May 21, 2013
Downhill Biking at Summit, Golf at Bear
What promises to be the busiest summer ever at the winter resorts kicks off when Bear Mountain golf course opens May 17, followed a week later by Snow Summit’s Scenic Skychair on May 25.
The big news is that Snow Summit is expanding its mountain bike riding to include not just off-site forest roads but once again trails on the ski slopes. Downhill bikes will again be welcome on the chairlift in addition to cross-country steeds. Eventually plans call for a full park to be developed including paver-lined turns on steeper sections and whoop-di-doos.
What’s more, in addition to hauling bikes to the resort’s 8,200 foot summer, the area will also rent bikes including high end demos and full suspension bikes. Hard cores can rent full body armor including helmets, shin and elbow guards and chest protectors.
Biking’s not the only new summer activity at Snow Summit. The resort introduces its first dual zipline at the base area running 1,050 feet from the old top terminal of Chair 4.
With a hundred foot vertical drop guests can expect speeds of 30-35 mph on the racing zipline. "If this is successful we will look at adding other ziplines that are custom designed for us," Snow Summit’s Dick Kun said. Zip rides are $20 or two rides (same person) for $30.
Rounding out Snow Summit’s Adventure Park is the longtime favorite Scenic Skychair, as guests enjoy a leisurely 20-minute ride to the top of the mountain through the forest. Panoramic views of the lake and surrounding mountains unfold and at the top vistas of the San Gorgonio Wilderness and 11,502 ft. Mt. San Gorgonio, Southern California’s highest peak, are simply spectacular.
Lunch on the mountaintop View Haus restaurant’s outdoor sun deck is always a treat, and there’s what has to be the Southland’s highest horseshoe pit to enjoy too. The resort also plans to operate barbecue at the base area.
Scenic Skychair is open Saturdays, Sundays and Memorial Day from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (till 4 p.m. Sunday) through June 15, then daily. Roundtrip sightseeing rides or one way with bike are $14 or package it with lunch at the View Haus for $22. Unlimited Adventure passes include all-day Scenic Skychair plus two zip rides for $52.
Bear Mountain’s nine hole mountain style golf course and driving range with pro shop open a week earlier on May 17. The popular links-style course continues to see improvements and golfers will find a rebuilt green on #8, raised four to five feet to help good shots stay where they land. There’s also rebuilt tee boxes on #6 and #7 and a new women’s tee on #8.
Bear Mountain’s is the only public course in the San Bernardino Mountains, playing at 7,000 feet where balls carry farther through the thin air. Bear Trap restaurant overlooks the ninth hole and is a great spot to enjoy a burger or brew surrounded by meadow and mountain views.
The first big event of next winter is in summer at the annual Hot Dawgz and Hand Rails at Bear on September 21. Pros compete on custom rails and tons of summer snow, there’s music and movie premieres, and season pass prices are rolled back to "Screamin’ Deal’ levels for those who show up. Or buy your season pass before May 31 and get the best prices anyway.
Call Snow Summit (909-866-5766) or the golf course (909-585-8002).
May 20, 2013
Brent Payne in Concert Opens Old Miners Days
Award-winning country recording artist Brent Payne kicks off Old Miners Days Chuckwagon Concert Series showcasing rising country, western and Americana artists on Saturday, May 25.
The 7:30 p.m. show at Bear Cave Events Center at Bear Creek Resort features the red-hot Payne, who has been selling out venues throughout the Southland and Las Vegas. He’s opened for country stars such as Garth Brooks, Willie Nelson, Vince Gill, Randy Travis, .38 Special and Asleep at the Wheel. His single "Now and Forever" won best country song of the year at the 2012 Hollywood Music Awards.
Payne’s CDs, featuring mostly songs he has written or co-written, have sold thousands around the world. He recorded an 11-song CD "Full Throttle" backed by the legendary Buck-A-Roos of the late great Buck Rogers fame.
Locally he has been seen at the Coach House, Crazy Horse and Galaxy Theater and was named a top artist at the Temecula Film Festival. Twice he has appeared on "Fox Good Day L.A.." Payne’s original single "Take Me by the Hand" charted for two weeks in Europe.
Payne has played downtown Fremont Street in Las Vegas during the National Finals Rodeo and the Pro Bull Riders finals at Thomas Mack Arena Bud Light Party Zone. Other Vegas gigs include NASCAR and NHRA Drag Assoc. events plus as Mandalay Bay and Boulder Station casinos as well as at Stateline for a CM corporate event.
With his band Dakota Payne has performed many times for Disneyland Hotel, Hyatt Regency, The Radisson, Sheridan and Hilton Hotels. His appearance at last year’s Old Miners Chili Cookoff was a boot-stompin’ good time and he’s developed quite the local following. Several Big Bear fans were among those at the release party for his "Bringin’ the Payne LIVE" CD at the Fender Center in Corona. There he played a custom-made red, white and blue Fender Telecaster guitar signed by Buck Owens.
