March 6, 2014
Jump in the Lake at Big Bear Polar Plunge
All around the lake in winter, there are signs posted warning folks to stay off it. So why are people suddenly being encouraged to go jump in on Saturday, March 8?
It’s "Freezin’ for a Reason,’ the third annual Big Bear Polar Plunge into the lake. Brazen swimmers have a "License to Chill" as they brave water temperatures dipping into the 30’s at Meadow Park to raise money for the Inland Empire Region of Special Olympics of Southern California.
Plungers decide how deep into the water to go and how long to stay in; last year some got only their ankles wet while others swam around till lifeguards make them get out of the water. Participants pay for the privilege, with those raising at least $50 in pledges from family, friends and co-workers receiving an official Polar Plunge long sleeve T-shirt and barbecue lunch. Additional prizes are given to those who raise more than $50.
Special Olympics supporters who prefer to stay out of the water can raise money by registering as a "chicken" for $50 in pledges and receive an "I’m Too Chicken to Plunge" T-shirt.
Each plunger also gets a moment in the spotlight with a public service announcement that briefly portrays why he or she is taking the plunge. Be sure to bring cameras along for photos and video to prove you really jumped in the lake during winter months. Costumes are a staple at Polar Plunge events and awards are given for the best, judged by creativity and how wacky they are.
"All it takes is a few seconds in the chilly water for plungers to discover why we refer to it as `Freezin’ for a Reason,’ " said Special Olympics Southern California regional director Abbey Leffler. "They will immediately feel their hearts warm up with joy because they know they are giving to a great cause. Eighty six cents of every dollar raised goes directly to Special Olympics program costs."
Other Polar Plunge activities include a family fun area, DJ music, souvenir stand, vendors and raffle with great prizes. Wolf Creek Resort, Fireside Lodge and Bear Creek Resort and Spa are offering 15% off room rates for Polar Plungers. To warm up after the year’s coolest event, Bear Valley Spas has four hot tubs waiting.
Registration is at Meadow Park (41220 Park Ave., Big Bear Lake) from 10 a.m.-noon with coffee and pastries. Opening ceremonies at noon include torchlight lighting ceremony and singing of the National Anthem. Admission for spectators is free and they can purchase BBQ tickets.
Last year hundreds of plungers participated and the 2014 event looks to be event bigger with a fundraising goal of $50,000. Proceeds provide year-round training and sports programs for those with intellectual disabilities in the Inland Empire.
Register as a plunger by calling (951) 672-7707 or www.sosc.org/bigbearplunge.
March 6, 2014
Cutting Lines Makes Ski-A-Thon FUNdraising
Cut lift lines while raising money for a good cause during the annual Ski-A-Thon benefitting the Adaptive Ski School at Bear Mountain on March 8.
This is fundraiser with an emphasis on fun as skiers and snowboarders cut lift lines all day, enjoy a great lunch and apres party on the 13,000 sq. ft. deck, and help the disabled get out on the slopes...while getting a tax-deduction at the same time. More than one Ski-A-Thon has fallen on powder days through the years, and then line cutting becomes epic.
Truly everyone wins during this popular event. Getting in on the fun is easy—just raise the minimum of $150 or $500 for teams of four by getting friends to sponsor you. Some just write a check for the tax-deductible amount. Of course, those who solicit larger amounts can win great prizes that range from equipment to destination resort trips, lift tickets and more.
The donation includes lift ticket, line cutting, lunch, event T-shirt, raffle ticket, and the famous "Survival Kit" swag bag filled with all kinds of goodies. The apres party on the deck is legendary with free-flowing beer, wine, entertainment, hors d’oeuvres and auction. Register from 7-11 a.m. Call (909) 584-0269.
March 3, 2014
Lower Season Pass Prices Worth `Screamin' For
News flash: Big Bear Mountain Resorts is lowering the price of its "Screamin’ Deal" dual mountain anytime season pass valid the rest of this season plus all of 2014-15!
Not by just a couple of bucks either but by over a hundred dollars. "Essentially we’ve rolled back prices to what they were in the mid-1990’s," said Chris Riddle of Big Bear Mountain Resorts. And just in time to take advantage of big recent storm's bounty of nearly a foot of fresh snow!
