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SoCal’s Winter Wonderland

This time of year, Big Bear turns into an enchanted winter wonderland. The opportunities for outdoor adventure change with each season, and winter in Big Bear is no exception. Just a short drive from anywhere in SoCal, you can drive up through the San Bernardino National Forest to find an ice-rimmed alpine lake surrounded by vast forests of snow-draped trees and two award-winning ski resorts filled with all the winter adventure you crave.

Winter 1

(You know that big mountain range you see from everywhere in the southland...covered with snowy peaks in the winter...that’s us.)

From mid-December through early March, daytime highs are in the upper 40’s and at night it drops down into the 20’s or lower, so you’ll want to bundle up and dress in layers. Big Bear averages over 300 days of sunshine annually, so look forward to clear blue skies with snow frosted landscapes most winter days.

Winter 2

Winter in Big Bear lets you experience all sorts of powdery white fun. As soon as the snow flies, avid skiers and snowboarders from SoCal head to the ski resorts at Bear Mountain and Snow Summit for good times on freshly groomed powder. At Big Bear Mountain Resort you can build your winter skills with lessons at the Adventure Academy, get your gear for a day of fun on the slopes or pick up your lift tickets. The basecamp areas at both ski resorts are a hub of activity with restaurants, watering holes, outdoor fire pits and gathering spaces ideal for people watching.

Winter 3

Rent snowshoes to enjoy the forest trails that are now hushed with the quiet of winter. If you want a scenic winter hike, the North Shore trails have panoramic views of the lake and ski slopes. For a challenging spin through the snow covered backroads, you can rent a fat tire bike at one of the local shops.

Winter 4

Snow tubing is another huge favorite during winter in Big Bear. Take the ultra-easy magic carpet ride to the top of the hill and save all of your energy for big belly laughs as you race down the wintery slopes on brightly-colored snow tubes. When the sun goes down, the tubing hill lights up with a cascade of color to give it a whole different feel.

Winter 5

Wintertime tours are a great way to experience the snowy landscape in Big Bear. The guides are super fun and informative and the views are amazing. Try a helicopter tour to get spectacular views of the winter scenery across Big Bear Valley or fly high above the forest floor on a zipline tour. Up to five guests can hop in a Jeep and 4x4 into the snowy backwoods with a Jeep tour or take a two-hour cruise on a Segway to see the Village, lake and forest all decked out for the season.

Winter 6

Take your littles out for a day of winter adventure to make snow angels in the park or help them get creative and teach them how to build a snowman beside the lake. With bigger kids, create great vacation memories for years to come by building a snow fort for an all-out snowball fight. Insider Tip: Take a change of clothes for the kiddos so you can get them warm and dry as soon as your snow play is done.

Winter 7

PC: Jose Morales

The Village in Big Bear Lake takes on a magical glow with thousands of twinkling lights and trees that transform to look like delicate ice sculptures. The Village is the spot for shopping, dining and nighttime entertainment. Coffeehouses, eateries and pubs give you a place to warm up and grab a bite to eat and for entertainment there are live concerts at The Cave, bowling and arcade games at The Bowling Barn, Mountain Room Escapes and a movie theater featuring the most current films. (Not to mention the karaoke, live music and dancing happening at the local bars.)

Winter 8

Play hard and sleep tight! There’s nothing like a winter vacation in Big Bear where you can spend the day shredding the slopes or building snowmen in the forest and going back to your cabin at night to sit beside the fire with a warm drink and watch as icicles form outside the frosted window panes. Snuggle up with the kids to read a favorite story, or make a pot of hot chocolate for the whole crew and bring on the board games.

Insider Tips:

  • Check road conditions for Hwy. 18, Hwy 330 and Hwy 38 before you get on the road.
  • Carry tire chains in your vehicle from November - March. It’s the law.
  • Always pull off the road completely if you need to put chains on your vehicle.
  • Carry a shovel and kitty litter to get out of sticky situations with icy snowbanks.
  • Keep water, snacks and extra blankets in the car in case you get stuck in traffic.
  • Drink plenty of water while you’re here. You get dehydrated faster at this altitude.
  • Use plenty of sunscreen. With 300+ days of sunshine and being 6700 ft. closer to the sun, you’ll need to reapply your sunscreen often.
  • Keep a change of clothes in the car for the kiddos so you can get them warm and dry as soon as your snow play is done.
  • Make reservations for restaurants well ahead of time, especially if you have children. Winter is our busiest season and no one likes to be on a waiting list if it can be avoided.
  • Make lodging reservations early to get the best rates on lift & lodging packages.
  • Buy your lift tickets online at least 72-hours in advance to get special discounts.
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