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Ultimate Skiing & Snowboarding Guide to Big Bear

HomeUltimate Skiing & Snowboarding Guide to Big BearUltimate Skiing & Snowboarding Guide to Big Bear

Big Bear is known for its skiing and snowboarding. For many, it’s what draws them to the area to begin with. Snow Summit, Snow Valley, and Bear Mountain, operated by Big Bear Mountain Resort, are a few of the best locales for downhill skiing and snowboarding during your Big Bear winter vacation. There are a variety of other locales you’ll want to experience, too. Below, we’ve put together the ultimate skiing and snowboarding guide to Big Bear to help you enjoy the perfect journey to the slopes!

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Bear Mountain

This is one of three mountains that make up Big Bear Mountain Resort. The mountain provides multiple skiing and Big Bear snowboarding opportunities, on a variety of runs that are fit for beginners all the way up to the most expert snow sports enthusiasts. The resort does not offer printed trail maps, so you’ll want to download their mobile app before heading out.

Easier

These runs are noted by a green circle on the map. They boast names like Learning Curve, Easy Street, Inspiration, Amusement Park, Backdoors, Park Run (Lower), and The Gulch.

More Difficult

As you learn and get better, you want to challenge yourself more. Head to the trails marked with a blue square. Experience Accelerator, Central Park, Pipeline, Hidden Valley, Boneyard, Silver Connector, Expressway, Park Run (Face), Street Scene, Outlaw’s Alley, Ripcord, and Park Run (Upper).

Most Difficult

Skiers and snowboarders practice for years before attempting such slopes. The black diamond slopes feature steep slopes, tight curves, and more to challenge even some of the best skiers and snowboarders. Exhibition, Rip’s Run, Showtime, Grizzly, Gambler, and Outlaw will truly challenge your skills.

Expert

For the adrenaline rush of a lifetime, brave the slopes that challenge the most experienced skiers and snowboarders. The double black diamond status of these slopes warns of steep slopes, tight curves, moguls, and other obstacles. Try your skills on Geronimo or the Wedge. Both runs meet up with other, less difficult runs to get you down to the bottom of the mountain, or you can go again when you reach the bottom of Lift 4 (The Wedge), or Lift 8 (Geronimo).

Snowboarding in Big Bear

Freestyle Terrain

These are located in various places all around the mountain. There are areas along Easy Street, Inspiration, the halfpipes, Central Park, Hidden Valley, The Gulch, Park Run (Face), Boneyard, Street Scene, Outlaw’s Alley, and Park Run (Upper).

Slow Zones

Marked on the map with a yellow circle, these areas are at the base of the mountain and are a safe area to stop once you get to the bottom of a run. You’ll find slow zones near the adventure academy and near the bottom of lifts 2, 5, and 9.

Snow Summit

The second mountain of Big Bear Mountain Resort, it also offers an array of runs that challenge every skill level.

Easier

These runs are noted by a green circle on the map. Stay close to the base of the mountain at the Bear Bottom Beginner Area or get used to riding the lifts and seek out Summit Run, Cruiser, Skyline Creek, or Last Chance.

More Difficult

When you feel you’ve mastered some basic skills on the beginner runs, move up to blue square runs. The mountain has a number of trails catering to this skill level. Timber Ridge, Log Chute, 7 Down, Perfect Pitches, Side Show, Jo’s, Hogback, Miracle Mile, East Why, Westridge Park, ZZYZX Park, and Mainstream will give you an extra thrill the easier slopes don’t provide.

Most Difficult

Skiers and snowboarders practice for years before attempting such slopes. The black diamond slopes feature steep slopes, tight curves, and other obstacles to challenge more experienced skiers. Go on an Ego Trip, or try runs like Dicky’s, Off Chute, Log Chute, Tommi’s, or Olympic (which turns into a double black diamond).
Expert

The runs were designed for the adrenaline rush the most experienced skiers and snowboarders need. The double black diamond status of these slopes speaks of steep slopes, tight curves, a number of moguls to negotiate, and other obstacles. Match your skills against The Wall, the lower portion of Olympic (which starts as a single black diamond), or Sid Chute (which turns into a single black diamond).

Freestyle Terrain

Just like on Bear Mountain, these are located in various places all around the mountain. There are multiple areas along blue square runs like Westridge Park and ZZYZX Park, as well as green circle runs including Skyline Creek, Cruiser, and Sundown.

Slow Zones

The yellow circle markers note areas at the base of the mountain that are a safe area to stop once you get to the bottom of a run. You’ll find slow zones scattered around the base of the mountain, near lifts 1, 2, 4, 5, and 8.

Snow Valley

The area is the newest mountain to be part of Big Bear Mountain Resort. However, it has been its own fun-filled ski and snowboard destination since 1924. Make sure you stay on the trails, as only the trails are maintained and patrolled.

Easier

These runs are noted by a green circle on the map. Stay close to the base of the mountain and try your new skills on Coyote Flats, Eagle Flats, or Thunder Mountain.

More Difficult

Part of getting better at a skill or activity is to push yourself to the next level. Try your hand at a blue square run to take your skills to the next level. The aptly named Graduation joins runs like Mambo Alley, The Chute, The EDGE, Lower Wine Rock, Upper Wine Rock, Snow Bowl, Richard’s, Bubble Gum, Bobcat Alley, West Slide, and Nord Valley.

