Sun, Sand, And Snowboarding

By Jules Chang

Imagine waking up in the morning to warm sun on your face, getting your hair wet with a quick surf session, and then heading to the mountains to finish off your day with a few tailblocks in the snow. There aren’t many places where you can surf and snowboard in the same day. However, if you so audaciously decide to take on that task, it can all be made possible thanks to sunny Southern California.

Culture abounds Los Angeles, as it is the current-day melting pot of the 21st century. Home of the Summer X Games, Los Angeles is easily accessible because of its international airport LAX. Just make sure you plan your flights around the hellish rush-hour traffic.

Local mountain resorts in Big Bear, which are just an hour and 45 minutes away from Los Angeles, see over 300 days of sunshine a year. But don’t let the sun deceive you, for it does snow during the wintertime. They average about 100 inches, but are able to maintain the snow with their heavily invested (six-million to be exact) snowmaking equipment. Mountain High, which is an hour’s drive away from Los Angeles, is easily fit into a busy L.A. schedule. Sun and snow is a guaranteed good time in Southern California.

WHERE TO RIDE

The weather is unpredictable here. Resorts can open as early as Halloween, but typically the mountains open up mid to late November. If you can’t handle winding roads, you might just want to stick to driving to Mountain High. But if you do make the trip up the switchbacks to Big Bear (a 45-minute drive from the valley to the resort), you’ll be glad you did.

Bear Mountain—The Park

Hailing as the nation’s first all-mountain freestyle park, Bear Mountain’s playground offers a variety of terrain enough to entertain a fifth-grader … and you just might see a few riding past you with a goggle sag and XXL tall tee. A constant stream of events takes place here beginning preseason with the Hot Dawgs & Handrails jib contest, to contests such as the TransAm, and ending in pond skimming around Easter. With 198 acres to build on, The Park boasts 150 plus jumps, over 80 creatively crafted jibs, a halfpipe, and Southern California’s only Superpipe. You can take the Big Bear Express lift, which leads to a progressive lineup, or choose a nice stroll through Central Park, which leads to more advanced features.Along with the park comes a highly skilled staff who constantly groom and revamp the park to keep its riders entertained. Here you can perfect your tricks and learn new ones in the process. No wonder pro shreds Nima Jalali and Darrell Mathes call this place home.

Distance From Los Angeles: 99 miles
Cost: $49
Best For: Afterbangs.
Website: bearmtn.com

Snow Summit—Family Friendly

Snow Summit is just a fifteen-minute shuttle away from Bear Mountain and is one of the stops on the Forum Youngblood circuit. It has a nice variety of terrain for the old-school riders who want to relive their glory days in Westridge (where park riding all began) to the young ones just getting into the sport. Westridge and Egotrip have features best suited for beginner to intermediate riders—and the rest of the resort is open to freeriding. Snow Summit also offers nightriding on the weekends, which is a good time to get your friends together and goof around on snowskates or shred the pow if it’s snowing.

Distance From Los Angeles: 99 miles
Cost: $49
Best For: Good clean fun.
Web site: snowsummit.com

Mountain High—Non-Stop Shred

Mountain High includes three closely located resorts to ride at. The West Resort is filled with a plethora of jumps and jibs and is the more popular resort. It’s open from 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., so you can head up after work, before work, or maybe on a work break. During the season, Mountain High holds a series of fun contests like the Active Sponsor Me contest, as well as live performances and afterparties on the sundeck. The East Resort is geared toward freeriding, and directly past the Westesort is the newest addition, North Resort, which is for the beginner rider.

This place is awesome for busy shredders with an agenda. The long hours of operation and its close proximity to L.A. make it an easy fit into a hectic lifestyle.

Distance From Los Angeles: 77 miles
Cost: $49
Best For: Shred, work, shred, school, shred.
Web site: mthigh.com

Mt. Baldy—The Hidden Secret

Located only 45 miles from Los Angeles, Mt. Baldy is never crowded and is the place to go when a storm hits. It’s the largest and steepest resort in Southern California. With 2,100 vertical feet and 800 acres of rideable terrain, you will get your ultimate freeriding experience here—just track the weather patterns so you know when to go.

