HOME OF SOCAL’S MOST DEPENDABLE SNOW CONDITIONS
Big Bear Mountain Resort features world-class snowmaking capabilities, which benefits guests by providing more reliable skiing/riding conditions as well as improving snow quality throughout the season.
To produce snow that is both rideable and sustainable requires a specific set of atmospheric conditions over a sustained period of time – typically 48-72 hours – with a wet bulb temperature of 27 or lower and moderate to strong winds. Wet bulb temperature measures the open air temperature and relative humidity together and is usually lower than the open air temperature, but will be identical when humidity is 100%. When these conditions are present BBMR can produce enough snow to cover all designated trails at Bear Mountain and Snow Summit without any natural snowfall.
Manmade snow is produced by compressed air and water through a network of machines called snow guns. The compressed air atomizes the water while simultaneously cooling it and blowing it into the air where it crystalizes and forms snow. Snow density can be varied by adjusting the air/water mixture to produce wetter, heavier snow for base layers and park features or dryer, lighter snow for better maneuvering on groomed runs and aesthetic purposes.
With ideal conditions each property’s snowmaking system is capable of converting 5,000 – 6,000 gallons of water to snow per minute, which significantly higher any other resort in Southern California. With normal or moderate conditions each system will typically operate in the 2,000 – 3,000 gallon per minute range.
To make snow BBMR uses water from Big Bear Lake, which it purchases from the Big Bear Municipal Water District (WMD) each season. The total amount of water used to produce snow each season equates to approximately 4 inches of surface water – making it virtually undetectable – with nearly 90% returning to the lake in the spring/summer via ground absorption and BBMR’s network of runoff waterways. For comparison, during the summer the lake averages 1-2 feet of natural evaporation, in addition to its primary use as an agricultural reservoir. Using lake water for snowmaking does not impact Big Bear’s water consumption/usage since all water used for domestic purposes is produced by wells.