BIG BEAR LAKE, Calif. - Delivered as forecasted and promised, several feet of snow has turned Big Bear into a heavenly winter postcard.
As visitors make their way up to play in the snow, the roads heading to the mountains are nothing but a pain to drivers as slippery roads create havoc.
If you plan on driving in the mountainous area be prepared. Officials urge drivers to keep gas full, have water, food and warm clothing in the vehicle before you head up, in case you get stuck in the one lane roads that get blocked often in these conditions.
Even if you are driving a four wheel drive vehicle, when Caltrans calls for R3 conditions, chains are required. It’s their guideline and they are sending four and all-wheel drive vehicles back for not having chains with them.
Markets are beginning to run low on some goods. Delivery trucks are having a difficult time getting up on time since there are so many vehicles trying to get up the mountain.
Caltrans officials discouraging drivers from using SR-38, since it goes through some of the fire areas, so the main routes are SR-133 and SR-18. Check before you leave, and if you can, while driving up, for intermittent closures.
Ski resorts urge people to not come unless they have reservations, they are mandatory, and currently sold out for the weekend. Same goes for hotels… many are booked out.
Big Bear is under the state’s Purple tier COVID restrictions. Masks are a must and most restaurants are takeout only as outside eating is not easy in a patio getting hit with snow.
Last, but not least, a request from Big Bear officials and residents. If you are just driving up to play in the snow, on the side of the road, be mindful of not blocking the path for other vehicles and pick up after yourself. Residents say they are having serious issues with visitors leaving behind broken sleds, food wrappers, even dirty diapers on the side of the forest roads.
On the positive side, the Big Bear Alpine Zoo is now open to visitors. You don’t need reservations prior to coming and it’s a great way to see the animals, many of which have been rescued and can’t be released back into the wild.
There’s nothing like seeing the wolves and bears frolicking in the snow.
The zoo is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at a new location just around the corner from Snow Summit.