Bear Mountain is located about 2 hours east of Los Angeles in the heart of San Bernardino National Forest. This ski area is spread across three peaks and covers 748 acres. There are 27 named trails with a difficulty blend of 5 novice, 16 intermediate, 3 advanced, and 3 expert trails. There are also 11 terrain parks that range from an 8-foot minipipe to the only full Superpipe in southern California. Getting around the mountain uses 12 lifts; there are 3 quads, 2 triples, 4 doubles, and 3 surface lifts. The summit rests at 8804 feet, making Bear Mountain the highest lift-served peak in the region. Base camp is at 7139 feet, giving Bear a maximum vertical of 1665 feet.
Skiing the Mountain
By far, the biggest draw for Bear Mountain is its terrain features. In 2002, the new owners decided to concentrate on attracting snow boarders and freestyle skiers, building up the terrain parks around the mountain. This led to Bear Mountain being voted as one of the top ten freestyle parks in the country.
Novice skiers have plenty of options when it comes to skiing and hitting a few obstacles. Lifts 2, 6, 7, and two surface lifts lead to novice areas that have a combination of easy progression parks and gentle cruisers. Easy Street has a great line of rails and small bumps that will get beginners ready for more difficult lines. The other novice runs that incorporate progression parks are Easy Street, Lower Park Run, The Gulch, and Amusement Park. Of course, just because the park is there, doesn’t mean you have to partake. It’s completely up to you.
There’s still plenty of terrain to ski at Bear even if you don’t want to take part in the progression parks. The double black steeps are worth the price of admission alone, and on snowy days, you can get some great glade skiing in in between the peaks. If you’re really up to it, Geronimo is a fall line steep that runs underneath Lift 8. This advanced to expert trail is pure steep, running along the ridge between Bow and Deer Canyons. It’s also the longest trail at Bear Mountain, clocking in at just over 1.5 miles long.
Bear has plenty to offer for those in-between times and when the skis are racked. If you’re testing your mettle at Geronimo or trying out the terrain parks for the very first time, Geronimo’s Outpost offers tasty cafeteria options with ski in/out convenience. Methods is a laid back bar where the chatter flies fast and the beer is always cold. Or if crowd watching is more your speed, head to Laybacks Bar, where a 13,000 square foot sundeck lets you enjoy a cold drink and watch the shenanigans on the slopes. Grab a bite to eat from the neighboring Outlaw Grill and make a dinner out of it.
Live DJ’s and bands round out the scene, providing music and fun at the end of the night. And if you’re still up for a party after the slope closes, head into Big Bear and hit up Chad’s Place for beer and one of the best burgers in the area. Sandy’s is also nearby with a wide selection of craft beers on tap for you to sample as you take in the game or just enjoy some great pub food.