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A little Big Bear review

gemini2k

Turbo Monkey
Jul 31, 2005
3,526
115
San Francisco
Since no one has really given any detailed reviews/summaries of the current situation at Snow Summit yet I'd thought I through in my 2 cents. I've ridden a huge percentage of the DH trails all over California and every resort in the state, so I think I can provide a pretty good perspective of the riding situation there.

I was very skeptical of the current new trails actually being fun, and was planning to mostly just ride the illegal trails while I was there. I was pleasantly surprised though! Looks like they've added a few new features since the opened, a few fade away ladder style drops and one or two stepups. Nothing crazy or amazing, but good, safe intermediate features. They've added lots of forks and alternate line options to each of the 2 trails there as well. Both of the trails are very similar. They are watering the trails throughout the day too, keeps it nice and not too dusty.

I think helmet cams and pics from opening weekend suggested the trails would be paved highways, however they are getting appropriately rough as more rocks and roots are being exposed. There is just enough chatter and rough stuff to make a full on DH bike preferable. They are quickly turning into classic, bear big natural DH style trails. Not quite as techy, steep, or rough (or fun) as some of the illegal trails there, but definitely fun for all levels.

I think they trails are actually fairly well laid out too. People may complain that there are too many weird, random uphill sections. But cruiser and miracle mile are very clearly designed for an intermediate rider to carry an intermediate level of speed on the trail. It is very obviously intentional. And it does that very well. You don't have to brake too much and your speeds never get out of control fast for the features/turns/whatever up ahead. Expert and above riders will still be able to ride the trail fast, but it takes a little bit of effort and pedaling, which is more than fine. Overall the trails will prove acceptably challenging for intermediate riders, maybe a bit too rough for beginners, but still fun for expert/pro riders to ride aggressively. There are some REALLY fun turns on those trails. I believe that this suggests that the trail builders are actually planning out the trails well and know what they are doing. Also, if you look closely throughout the mountain there are a BUNCH of trails that are in progress or almost finished being built, I'm sure they will open a few new ones very soon!


Also, I've read a lot of people complaining that some of the step ups are weird or hard to clear, I don't know what that is about. I was able to clear almost everything blind the first run, and overshoot a bunch of things while riding a cruising (for me) pace. I was able to easily clear everything the second run. I don't consider myself an especially impressive rider either. Nothing about them is awkward, but they are pretty fun.

And the Bad:

They need to sort out the lift situation. Line are VERY long in the middle of the day, about 20-25+ minutes from 11-1:30pm. I'd suggest showing up later in the day if you don't plan on doing endless laps anyways. They are doing 1 bike per chair because there is only 1 hook per chair, and then not loading anyone onto that chair, but only people separately. Probably some stupid insurance bullsh*t. I'm sure they are smart enough to have a better, multi bike tray based system in the works though.

Trail etiquette. 95% of the riders up there are noobs right now, which is fine and as expected. I'm all for that. They will always be the bulk of any resort business. And it is ultimately the money they spend that provides the capital for the resort to expand their trail network. However, it is very clear that the vasy majority of the riders have never ridden lifts and have no business on DH trails. Lots of traffic and people stopping in the middle of the trails, and don't expect slow riders to get out of the way and pull off to the side to let you pass. I'm sure that this will improve over time as people gain experience and the mileage of trails increases.


Overall it is great though. The problems are minor. The resort is busy, I haven't seen that many northshore racks and dakine pads in one place in Socal ever I think. It's very encouraging and a positive scene. The resort is clearly putting in a serious effort. The amenities are run well, lift tickets and other prices are very reasonable too, and I'm a total Jew.
 
Last edited:

Fonzie18

Turbo Monkey
Since no one has really given any detailed reviews/summaries of the current situation at Snow Summit yet I'd thought I through in my 2 cents. I've ridden a huge percentage of the DH trails all over California and every resort in the state, so I think I can provide a pretty good perspective of the riding situation there.

I was very skeptical of the current new trails actually being fun, and was planning to mostly just ride the illegal trails while I was there. I was pleasantly surprised though! Looks like they've added a few new features since the opened, a few fade away ladder style drops and one or two stepups. Nothing crazy or amazing, but good, safe intermediate features. They've added lots of forks and alternate line options to each of the 2 trails there as well. Both of the trails are very similar. They are watering the trails throughout the day too, keeps it nice and not too dusty.

