Despite a massive manhunt for an alleged cop killer, tourism officials are making clear that the town of Big Bear Lake and its two nearby ski resorts are open for business.
More than 100 officers, many in tactical gear and armed with automatic weapons, were executing door-to-door searches around the town of Big Bear in search of former LAPD Officer Christopher Jordan Dorner, who is suspected in three murders.
Bear Mountain ski resort closed early Thursday afternoon in response to the manhunt but on Friday the mountain and its neighboring resort, Snow Summit, opened as usual Friday. Both resorts are owned by Big Bear Mountain Resorts.
"We definitely want to get the message out that we are open for business" said Dan McKernan, spokesman for the Big Bear Lake Resort Association.
Like most ski resorts operators throughout the state, officials at Bear Mountain and Snow Summit are hoping business will rebound this winter from last season, one of the worst ski season in decades.
The manhunt for Dorner intensified just as fresh powder began to fall at the start of what resort operators expected to be a busy ski weekend.
On Friday, McKernan said roads to Snow Summit were clear and without delays but law enforcement officials were diverting traffic on the road to Bear Mountain.
He said hard-core skiers continue to make the trek to the resorts to take advantage of the fresh powder but others are staying clear of the area.
"Some people are heading up and we are getting some people who are saying 'It's not worth getting up here,'" McKernan said.
He said resort officials plan to discuss whether to offer discounts to draw more skiers to the resorts this weekend.