Big Bear Ski Resorts opened for business on Friday, marking the start of the ski season, but there are some changes.
The night temperatures finally got cold enough to turn on the snowmaking machines.
Skiers and snowboarders say that even if the snow isn’t natural, it’s good enough.
“We were so excited. We talked about it on the drive. We woke up from Los Angeles at 5 am and got up on time for class. It was great. The weather is perfect,” said Liisa Jackson of LA.
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As of Friday, seven runs and four chairlifts were open.
“We would like to point out to people that we only have limited slopes. So be careful when out on the slopes. It could be a little more crowded than if we open up more terrain, ”said Justin Kanton of Bear Mountain Resorts.
Last winter, the pandemic limited daily capacity due to social distancing.
Changes were made this winter to prevent the lift areas from becoming overcrowded.
Skiers receive a ticket card that beeps through a gate.
“You don’t have to stop and scan your ID. You literally put it in your pocket and it’s a lot faster too. The queue was a lot faster,” said Kimberly Villegas of San Diego.
Shops nearby are also reaping the financial benefits of the opening day, including the Copper Q coffee shop.
“That means that for the next several months while they’re open, we’ll definitely have a lot of business to keep us going,” said manager Loralye Burger.
Burger says the pandemic and drought have left small businesses in the region tough.
“They know we lost a few restaurants in the village due to Covid, so it’s good to see people come back and have fun again,” she said.
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Even if the drive is long, people on the slopes say that every kilometer is worth it.
“When you’re up here, you remember how fun it is and you’re excited to be here,” said Jackson.
If you’re planning on getting upstairs, the resorts are open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on weekends from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.