Snow Summit and Bear Mountain are simplifying their offerings by eliminating Midweek Plus Sunday passes. Now an unrestricted anytime season pass valid weekends and holidays at both resorts is just $449, $399 young adult, not much more than Midweek Plus was last year. It’s like guests are getting Saturdays all season long plus holiday periods at no extra charge!
Dual mountain passes valid midweek only (nonholiday) are now $259, twenty dollars less than a year ago. Those looking to only access The Park can opt for Anytime Bear Mountain passes for just $399, thirty dollars less than last year’s price of $429. Young adults also save $30 on Anytime Bear passes, for 2014-15 season priced at $329. Even night passes are ten bucks cheaper than last year at $139.
Indeed season passes are the ultimate discount and the best way to enjoy Southern California’s two best resorts, and come with a host of other benefits, many of which are expanded for this year. Dual mountain and Bear only passes are valid for any Snow Summit night session, and Midweek pass holders can purchase a half-price ticket on days they are blacked out.
Plus Dual Mountain passes receive free sightseeing rides on the Snow Summit Scenic Skychair during 2014 summer and season pass holders are eligible to purchase a mountain bike pass for 50% off (excluding night passes). Discounts around the resort have been increased too with pass holders now getting 20% off ski or snowboard rentals, in the sport shop and at all food and beverage locations (excluding alcohol) up from the previous 10%.
Next year’s pass is valid this season when they go on sale on March 3, plenty of time left to put it to good use during the season’s final months. Make next year’s pass pay for itself with this year’s skiing and riding! Plus purchase your season pass before April 1 and get a free "Tag Along" buddy ticket valid rest of this season.
So when you’re standing at a ticket window in March ready to plunk down good money for a lift ticket, remember this: a few bucks more buys a pass good that day, the rest of this season, this summer and all of next winter! Guests can even apply that day’s ticket price to next year’s pass before they go home.
Interesting that in a year when Snow Summit and Bear Mountain are the only Southern California resorts able to consistently offer quality snow conditions—better than even Mammoth and Lake Tahoe resorts for much of the season—they have chosen to slash season pass prices. At most resorts paying for skiing months in advance is a risky proposition, but the Big Bear resorts have proven that with two of the largest snowmaking systems around and unlimited water, they’ll offer real snow real close, guaranteed. Call (909) 866-5766.
February 28, 2014
Kiss, Nicks, Bon Jovi Tributes...And `Alien!"
Classic rock tributes featuring the music of Kiss, Bon Jovi, Stevie Nicks and The Eagles. Country all-stars and Alien Ant Farm. Plus reggae, Latin rock and comedy!
March is hopping at the new state-of-the-art concert venue The Cave Big Bear, where every seat is front and center. Premium sound, lighting and special effects make for full concert experiences and there’s great food and drink to enjoy at The Cave, where tickets for most shows start at just ten bucks.
Starting with country music’s best tributes, COUNTRY NATION, performing February 28. Members of some of L.A.’s hottest country bands form the all-star group that features music from Miranda Lamert, Brad Paisley, Sara Evans and Blake Shelton, while honoring classic artists including George Strait, Garth Brooks, Randy Travis, Faith Hill, Shania Twain and others. The result is a high-energy band that’s even hotter than the sum of its parts!
Powerhouse alternative rock band ALIEN ANT FARM invades The Cave Saturday, March 1. Since forming in 1995 the Grammy-nominated Moreno Valley-based band has four studio albums and eight music videos to its credit and has sold an incredible five million units worldwide. Its songs have been featured on four video games; "Wish" was in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3, while "Courage" was in Shaun Palmer’s Pro Snowboarder and ATV Offroad Fury 2. "These Days" was in Madden NFL 2004. Tickets start at just $20.
SOLUTION REGGAE, finalists for best live band of the year at last year’s Orange County Music Awards, are at The Cave Friday, March 7. The band’s full length album "Take Me High" along with digital EP "Sacrifice" have taken the music world by storm and led to gigs playing with acts like The Green, Robert Jon and The Wreck, Well Hung Heart, J-Boog, Midnite and others. If you like bands like Rebelution, Seedless, Sublime and Slightly Stoopid then this show is a must!
The Southland’s hottest tribute band takes The Cave stage Saturday, March 8 as KISSED ALIVE returns by popular demand. Rock and roll all night with the top KISS tribute band, which captures the look and sound of the iconic band, recent inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Their spot-on versions of hits like "Calling Dr. Love," "I Was Made for Lovin’ You," "I Love it Loud" and of course "Rock and Roll All Night" have led to gigs at the House of Blues, Fremont Street Experience in Las Vegas, even the Long Beach Grand Prix. Tickets start at $10.
An evening of St. Patrick’s Day laughter and green beer is on tap with COMEDY EXPRESS! on Saturday, March 15. Comedians Geoff Brown, Charlene Mae, John Huck and Shawn Halpin serve up sidesplitting humor with tickets starting at $12. The show is preceded on Friday, March 14 with "The Cave, Got Talent" show featuring acts from around the Southland; tickets just $7.
LUIS CARDENAS BAND presents an awesome night of Latin rock on Friday, March 21. The Grammy-nominated Cardenas, drummer and founder of rock band Renegade, was also singer/songwriter for Latter Reign and has been inducted into the Guiness Book of World Records.
The world’s top BON JOVI TRIBUTE BAND is at The Cave Saturday, March 22. Livin’ on a Prayer captures the decades of music that made Jon Bon Jovi one of the top acts of all time, as award-winning Las Vegas tribute artist Eric Sage captures the look and energy perfectly. He’s joined by top musicians and their versions of "Shot Through the Heart," "Wanted Dead or Alive" and "You Give Love a Bad Name" will have the dance floor rocking.
March closes out with two heavyweight Cave shows. Friday, March 28 features the return of Bella Donna and its critically-acclaimed tribute to the music of STEVIE NICKS/FLEETWOOD MAC. Fully-staged with spectacular costumes, it’s a dynamic rock concert featuring a full band and the haunting lyrics of Michelle Tyler—every note is played live with no backing tapes. The band has wowed audiences at casinos, festivals and performing arts centers around the country and sold out its last Cave appearance.
Then on Saturday, March 29 the music of legendary rock band THE EAGLES is presented by top tribute band Desperado. Several of its members have performed with the original members including J.D. Souther has played with Don Felder and Chris Farmer, currently keyboardist/bass/vocalist for Timothy B. Schmit’s solo project. With five lead vocalists Desperado plays all the Eagle hits with precision and every note is live with no backing tracks. Tickets start at $15.
The Cave is at 40789 Village Dr. (909) 878-0204 or www.thecavebigbear.com.
February 28, 2014
War of Rails Brings Big Jumps to Bear
Anyone could stick the most insane jumps at Bear Mountain last month—it was in the bag. In March such tricks will again be the exclusive domain of the hotties.
The Dos Equis air jump was out three weekends in February and free for anyone 21 and over to try. A huge jump usually reserved for the best featured a one-story high inflatable air bag to land on. Without having to worry about the landing, skiers and snowboarders of all ability levels were free to huck the jumps of their dreams with all the twists and turns they could manage airborne, before they gently bounced on the bag of air below.
Alas the air bag has moved on to other resorts so landings are back in the equation at Bear in March. Watch as top freeskiers do aerial battle with some of the most insane tricks imaginable during the fifth annual Under Armour "War of the Rails" at Bear Mountain February 28-March 2 with new sponsor Red Bull. Heavy winter snow has pushed competition back a day so amateurs will compete Saturday, March 1 for the right to go up against the pro field Sunday.
The brainchild of former pro skier and born-and-raised Big Bear local Craig Coker, War of the Rails features a $30,000 cash purse. Riders will tackle a course Coker designs himself along with Bear Mountain’s Clayton Shoemaker with large gaps, intense rails, huge walls, taps and pole jams. To say it rivals the X Games street setup is not an overstatement.
The huge purse—$15,000 goes to the winner—ensures a talented field of 60 invited riders from not just California but also Utah and Colorado resorts. It’s the only freeski event of its kind in Southern California and free to watch from the comfort of Bear’s 13,000 sq. ft. deck with DJ, giveaways and more. Announcers are Luke Van Valin and Reed Speedman.