I think helmet cams and pics from opening weekend suggested the trails would be paved highways, however they are getting appropriately rough as more rocks and roots are being exposed. There is just enough chatter and rough stuff to make a full on DH bike preferable. They are quickly turning into classic, bear big natural DH style trails. Not quite as techy, steep, or rough (or fun) as some of the illegal trails there, but definitely fun for all levels.

I think they trails are actually fairly well laid out too. People may complain that there are too many weird, random uphill sections. But cruiser and miracle mile are very clearly designed for an intermediate rider to carry an intermediate level of speed on the trail. It is very obviously intentional. And it does that very well. You don't have to brake too much and your speeds never get out of control fast for the features/turns/whatever up ahead. Expert and above riders will still be able to ride the trail fast, but it takes a little bit of effort and pedaling, which is more than fine. Overall the trails will prove acceptably challenging for intermediate riders, maybe a bit too rough for beginners, but still fun for expert/pro riders to ride aggressively. There are some REALLY fun turns on those trails. I believe that this suggests that the trail builders are actually planning out the trails well and know what they are doing. Also, if you look closely throughout the mountain there are a BUNCH of trails that are in progress or almost finished being built, I'm sure they will open a few new ones very soon!


Also, I've read a lot of people complaining that some of the step ups are weird or hard to clear, I don't know what that is about. I was able to clear almost everything blind the first run, and overshoot a bunch of things while riding a cruising (for me) pace. I was able to easily clear everything the second run. I don't consider myself an especially impressive rider either. Nothing about them is awkward, but they are pretty fun.

And the Bad:

They need to sort out the lift situation. Line are VERY long in the middle of the day, about 20-25+ minutes from 11-1:30pm. I'd suggest showing up later in the day if you don't plan on doing endless laps anyways. They are doing 1 bike per chair because there is only 1 hook per chair, and then not loading anyone onto that chair, but only people separately. Probably some stupid insurance bullsh*t. I'm sure they are smart enough to have a better, multi bike tray based system in the works though.

Trail etiquette. 95% of the riders up there are noobs right now, which is fine and as expected. I'm all for that. They will always be the bulk of any resort business. And it is ultimately the money they spend that provides the capital for the resort to expand their trail network. However, it is very clear that the vasy majority of the riders have never ridden lifts and have no business on DH trails. Lots of traffic and people stopping in the middle of the trails, and don't expect slow riders to get out of the way and pull off to the side to let you pass. I'm sure that this will improve over time as people gain experience and the mileage of trails increases.


Overall it is great though. The problems are minor. The resort is busy, I haven't seen that many northshore racks and dakine pads in one place in Socal ever I think. It's very encouraging and a positive scene. The resort is clearly putting in a serious effort. The amenities are run well, lift tickets and other prices are very reasonable too, and I'm a total Jew.
Stoked to go up this weekend!
 

jonKranked

Press Button, Receive Stupid
Nov 10, 2005
54,577
4,114
media blackout
regarding the lift thing - resort to resort its so inconsistent. one of the mountains by me can only put 1 bike per chair, and you HAVE you ride up on the chair with your bike... which means... riding up by yourself. every run.
 

fred.r

Dwangus Bogans
May 9, 2006
843
0
I was up there yesterday for the fist time, had a total blast. Sure, the two bike park trails aren't the most challenging terrain in the world, but there's room there to push your limits and ride the trails aggressively. The blocking of the trail issue is there for sure, lots of people stopped in the middle of the trail and slower riders clogging up quicker ones, but we were all there knowing that this would be the case as there are only 2 trails and lots of newer riders up there and didn't let it get to us. The problem will lessen as more trails open up.
Bottom line, I'm stoked we have a resort back open in SoCal.
 

Abstrakt51

Monkey
Oct 11, 2006
981
1
OC
Owner wants to see ROI before investing in a multiple bike lift solution. Word is we'll have some N* Vista type racks by next season.

I've been there 3 weekends straight and I'm pleased to say they continue to maintain and further build the 2 existing trails there.
 

Kanye West

220# bag of hacktastic
Aug 31, 2006
3,450
164
And interestingly, Snow Summit and Bear Valley (or is it Bear Mountain?) are both up for sale, per KTLA news. Seems the sudden and unprecedented interest in the mountain biking infrastructure there is just to establish some perceived value for summer season, since it was basically worthless before. A quickly thrown together easy trail built to last a little bit to draw a huge range of riders seems to have done the trick. Gotta say I can admire it as a business decision.

Hope the new owners see it fit to develop their facilities to make money year round.