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Bear Mountain vs. Snow Summit

mountain covered with snow

Winter is just about here, and many denizens of Southern California and the surrounding area might very well be planning a winter getaway. Maybe a little relaxation. Maybe some fun on the slopes, skiing or snowboarding. Indeed, SoCal has a spot where all this is possible: Big Bear, which is just a couple of hours north of Los Angeles.

Big Bear is specifically home to Bear Mountain and Snow Summit, two sister resorts just a hop, skip, and a jump from each other. While both resorts offer plenty of winter activities, once the snow melts, you can trade in your skis and snowboards for bikes and enjoy a bit of mountain biking.

Many stand by these two resorts being the best skiing and snowboarding spots in all of Southern California, and maybe even the country. The question, then, is what separates these two resorts and what can tourists expect to experience at each one.

What Makes Snow Summit and Bear Mountain Great

Snow Summit and Bear Mountain are true sister resorts: both are managed under the same company, both offer skiers and snowboarders a wealth of activities to dive into, and both are only two miles from each other. Together, they are known as the Big Bear Mountain Resort.

One ticket will grant you access to both resorts, so you could spend half the day at one resort, then just scurry on over to the other and spend the rest of your day skiing or snowboarding on an entirely new set of slopes.

So, no matter which resort you end up visiting, either one or both, expect plenty of variety in the slopes, warm weather (it is Southern California, after all, so expect to potentially sweat), a gorgeous view of Big Bear Lake. In many ways, they’re basically two halves of the same resort. However, there are some reasons you might want to visit one over the other. Let’s go over a few of the specifics.

Barreling Down Bear Mountain

Over the years, Bear Mountain has adopted a more adventurous vibe and won the favor of snowboarders over skiers., While its sister, Snow Summit, is a resort dedicated to more traditional runs and a skiers paradise. At Bear Mountain, visitors will find a whole host of half-pipes perfect for freestyle skiing and snowboarding, as well as the largest beginner area in Southern California.

For snowboarders looking to show off and perform a few tricks, Bear Mountain also has some of the best terrain parks in the country, ranging from beginner to expert.

All in all, Bear Mountain is quite similar to Snow Summit, just with a few subtle differences to appeal more to the adventurous crowd.

Skiing the Slopes of Snow Summit

With a lot of the adventurous activities falling to Bear Mountain, Snow Summit was able to hone in on a more traditional experience, which seems to be why skiers love it so much. As the smaller of the two resorts, and the more family-friendly one, Snow Summit typically has more people going up and down its slopes, and it typically has better conditions. Summit even has night skiing, something its counterpart does not. So, if you’re just looking for a bit of relaxing skiing, or want to ski or snowboard under the stars then Snow Summit might be the choice for you.

When in Doubt, Make Your Own Snow

Another cool aspect of these parks is the man-made snow. Naturally, snowfall in Southern California isn’t exactly a common occurrence, even in the mountains. But thanks to the abundant moisture at the resorts’ neighbor, Big Bear Lake, snow is never an issue during the winter months.

Manmade snow happens through a combination of water and compressed air, shot out over the runs by Big Bear Mountain Resort’s snow guns. Each of these systems is capable of pumping out upwards of 3,000 gallons of snow a minute. So, no matter what the weather is doing, expect a snowy paradise when visiting Bear Mountain as well as Snow Summit.

Make Your Skiing Holiday Great by Renting a Cabin

Interior of luxury cabins in Big Bear Lake
Big Bear Cabin Rentals

After a long day of skiing or snowboarding, few things compare to coming home to your very own warm and cozy cabin—a cabin so nice your kids (and you!) might not ever want to leave.

Complete your mountain adventures in Big Bear with a blazing fire, warm apple cider, and an unforgettable cabin stay.

Midnight Moon Cabins offers an array of modern luxury dog-friendly cabin rentals right in the heart of Big Bear Lake. Bear Mountain and Snow Summit are just a short drive away, as are the many other fun activities in the village and surrounding area.

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