"War of the Rails is very rider inspired, exactly what riders want," Coker said. "That’s where the jam format is good. Riders can take the time to get in the tricks they want. And it’s very spectator-friendly, right there at the bottom of Bear."
Saturday opens with the amateur portion of the event. Riders with the skills to tackle the course compete for prizes plus the winner gets a session at the famous Windells Ski Camp. Heats begin at 12:30 p.m. with the 30-minute final at 2. Top 15 finishers qualify to compete against over two dozen invited riders the next day during the pro event and a chance at the big bucks.
Sunday's big show begins with the first qualifier at 11:30 a.m. followed by finals at 2 p.m. In between on the deck there’s music plus "Fantasy Rider Moment" pictures as spectators are paired with athletes and the winners score cool gear from sponsors Red Bull, Under Armor, Skull Candy Audio, Windells, Bern Unlimited, Bear Mountain and Burton Helmets. Red Bull will be streaming the competition live on the internet from 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m. on www.freeskier.com and www.newschoolers.com.
Even with the drought Bear is sporting over 100 snow features and jibs around the mountain including the insane Red Bull Plaza in its new location. Bigger and better than ever with a continuous line down Park Run, it offers city-inspired features for riders of all ages. Be sure to check out the newest feature at the Plaza—the Ride Through which debuted at 2013 Hot Dawgz and Hand Rails. Essentially a giant shipping container, about 10 feet was cut off to shorten it to about 30 feet in length and pillars keep it about two feet off the snow. Riders can slide right into and out of the box or hit the sides like it was a wall ride. Red Bull Plaza also includes the City Center, a multiuse feature that’s part rail, wall ridge, box, planter and ledge. The famous cop car is also incorporated. Standard halfpipe and hits of all kinds from flat boxes for beginners to insane gap jumps mean there’s something for everyone.
Carvers appreciate Silver Mountain with Exhibition open top to bottom, nearly 1,000 vertical feet of upper blue square challenge, plus favorite lower Rip Cord. Black diamond Showtime challengers the best and Rip’s Run is also open.
Ride the free shuttle every half hour to Snow Summit where all four top-to-bottom runs are open including Westridge with 37 snow features in all shapes and sizes. Summit Run is the Southland’s longest low intermediate trail from the top of the mountain and Miracle Mile and Log Chute with their variations are doing business as well. As are Chairs 7, 3 and 9, so the resort is about 80% open at press time.
Call the resorts at (909) 866-5766.
February 25, 2014
Pasadena Youth Orchestra returns to PAC
The Arts Council of Big Bear Valley presents the award-winning Pasadena Youth Symphony Orchestra in a free concert on Sunday, March 2.
The 2 p.m. show titled "Youth Orchestras United" at Performing Arts Center is a collaboration between PYSO, which features talented young musicians from San Gabriel Valley in what is considered one of the best youth orchestras in the Southland, and the All-Mountain String Ensemble. Over 200 students from over 45 different schools audition each year to be part of the prestigious 40-year-old program designed specifically for middle school students. The afternoon concert will feature over 70 young musicians presenting selections by Beethoven, Corelli and the Stravinsky Firebird Suite and is a different program from February's show.
PYSO for many years has distinguished itself in competitions and performances, taking Best All-Around and Best Radio Broadcast honors in 1989 at the International Youth and Music Festival in Vienna. The group’s musicians were the youngest ever to play in the festival, which led to PYSO’s first Carnegie Hall appearance in 1991 marking the venue’s centennial. The group returned to Carnegie Hall in June 2005 and was awarded a coveted Gold Rating for its efforts.
The group under the direction of conductor Jack Taylor returned to Vienna in July 2008 and took second overall. Last summer, the Symphony traveled to Austria and the Czech Republic for a week-long tour and performances at Haydn Hall and the Mozarteum. PYSO has also performed at the famous Sydney Opera House in Australia and brought home top honors at the National Adjudicators Invitation in Washington D.C.
PYSO has performed throughout the world, including venues in Salzburg and Prague. The orchestra has appeared in concert with the United States Air Force Academy Band, Blue Steel at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. Many members have performed outside the full orchestra, such as chamber music at Pasadena Symphony concerts and a special guest appearance on Fox’s TV show "Glee."
