Bear Valley

2280 Highway 207, Bear Valley , CA (Driving Directions to Bear Valley)
Last Updated: 10/25/2016 5:29 AM

Bear Valley Ski Report, Mountain Conditions and Resort Statistics

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As one of the closest ski resorts to the Bay Area, and with over 1,680 skiable acres, nine surface lifts, 1,900 feet of vertical and 359” of annual snowfall, Bear Valley Resorts is a favorite winter destination for Northern California families. The 2013/2014 season promises new offerings that are bound to please, ... an expanded ski school, a new learning center, additional ski team options, a growing list of events and a number of competitive and leisure activities on the mountain for families of all ages to participate in are just a few of these new winter season offerings

So if you're looking for an off-the-radar weekend getaway, a fun place for the family or you're simply seeking the steep and deep, choose Bear Valley for your next adventure.
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Bear Valley Amenities

  • Night Skiing Night Skiing
    Night skiing available.
  • Terrain Park Terrain Park
    Ski area offers at least one terrain park.
  • Half Pipe Half Pipe
    Ski area offers a half pipe.
  • Cat Skiing Cat Skiing
    Cat skiing is available at this resort; may entail an add'l cost
  • Grooming Grooming
    This resort grooms a portion of its slopes.
  • Snow Making Snow Making
    Ski area offers snow making for additional coverage.
  • Family Friendly Family Friendly
    This resort is known for providing a family friendly atmosphere.
  • Expert Favorite Expert Favorite
    This resort is known for its challenging terrain.
  • Daycare Available Daycare Available
    Guests have access to daycare services; an additional charge may apply.
  • Slopeside Dining Slopeside Dining
    Resort offers at least one restaurant on the slopes; hours may vary.
  • Slopeside Lodging Slopeside Lodging
    This resort has slopeside lodging available; it may or may not be ski in/ski out.
  • Tubing Tubing
    This resort offers tubing activities; additional charges may apply
  • Wi-Fi Access Wi-Fi Access
    This resort is equipped with internet access; additional charges may apply
  • Skiers Only Skiers Only
    This resort does not allow snowboarding.
  • Ropes Course/Aerial Park Ropes Course/Aerial Park
    Resort offers ropes course/aerial park. Additional charges may apply, may only be available in summer.
  • Alpine Slide / Coaster Alpine Slide / Coaster
    Resort has Alpine Slide, Alpine Coast or both. Additional charges may apply, may only be open in summer.
  • Concerts / Festivals Concerts / Festivals
    Frequent host of concerts or festivals.
  • Event Space/Conference Center Event Space/Conference Center
    Resort has event space & conference center available.
  • Former Olympic Site Former Olympic Site
    Resort is a former Olympic site.
  • Gambling Gambling
    Resort has legal gambling services.
  • Golf Course Golf Course
    Resort has a golf course. Additional charges may apply, may only be open in summer.
  • Gondola Rides Gondola Rides
    Resort offers gondola rides.
  • Hiking Hiking
    Resort offers hiking trails and services. Additional charges may apply, may only be available in summer.
  • Ice Skating Ice Skating
    Resort offers ice skating activities.
  • Indoor Waterpark Indoor Waterpark
    Resort offers indoor waterpark.
  • Mountain Biking Mountain Biking
    Resort offers mountain biking. Additional charges may apply, may only be available in summer.
  • Outdoor Waterpark Outdoor Waterpark
    Resort offers outdoor water park. Additional charges may apply, may only be available in summer.
  • Segway Tours Segway Tours
    Resort offers segway tours. Additional charges may apply, may only be available in summer.
  • Snowmobiling Snowmobiling
    Resort offers snowmobiling. Additional charges may apply.
  • Spa Spa
    Resort offers spa services. Additional charges may apply.
  • Zipline Zipline
    Resort offers zipline activities. Additional charges may apply, may only be available in summer.

