A winter escape to Big Bear Lake offers visitors an experience unavailable anywhere else in Southern California. Up here at 6,743', the white season delivers a mood, a scene, and a range of activities for a brilliant three-day break. The easily accessible communities surrounding Big Bear Lake offer an array of accommodations options, too.
Day One: Warm-up, explore the neighborhood. Saddle or buckle up and absorb the spectacular mountain surroundings on the back of a horse or inside a 4-wheel drive Swiss Pinzgauer (a draft horse with an engine). If you want to expend a little more of your own energy, several outfitters rent cross country skis and snow shoes. Numerous forest service trails and backcountry acreage beckon beginners as well as those looking for a challenge.
Day two: Full-Speed Ahead. Higher elevations and longer runs make Big Bear Lake's two resorts the most active and attractive in Southern California. Combined, Bear Mountain and Snow Summit offer 23 lifts, four high-speed chairs, plus more than 200 jumps and jibs. Snow Summit is a magnet for mainstream skiers, snowboarders, and families with children, while Bear Mountain receives regular raves for its progressive freestyle park and halfpipe system.
Day three: Relax/Recover. When you're ready to step out of your in-room hot tub or rise from the bear skin rug in front of your cabin's river rock fireplace, a trip to the Village is always rewarding. If you're still in recovery mode, there are several massage therapists and body spas to pamper you. Browsing or buying, local shops look and feel like they belong in the alpine environment they are. Unique souvenirs, fine-art and mountain apparel can all be found with coffee shops, pubs, and a broad range of dining options in between.
Hollywood has used the Big Bear Valley as a backlot for hundreds of movies and television shows since 1914. If there's not a live production in town, five big screens in town are always showing first-run films. Inside or out, active or passive, a winter break to Big Bear Lake is always a pleasant venture.
» Also view Spring, Summer and Autumn's Travel Planners.