Distance From Los Angeles: 45 miles
Cost: $49
Best For: Scoring pow.
Web site: mtbaldy.com

AROUND TOWN:

If it snows in the resort towns of Big Bear Lake or Wrightwood, you’ll see more action at the local handrails than you’d see in a Ron Jeremy movie. But even if it doesn’t snow (which is the case more often than not), there are still other things to do to keep you entertained.

EATING:

Get-The-Burger
Ever have a big, juicy, mouth-watering In-N-Out Burger? Well Get-The-Burger is the same only the burgers are bigger and greasier. And who can resist a greasy burger made any way you want? If you need your burger fix, skip the McDonald’s and get the burger.
1117 West Big Bear Blvd., Big Bear City. (909) 584-1300

Sonora Cantina
Be careful getting full from the chips and salsa here because you’re going to want to save room for the meal. Everything on the menu, all the way down to its menudo (a spicy soup with cow stomach), tastes like it came straight out of a small kitchen in Mexico. Save room for the flan.
41144 Big Bear Blvd., Big Bear Lake. (909) 866-8202

Ingrid’s Deli
A day without Ingrid’s is like a day without sunshine … it’s just not normal. This authentic German deli has the best sandwiches in town. Try the grilled chicken sandwich on sourdough with the horseradish spread, avocado, pickles, tomato, and provolone cheese.
42530 Moonridge Road, Big Bear Lake. (909) 585-4266

Maggio’s
If you’re in the mood for the best Italian food in town, head over to this hideaway in the Vons shopping center. It’s a surprise that Maggio’s isn’t always crowded. The portions are big, the sausage is homemade, the pasta dishes are awesome, and the pizza is even better.
42160 Big Bear Blvd., Big Bear City. (909) 866-8815

The Village Grind
If you’re in the mood for a damn good breakfast quesadilla, head here before you head to the hill. Caution—you might go into a food coma after eating here.
1253 Evergreen Road, Wrightwood. (760) 249-5501

Grizzly Café
Who wants meat? Rib-eye steak, New York steak, peppered tri-tip, top sirloin … these are just a few of the selections on the menu. Thick, juicy, cuts of meat—sorry vegetarians, this place isn’t for you. It’s open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
1455 Highway 2, Wrightwood. (760) 249-6733

NIGHTLIFE:

There are plenty of places to go out in downtown L.A., and Hollywood is just a hop, skip, and a jump away. If you’re up in the mountains, the night scene isn’t huge unless a big event or contest is going on. Sometimes you’re better off grabbin’ a cold one and kickin’ back at a friend’s house with Guitar Hero.

Chad’s Place
This is the only place where frat boys and long-haired, bushy-bearded biker men can congregate civilly while a cheesy cover band plays. A dance floor, pool tables, sketchy dudes … all that for a small entrance fee of five bucks. Ladies, try the two-for-one deal on the cover fee.
40740 Village Drive, Big Bear Lake. (909) 866-2161

Murray’s Saloon And Eatery
Who wants to karaoke seven nights a week? This place does. Better brush up on your singing skills, because it gets serious here.
672 Cottage Lane, Big Bear Lake. (909) 866-1444

The Yodeler
Being one of the few bars in Wrightwood to go to, this place is busy every night during the winter. There’s live rock music every Friday and Saturday, or if you’re in a band, you can play on open-mic night. And besides, who can resist a place that serves drinks called “The Underage Girlfriend and “The Fake ID?
6046 Park Drive, Wrightwood. (760) 249-6482

The Raccoon Saloon
If you’re a burly, flannel-wearing mountain man who likes cheap, cold beer—welcome home.
275 Evergreen, Wrightwood. (760) 249-6393

SLEEPING:

Usually people make day trips out of riding at Mountain High and the Big Bear resorts, but if you rode a little too hard and need a place to crash, there are plenty of lodging options available. Cabins and timeshares are available to rent in the Big Bear Lake and Wrightwood area. Getting a group of your friends together to pitch in for a cabin for the weekend is a good idea.