The country star is an avid Old Miners Days supporter. He donated a box of live CDs Old Miners Association is selling (including at the May 4 MS Walk on the North Shore) and Payne returns to ride in the June 15 Old Miners Big Bear Heritage Parade. Plus he’ll collaborate with local musicians in pre-parade festivities honoring first responders, military and families.
VIP tickets include intimate pre-dinner reception with Payne at 6 p.m. and cost $35. General admission is $25. Enjoy western grub during the chuckwagon dinner at 6:30 p.m. for $15.
Old Miners continues next day on Sunday, May 26 with the annual Miss Clementine Pageant, as ladies don period attire from the 1800’s and 1900’s— sometimes even wearing antique family heirlooms. The show begins at 1 p.m. and is at Mill Creek Cattle Co.
The Heritage Parade on Saturday, June 15 at 4 p.m. is special. Enjoy floats, marching bands and military units as they parade down the boulevard.
Call (909) 866-5850 or online at www.chuckwagonconcerts.com.
May 16, 2013
Save 50% on Big Bear Cool Cabins Rentals
Stay two nights and the second is at half-price during an early-summer lodging special offered by Big Bear Cool Cabins.
The promotion is valid on new rentals only and is good through June 15, 2013 (excluding holidays). The discount is simple: pay for the first night and get the second at 50% off! Guests must use the online coupon code 50%BBSM.
Use it for stays during the May Trout Classic set for May 18-19, the Big Bear Heritage Parade on June 15, or just to get away from May Gray and June Gloom in the cities with days upon days of rays in Big Bear, at 7,000 feet above the marine layer.
Big Bear Cool Cabins has lodging for every taste and budget, from woodsy cabins to luxurious lakefront homes. All feature fireplaces, barbecue, cable TV, DVD and kitchen with many offering outdoor hot tub, jet tub, pool table, dock and much more.
Call Big Bear Cool Cabins at (800) 550-8779 or book online.
May 14, 2013
Huge Purse, $10,000 Trout at May Classic
Anglers will try to reel in their share of an expanded $8,000 cash purse plus equipment prizes during the 31st annual Jim Hall Memorial May Trout Classic on May 18-19.
"The Grand Daddy of Them All" fishing tournament is Big Bear’s longest running and has become a favorite with generations of anglers. And one tagged trout awaits worth $10,000 if caught on Pautzke Fire Bait, $5,000 even if it’s not.
Largest trout caught during the two days is worth $2,500 if the field of 500 anglers is full. Top nine trout are worth cash plus there’s tons of equipment prizes too. Winners need be present at the Sunday awards party at the Convention Center when checks are dispersed; no shows forfeit their cash prize to the fish plant fund.
Trophy-trout fishing is from 6 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, 6 a.m.-2 p.m. on Sunday. Entrants receive a Jim Hall Memorial May Trout Classic hat, free jar of Pautzke Fire Bait, and admission into the awards party at the Convention Center with entertainment and drawings for thousands of dollars worth of fishing gear, bait and tackle from national manufacturers. At press time there were still openings to fish the Classic, one of the Southland’s premier trout tournaments since enormous trophy-sized trout are planted just days before the event. Municipal Water District (MWD) releases still more homegrown rainbows.
Last year’s winning effort caught by Dan Marshall of 11.07 lbs. was caught in Papoose Bay while trolling. Marshall took first place money and bested the previous year’s effort of nine-plus pounds. Marlin Johnson’s 8.81 would have won some years and the top nine trout receiving checks all weighed excess of seven pounds, making for a nice leaderboard.
It will take a beast to best the winning catch reeled in by George Burruss of San Diego four years ago, whose 13.83 lb. effort was the second largest in the tournament’s 27 year history. The lake record is 18.69 lbs. brought in by Trabuco Hills resident Erin Dominguez in 2009.
A great way to pay homage to the late Jim Hall, who founded the event in 1983 with Jerry Eden. The Classic has been a major reason Big Bear Lake has become a premium trout fishery, since approximately 30% of the proceeds go right back to stocking trophy fish into the water.
Visit May Trout Classic or call (909) 585-4007. Entry fee is $65 and participants age 16 and under with a paid adult get free tournament entry. Big Bear Marina is the official weigh station.
May Trout Classic is the first of the lake’s trout tournaments and is followed June 8-9 by Big Bear Lake Resort Association’s 5th annual "Fishin’ for $50K." Fifteen tagged trout in the lake are worth a variety of vacation and adventure packages, but one is worth a whopping $50,000. Four tagged trout have been caught the past two years, but the big bucks have yet to be reeled in during the event. Eventually it’s gonna happen...maybe on your line.