Admission is free and refreshments will be served following the performance. Call the Performing Arts Center at (909) 866-4970.
February 18, 2014
Snow or No, Snowshoe the Bear a Go
Seventh annual Snowshoe the Bear is a go, snow or no.
The event is set for Saturday, February 22 and competitors will be doing something in the woods that day. Optimally they’ll be scampering along snow-covered forest trails above the Village wearing snowshoes, but if the drought continues they’ll don running shoes instead. In the meantime, snow dances are welcome.
Snowshoe enthusiasts and novices alike have a blast during the event, which features snowshoe racing and demos, music and more beginning at 10 a.m. 5K and 10K races let snowshoers of all ability levels experience trails above Southern California’s popular four-season resort.
More than 350 racers—most of whom are first-timers—trek easy-to-follow 5K trails and more challenging 10K races into the forest from the Village’s south end near the corner of Pine Knot and Village Dr. as part of Southern California’s only snowshoe race, and one of the largest in the country. While the snowshoers disappear up Big Bear’s southern ridge, eventually reaching the courses along 2N08, spectators enjoy exhibit booths, climbing wall, demos, product-sponsor giveaways and entertainment. Awards ceremony follows.
The event is open to all ages and skill levels; even dogs go out. Beginners are encouraged to sign up to get a feel for the easy-to-do sport and the majority of participants are generally first-time snowshoers. It’s all about enjoying snow, sun, trees and friends at your own pace, whether you’re out with the dog or taking aim for the fastest times.
The 5K (3.1 mile) loops around Towne Trail, popular with mountain bikers, and a gently rolling course event organizer Karen Lundgren says is "doable for everyone, yet still provides breathtaking views of Big Bear Lake and Valley."
Serious competitors take on the 10K (6.2 mile) through quiet forest roads and pristine singletrack trails just above town. There is also a free kid’s race at noon.
Sponsors include the Events Resource Office, Big Bear Crossfit, Big Bear Vacations, Copper Q, Yaktrax, Little Hotties, Lifeproof, SOLE, North Shore Trading Co., FRS, Nuun Active Hydration, Elemental Herbs, New Belgium Brewing, Kleen Kanteen, Scott Running Shoes and Keen. Participants may bring their own snowshoes, try free demos or rent. Goldsmith’s Board Shop (909-866-2728) has rentals with poles available from $15.
Prizes are awarded to top finishers in men’s and women’s categories and each registrant gets a raffle ticket. Online 5K registration through Feb. 21 costs $25, $45 for the 10K, and for race day registration from 7-9 a.m. add $10 to each. Register before Feb. 7 and get a free race T-shirt.
Snowshoe the Bear is the first event in the Open Air Big Bear outdoor series. Other events include the Memorial 5K Fun Run on May 25, Big Bear Triathlon on June 21, Paddlefest on the lake June 29, the new Big Bear Mountain Bike Gran Fondo and Grizzly on July 26, and Tour de Big Bear on August 2. The series continues with Endure the Bear Trail Run September 6. Kodiak 100 Ultramarathon on Sept. 19-21, and Big Bear Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day, November 27. Call (909) 382-2790.
February 12, 2014
Cerebral Palsy Can't Stop Dilbeck from Fundraising--or Acting
Not that the popular event which returns on March 8 is such a hard sell, mind you. Skiing all day—complete with line cutting privileges—lunch, killer apres party on the deck and famous swag bag are enough to compel many skiers and snowboarders just to write out a tax-deductible check. Which I’ve done several times through the years, relishing in the chance to zip to the front of the line even on powder days while the mere masses look on enviously.
For Dilbeck, 39, the Ski-A-Thon is much more personal and he resolved to make sure others were able to experience the thrill of sliding down the slopes just as he did. So he started asking companies for money, mostly small ones for small amounts, knocking endlessly on doors.
Only thing is, Dilbeck has cerebral palsy and asking is a very difficult proposition. For that matter, so is knocking. When he was born the umbilical cord was wrapped around his throat, cutting off the oxygen supply to his brain and leaving him with impaired motor skills and stuttered, slurred speech that at first is difficult to understand. But it doesn’t take long for this determined young man to get his point across, and he just keeps plugging.