We’re writing this from more than 8,000 feet in the air, thanks to a trip up Snow Summit’s Scenic Sky Chair, the same high-speed quad ski lift that during the wet winter months goes by the name East Mountain Express.
But things slow down a bit in the summer. That’s when the snowboarders pack up and move back into their parents’ basements, and the mountain bikers arrive. For them, the Sky Chair takes about 15 minutes to get to the top (speeds are reduced to let people off and on without that whole falling-on-your-ass element that makes snowboarding such a blast). Once at the top, take in the stunning view of the surrounding landscape, the full view of the lake, and the reason people chuck their entire lives and move to the mountains to soak in tranquility.
And it really is tranquil, even with the plethora of spandex-clad mountain bikers. As for the trails, beginning bikers can trounce down the Bristlecone Trail, with its standard bit of rolling terrain. But for you hotshots, we hear there’s the Skyline Drive, which rolls across the top of the ridge for another view. After taking a bit of a break, head toward Grandview Point and then on to Towne Trail, a nine-mile loop.
Not enough for ya? Stay on Skyline Drive till you hit Champion Lodgepole Pine, then loop back to the resort for a total of 16 miles. From there, any biker worth his or her padded shorts knows the way to end the trip is happy hour at La Montana, the mountain biker haven at the end of Moonridge, just a few blocks east on Big Bear Boulevard from Summit Drive. That’s where the real action is—with the terribly cheap quesadillas and Coronas. (Shawn Smith)
Snow Summit Resort, 880 Summit Blvd., Big Bear Lake, (800) 866-5766; www.snowsummit.com.