Words by Natty and Trey
Photos by Devon Balet
Southern California's closest lift-served mountain bike park is open for business again after a hiatus. With its close proximity to the city of San Bernardino and the Los Angeles Metro area, Big Bear is a no-brainer for LA riders.
Drawing from a surrounding population of almost 20 million people and a rich mountain biking history, Snow Summit is poised to achieve great success moving forward? Well, judging by the number of vehicles with bike racks filling the parking lot and riders sporting pimped out DH rigs and TLD kits, there's no doubt that Snow Summit wins our vote for most likely to succeed. The weekend we spent there was a record breaker with 700 riders purchasing lift tickets in just one day! Coming back with a vengeance is an understatement for lift served mountain biking in SoCal.
The City of Big Bear Lake is perched at an elevation of more than 6,000 feet. So, even in summer, its climate is very comfortable for achieving massive vertical descent totals. And, with Gravity Logic involved in development of Snow Summit, you know the trails will be dialed. For now, there are three trails (Miracle Mile, Cruiser, and Westridge) that feature bermed turns, step-ups, wall rides, and jumps. Two lifts serve the mountain top trails. The East Mountain X-press lift features the View Haus Bar-B-Que restaurant at the peak to keep DH'ers properly fueled up for a full day of riding.
Stoked about the prospect of exploring a new bike park, this just added to our buzz about the final stop on Heavy Pedal Tour 2013. We arrived the night before, so we were able to walk around a little bit, check out the lower half of the trails, and explore Big Bear Lake around sunset. We went to sleep that night dreaming about adventures like kids do the night before going to Walt Disney World.
We woke the next morning; Natty slept in her jersey and shorts and was the first one out the door that day. She paced on her bike in front of the condo for 20 minutes waiting for Trey and Devon to finally finish putting on their makeup and fixing their hair. Natty was not just excited to ride, but she knew that for the first time on the tour there would be a female guide that she would get to ride with! Suzie was a rad chic. She even had a knife attached to her fork lowers for dealing with frisky cougars and creeps. You never know, when you're this close to a huge urban wasteland, it's better to be prepared.
Once the gang was all ready to head out, the line for the lift was already 20 to 30 minutes long. This is even with two chair lifts running. Big Bear had no idea what a huge success they would be by opening back up their lifts and developing a mountain bike park. Right now, there are only a few trails, but they are well built and a ripping good time. The main trail that most experienced riders were on is a trail called the Miracle Mile. It's a black diamond trail that offers everything from gnar to jumps. There are wooden features and cinder blocked berms. Also, in moving forward, Snow Summit has a plan to update their lifts to handle more bikes. That should help with the pile-up at the bottom. Most importantly, Snow Summit is adding more trails that will to help spread out the riders. Aside from the few bad attitude riders, (sorry we were in your way) the vibe at Snow Summit is full of rally and people having a blast.
There is a huge lunch scene at the top of the lift. Unlike any bike park we have ever witnessed. It's more typical to see people at the bottom of the lift eating, but not at Big Bear, its BBQ and beer at the top! Now that's our style!
Natty's Favorite: Miracle Mile and Suzie's Knife
Trey's Favorite: Miracle Mile and ViewHaus Barbeque