SKIING is an exhilarating experience that involves being outside with family and friends, riding the chair lift while enjoying the incredible views, then gliding down the slopes as free as a bird! For beginners the gliding part will come later.
WHAT SKI GEAR TO BRING: Sunglasses or goggles, hat or beanie, good ski gloves (gloves are really important because your fingers are the first to feel the cold), sunblock (because the sun is closer and the snow acts as a reflector). Waterproof ski pants, jacket and ski socks. When it’s really cold you will need a turtle neck, long John’s, long sleeve undershirt (ladies might like Hot Chili’s or silk), and a neck gator. A helmet is a good idea for safety, especially for young children.
If you don’t have your own skis, boots and poles, there are numerous ski shops with expert technicians in Big Bear where you can rent beginner ski equipment. At first the boots may feel too tight but if they are not tight enough you will not be able to control the skis. They should be really snug but not hurt.
Beginners will have a much better and safe skiing experience if they take some group or private lessons. Even the little ones will benefit from learning to ski with the proper technique. As your technique improves you will probably want to buy your own skis, but before you do its a good idea to rent high-end demo skis from one of the better ski shops so you can test which style of skis work best for you depending on how you like to ski. The All Mountain Ski is a good all round ski.
Skiing is a sport and requires a certain level of strength, flexibility, endurance and especially balance, so adults might want to work out before that first ski trip. Its always a good idea to do leg stretches so that if you do happen to do the splits accidently, you don't pull a ligament.
The Beginner Run, Summit Run and the Chair 9 area are great for beginners.
New this year, Snow Summit has a new large outside bar and seating area with tables and umbrellas where you can relax and watch the skiers.
In 1929 the first ski jump in the mountains was built in Big Pines near Wrightwood, where a world ski jumping record was set. Later, similar big jumps were built in Big Bear Lake. In the early 1930's, the Viking Ski Club of Los Angeles provided instruction and started holding competitive, winter sports events in Big Bear. Downhill skiing was gaining in popularity and in 1934 a sling lift was constructed at Fish Camp (the present Snow Valley). The historic Lynn Sling Lift opened in Big Bear in 1938; it was located in the Snow Forest Ski Resort. After World War 11, owner Clifford Lynn built a 3000 foot single chair lift. The Snow Forrest Ski Resort closed several years ago. During the 1940's and early 50's several small rope tows were constructed, including an Upper and Lower Moonridge Rope Tow, located where the base of Bear Mountain Ski Area is today. It was during the 50's that Big Bear changed from a summer resort into a four season resort, thanks to the blossoming ski industry.
In 1947 Tommy Tyndall, a young man with an impressive skiing background, arrived in Big Bear and started ski schools at several of the ski areas. He founded the Big Bear Winter Club, and held the first Snow Carnival competition in 1949. Tommy looked for a location, where he could open a ski resort that could be improved and expanded; he found the perfect area just east of the Village, in Big Bear Lake - this would become Snow Summit. In 1952 Tommy created the Snow Summit Ski Corporation with financial assistance from his many friends and local investors. He built a mile-long double chairlift which reached the top of the mountain. This was the largest ski development in the San Bernardino Mountains, and Snow Summit became Southern California's premier ski resort.
In 1955 the Upper Moonridge rope tow experimented with snowmaking on a 300 foot run, however it proved economically impractical and was abandoned after two winters. In 1958 the Rebel Ridge Ski Area near Big Bear City installed snow making on a 800 foot long rope tow. In the drought years that followed, this system proved practical and was noticed by the other ski areas. In 1963, Dave and Dan Platus purchased the Lynn Lift Area for $75,000 and changed the name to Sky Forest. They converted the old sling tow to rope tows and installed snow making at the resort which they opened in December of that year. Meanwhile, Tommy Tyndall realized that he would have to arrange for financing to install snow making at Snow Summit; and by January of 1964 he had completed installation of the first large snow making system in Southern California. Tragically Tommy was killed in a tractor accident while working on one of the slopes. The management fell to Tommi's wife Jo Tyndall, who was assisted by her son, Richard Kun.
After an excellent snow season in 1969, Snow Summit was able to add a second chair lift. The Moonridge area was purchased by several former Snow Summit ski instructors including Fred Goldsmith and Bill Strickland, they changed the name to Goldmine and installed a mile long chairlift to the top of the mountain. The next few years saw very little snow and at the end of 1972 Goldmine went into receivership. Snow Forest closed in 1973 and remained closed during the balance of the 1970's, and Rebel Ridge ended operations. The winter of 1972-73 was a good snow year and Snow Summit far exceeded any previous record and Goldmine was able to recover from receivership. The sport of skiing grew rapidly during the 1970's and the winter economy in the Big Bear Valley became more important that the summer season. Today Big Bear Lake is generally thought of as a "ski town".