Motel 6
If there’s a group of you and you each have ten bucks to your name, 45 dollars will get you two full beds and a nineteen-inch TV. Just make sure you leave your other four friends in the car when you check in.42899 Big Bear Blvd., Big Bear Lake. (909) 585-6666

The Block Hotel
This place (MFM’s place to be exact) caters to snowboarders. The standard room entails a king bed, down comforters, snowboard racks, boot dryers, glove warmers, wireless Internet access, PlayStation II, free game rentals, 56-inch HDTVs, and complimentary Redbull and PBR. Try to get your mommy and daddy to pitch in on this one, because the average rate is a little under 200 bucks a night. 39471 Big Bear Blvd., Big Bear Lake. (909) 866-6570

Bum Steer Motel
This small motel has a bar and restaurant attached to it, so you won’t have to walk very far from the bar to your motel room. It has a rustic feel to its six newly remodeled rooms. The cost is just a little over 100 dollars a night. 5995 Cedar Street, Wrightwood. (760) 249-4327

LOCAL SHOPS:

Have you ever arrived at the mountain, gone to put on your boots, and then realized you left them sitting by the front door? I have. The only thing that has saved me from getting famous at the bar on the sundeck is that nice little shop right before you get to the resort.

Leroy’s Board Shops
There’re several of them on your way into Big Bear, so if you miss the first one going up the hill, you can always catch the second one turning into town, or the third one right in town. Leroy’s has been in business for over 50 years, and it comes as no surprise with its friendly, helpful staff and wide selection of clothing and snowboarding brands to choose from. You’ll find what you’re looking for here.
41925 Big Bear Blvd and 598 Paine Road, Big Bear Lake. (866) 537-6971

Goldsmith’s
Forgot to wax your board? This shop has full rental services available, as well as full wax and repair services, provided by trained board technicians.
42071 Big Bear Blvd., Big Bear Lake. (909) 866-2728

Mountain Outhouse Snowboard Shop
Over 500 square feet of pure snowboarding madness carrying just about everything. However, this store is strictly retail. Its slogan: rental boots are like wearing your friend’s dirty underwear.
1433 St Highway 2, Wrightwood. (760) 249-3191

EVENTS:

Wide Open at Bear Mountain, February 21—27, 2008
This ten-day event takes place in late February. It’s loaded with film and photo shoots, contests, huge prizes, live music, parties, and most important of all—fun riding. Pro skiers and snowboarders, industry people, and media folk from all around make the trek to enjoy all the creativity and fun that Bear Mountain has to offer.

Kawasaki Triple Air, January 19, 2008
Mountain High hosts this contest in January every year. Competitors perform their hardest-hitting tricks and couple it with style in a triple jump formatLane, Big Bear Lake. (909) 866-1444

The Yodeler
Being one of the few bars in Wrightwood to go to, this place is busy every night during the winter. There’s live rock music every Friday and Saturday, or if you’re in a band, you can play on open-mic night. And besides, who can resist a place that serves drinks called “The Underage Girlfriend and “The Fake ID?
6046 Park Drive, Wrightwood. (760) 249-6482

The Raccoon Saloon
If you’re a burly, flannel-wearing mountain man who likes cheap, cold beer—welcome home.
275 Evergreen, Wrightwood. (760) 249-639

Wide Open at Bear Mountain, February 21—27, 2008
This ten-day event takes place in late February. It’s loaded with film and photo shoots, contests, huge prizes, live music, parties, and most important of all—fun riding. Pro skiers and snowboarders, industry people, and media folk from all around make the trek to enjoy all the creativity and fun that Bear Mountain has to offer.

Kawasaki Triple Air, January 19, 2008
Mountain High hosts this contest in January every year. Competitors perform their hardest-hitting tricks and couple it with style in a triple jump format to try to win the coveted 10,000-dollar prize. The huge prizes up for grabs for the pro and am divisions, as well as best trick, have brought out big leaguers Shaun White, Rahm Klampert, Matt Hammer, and Gabe Taylor to compete.