halfpipes and the Beginner pipe.
    • Just like most mountains, you will find a picnic & food area at the bottom of the slopes. I was impressed by the selection of food: the multiple restaurants offer everything from burgers to kale salad to chili! You can also enjoy a bloody Mary or a beer from the bar!
    • Mid-mountain, at the bottom of Geronimo, you will also find a little shack where you can listen to some reggae, enjoy a drink and quick bites.
  • DON’T leave via highway 18 after 2 pm. You will hit all the traffic coming out of Snow Valley Mountain.
  • I’d love to come back in the summer time to check out the lake as well as some hiking trails.

Impressions of Big Bear Mountain:

The area reminded me a lot of winters in Quebec: snow covering the trees, houses and cars, huge snowbanks, ice cycles and the frozen lake. The expression Winter Wonderland describes it perfectly.

The weather was incredible: warm, sunny and no clouds! It was such a luxury because I’m used to snowboarding with twenty layers of clothes and my face fully covered and still getting frostbite.

We were staying a few miles from the town so we didn’t get to explore it that much. On our way back home on Sunday, we stopped for a bite and got a quick feel for the place. It definitely had a ski town vibe to it. I think it would have been fun to go into town on Saturday night and grab a few drinks… but we decided to hang out in the jacuzzi and relax instead!

After this stay in Big Bear, I don’t really understand why anyone would move away from California. You get the ocean, the beach, the mountains, the snow, the vineyards, the breweries and the amazing weather. What more can you ask for?

Related posts: Visiting Mammoth Mountain, Visiting Mountain High.