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Where to Eat, Stay and Shred in the San Bernadino Mountains

Written By: Keri Bridgwater Big Bear Activities

An hour or two-hour drive (weather and road conditions permitting) from just about anywhere in SoCal, Big Bear is the perfect destination for a winter weekend getaway. And with several decent snowfalls already this season, it’s time to start planning at least one road trip that involves a photogenic A-frame and rum-spiked hot chocolate around the fire. Whether you’re looking to drop some tree runs through Bow Canyon, go snowshoeing and stargazing or just shop and spa around town, here are a few good reasons to visit the beautiful SoCal mountain town of Big Bear.
Big Bear Activities

1,665 Vertical Feet Of Fun

Big Bear Mountain Resort

 

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The 748 permitted acres of winter playground of Bear Mountain has something for everyone: from a sizeable beginner area and top instructors, to progressive and award-winning terrain parks packed with rails and boxes, the expert-level Red Bull Plaza and a Superpipe. Experienced riders and skiers should head up to Silver Mountain for drop-in access to backcountry turns down through Deer and Goldmine canyons. For some of the resort’s most challenging turns (and scenic views) Bow Canyon can be accessed from the 8,805-foot Bear Peak.

Native Knowledge: Buy lift tickets 72 hours in advance and save 20 percent on walk-up prices, which start from $49 per day. Active duty military can get 25 percent off window rates.

Big Bear Mountain Resort
43101 Goldmine Dr
Big Bear Lake, CA 92315
844.462.2327

Big Bear Activities

Two Mountains, One Lift Ticket

Snow Summit

 

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Established in 1952, Snow Summit is Bear Mountain’s little sister––there’s a free ground shuttle between the two. Rad! The 8,200-foot peak is home to traditional style runs and boasts 11 lifts and 27 trails ranging from double black diamonds and intermediate blues to cruisy greens. There are night sessions here on select dates from 3-8:30 p.m., but if après-ski is more your vibe head to Slopeside Speakeasy at the bottom of Chair 2.

Snow Summit
880 Summit Blvd
Big Bear Lake, CA 92315
844.462.2327

 

Cabin Life

Noon Lodge

 

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Thanks to a vintage-meets-mid-century-modern refurb, this former 1950s resort is enjoying its present-day incarnation as a boutique mountain getaway. Nestled in Mallard Bay (a residential enclave 1.3-miles from town) there are 15 units in total––styled with cowhide rugs and leather Moroccan poufs––that range from a cozy queen bed studio and cute A-frame with a loft to spacious three-bed cabins, all equipped with flat screen TVs and WiFi. Some have fireplaces and kitchenettes too. Caretakers Jesus and Diane are on hand to answer questions, provide local intel and play the occasional card game. Use promo code HOLIDAY for 25 percent off stays through December 30.

Native Knowledge: There are some seriously good-looking Airbnb A-Frames and tasteful cabins to rent around town, too, like The Big Bear Treehouse.

Noon Lodge
214 S Lagunita Ln
Big Bear Lake, CA 92315
909.866.2526

 

Stroll, Shop and Spa

The Village

 

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In the heart of Big Bear Lake, quaint and super walkable district The Village is home to all your shopping, entertainment and dining needs. Look for locally-owned women’s clothing boutique O Koo Ran, which stocks a selection of sweet mountain styles, including on-trend fluffy jackets, cozy ski jammies by Pj Salvage and sweaters by LA favorite, MATE the label. Get a massage or infrared sauna session on the books at The Village Spa Healing Center, where services can be upgraded to house calls if you’re too tired to move after a day on the hill.

Native Knowledge: Local live-music venue The Cave hosts a weekend concert series. Alongside tribute bands, late 60s Latin-funk legends and more are headlining in early 2019.