Bear Valley Operations


Opening Soon for Snow Sports

Lifts Open/Total

0 of 10

Weekday Hours


Trails Open/Total

0 of 75

Weekend Hours


Bear Valley Snow Report & Ski Conditions

Base Elevation

6,600 ft

24-hr Snowfall


Vertical Drop

1,900 ft

Avg Base Depth


Peak Elevation

8,500 ft

Bear Valley Ski Pictures and Photos

Bear Valley Logo
Bear Valley Trail Map

Bear Valley Reviews & Tips (26)

I did not know that BIG BEAR and BEAR VALLEY were 2 different places. I was unable to use my tickets that I bought :(
Bear Valley review written Apr 12 2016 - 12:13 AM
Karen Beginner Skier
This is a great resort for families. Took my three grandkids last Saturday and put the youngest in his 2nd year of Cub Ski School. He loves it - but warning, they sell out in advance so get your reservation in. Especially when the weather is spectacular as it was this past weekend. Temps in high 40's blue ski and 10 feet of snow base - yet remarkably, it was not slushy in the afternoon at 2 nor 3. When there is a large base like this past weekend, the backside and bottom (Grizzy) runs are open which makes it way less crowded at the other ski chairs. The parking lot was full to the hilt - one of the most I've seen in many years, and yet the skiers were in full on all runs which didn't make it seem crowded. There is preferred parking for $25 up closer, but if you park ski slope side on the first hairpin turn, you can ski from Koala chair to your car for a nice picnic lunch. There was a band playing around lunch and all afternoon on the sun deck which is a terrific viewing area for parents who don't ski and want to keep an eye on children in ski school. Noticed that there is a new play tubing hill on the other side of the Bear Village entrance - very cool. The highway is riddled with pot holes for the last 10 miles or so getting to the Village - what's up with that Calaveras County????
Bear Valley review written Feb 29 2016 - 05:05 PM
'94 FarWest A Vet Women's Champion Advanced Skier
I went two days ago and had a really nice day. The left attendants were very helpful and greeted me every time I got on the chair. The conditions were mostly very good. I only wish highway 4 wasn't in such rough shape. Otherwise, a great day at Bear Valley!
Bear Valley review written Feb 10 2016 - 04:51 PM
tom henry Intermediate Skier
Made a family trip to BV the week of January 4, 2016. Several small and large storms had provided ~18"+ of fresh powder early in the week. Because it was midweek, there were no crowds, no lines, which made getting our tickets, parking, and waxing very easy. With the lack of crowds came a lack of staff. We were unable to find a cashier to pay for our food, the coffee bar was closed most of our visit, and several lifts were not running. Despite this, we still had a great time, but for ski enthusiasts looking for a Lake Tahoe "like" resort experience, this is probably not the right resort for you. This is a smaller, rustic, and charming country resort that has a lot of antique characteristics. Nonetheless, the back mountain terrain and snow were great, as were the employees.
Bear Valley review written Jan 10 2016 - 11:22 PM
Mike Intermediate Snowboarder
First time visitor. Weekday, powder day. Relatively cold storm, but snow was still pretty heavy- wished I had a fatter board. Started under Bear Chair. Then Cornice, wasted some time on backside, shared a lift with someone who pointed me to Grizz- spent the rest of the day there. Still fresh tracks to be had in early afternoon if you are willing to traverse. Not much long steep stuff but plenty of short pitches. Really nice people who work here. Grateful to learn about this place. Four Winds Winery in Vallecito definitely worth stopping by on the way back.
Bear Valley review written Jan 10 2016 - 03:18 PM
Eric Advanced Snowboarder
Oh, and one other thing, all new skis for rent in the rental office. Really great!
Bear Valley review written Nov 30 2015 - 02:32 PM
Melissa M. Intermediate Skier
The opening day was fun. Snow was great for part of the day, although it turned a bit icy toward the late afternoon. Only two runs open right now, the Panda run and Mokolumne run. But, it was fun nonetheless. I wish there were a few more restaurants in Bear Valley, as those that are there have a bit of a monopoly. But I highly recommend the Caesar salad and the Veggie Burger at the bar in the lodge. And the Bistro had pretty good desserts. Rooms are rustic (circa 1970s) but clean and spacious. All in all, a great time. I also like the unpretentiousness of Bear, much different than Heavenly. Bear Valley has that older European Nordic ski village feel, which is wonderful and hard to find in these flashy, ski pro wannabe times....
Bear Valley review written Nov 30 2015 - 02:30 PM
