Big Bear Mountain Resorts. Two distinct resorts, Bear Mountain and Snow Summit, comprise Southern California's largest winter playground, one of the few that challenge skilled skiers. The complex offers 438 skiable acres, 55 runs, and 26 chairlifts, including four high-speed quads. The vibe is youthful at Bear, which has beginner slopes (training available) and the after-ski hangout The Scene. Snow Summit holds challenging runs and is open for night skiing. Although lift tickets are valid on both mountains and a shuttle connects the two mountains so you don't have to drive, on weekends and holidays, when the resort is often crowded, it's best to stay on one mountain. Bear rents skis and boards.

The resorts are open in summer for mountain biking, hiking, golfing, and some special events. The Snow Summit Scenic Sky Chair zips to the mountain's 8,200-foot peak, where the Skyline Taphouse ($), a casual outdoor barbecue restaurant, has breathtaking views of the lake and San Gorgonio Mountain. Big Bear, 880 Summit Blvd., off Moonridge Rd., Big Bear Lake, California, 92315. 844/462–2327; $89–$99.


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