Fishing is each day from 6 a.m.-2 p.m. and entries are limited to 750 anglers. There is also $500 cash prize for biggest trout caught on Pautzke Fire Bait. Anglers have a chance to win a brand new Hobie Pro Angler 12/ fishing kayak as part of a separate raffle to raise funds for MWD’s fishery programs.
Any prizes associated with tagged trout that are not caught—other than the $50,000—will be awarded during the Sunday awards ceremony in the Bartlett parking lot in the Village at 3 p.m. Thousands of dollars of cool fishing gear, bait and tackle from national manufacturers like Phlueger, Abu Garcia, Shakespeare, Flambeau, Rapala and Luhr Jensen are raffled off plus a Cobra kayak. All entrants get a free jar of Pautzke Fire Bait plus a wristband for discounts at participating Big Bear restaurants, shops and specialty services.
All weighed fish must be at least 16 inches long and anglers can only weigh one per day on Big Bear Marina’s official tournament scale. Book lodging on June 7-9 or one or two day pontoon boat rental from participating lodges and marinas and receive free tournament entries. Otherwise entry is $55, $30 for anglers under age 16. Proceeds support Municipal Water District fish plant programs.
Call (909) 866-6190 or (800) 4-BIG BEAR.
May 10, 2013
Bird Day, Campfires, Kayaks at Big Bear Discovery Center
Memorial Day weekend sees the official kickoff of the busy summer season at Big Bear Discovery Center, but there’s plenty going on before the holiday too.
It all adds up to a busy month at Discovery Center, Big Bear’s recreation destination and the place to find everything from local hiking information and maps to permits and Adventure Passes. Every Saturday from 1 and 2 p.m., and Sunday at 11 a.m. and noon, there’s free Nature Walks around Discovery Center’s forested grounds with a naturalist, 30-minute adventures perfect for the entire family.
To view wildflowers that grow in Big Bear and nowhere else in the world, head east from Discovery Center along the north shore to Baldwin Lake Ecological Reserve. Open Saturdays 10 a.m.-2 p.m. through June 29, the facility is staffed by volunteers in a partnership between San Bernardino National Forest Association and Fish and Game Dept. and there’s information on what’s blooming on the unique Pebble Plain, plus trail guides for the adjacent interpretive path. Naturalists lead guided hikes through the reserve each Saturday at 11:30 a.m.
Help regrow the forest by getting your hands dirty during the Greenthumbs native plant restoration volunteer day held by the Forest Service on May 18. Workdays last from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Bring a sack lunch, water, sunscreen, hat, jacket and work gloves if you have some. Meet at the Ranger Station, 1/4 mile east of the Discovery Center.
Discovery Center celebrates International Migratory Bird Day Saturday, May 11 with an array of bird-related activities for the whole family. Build your own well-designed bird house from 10 a.m.-noon for $6 per kit, a fun activity for the entire family sponsored by Riffenburgh Lumber Co. Build a Birdhouse is also on May 25.
Popular Campfire Programs return most Fridays and Saturdays from 7-8 p.m. starting May 24. Meet animals from Moonridge Zoo, learn about Native American traditions, peer skyward through telescopes or enjoy other great programs. Cost is just $5, five and under free.
Kayak Tours are quiet explorations of Grout Bay in search of wildlife, sights and sites. Outings include a quick paddling lesson and are on Saturdays at 9-11 a.m., 1-3 p.m. and 4-6 p.m. beginning May 25, plus Sundays from 9-11 a.m. Cost is $30 per person for ages 10 and up and includes water and snack; 1 p.m. tour on Saturday is half-price.
Also returning are Grout Bay Canoe Tours. The leisurely two-hour tours are led by naturalists who instruct even raw beginners on the fine art of paddling. Then the group heads out to the water in search of beaver, great blue herons and baby ducks. Along the way paddlers learn about the history of the lake, gold mining, and various animals found here. The $20 cost ($10 ages 6-12) includes canoe rental, water and snack. Canoe tours are from 1-3 p.m. Sundays beginning May 26, with additional Thursday and Friday outings from 4-5 p.m. beginning June 13.
The holiday weekend is when summer really takes off at Discovery Center. Saturday, May 25 plus Sunday, May 26 sees the return of popular family activities at Discovery Center including Gold Panning for youngsters from 10 a.m.-noon. The “gold” that fills their pans is really just pyrite, but kids love to swirl sand and water just like miners did 150 years ago in Holcomb Valley during Southern California’s largest gold rush. Kids take their findings home with them, included in the $3 fee.
Then there’s Map and Compass instruction Saturdays from 1-2 p.m. that just might come in handy someday. Learn how to orient yourself in the wild and prove it by walking a course to test your skills...free! Build your own High-Flying Rockets out of recycled materials for free from 2-3 p.m. on May 25 as well.
