Bear Valley, CA…For the small (Pop 150) village of Bear Valley, CA. winter is a all hands on deck affair. Everyone wears multiple hats and does everything they can to make sure the crowds seeking winter fun have a great time. Your ski instructor during the day might also be your waiter at dinner that night. The effort pays off! Bear Valley is a very special place…especially in winter.
Bear Valley is at the end of Hwy 4 during the winter. Even though it is under 20 miles south of Kirkwood it seems worlds away. No casinos, shopping malls…just you and mother nature. The locals live here because they can play here. Mid-Week you will find the local workforce and business owners waist deep in snow looking for a perfect path down the hills and trails. This small town also becomes snowmobile only for most of the neighborhoods with only adds to the winter experience.
Mid-Week you will find Bear Valley Lodge’s Mark Phillips out perfecting his GS Turns, Bear Valley Sport Shops Lance Machovsky & Mike Davis will be out carving perfect turns or exploring the back country. Bear Valley Cross Country Legend Paul Peterson will out sliding and gliding when not helping customers. Even Bear Valley Mountain’s head honcho Jim Gentling will be out exploring the area…
This small village is also having a record year. With the opening of Dardanelles Vista Bowl with 400 new acres of terrain. Bear Valley now ranks as one of the larger ski resorts on the west coast. At 1,680 acres it now is lager than Sugar Bowl and is now in the top 5 resorts in the state. Bear Valley was one of the only resorts in the US to expand this year.
Early and deep snow brought record crowds over the critical Christmas vacation period. One local we spoke with this week said on some days every nook and cranny, parking space and room was sold out our being used.
The perfect time to visit Bear Valley is mid-week. That is the time you can fully appreciate the beauty of the area. During the winter when Ebbetts Pass is closed Bear becomes the end of the road on Hwy 4. With over 40 miles of cross county skiing trails to explore and over 1,600 acres of downhill Bear Valley provides a rare combination raw untouched beauty with enough infrastructure to make sure all your creature comforts are met.
Tourism in Calaveras County of which Bear Valley becomes a default member during the winter has been one of the driving forces in the local economy. It has shown consistent gains year after year. The area has a slower relaxed pace and lots of local wineries, golf courses and other amenities to make even your winter visit a well rounded one.
With the elevation change from 1,000 ft to over 8,000ft in just a few short miles you can literally be playing golf in sun and shirtsleeves in the morning and skiing in fresh powder in the afternoon.