Exposure: Behind the Scenes at Snow Summit Mountain Bike Park

By Brian Terhorst

Photos by Leslie Terhorst

Snow Summit Mountain Resort opened its mountain bike park Friday, making it the first mountain resort bike park to open in the U.S. this season, according to resort officials. 

The crew from Revolt In Style made the easy 2 1/2 hr. trip up to Big Bear Mountain to attend the first annual Summer Kickoff Party on Saturday,  April 19. The event transformed the base area at Snow Summit into a Mountain Bike Vendor’s showcase, featuring dozens of brands like Santa Cruz, Troy Lee Designs, Five Ten, Smith Optics, Marin Bikes, Freestyle USA, and Trek- just to name a few.  DJ Slip Matt was spinning from the Red Bull MXT,  and guests enjoyed raffles, prizes and killer product giveaways all day long. Burgers were on the BBQ & drink specials were available for the 21 and older crowd. 

Rio Tanbara, Marketing Director for Bear Mountain (recently transferred over to Snow Summit for the summer season) met us at the base area to welcome us & explain the event.  “Snow Summit is the only mountain bike park in Southern California that uses its snow lifts to get riders to the top’” said Rio. “We have teamed up with Gravity Logic, a leader in the mountain bike industry to design all new trails for mountain bikes.,” he continued “We’re really stoked to give mountain bikers the opportunity to enjoy our bike trails in April, which is the earliest we’ve ever offered this.”


We spent the day sharing the latest issue of Revolt In Style Magazine with riders & talking to vendors and staffers at the event.  We rode the Sky Chair, had an ‘interesting’  lunch at the top & captured some great images of riders. 


When we actually got to ride, we were quickly reminded that we were in high altitude. Basically,  your lungs, arms and legs burn. Overall physical health is tested when you ride at 8,000 feet, so take it easy (at first). 

Our good friend Ricky Fernandez from R&S Transportation was on site and taking advantage of some kick ass demo gear. “This is how I relax,” he tells us, “I Drive up here,  I jump on one of these bad boys & I get rid of any pent-up aggression… It’s just what I do, (he laughs) It’s awesome!” These bikes are worth about 5,000. “That’s actually on the low-end” said Ricky, “You can easily spend 10 grand on a complete set-up”. 


Complete Downhill Bike Package – All-Day Includes Bike Rental, Protective Gear & All-Day Pass is 139.00 (or you can do a few hours for about a hundo)


Guests who purchase a 2013-2014 Winter Season Pass (Bear Mountain included) may purchase a summer bike pass at half price (excluding night passes). Summer season pass benefits include 10% off food (excluding alcohol) and 20% off in the Sport Shop.

But it’s not only mountain biking that’s taking place at the resort. “We’ve got hiking trails for all levels of experience as well as a fantastic mountain top restaurant,” Snow Summit manager Wade Reeser said. “But if you’re looking for trails to rip-it-up on we have just what you’re looking for… Extreme banking turns, jumps and wooden bridges for all skill levels have been constructed on three separate trails for the modest to extreme riders.”


Snow Summit also offers a ride on the mile-long Scenic Sky Chair that takes sightseers and hikers to the top of Snow Summit, which has an elevation of 8,200 feet. It offers panoramic views and brings nature up close, including the option to hike back down rather than taking the sky chair. Save time this summer and fill out the EZ Waiver in advance. This is required for all participants of Snow Summit Adventure Park activities.


The local economy receives a huge boost from the mountain bike industry (especially after the dismal snow season of 2013-2014) We have personally never seen more activity in Big Bear during their ‘off-season’. Combine that with world class Golfing, Hiking or the new Zip Line attractions… not to mention Fishing,  Stand Up Paddleboards & boating in the lake. Now, there really is no off-season, thanks to Mountain Biking. 


The newly renovated Village offers excellent accommodations, dining and night time activities. Honky tonk bars, sports bars, Karaoke bars & even dance clubs compete for the ‘Over 21 crowd’.  Movie theaters, bowling alleys & shops galore, line the streets in the village. There is literally something for everyone up at Bear. 


To be honest, this was our first real exposure to the industry of Down Hill Mountain Biking.  We were impressed with the attendance & impressed by the quality of Mountain bikes & riding gear in use (also on display with the 30 or so vendors at the base of the mountain).  The long lift lines were proof that there is a hungry audience for what they have to offer at Snow Summit.  Lots of laughter, high fives & fist bumps in the lift lines. The general consensus is that everyone is stoked on the professionally built features & appreciate the multi level trails through out the park.  


We look forward to covering more of this burgeoning industry and spotlighting some of the top riders – so stay tuned.