Insider Tips to Bear Mountain

This year I am an employee at Big Bear Mountain Resorts. I am a Host which means I direct, answer, assist, and engage with guests. So, my usual self, just getting paid. Mostly I work at our favorite mountain, Bear, rather than at Snow Summit. The guests are fun and my co-workers are cheerful.

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I have learned some stuff. I’m sharing in case you were thinking about coming up!

  • You get a FREE LIFT TICKET on your birthday and you can pick it up with ID at ANY ticket window. Happy Birthday!
  • Children 4 and under get a FREE LIFT TICKET! They even print them out their own little pass!
  • Children 3-4 years old have a half day lesson from 9am-12pm. ONLY. If they miss the 9am start time they’re outta luck.
  • The youngest age you can learn is 2 years old and only as a private lesson.
  • Kids 5-12 get ALL DAY lessons that include their own special club house and rentals. And lunch.
  • In the upstairs café in the lodge you can get boozy coffee. My favorite.
  • The bloody marys are famous and delicious.
  • Parking during peak season is a mad house (holidays and snowdays). Be prepare to either get there by 7:30 to park in the upper lot or wait as long as an hour just for the shuttle up to the resort. On peaks days you can pay to park in the closest lot until it’s full.
  • Tickets windows and rentals open at 8:00 on weekends and holidays, 8:30 during the week and off-peak. Lifts start at 8:30 on weekends and holidays, 9 during the week and off-peak.
  • There’s a sport shop for things you forgot/lots like goggles, hats, gloves, sunscreen, face masks, etc.
  • You can get pain killers and feminine products from First Aid instead of buying them.
  • There is a pick up and drop off area in the top parking lot.
  • You can buy VIP parking and always get prime parking. It’s pretty expensive I think.
  • ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS check CalTrans for road information and chain requirements. Don’t think you can get by without them. They WILL turn you around.
  • Don’t be a dick. Drive slowly, don’t over-estimate your abilities, or your car.
  • You can come up the 330, the 38, and also the 18. 330 is always the most crowded.
  • You can drink your own beer in the parking lots. Tailgating is totally allowed and super fun!
  • Remember that if you think it’s a great weekend to go snowboarding so does all of LA, the OC, San Diego, and the Inland Empire. It’s going to be packed. Pick random weekends or weekdays if you don’t handle crowds and traffic well.
  • Prices on EVERYTHING goes up during peak days. Lift ticket prices can be raised THAT MORNING if the resorts want.
  • If you purchase your lift tickets 72 hours in advance you get 20% off.
  • Reserve your buddy (bring-a-friend) passes on line by midnight the day before you want to use them. They’ve been bending this rule as of late, but I don’t think it’s going to be this way forever.
  • You don’t get a refund if you don’t like the conditions or the weather, sorry.
  • Chair 2 is less crowded and about the same ability level as chair 6 which is super crowded.
  • If you’re not a solid rider just don’t go on the advanced slopes. It’s not about being a jerk or elitists, it’s about safety.
  • Your lift ticket from Bear is good at Summit and vice-versa! There’s a shuttle that goes back and forth all day every day.
  • It’s easier to learn to ski initially, but it’s a lifetime to get really good. It’s hard to learn to snowboard initially, but once you get it there is less nuance to every level.
  • Never let a friend talk you into going up a chair you’re not comfortable with. It’s your job to say no.
  • Don’t be an asshole friend and pressure your friend onto a lift they’re not ready for. Go do your thing and let them get comfortable on the lower slopes.
  • DESIGNATE A MEETING PLACE. You will get separated. And cell service isn’t great, plus phones inevitably die at the worst time.
  • You can rent snowpants and helmets! They’re like $10 each and so worth it!
  • Every level rider or skier can benefit from a lesson because the instructors are SO GOOD. In a group lesson they separate you by ability level, and if you’re advanced you can book a private to up your game in park or on speed!
  • If you take four, four-hour lessons you automatically get upgraded to a CALIFORNIA PASS!
  • Picking up rentals takes longer than you think it will. Budget your time accordingly.
  • If you arrive the day before you can pick up your rentals that afternoon before when it’s slow so you don’t have to be part of the rush in the morning.
  • Bear is a park heavy resort (rails, jumps, boxes, etc.). BUT Geronimo and Silver have gorgeous, long, feature-free runs.
  • Mulit-day passes are a great deal. Lift ticket, rental, lesson packages are also a really good deal.

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