A webcam captured Bear Mountain on Tuesday, Nov. 17, after the resort received 10 inches of snow.
COURTESY OF BEAR MOUNTAIN
Big Bear Lake snowfall records
1971: 3 inches
1964: 2 inches
Record snow that fell on the Big Bear area on Monday, Nov. 16 — as well as a forecast of a strong El Niño winter — have ski resorts and the local business community gearing up for what could be a prosperous ski season.
Snow Summit and Bear Mountain received about 10 inches of snow throughout Sunday, Nov. 15, and Monday, officials reported. The National Weather Service reported 3.8 inches Monday at Big Bear Lake, which is 0.8 inches larger than the previous record year in 1971.
“We are basically a visitor-driven economy, ” Big Bear Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Pam Scannell said. “We rely on people coming up here, using our accommodations, shopping at our village businesses and eating at our restaurants.”
Thanks to the Big Bear ski resorts’ use of snow-making technology — which has helped make up for years when less natural snow has fallen — businesses haven’t lost too much money in seasons past, Scannell said.
Having enough natural snow on the mountains, however, makes for some persuasive marketing.
“People like to see the snow in the distance up on the mountain tops, ” Scannell said. “That’s what brings us people from places like Los Angeles.”
Snow Summit and Bear Mountain have already started to see signs of a good season. The resorts both opened Friday, Nov. 13. Snow Summit is open seven days a week, and Bear Mountain will begin daily operation Friday, Nov. 20.
Big Bear Mountain Ski Resorts Communications Director Rob Ochtera said the decision to open Bear Mountain for daily operation wasn’t solely due to this week’s storm. The resort’s terrain park was named the best in the nation in 2015 by Transworld Snowboarding magazine in its November issue.
“We’ve been in the Top 10 a whole bunch and in 2013 and 2014 we were in the Top 3, ” Ochtera said. “This is the first time we were No. 1 though, and we’re stoked.”
Bear Mountain will operate one chairlift Friday and two chairlifts starting Saturday, Ochtera said. Snow Summit is currently operating two chairlifts.