Big Bear Lake Village
Big Bear Lake, CA 92315

Where to Grab a Bite or a Brew

 

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From established old-school spots like Grizzly Manor Café––loved by locals since 1975 for its homestyle breakfast fare––to new-school craft beer makers, Big Bear Lake Brewing Company, there are a ton of good food and drink options to be enjoyed. For tasty poke, teriyaki bowls and island-style grinds, head to Local. For family-style Indian food, Masala Craft is delish. Craving chips, salsa and margaritas? El Jacalito is a solid bet. Local dive Murray’s Saloon has good bar food and stiff drinks, while Saucy Mamma’s has the best pie in town.

Native Knowledge: Owned by cool pro surfer chica and Roxy model Sanoe Lake, Local recently debuted Tropicali its newly expanded location just outside The Village.

 

Outfitters and OG Ski Rentals

Goldsmiths Board Shop

 

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Whether you forgot your gloves, need liners or just window shopping for a new board, one of Big Bear’s OG ski rental shops, Goldsmiths, offers hardware packages from $18 to $64 a day (depending on ability level), plus a ton of action sports apparel. They also have three master boot fitters on staff, so you can get those new K2s dialed just right.

Native Knowledge: A noteworthy shout-out goes to the Get Boards Ride Shop down the street for its solid gear and accessories selection and fun weekly snow report.

Goldsmiths Board Shop
42071 Big Bear Blvd
Big Bear Lake, CA 92315
909.866.2728

 

Feel The Rush With Some Snow Play

 

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If you can’t snowboard and are not the best at skiing, then snow tubing could be your new go-to for wintertime fun. The ultimate #squadgoals activity, enjoy zooming down neatly carved lanes and relax on the magic moving carpet as it takes you and your trusty tube back to the top. Grizzly Ridge Tube Park is located at Summit Mountain (between Chairs 1 and 8) but there are two parks around town: Big Bear Snow Play (cash only) is open for after dark ‘glow tubing’ sessions on Fridays and Saturdays (5-9 p.m.), while Alpine Slide is home to the world-famous bobsled experience at Magic Mountain.

 

Visit Wild Animals

Big Bear Alpine Zoo

 

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What’s not to love about a nonprofit whose mission is to save alpine wildlife? One of only two facilities of its kind in California, the Big Bear Alpine Zoo has been rescuing, rehabilitating and releasing native species––like bears, raccoons, coyotes and mountain lions––since 1959. Injured, orphaned and illegal exotic pet recovery animals have found forever homes here too, including snow leopards, arctic foxes, wolves and Canada geese. Open daily from 10 a.m. (although snowy days can affect these hours so calling ahead is advised) tickets cost $12 and help raise funds for zoo’s awesome expansion project.

Big Bear Alpine Zoo
43285 Goldmine Dr
Big Bear Lake, CA 92315
909.584.1299

 

Go Star Gazing

Big Bear Solar Observatory

 

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Situated at the end of a jetty on Big Bear Lake, the Big Bear Solar Observatory (BBSO) might not currently be open for tours, but still makes a fun destination for a snowy walk and snapping a few pics for those all-important Insta stories. Stargazers and amateur astronomers alike might be interested to know that the Goode Solar Telescope (named after theoretical physicist Philip R. Goode) is one of the world’s most powerful and that the observatory itself is one of the best places to view stars in the US.

Big Bear Solar Observatory
40386 North Shore Ln
Big Bear Lake, CA 92315
909.866.5791

 

Backcountry Adventures

Rim Nordic Ski Area

 

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Adventurous types—or those looking for a legit cardio workout—can explore Big Bear’s scenic backcountry via snowshoes or cross-country skis. Located within the San Bernadino National Forest, the Rim Nordic Ski Area has 13-miles of groomed trails, and, framed by snow-dusted pines, the Pacific Crest Trail offers a mix of moderate inclines and flat, easy valleys to explore. Equipment rentals and trail maps are available at Goldsmiths Sports and the Big Bear Discovery Center.

Native Knowledge: The Big Bear Discovery Center offers guided eco snowshoe tours from its headquarters at 40971 N. Shore Dr. along Highway 38 in nearby Fawnskin.

Rim Nordic Ski Area
State Highway 18
Running Springs, CA 92382
909.867.2600