Melissa M. Intermediate Skier
I went on 2/16/2015, and the snow was slusky. There was thin cover at the bottom of Polar express. The backside of Pooh bear runs are pretty good in the afternoon with sun. Overall, I enjoyed the this resort. Just wish the snow condition could be better.
Bear Valley review written Feb 18 2015 - 02:11 PM
Summer Advanced Skier
Ski with the sun - the backside was much more fun, bright and warm in the afternoon as sun was on that side. Stick with the Polar Express and fast lifts; the old chair ones kept stopping and we wasted a lot of time on the front side with those. Also, they seriously need to look at their equipment rental system - terrible. Lastly, I bought lift ticket with ski rental on Liftopia - saved a ton of money but you have to commit to a day and a person - non-transferable. However, staff at the rental counter had never seen the Liftopia deal before, so it took longer to rent my equipment. Since I ski like every 5 years, it was all tolerable! Happy Skiing season, 2014/2015! Kathleen
Bear Valley review written Dec 29 2014 - 05:02 PM
Kathleen Beginner Skier
The snow was great spring skiing. Point your skiis downhill and let them rip. We had the mountain to ourselves most of the day. I go here primarily and love the easy access to the resort. I would go to the Tahoe resorts if I wanted to spend way more money and wait in lift lines.
Bear Valley review written Apr 10 2014 - 08:37 AM
Ace Advanced Skier
Went up on 3/11/14. They have enough snow base coverage. Main chair is awfully slow. But they are too lazy and did not groom single trail on Polar Express lift side. The half mountain is frozen solid till about 1 pm for some snow soften up. Even a single groomed trail will help enjoy the mountain more. Went to Sierra at Tahoe next day and enjoy many wide, groomed run there. No wonder Bear valley do not have the crowd of Tahoe.
Bear Valley review written Mar 14 2014 - 10:00 PM
James Advanced Skier
Had a wonderful time. Very friendly staff, great lifts, no lines. Plenty of fresh snow- my kids enjoyed tracking through the trees. Plenty of challenging runs, so we moved all around the mountain. All in all a great time. And with Liftopia's help, we saved a few bucks to spend at the resort. Thanks!
Bear Valley review written Mar 05 2014 - 09:21 AM
John Advanced Skier
Matt Hansen wrote this about Bear Valley for Powder Magazine Jan, 30th, 2013. I grew up on this hill and couldn't agree more! From Powder Magazine: Getting to Bear Valley Ski Area, on the westslope of the Sierras, is a journey in itself. Along Highway 4, you cut across the heart of Central Valley, with its rows of almond orchards, strawberry fields and hunched-over migrant workers. The feedlots, where the cows are packed so tightly together that they’ve become smeared in their own excrement, make you wish you were a vegetarian. Then the road climbs into the rolling foothills of blonde grasses and oak trees, into old 49er towns like Angel’s Camp and Murphys, which has one of California’s oldest saloons. Strange that this is the start of a ski trip. The road continues upward, past a place called Big Trees. Which is what you see—great big majestic trees that lean over the road like the walls of a canyon. From there, Highway 4 continues its long journey to an abrupt end at Bear Valley—an old school ski area known for its family friendly atmosphere, great terrain that doesn’t get skied that often, and for being near the crest of the High Sierra. But few people have heard about it, and fewer still know where it is. As the crow flies, Bear Valley is only 20 miles north of Yosemite National Park and six miles south of Kirkwood, but from the ski area, it takes three hours to drive to either place. Up and down and round she goes—that’s how you get around up here. With 1,600 acres, “soft boundaries” for accessible backcountry skiing, 1,900 feet of vertical, and 360 inches of annual snowfall, Bear Valley is worth the drive. But it’s certainly, um, different. Characterized by locals as “upside down,” the upper mountain has all the beginner and intermediate terrain, while the aggressive skiing is on the lower half. You park (for free) at mid-mountain next to an old day lodge. There you will probably find a long line of beginners and families waiting to rent skis. Brown baggers aren’t stuffed into a dingy basement, and you might find a mom at the cafeteria plugging in her Crockpot. You also might find General Manager Jim Gentling at the ticket window, or the rental zone, or even fixing a door. At night, Gentling helps at the restaurants and bars, while longtime ski patroller Bill Gillespie may pull double duty as a bartender. It’s all part of the community atmosphere. As one skier recently stated, “Bear Valley is a pocket of goodness.” The