A snowy winter road in Big Bear Lake

From the Archives - Hello Winter!

Posted: 10/10/11 | By Daniel

Pumped for the winter season!


While the skiing and snowboarding were good at both resorts this past holiday weekend I opted for a quieter line. Something new, that required a little navigation, some sweat and a gorilla-esque turning style. This time of year we're lucky to have enough snow and good weather for a ski tour in the San Gorgonio Wilderness. By luck I mean the gift of skinning straight from the car rather than hiking a few miles in ski boots with our planks on our back. Warm temps and soft snow promised we wouldn't get too far so we decided against a tour of San G proper for a much closer ascent of Grinnell Mountain. We quickly worked up a sweat and stripped down to T-shirts. The snow, heavy and wet, had the consistency of mashed potatoes but we climbed steadily, gaining a vantage point that overlooked the chutes we spied from HWY 38. To our disappointment, they looked thin. The veil of snow barely concealed the chute's rocky faces. But our frustration was fleeting and we turned our attention to a much closer pitch to ski.A small highpoint protruding from the Grinnell's ridge was now our target. We continued to ascend, crisscrossing faded tracks of something big, perhaps a lumbering bear or stealthy mountain lion. We found a lofty spot for a bite before removing our skins, locking down our heels and pushing off.The snow grabbed at our skis and we hacked up numerous pristine slopes in efforts to descend. Six inches of slop guaranteed our turns weren't pretty but we did our best. We resorted to now dated turning techniques such as stem Christies and power wedges. We launched over downed logs and skidded on rocks disguised as moguls, sparks flying from our metal edges.It was brutal but we skied it. It reminded me of a quote my favorite ski instructor Kristof is fond of saying: "There is no such thing as bad snow; you just don't know how to ski it." Collectively we survived a two hour descent with conditions that could be described as cruel, heinous and even vindictive. But over beers in the parking lot, we agreed with Kristof and decided it wasn't the snow.


I had a chance to take a good, long mountain bike ride this weekend making me ponder about the upcoming winter season. Trails were in terrific shape from all the rain and snow we received last week, including the classics: 1E01 (Pine Knot); Trick or Treat; Plantation; and Wet Dream. We even encountered snow in a few permanently shaded spots. But most spectacular: from Grand View Point San Gorgonio's prominent ridgeline was covered in snow. It almost looked skiable. In fact, it got me thinking about the coming ski and snowboard season. I admit - just looking at the slightest bit of white on a high peak got me a little pumped for the winter season; the sort of excitement that comes from sitting through Warren Miller's latest pre-season flick.

It also got me thinking: How do you get pumped for the coming winter season? Do you head to your local ski and snowboard shop to look at the latest equipment? Do you read gear reviews from your favorite manufacturers? Do you quote classic lines from "Hot Dog"? (My choice: "You may ski on zat side or on zat side, but stay out of the meedle!")


Big Bear Lake is making dreams come true with heaps of fresh natural snow. Two recent snowstorms have accumulated enough snow to create the perfect white Christmas in the mountains. So far this season, Big Bear has received more than 2 feet of snow with more in the forecast this week alone! Lodging accommodations are still available for the holiday season. Make this year an authentic white Christmas. Spend time with family and friends in a cozy lodge with all the necessities like wood-burning fireplace, Jacuzzi hot tub and of course warm comfortable beds. Guests are encouraged to bring holiday decorations to deck the halls. Also, plenty of fun in the snow awaits at Big Bear Snowplay and Alpine Slide at Magic Mountain, where guests can slide down the slopes on an inner tube! Other winter related activities include snowshoeing, off-road excursions, horseback riding and holiday shopping. In fact, Big Bear Village is merry and bright with festivities, lots of great gifts for the entire family and Santa Claus will be spreading good cheer.


Wednesdays are a great day for fresh snowfall in Big Bear; because it gives you an opportunity to suddenly come down with the flu for the following Thursday and Friday. For those of you who have sick days to use, now is the time to call it in, because the fresh powder is now at Big Bear Mountain Resorts. If for some reason you are not able to get up to Big Bear on a weekday, then make a pact now with your friends and family to ride the mountain this weekend. The conditions are expected to remain great all week long. And let's not forget the quality snowmaking Bear Mountain and Snow Summit provide. For those of you who do not ski or snowboard we have plenty of other activities in the snow including inner tubing, toboggan runs, ziplining, and off-road tours. The fresh layer of snow also means time rent a pair of snowshoes for a trek in the forest. The main thing is snow has arrived, how you play in it is up to you. Make plans to come up and enjoy the white stuff. "SNOW" excited, how about you?


This of course is great news for the ski resorts, but Big Bear's inner tube snow play parks have also reaped the benefits with mounds of the white stuff! Both Big Bear Snow Play and Alpine Slide at Magic Mountain have a base of 3 to 20 feet, which guarantees snow play well into Easter weekend. Inner tubing down these deep snow-covered hills is the easiest way to get your kicks in the snow. Everyone in the family enjoys this winter activity because there's no need for lessons and every style from the sit & slide to the head first lunge to the group snake are all easy and fun ways to go down the hill. What makes Big Bear's snow play areas even more attractive is the magic carpet uphill lifts. These Magic Carpet lifts are similar to people-mover conveyor belts seen at airport terminals. However, in this case the conveyor belt (Magic Carpet lifts) conveniently transports passengers to the top of the mountain. The purpose of Magic Carpet lifts is to eliminate the stress of climbing the hill, which in turn provides more opportunity for having fun in the snow! With a Magic Carpet lift, people of all ages can get more tubing in an hour than they would in a whole day if they were walking. Inner tubing is a classic family tradition in Big Bear. If the kids have not yet made a trip to the snow this year, or if they are aching to get back to play in the snow, then Big Bear Snow Play and Alpine Slide at Magic Mountain are the answer for a fun day in the snow! If you can getaway to Big Bear during a weekday you will likely get in triple the amount of runs. If you plan a trip to Big Bear on the weekend you should consider an overnight stay to add to the thrill of your family fun adventure.