You have two main options for skiing or snowboarding in Big Bear: Snow Summit or Bear Mountain, both owned by the same company and both of which make their own snow if needed... which is nice here in SoCal when the weather is in the 60's but you want to ski during Ski Week (typical February break from school for one week, which precedes Spring Break by about 6 weeks). This is the fun scene at Bear Mountain:
If this is your first time skiing, sign up for ski lessons - and this goes doubly-so if you have kids. While your kids are in lessons, you can focus on learning yourself. The kids will likely listen better to an impartial person than to you, and their potential competitive nature will have them trying to best the other kids around them in class. Meaning: they will try very hard to "get" skiing!
This is us dropping the kids off for their lessons:
I'm not saying my middle child had a meltdown toward the end of her lesson, but let's just say that this smile wasn't there for the full duration of the morning:
That said, since we were on-site, the problem was solved immediately and my eldest and youngest proclaimed skiing their "new favorite sport" while the middle maintained that she really did love skiing still and wanted to go again ~
She said she LOVED skiing and although she doesn't generally love sports, she proclaimed skiing to be her "thing."
While she was learning, we were learning from this competent teacher named Walter:
He had this sea-faring ocean-lover feeling like a ski bunny in no time!
We now finally "get" why people love skiing so much - I mean we absolutely fell in love with it.
After skiing you can even cozy up to a nice drink, which you've surely earned!
So where does one stay when up in Big Bear? You can stay at any number of cute lodges or a place through AirBnB, but our favorite thing to do is rent a cabin through Big Bear Cool Cabins. We've done it a bunch of times and the management of the cabins is well-run, with reviews being pretty accurate on each cabin.
Our favorite area to stay in Big Bear is Moonridge because it's so close to Bear Mountain and our other favorite place, Big Bear Alpine Zoo at Moonridge. This little zoo is a rescue zoo, and each of its inhabitants is an indigenous animal rescued from the Big Bear area and rehabilitated with an eye toward eventual release back into the wild.
Of course sometimes, release back into the wild is not an option for an animal, and it may live out its days well-cared-for at the zoo - as is the case with this large and lovely mountain lion named Kaskade:
Where else can you get so close to a beautiful American Kestrel?
The kids got a tutorial on the many different types of food the animals eat, depending on whether they are herbivores, omnivores, or carnivores:
And a very up-close interaction with a hedgehog:
Vintage Ms. PacMan: