Winter Fun at Big Bear

If you’re looking for a twist on a 5k or 10k event, or simply want and chance to explore mountain trails in the wintertime, Snowshoe the Bear might just be for you. Every February, Southern California’s snowshoe event draws people out into mountain trails above Big Bear Lake.

Snowshoe the Bear aims to draw people up to trails during the winter. Photo courtesy of the Big Bear Valley Event Resource Office.
Snowshoe the Bear aims to draw people up to trails during the winter. Photo courtesy of the Big Bear Valley Event Resource Office.

First timers shouldn’t be intimidated – the Snowshoe the Bear is open to families, babies, dogs and rookies. “If you can walk, you can snowshoe,” says Karen Lundgren, founder of the event.

Experience SoCal’s Winter Wonderland:

Lundgren started Snowshoe the Bear six years ago because she noticed that a lot of people would hike in the summer, but very few would venture out in the winter. “I just wanted to get people out onto the trails and in the forest in the winter and share how beautiful it can be,” says Lundgren.

You never know what conditions Mother Nature will bring on race day. Photo courtesy of the Big Bear Valley Event Resource Office.
You never know what conditions Mother Nature will bring on race day. Photo courtesy of the Big Bear Valley Event Resource Office.

One of the challenges of holding a snowshoe event though, is that you never know what Mother Nature is going to bring. California’s drought has kept things pretty dry this year, but that’s not going to stop the fun. Lundgren, who has hiked Mount Everest and the Seven Summits, is up for anything, “We’ve had years with two feet of fresh powder and we’ve had a mud run in the rain – no matter what the weather’s like, everyone comes back with a big smile on their face.”

What Impact Does the Drought Have?

California’s drought has put a big dent in the snowpack on our mountains, both the Sierras and our local mountains. That’s important because most of the water we use everyday comes from those snowpacks. Big Bear, in particular, is part of the headwaters of the Santa Ana River’s watershed, which is one of the most used rivers in Southern California.

Last week, the Ridiculously Resilient Ridge  of high pressure that has blocked winter storms from coming into California shifted north toward Alaska, allowing two small storms into our region. Each dusted two inches of snow in Big Bear, but some high-temperature days have already melted them. Here’s to hoping that the ridge will allow a few more storms past (or will dissipate entirely).

Event Details:

This February 22nd, there will be a 5k and a 10k race, as well as a children’s race later in the day. Athlete Check In is from 7am – 9am. Both the 5k and the 10k start at 10 am on the corner of Pine Knot and Village Dive and head up to two different mountain trails. The kids’ race starts at noon. The day ends with a raffle, race awards, and hang out in Big Bear Village.  For complete information, visit the official website.

The tails give participants awesome views of Big Bear Lake. Photo courtesy of the Big Bear Valley Event Resource Office.
The tails give participants incredible views of Big Bear Lake. Photo courtesy of the Big Bear Valley Event Resource Office.

Registration and Rentals

Register for Snowshoe the Bear on their website. The 10K is $45 and the 5k is $25. You can rent snowshoes at any number of sports stores in the Village, and they highly recommend reserving a pair ahead of time.

Can’t Make It? Other Awesome Events in the Headwaters:

Snowshoe the Bear is a part of Open Air Big Bear , which hosts a number of athletic events that take advantage of the best Big Bear Lake has to offer. If you can’t quite make this event, check out their Facebook Page for Moonlit Hikes (with or without snowshoes, depending on the weather).