There are a number of outdoor sporting events here in the Big Bear Valley, and local event organizers have come together to form the coalition Open Air Big Bear. According to Rick Bates of the Valley’s Events Resource Office, “The concept is for all of us to work together, pooling our resources and skills to present a full season of exciting outdoor events. While each event will have its own unique identity, we plan to create a festival atmosphere at each competition with live music and food, awards and prizes, demos, exhibit booths and more.” The first of seven open air events for 2009 is the second annual Snowshoe the Bear, a friendly snowshoeing competition (including a 5K, 10K and kids race) launching from the Village on Saturday, February 7. Other events coming to Big Bear this year include the Team Big Bear Mountain Bike Series (on May 31, July 11 and October 3), the Big Bear Paddlefest (on July 11-12), the California Multisport competition (on July 18) and the second annual Big Bear Marathon (on September 12). The coalition is also providing a challenge for elite athletes, as those who compete in all events to “Conquer the Bear” have an opportunity to be named Best on the Mountain. Adds Bates, “Outdoor adventure sports are growing in popularity and Big Bear Lake is a perfect destination with our beautiful mountain lake and clear blue skies. Athletes love the challenge and their friends and families like to come along to enjoy the Big Bear experience.” To register for upcoming events, visit Open Air Big Bear.