It’s no secret that Old Man Winter is being a shy little bitch this season. Although there are recent rumors circulating of an insane Northwestern storm on the horizon, we won’t believe it until we see it. During treacherous winters such as the 2011-12 so far, we need hope. If we don’t have hope, we need distractions. The kind of distractions that keep our spirits up, the good times consistent, and our powder day withdrawals at bay. Enter Bear Mountain.
Southern California’s favorite resort, comfortably located two hours from most coastal cities in the San Bernardino mountains, makes us forget that it’s January and we haven’t seen one decent storm. We hardly even remember last winter at this exact time when resorts were receiving record snowfall and dumps of 10 feet were dropping at a time. Powder boards? Who needs em’. We’ve got Bear Mountain to keep us company.
We’ve spent almost every weekend riding Bear since the winter supposedly “started” and we’ve got to be honest – it’s been really awesome. As usual. Despite the lack of snow, their park is still on point, snow coverage is good, and we’ve had a grand ol’ time. All snowboarders and skiers alike are sharing collective feelings of disappointment, impatience, and hope and we would prefer them to have as good of a time as we are. So, here’s 10 reasons why we think Bear is the prime spot to be while waiting for Mother Nature to get on the ball.
1. The Scene: Ah yes, The Infamous Scene. This gem of a park is located right in front of the Sun Deck (see #3) and needs no chair lift to access it. Hike all day long and hit various jib setups that Bear pulls together and switches throughout the season. We don’t need no stinkin’ storm to enjoy this genius idea.
2. Snow blowers on Chair 9: If you’ve ridden Bear before you know how outrageously awesome Chair 9 is. This is the top-to-bottom park run that most shredders claim as their stomping grounds. Add all the snow blowers on this run and you’ve got top-notch coverage and snow quality all season long. Hot laps from first chair to last chair, anyone?
3. The Sun Deck: During seasons such as this one, the weather is warm, the sun is out, and people are craving to drink booze. The Sun Deck is the prime hang out spot between laps for a little beer break. You can watch kids huck themselves in The Scene or just do some good ol’ fashioned people watching. Plenty of weirdos from the Inland Empire linger here.
4. Avalanche Nightclub: Remember all those feelings of hope for winter I mentioned? Well, that’s what keeps people traveling to the mountains when it’s not snowing. The weekends up in Big Bear are still buzzing with throngs of people taking laps regardless of dirt patches. As a result, Bear’s latest nightclub…okay, only nightclub, Avalanche is packed with snow rats looking to rage their faces off. Dance floor, neon lazer lights, pool table, and lots of leg room – things get rowdy on a Saturday night.
5. Red Bull Plaza sessions: Another jib area that you can session all day with no need for bounties of snow. The Red Bull Plaza is located off to the side of the main park run and has more urban like features provided by Red Bull. Kids can post up here with some grub, their buddies, and good tunes and have a seriously fun day.
6. Mellow mountain to learn how to ride: We understand that just because you enjoy a day riding doesn’t mean you enjoy a day in the park. Bear is also a rad place to head for mellow groomers runs or to learn how to shred with awesome weather and a good vibe.
7. Lift tickets for 2 resorts: Even if it’s not the snow season of a lifetime, when you head up to Big Bear and purchase your lift ticket (Adult full day is $56) it’s also good for a full day at neighboring resort Snow Summit. If Bear is too crowded or windy – head over to Summit for something different.
8. So-Cal weather: Although this reason might also be slightly depressing, you can’t deny that riding during a sunny and warm day always turns out to be a good time. Bear is stocked full of these. Yes, perhaps there is a plethora of tank tops and jerseys on the hill but hey, getting a tan in January isn’t something to complain about.
9. Hot laps with friends at all times: No matter what time of season – Bear is known for their parks. They are on top of their game when it comes to new jibs, fun features, and terrain park options for all skill levels. No matter what, you will be able to have repetitive laps with your crew and forget about the fact that you haven’t had a powder day yet.
10. Tons of fanning-out opportunities: Because of reasons 1 through 9, pro riders love this mountain. They just can’t stay away. A lot of riders are also based in Southern California anyway, so guess what? They have no choice but to show up at Bear. Want to stalk your favorite pro? No problem. Paparazzi pictures? Like taking candy from a baby. If nothing else, you will definitely see some legit riding on the hill.
Alright, that’s all we got for now. Don’t get us wrong, we’re going to keep cursing the snow gods however, we’re still going to be enjoying some time on the hill while we wait. You probably should too.
Top photos courtesy of Bear Mountain
Red Bull Plaza courtesy of Snowboarder Magazine