Hit the slopes or sit back and relax at Big Bear Lake

Saturday, 4 Feb 2012, 12:45:00 AM

Brenton Garen

Lagonita Lodge’s 98 rooms on the south shore of Big Bear Lake are the ideal setting that’s close to the slopes and the Village.
Photo by Brenton Garen
Lagonita Lodge’s 98 rooms on the south shore of Big Bear Lake are the ideal setting that’s close to the slopes and the Village.

For the sake of your mental and physical health, sometimes a weekend away from the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles is one way to clear your mind, restore your energy, and give you that burst of excitement that may be lacking in your day-to-day life.

One getaway worth considering is a trip to Big Bear Mountain less than three hours away where the air is crisp, its lake is glistening, and the snow is ripe for skiing and snowboarding.

While the scenery is picturesque and serves as a great place to sit back and relax, Bear Mountain also offers plenty of opportunity for physical fun for everyone.

It has the largest beginner area in Southern California where everybody has the chance to enjoy a complete mountain experience.

Here, first-timers and novices can enjoy more room to learn as well as more freedom to practice their new sport.

The nearly 200-acre winter playground offers more than 165 beginner to advanced jibs including a variety of rails, boxes, walls, more than 100 snow features of all shapes and sizes, and four pipes including Southern California’s only Superpipe.

But don’t let the words like “Superpipe” and “rails” scare you away from the idea of hitting the snow if you are a first-timer.

No matter what age you are or what your skiing or snowboarding experience is, there are plenty of instructors on hand that are available at reasonable prices to get you to the first or next level of skiing or snowboarding in a fun and laid back atmosphere.

During a recent lesson, two instructors showed a group of novices how to develop confidence and skills when it comes to snowboarding. A quick base-area learning session away from the slopes was used to familiarize the group with their gear before learning some basic balance maneuvers. Then it was step-by-step progression of learning techniques such as the “falling leaf” until everyone was able to conquer the training slope.

The professional instructors worked with each member of the group until everyone had grasped a command of the skill. At the end of the two hours, everyone was ready to advance to the real slopes.

Bear Mountain has 12 mountain lifts with 17 rideable miles. The longest run (Geronimo) measures in at 1.5 miles, which starts at the peak of the mountain at 8,805 feet.

Bear Mountain’s sister resort, Snow Summit, is only a few minutes away with a free shuttle bus connecting the two, which leaves twice every hour on weekends.

Snow Summit has 14 mountain lifts with 240 developed acres of terrain incorporating 31 runs. Among these, the terrain difficulty is 10 percent first-time/beginner; 25 percent low intermediate; 40 percent intermediate; and 25 percent advanced. Depending on how quickly you learn, there is never a shortage of new runs to ride.

When staying at Big Bear Lake, one central location is Lagonita Lodge on the south shore of Big Bear Lake. The Lodge’s condominium-style rooms provide the ideal setting for a weekend away.

Lagonita Lodge’s 98 rooms offer one and two bedroom options and each comfortably furnished unit features a gas-burning fireplace, full kitchen, living and dining area, and private deck or patio.

It is conveniently located in the center of it all – right on the Lake, moments from Village shops and dining options, minutes from Snow Summit and Bear Mountain resorts, and situated for handy access to miles and miles of hiking and mountain biking trails.

For more information on Big Bear Mountain, visit www.bearmountain.com. For details on Lagonita Lodge, go to www.lagonitalodge.com.

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