Skiing and snowboarding are the main attractions, but this winter resort town has a lot more than that to offer.
By Jason Lewis
Autumn will soon fade into winter, but here in Los Angeles, we’ll hardly notice the season change. That’s the price that we pay for good year-round weather. But there’s no need to worry about missing the seasons that the bulk of the country gets to enjoy. There is a winter wonderland just two hours away.
Snow typically starts to fall in the San Bernardino Mountains around Thanksgiving and lasts through April, giving Los Angeles residents plenty of time to enjoy a weekend getaway to the Big Bear area. The winding and picturesque road up the Highway 18 is the entry point to a town that offers a number of winter activities.
“I love the outdoors,” said Jane Gutierrez, president of 4 Seasons West, an African-American ski and snowboarding club based in Los Angeles. “The fresh air, the beauty of the forest. The beauty of the snow slowly coming down and covering you. Walking in the streets like it’s a fairy land, especially during Christmas time.”
While people who live in Los Angeles enjoy good weather during the winter months, one perk about going to Big Bear when the temperatures drop is the ability to showcase the fashions that go along with the season changes.
“With our culture of African Americans, that is true,” Gutierrez said. “You get the latest outfits and skiwear. You go on the mountain and show it off. After skiing, when you go out and party, you put on another beautiful winter outfit.”
The main attraction of Big Bear is skiing and snowboarding at Bear Mountain and Snow Summit. There are also snow activities for young children and people who do not ski or snowboard.
“It’s an outdoor vacation,” Gutierrez said. “If you love the adventure of the outdoors, it’s perfect.”
While many vacations are meant to be leisurely, portions of a trip to Big Bear are for people who are looking to be active.
“It’s excellent exercise,” Gutierrez said. “One of the things that I strive for is to keep active, no matter if you’re three years old, or 90 years old. If you stay active, you’re going to stay young for the rest of your life. Skiing has done that for many people.”
Both Bear Mountain and Snow Summit have skiing and snowboarding for advanced, intermediate, and beginners, and it’s never too late to learn how to perform this activity.
For people who are not looking to hit the slopes, the quaint town of Big Bear offers shopping, dining, and spas.
While there are quaint hotels and lodges to stay at, many people enjoy spending the weekend nestled away by a fireplace in a cabin, which can offer visitors the feeling of being at home. People generally book these cabins online through Airbnb.com.
“Airbnb provides an affordable way for people to visit the mountains and experience the area like a local,” said Marisa Moret, Airbnb Public Policy Director. “Guests are choosing Airbnb to save money and to stay in neighborhoods outside of traditional hotel districts, especially families who benefit from having additional amenities, such as a kitchen.”
Some people take this trip with their families, while others link up with friends and split the costs of the cabins, which typically sleep six to 20 people. Many people will bring their own food and cook family-style breakfasts and dinners, and they are able to enjoy their own libations.