Snow or not, Big Bear ski slopes are opening this week


Two of Southern California’s ski resorts will open this week, despite missing a key ingredient: snow.

Big Bear Mountain Resort, which includes Bear Mountain and Snow Summit, will open to pass holders on Thursday and to the general public on Friday.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions last season, guests had to pre-book their tickets before getting to the slopes. This season, skiers and snowboarders can buy tickets in the base areas, resort officials said.

Justin Kanton, advertising and marketing director for Big Bear Mountain Resort, said that “no major operational changes” are planned this season.

Despite vaccination requirements in many parts of California, resort visitors are not required to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination, but guests are required to wear masks when at slope-side facilities.

This week’s opening follows a particularly dry fall in Southern California, with little rainfall across the region.

Phil Gonsalves, a weather forecaster with the National Weather Service in San Diego, said Southern California doesn’t typically get much snowfall at this time of year. This season is no different.

“It seems that no snow has fallen in any of the resort areas this season,” said Gonsalves. “The last time they reported snow was in March, that was at the end of last season.”

Big Bear Mountain Resort uses artificial snow and relies on frigid temperatures to keep it sticking to the ground despite a general lack of natural powder.

Current conditions aren’t exactly optimal for snow, and while it’s not uncommon, it’s getting late in the season for no precipitation to be seen on the resort’s levels, Gonsalves said.

Temperatures will remain in the high 50s in Big Bear through the weekend, but will drop into the low 30s overnight. By Saturday, the high will reach 55 at an elevation of 6,900 feet, according to the National Weather Service.

Though early-season snow in the Sierra has helped some ski areas, including Mammoth Mountain, open earlier, others have been hampered by a lack of powder snow.

This month, Sugar Bowl Resort in North Lake Tahoe delayed the start of the season due to warmer weather.

“We’ve held out hope for as long as we can, but with a forecast calling for milder and drier weather for the coming week, we have to postpone the start of our winter season,” the Sugar Bowl Resort said in a statement.

However, officials said the snowmaking team is ready “to flip the switch on our fleet of powerful snow cannons throughout the resort whenever conditions permit.” Snow or not, Big Bear ski slopes are opening this week

Russell Falcon

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