Snow Summit is the companion resort to Bear Mountain, located just outside of Big Bear and a quick two hour drive from downtown LA. Where Bear is about freestyle skiing and getting the best line down a series of rails, Snow Summit is pure alpine. Steeps, cruisers, chutes, and glades are all here (although the right hand of the mountain does have terrain park features for you to play on). The park is about average size for California, clocking in at 240 acres spread across three primary lift drop points. The maximum vertical comes from the top of the All Mountain Express quad, which reaches 8174 feet. With the base at 6965, the vert measures in at just over 1200 feet. There are 31 named runs at Snow Summit. Difficulty mix here comes in at 4 novice runs, 15 intermediate, 7 advanced, 3 expert trails, and 2 dedicated terrain parks.
Skiing Snow Summit
There are 14 lifts to carry skiers around Snow Summit. Novice skiers get two triples and three magic carpets to run around the learning area, getting their snow legs underneath them. This is also where the Grizzly Ridge Tube Park is located, which can be a fun break for those tired of skiing. Once you’re ready to head out of the learning area, take the East Mountain Express up to the peak and try the Summit Run down. This long and gently curving groomer is a great way to practice pizza turns and slope safety as you wind down 1100 feet of vertical (although not all at once).
Intermediate skiers have the run of pretty much every lift. Where you go depends on what type of skiing you’re after. For a fun set of steeps, take Lift 1 to the summit, and then turn left. Head over to Lift 7 and have fun on Timber Ridge and 7-Down. If you’re looking for something a little faster, take the drop into Log Chute, but make sure to take the off ramp onto Jo’s or be prepared for a little more difficult ending. Another favorite intermediate run is from the top of Lift 1. Take the Miracle Mile down, but watch as it skirts a black diamond bowl with a steep drop in as the price of admission.
Expert skiers are going to adore the bowls that are found scattered around Lift 6. The drop in at The Wall is great and the open terrain afterwards is what powder skiing is all about. For a little bit tighter confines, head a bit farther down the slope and take the Olympic, a narrower tree-lined chute. If you’re after more chute action, take Lift 5 and run down Tommy’s or the Side Chute.
For freestylers, you’re going to take Lift 2 up to the peak and turn right. That’s your oyster and it’s up to you to find the pearl. Whether you tackle Zzyzx or cruise around Skyline is up to you. If you’re looking for Snow Summit’s longest run, hit Westridge Park, a long loping cruiser that has plenty of terrain features to keep you on your toes.
Après Ski at Snow Summit
Snow Summit has eight different venues for you to find food and drink. Whether you’re after great BBQ at the Big Horn Smoke House, or looking for lunch with a view at the Tap House, there’s something to whet your whistle and fill your stomach. If you’re craving something more adult, hit Hawks ’52, a full bar above the Oakfire Grill. Alternately, for crowd watching, take a seat on the deck at the Slopeside Speakeasy, right at the loading point for Lift 2. While you’re relaxing, grab a slice of hot pizza or the signature garlic fries from Pine Place Pizzeria. You’ll be glad for those carbs when you’re back out on the slopes.
Snow Summit also has live music most weekends and holidays during the season as well as numerous events that showcase the best of what skiing is all about. From slalom night racing to a full deck party hosted by local radio personalities, Snow Summit will keep you entertained both on and off the snow.