Youngsters make their own well-crafted Pinecone Birdfeeders for free every other Sunday from 1-2 p.m. beginning May 26. Sundays also see Nature Crafts as fun projects are made out of recycled materials from 1-2 p.m., also free. Call Big Bear Discovery Center (909) 866-3437.
May 6, 2013
Bertha Peak hike set for May 11
Hike Bertha Peak via Cougar Crest Trail with Sierra Club Big Bear Group on Saturday, May 11 at 8 a.m.
It’s a moderate-difficult 6-7 mile trek with 1,400 ft. elevation gain and one of the “Peaks” of Big Bear hikes with stunning views of Big Bear Lake and Valley plus three ski resorts. Call (909) 584-9407.
There are other hikes on tap in May, like Santa Ana River Trail Loop on May 22 at 9 a.m. as the group hikes 10 miles with a thousand foot elevation gain (909-866-9232). And on Saturday, May 25 Sierra Club Mountains Group leads an easy trek to see plants blooming in the mountains at 9 a.m. Call (909) 338-1253.
Dollar Lake Saddle is the destination on May 29 with a strenuous, 17 mile hike on South Fork Trail at 7 a.m. Pass Poop Out Hill and South Fork Meadow during 3,100 feet of climbing as you ascend into the San Gorgonio Wilderness.
April 22. 2013
Aladdin Jr. a Magic Carpet Ride at the PAC
Inside the Royal Palace gates in the faraway city of Agrabah, Princess Jasmine prepares to choose a husband. Her father the Sultan has three princes in mind but she has fallen for a poor street urchin. Will true love win?
Find out when Big Bear High School Performing Arts Department presents Disney’s Aladdin Jr. during five shows only at the Performing Arts Center. A talented cast directed by Diane Thompson presents the familiar story of magic lamps and carpets and genies granting wishes during 7:30 p.m. shows on April 26-27 and May 3-4 along with 2:30 p.m. Sunday matinee on April 28.
Betsey Johnson and Arielle Morene star as Princess Jasmine while Bryan Larson plays Aladdin. Trinity Dostrow plays the villainous Jafar while Kirstin Bennett and Raven Young perform as his sidekick parrot Iago. Jacquie Cummings appears as the Sultan while Genie is played by Cheyenne Baragiola.
Other cast members include narrators Dani Bush, Cherie Ruiz, Cheyenne Suthard, Lindsey Bouchard and Lilly Hebdon plus townsfolk Syndi Hatch and Kaitlyn Ferguson. Scott Joyner plays the guard. In addition the production includes a "junior cast" of students from Big Bear middle and elementary schools in their own presentation.
Tickets are $15, $10 seniors and students.
Call Big Bear Performing Arts Center at (909) 866-4970.
April 17, 2013
Discovery Center, BVES Mark Earth Day in Big Bear
Make a weekend out of Earth Day in Big Bear with a wide array of nature activities on tap.
First up, Bear Valley Electric Service holds its Earth Day Expo on Friday, April 19 from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. in its parking lot. Exhibitors include Department of Water and Power, Sierra Club Big Bear Group, Pine Knot Marina, Forest Care, Big Bear Discovery Center and more.
Admission is free. BVES is at 42020 Garstin Dr.; call (909) 866-4678.
Next day on Saturday, April 20 Big Bear Discovery Center has fun Earth Day activities on tap from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Start the day by volunteering for a trailside cleanup from 9-10 a.m. led by Leave No Trace instructors departing from the Discovery Center.
Then explore a variety of booths at Big Bear Discovery Center designed to show how to turn everyday "waste" products into FUNctional items. Plant a native seed and take it home to watch it grown and learn how to responsibly visit the outdoors.
Also on tap are easy nature bike rides led by knowledgeable naturalists from 11 a.m.-noon along the Alpine Pedal Path. Bike’s not yet ready for summer? Explore nearby walking trails with naturalist to gain a great appreciation of local flora and fauna. Plus regular nature walks around the Discovery Center’s forest grounds will be held at 1 and 2 p.m.
The Forest Explorer will also be on hand, a virtual rolling field trip specially outfitted with interactive exhibits and activities for all ages. Explore what there is to do in the forest and how fire plays a vital role in its ecosystem along with learning about the many forest neighbors that live amidst the towering pine trees.
Free Nature Walks led by naturalists explore Discovery Center’s forested grounds every Saturday at 1 and 2 p.m. and Sundays at 11 a.m. and noon. Each 30-minute, non-strenuous adventure teaches local flora and fauna plus local history.
Looking ahead, don’t miss next month’s International Migratory Bird Day celebration at Discovery Center on May 11. From 10 a.m.-2 p.m. there’s information on local birds including walks, build a birdhouse, activities and nature crafts. Admission is free.
Call Big Bear Discovery Center at (909) 866-3437.