Snow Summit is known for winter sports—you can tell by the name. It's also the most dependable Southern California ski and snowboard location. Nothing against Snow Valley, Mount Baldy or Mountain High, but if conditions are pretty good at those places, they are excellent up at Summit. Plus, the San Bernardino National Forest resort has better amenities than its SoCal competitors; you can use your lift ticket at sistah resort Bear Mountain; and numerous dining, lodging and entertainment opportunities ring Big Bear Lake.
Currently, operator Big Bear Mountain Resorts, in partnership with the city and business boosters, is trying to carry the winter momentum over to the summer by staging various events, activities and attractions on the slopes.
On May 26, the Snow Summit Bike Park opened, allowing riders and their mountain bikes to take the same chairlifts used by skiers and snowboarders up to the trails. Last year saw the completion of two major additions to the Snow Summit system, moving the park significantly closer to completion of a Gravity Logic-designed master plan that will provide something for riders of all abilities. Each seasonal upgrade significantly spreads out rider traffic.
Down at the base area, mountain bikers can ply a pump track and skill-builder park. Or you can catch Chair 1 to access trails that aren't on the Summit property. Among more than 60 miles of single track from the top of the lift is the Skyline Trail, much of which is now in pristine condition.
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But you don't have to ride two wheels to have summer fun at the resort. Summit's base area, known as Basecamp, has the Climbing Wall, with sections for all abilities; Eurobungy, which harnesses you in to do flips and flops while dangling from bungee cords; and the Zip Line Adventure, which has you holding on for dear life while speeding along a glorified clothesline high in the air. From the base's Scenic Sky Chair, you can ride for a mile up to the summit—8,200 feet in elevation—walk to the mountain's edge, then look down from what appears to be the top of the world.
Also at the top of Chair 1 is the Skyline Taphouse, which offers magnificent views as you grab a quick snack or lunch, including the signature chef-carved prime rib sandwich. It closes at 3 p.m. Shutting down an hour later at the base is Bighorn Smokehouse Traditional BBQ & Specialty Dishes, which specializes in Southern-style favorites and sides. (Request the tips from the 14-hour smoked brisket.) Live music is featured there most summer weekends. If you time your day right, you can have coffee and a pastry early at Summit's coffeehouse, lunch at Skyline Taphouse and end with an early supper at Smokehouse. With your tummy so full, gravity will bring you down to the flatlands faster.
Special Summit summer events include Above the Boom (July 4), a big evening party with dinner, drinks, live music, games and the best vantage points to watch Big Bear Lake's fireworks show, and Crafts & Cranks (July 22-23), which is now part of the California Enduro Series and has mountain bikers competing for the largest prize purse on the West Coast while the rest of us down fresh microbrews, listen to live music and pinch ourselves while asking, "All this fun at Snow Summit during the summer?" Yes, sir!
Snow Summit, 880 Summit Blvd., Big Bear Lake, (844) 462-2327; snowsummit.com.