Category: Big Bear Photos

Lucky Kayakers get Quick Rescue from Big Bear Lake Patrol

Big Bear Lake, CA February 12 , 2015 –  Spending time on the lake in a boat or kayak in the winter months can be a deadly combination even if the sun is out and temperatures are a balmy 50 degrees.  Always use caution, wear a life vest and realize that regular patrol of the lake is not possible in the colder months.   The water is cold and hypothermia is a predictable outcome if you end up in the water.   Here is the description and photos of what happened given to us by Kim Baker with the photos taken by her friends George and Sam.   “Here are some pictures of the the two kayaker’s that turned over in the lake on Tuesday Feb 10 2015. The pictures are from a couple of fishermen that saw it when it happened,  and called 911.  Emergency was there in a matter of minuets.  They are alive and fine.  Fishermen where on Sandy Beach north shore.   George and Sam.”...

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Winter Sports in the San Bernardino Mountains

Big Bear Valley, CA, November 29, 2014 – In 1925, Walter Kruckman ran a bus line which serviced the San Bernardino Mountains. The Motor Transit Company had a franchise to the mountains which required them to operate a year-round bus service, even though they traveled empty in the winter months. Kruckman came up with the idea of developing public interest in snow sports to fill his empty buses during the winter season. He helped form the Southern California Winter Sports League and took the position of publicity director. Kruckman promoted winter sports with 15 minute radio spots detailing road and snow conditions, and attracted Norway’s ski champion, Sven Hansen, to donate his time as Big Bear’s first ski instructor. In the early 30s, the Viking Ski Club of Los Angeles provided instruction and began holding competitive, winter sports events in Big Bear. Downhill skiing was gaining in popularity and the historic Lynn Sling Lift opened in Big Bear in 1938 at the Snow Forest Ski Resort. After World War II, owner Clifford Lynn built a 3000 foot single chair lift. During the 40s and early 50s several small rope tows were constructed, including an Upper and Lower Moonridge Rope Tow, located where the base of Bear Mountain Ski Area is today. In 1947, Tommy Tyndall arrived in Big Bear and started ski schools at several of the ski areas....

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Astronomical Society Explores Cosmos

Big Bear Lake, CA, July 19, 2014 – Visitors to Big Bear often comment on how bright the stars are at night, and there’s a couple of reasons for that. Our altitude of over 6700 feet gives us excellent transparency, and the lack of many street lights keep the skies appropriately dark. Given those conditions, our mountain is the perfect place to explore astronomy. The Big Bear Valley Astronomical Society (BBVAS) was established in 1991 to explore and increase our appreciation of the Universe. It caters to amateur astronomers of all levels and promotes science literacy through outreach activities like sharing telescopes on the Village sidewalk. A new event for the organization is remote live lectures, where a professional Astronomer presents a live, interactive lecture over Skype. Past speakers have hailed from the National Solar Observatory in Arizona, the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland and the Executive Director of the International Dark Sky Association from Arizona. Society members also get together once a month for a “star party”, setting up telescopes in a dark location to gaze at all the beautiful objects in the sky. Observers of all ages and backgrounds are welcome, whether they have a telescope or not. If you do have a scope, they’ll help you set it up and navigate the cosmos. The next star party is on July 26 in Baldwin Lake during...

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Resort Life… in Turn of the Century Big Bear

Big Bear, CA, May 31, 2014 – As soon as Big Bear Lake was created by building the original ‘Rock Dam’ in 1885, tourists started visiting  Bear Valley. In 1888, Gus Knight Jr. and John Metcalf purchased 80 acres on the south shore of the lake to build the valley’s first resort, The Bear Valley Hotel. Despite the fact that it took two days by stage and burro train to reach the valley, the hotel was always crowded. Unfortunately, on Christmas eve in 1900 the hotel burned to the ground but Knight rebuilt and was open soon after. In 1911, the ‘Pine Knot Resort Company’ was formed by a group of wealthy businessmen from Redlands. They bought the Knight/Metcalf resort and built the Pine Knot Lodge. Located along Pine Knot Blvd.  just south of where the Village is now, the lodge had a large dining room, dance floor, and 75 cabins by 1913. It was torn down in the late 1930s. The Big Bear Tavern was a stylish resort built in 1917 and still exists today as the Presbyterian Conference Grounds. If you had the money, the place to stay in the 20s was Stillwell’s. On a point just east of the village, it was the most luxurious and expensive accommodations in the valley. Stillwell’s was rebuilt after fire destroyed the pavilion in 1928. Seventeen years later, the ‘rebuilt’...

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The Road to Big Bear

Big Bear, CA, April 26, 2014 – The first road into the San Bernardino Mountains, which was really just a trail, was built by the Mormons in 1852 and ascended Waterman Canyon. Big Bear Lake was created in 1885 and the only way up, other than a pack trail up Santa Ana Canyon, was a long arduous trip up Cushenbury Grade. To get to the Grade, visitors first had to travel over Cajon Pass to the desert before climbing the steep grade to Bear Valley. In May of 1888, the Bear Valley Toll Road Company was formed. They cut a road into Santa Ana Canyon and over the mountains  into the Valley, and used a combination of stage coach and mule train for the two day trip to Big Bear. In 1891, Gus Knight and John Metcalf formed the Bear Valley Wagon Road Company and by the following year had completed a road through what is now Running Springs. Stagecoaches began making scheduled runs into the valley three times a week. With this new road, travel time to Big Bear was cut to a day and a half. It was 1908 when the first automobile made the 101 mile trip up. Since gas stations were non-existent, a 20 horsepower steam powered vehicle was chosen to make the trek, and did so with much difficulty. In 1915, Rim of the...

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