Snowshoeing the San Bernardino Mountains

Big Bear Lake Snowshoeing

On Tuesday and Thursday evenings when we can’t bike due to Winter weather, we will often snowshoe up the Bear Mountain ski runs to the top of the mountain range above Big Bear. Usually we do this in the dark with headlamps, but as the days get longer we sometimes are treated to spectacular sunsets and views almost all the way to the coast. Included is a panoramic view of the San Bernardino Mountains from the top of Silver Mountain at 8,564′. In the panorama to the left is San Gorgonio Peak, which is the highest point in Southern California at 11,501′. In the middle you can see Big Bear Lake, and to the right, Baldwin Lake at the East end of Big Bear Valley.

San Bernardino Mountain Panorama

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Move A Million Miles for Ryan Hall

Big Bear’s Lighthouse Project has launched a community spirit initiative, “Move A Million Miles for Ryan Hall,” which challenges the community surrounding Big Bear Lake, California to get up and out, and “move a million miles” between now and Big-Bear-Native Ryan Hall’s August 24 marathon race date in Beijing, China during the 2008 Summer Olympic games. I’ve been helping out with the campaign, and even had a chance to meet and run with Ryan and his wife Sara. Support the campaign and report your miles here. 

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2008 SoCal Mountain Bike Racing Calendar

As the updated 2008 SoCal Mountain Bike Racing Calendar shows, there are many competitive events for those of us who like the fat tire. Note that in 2008 there are several events in the San Bernardino Mountains near Big Bear Lake Cabins at the Three Pines Lodge. I also included some of our other favorite endurance cycling events.

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Baldwin Lake Bike Path

Wednesday afternoon I had the pleasure of meeting with Phil Hamilton about efforts to make the Big Bear Valley more bike-friendly. He’s heading up the Big Bear Valley Trails Coalition, a group of citizens and organizations who’s goal is to make “Big Bear a community that encourages and welcomes all forms of non-motorized uses for both recreation and transportation.” Phil has assembled an impressive steering committee that includes local and County representatives, as well as the Forest Service and Caltrans. And it appears they are off to a great start, and with gas headed towards a billion dollars a gallon, the timing couldn’t be better.

One project calls for a Type 1 (separate from the road) multi-use pathway around Baldwin Lake. Another project calls for dozens of “Share the Road” bicycle road signs throughout the Valley. And another seeks to complete a Type 1 path between Division and Stanfield Cutoff, picking up from the boardwalk on Baker Pond.

As good as the on and off-road cycling opportunities are in the Big Bear, anyone who has spent any time on a bike in the Valley knows there are some areas that would definitely benefit from more cycling-friendly attention. Making the Valley more cycling-centric is also consistent with responsible stewardship of our wonderful outdoor setting.

So hats off to Phil and the other Committe members. I plan to do my part to support the effort. Oh, and remember the 4 Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Ride!

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2007 SoCal Mountain Bike Racing Calendar

As this SoCal Mountain Bike Racing Calendar shows, there are many competitive events for those of us who like the fat tire. Note that in 2007 there are 6 events in the San Bernardino Mountains near our Big Bear Lake Cabins at the Three Pines Lodge – 4 at Rim Nordic and 2 at the Big Bear Shoot Out. I also included some of our favorite endurance road rides.
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Big Bear Lake Marathon ?

A couple days ago I attended the City of Big Bear Lake Planing Commission meeting intended to review an application for a Marathon around Big Bear Lake next year in 2008. I went with Pat Follett because we both believed events of this sort are important to the vitality of the Big Bear Valley and wanted to voice our support.

Having promoted and managed hundreds of mountain bike races around the Country for the past 20 years, Pat was able to speak to the Planning Comission with some authority on the subject. He spoke to the challenges of pulling off competitive sporting events in the Valley and noted the impact of declining mountain bike racing in Big Bear ever since Snow Summit stopped hosting those events.

I presented a bit different view as an Innkeeper and mentioned to the Planning Commission that most people who came to Big Bear needed an excuse to visit, and that competitive outdoor events brought a quality guest appreciative of our unique mountain setting. I said how events like the Big Bear Lake Marathon help fill my Big Bear Lake cabins, help keep my employees employed, and help me collect TOT tax for the City of Big Bear Lake. And I reminded everyone that while I wish events like this magically happened with no effort and no inconvenience, the reality was that if we wanted the benefits of this kind of event, we had to all work together.

I also addressed the issue of the brief early-morning road closures necessary for an event like this. One of my neighbors had complained via letter that if Highway 18 were closed, he wouldn’t be able to get his JC Penney delivery. I mentioned how little traffic there is on the Highway from 4am to 8am, and said that I would much rather choose to briefly close the Highway early in the morning for the benefits of an event like this, than suffer through involuntary closures due to fuel spills, traffic accidents, and acts of nature. Pat reminded me about the C.A.V.E. people – Citizens Against Virtually Everything – and it made me laugh. I figured if this neighbor is worried about deliveries a year and a half from now, he probably has bigger problems than a 4 hour early-morning road closure. (I have some very strong feelings about C.A.V.E. people, but will save that for a future post.)

The Planning Commission will revisit the Marathon application next month, but several Commission Members did comment on the very professional organization and preparation of those seeking to put on the Marathon.

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Okay, Momma, Okay.

For longer than I care to remember, several friends and family members have encouraged (if not harassed) me to write. I’d share the challenges of running a hospitality business, in employer-friendly California, and they’s say, “Why don’t you write?” I’d recount the antics of our crazy and/or famous Lodge guests, and they’d say, “Oh, you should be writing this stuff.” I’d talk about living at high altitude in the snowy mountains with 2 teens and (what sometimes seems like but really isn’t) 2 wives, and they’d say “Write it down!”

Okay, okay. Enough already. But as they say, be careful what you wish for.

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