Most Difficult

Built to challenge skill and speed, the black diamond runs challenge even some of the best skiers among us. Lake Run, Pipeline, Show Off, Little Bowl, Big Bowl, Quickie, Race Peak, Surprise Run, West Run, East Slide, and The Face all offer challenged that will test your skills.

Expert

These runs are not for a leisurely glide down the mountains. Riddled with steep slopes, moguls, and other obstacles, you’ll want to leave these to the experts. Conquer runs like Show Me and Snake Run at the top of the mountain or show off your skills closer to the base on The Ladder. The Ladder merges with easier runs like Mambo Alley and Thunder Mountain so you can glide to the base at a slower, easier pace.

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Freestyle Terrain

These areas are located near The EDGE, East Bowl, and Eagle Flats.

Slow Zones

There are no marked, designated slow zones, but you’ll find a slower pace near where runs end, the base of the mountain, and at the bottom and top of the lifts.

Rim Nordic Ski Area

Also known as cross country skiing, it’s a way to get away from the busyness of mountains and resorts. You’ll have to pack up your gear in the rental car and drive a bit to experience it during your Big Bear ski and snowboarding adventure. Located about 15 miles west of Big Bear, the area offers a variety of trails for a unique ski experience. Labeled in the same way as the slopes at your favorite resorts, there are green circle, blue square, and black diamond trails, corresponding to easier, more difficult, and most difficult trails.

Learn the ins and outs of the sport on green trails Country Road and Deep Creek Loop. Step up your game on blue square trails Lower Country Road and Vista Point Trail. For those with the most cross country skiing experience under their belt, negotiate the terrain of Lone Pine and Big Cedar Trail. Trail length ranges from the shortest at just ½ mile round trip to the longest at four miles round trip.

Keep in mind that you can’t easily transition from downhill skiing to Nordic skiing. Both sports require different skis and other gear.

Big Bear Skiing

Ski Lessons

From kids putting on a set of skis for the first time to adults who want to sharpen their skills to the next level, take a lesson before hitting the slopes. Big Bear Mountain Resort offers lessons for kids as young as four years old to adults. Learn the basics of good form, how to stop safely, etiquette on the slopes, and more. Book lessons online or in-person. Group as well as private lessons are available.

Night Skiing at BBMR

Snow Summit and Snow Valley offer a special experience on select days. When the sun goes down, the lights go on to extend the experience into the nighttime hours. Ski or snowboard under the stars on designated beginner and intermediate trails.

You can purchase a nighttime ticket separately or bundle it with a full-day ticket so you can keep the fun going. Season pass holders have free access to nighttime events. Before planning on any night sessions during your trip, check the resort calendar to make sure one is happening while you’re here.

Lift Tickets & Season Passes at BBMR

Daytime lift tickets are good Monday-Friday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Saturday-Sunday 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. Daytime tickets are valid at all three mountains. These daytime tickets can be extended to 6 p.m. on days with nighttime sessions. Night lift tickets are available on select Friday and Saturday nights and are valid 3-8:30 p.m. Purchase the ticket separately or bundle it with a day lift ticket.

Season passes are great for frequent skiers and snowboarders who know they’ll be visiting the resort multiple times throughout the season. They provide free access to nighttime sessions, as well as discounts on various goods and services you may need during your ultimate ski and snowboard vacation to Big Bear.

Après Ski

After a long day on the mountain, you want to rest and relax. There are a number of restaurants, bars, and other locales waiting to help you take a load off. Places like Nottingham’s Tavern, Big Bear Bar & Grill, Barrel 33, Captain’s Anchorage, the Village Sports Bar, and many more offer delicious food and drinks to help you refuel after a long day on the slopes.

Big Bear SnowPlay

For those who want to take a break from skiing altogether, the area is a welcome change. Starting in mid-November, you can enjoy the thrill of snow-tubing. Slide down the hill of man-made and/or Mother Nature-provided snow on a tube. Tubes are single-rider, but riders 36”-42” tall must ride in the lap of an adult 18 years or older. After you glide down the hill on your tube, relax on the “Magic Carpet” conveyor belt ride that makes its slow creep up through the tunnel to bring tubes and riders to the top.

Come back in the evening on Fridays, Saturdays, and some holidays for special glow tubing: tube by fun red, blue, green, and even black lights. No matter when you come, general admission is $40 and a small child ticket for guests 36”-42” is $25. One-on-one adult supervision per small child is required. Children under 36” tall and pregnant guests are not permitted past the SnowPlay gate. SnowPlay is open all through the winter holidays up until Easter.

Your Ski & Snowboard Adventure Home Base

You came to the area on a journey full of fun and exciting ski and snowboarding adventure to escape the stresses of everyday life. Extend that fun to your accommodations by booking a vacation rental with Big Bear Vacations. Make a delicious meal or snack in your unit’s fully equipped kitchen. Gather together with loved ones on the couch to warm up after a day on the slopes and watch your favorite movie or spend some time outdoors breathing in crisp mountain air. Choose a cozy one-bedroom for your small family or sweetheart getaway, up to a sprawling five-bedroom for a large family ski and snowboarding reunion.
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