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The California Bucket List: Your daily guide to the best adventures and experiences in the Golden State
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California Bucket List

Here’s your daily travel guide to the best adventures and experiences in the Golden State. Each of these essential California adventures has been tried and tested by a Travel section staffer or contributor.

Tell us what's on your California bucket list. Email travel@latimes.com and put California Bucket List in the subject line.

Family-friendlyInland Empire

Ski in the morning in the San Bernardino Mountains, surf in the evening, using these slopes as your launch point

Snow Summit (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)
Snow Summit (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

Why: SoCal offers the chance to ski and surf on the same day. This would be the snowy part of such a mountains-to-the-beaches day.

What: Bear Mountain and Snow Summit are two slices of the same cake. Two miles apart, the sister resorts are the crown jewels of the town of Big Bear, a couple of hours from the bustle of the big city.  

Big Bear is three hours away from downtown Los Angeles, and a world apart from the strip malls and gas stations that muck up much of Southern California. Spring, summer or fall, this alpine lake resort town offers plenty of activities, including boating, hiking and zip-lining.

 (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

But in winter, its twin ski resorts really come alive. If you think of Southern California as all palm trees and bikinis, visit Big Bear after a winter storm, when the place is buried in several feet of snow and looks like a Christmas card.

In what they offer, the two resorts are very similar, though Summit has the better terrain park. Lift tickets are good for both resorts, and buses run between the two resorts all day. Combined, the resorts offer 27 lifts and four high-speed chairs serving almost 60 runs.

The resorts are just a few minutes from the village, where restaurants, shops and a movie theater await visitors.

The resorts have begun making snow and opened Dec. 8. 

As with all mountain visits, note that conditions can change quickly, and chains are usually required on the twisty roads during any significant snow fall.

Where: Big Bear Lake is in the San Bernardino Mountains, in San Bernardino County. It is 97 miles east of Los Angeles.

How much: Advance purchase lift tickets start around $75. 

Info: Big Bear Mountain Resorts 

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