resort feels like it is from another time. Five of the eight lifts are old Riblet doubles, probably still the originals from when Bear Valley first opened in the mid-1960s. And while we should protect and patronage those resorts that remind us of how skiing used to be, there are times when a fresh coat of paint would go a long way. Bear Valley’s infrastructure and lodging are creaky, and dining options are few, meaning those who stay overnight don’t have a lot of choices. The resort has long planned to upgrade its facilities and redevelop the village. The Forest Service recently approved the plan, which most locals say would give a much-needed boost to a ski area that is, sadly, barely hanging on. The financial meltdown of 2008 has lingered here, and last winter’s dearth of snowfall put a severe hurt on the area’s bottom line. But with great terrain, and down-home culture that promotes hanging out with family and friends, the ski area already has a character that so many try to imitate. As plans move forward to refresh the area, Bear Valley marches on as the cool little funky ski zone at the end of a road in the middle of the Sierra.
Bear Valley review written Nov 19 2013 - 10:50 PM
Michelle Saar Advanced Skier
good intermediate mountain
Bear Valley review written Feb 15 2013 - 11:30 PM
karna hess Intermediate Skier
Nice place, nothing special except it is a good "family" resort. They recently opened more sorely needed advanced terrain that gets little use from the most intermediate skiers there. There is a decent local racing program. If you arrive late, expect a long walk from the car to the base. It is an overlooked resort, for sure.
Bear Valley review written Nov 20 2012 - 08:49 AM
quantman Advanced Skier
Fun as always. Went on Feb.14, after weeks of no snow it snowed on the way up and until about 1 p.m., about 2-3" of fresh powder on top of what was icy the week b4. Had a great day, a little cold and windy, but for people like us who don't wimp out in cold weather it was awesome. Backside was sweet. This weeks storms should make it awesome for next week.
Bear Valley review written Feb 16 2011 - 07:46 PM
Mike Valley Springs,CA Intermediate Skier
A return to an 'old friend'. Bear is a good intermediate mtn. Went on superbowl sunday and got in LOTS of runs!
Bear Valley review written Feb 08 2011 - 02:17 PM
Bob Intermediate Skier
Back side was great fun. Long runs and high speed quad. Several different runs to go down. Be careful using the traverse back to the front side. If your ridding and don't have the speed you'll be walking or skating for a while.
Bear Valley review written Jan 24 2011 - 12:10 PM
scout rider Advanced Snowboarder
Skiing at Bear Valley was great. We go there all the time. It's a great mountain, lot's of great runs without the Tahoe crowd. We went on a perfect day, 3-4" of fresh powder overnight, sunny and low 30's with a monday crowd of no one. Never waited more than one chair to get on lift. I went in to office to get lift ticket, showed my ID, they had it waiting with a post it with my name on it. Great service you guys, saved me $23.00, so my son and I had tickets for the normal price of mine. I will be buying tix through you from now on.
Bear Valley review written Jan 12 2011 - 08:54 PM
User Intermediate Skier
LOVED Bear Valley! there was absolutely no lines on lifts on a Friday.
Bear Valley review written Jan 09 2011 - 11:51 PM
Susie Advanced Snowboarder
Great runs for everyone at all levels. The most advanced runs are short, but challenging. No crowds! Of course, no crowds means lots of skiing and sore muscles the next day or two - Love it!
Bear Valley review written Jan 08 2011 - 09:45 PM
Wetpaws Advanced Skier
We go to Bear every year. Stay in Arnold and spend some time in Murphey's when we aren't at Bear.
Bear Valley review written Jan 06 2011 - 10:27 AM
Alex Beginner Snowboarder
Bear Valley review written Dec 20 2010 - 11:23 AM
JESSEP Advanced Snowboarder
Great place for a weekend. Lovely runs with no crowds. Really nice friendly vibe unlike a lot of the major Tahoe resorts. I'll definitely be returning to BV.
Bear Valley review written Dec 07 2010 - 06:18 PM
Hackster Intermediate Skier
You can hit most of the mountain in a weekend. Backside, front side and lower bowl. I spend most of the day on Grizz when there's enough of a base.
Bear Valley review written Nov 27 2009 - 11:31 PM
Kev Advanced Skier
i liked BV. fun place.
Bear Valley review written Sep 18 2009 - 03:10 PM
doug Beginner Skier

Share your Bear Valley Reviews & Tips

Points to consider while writing:
  • - Definitely talk about the snow, the lifts, the quality of the run, the staff/instructors
  • - Would you go again?
  • - What would you say to others with your skill level who are interested in going?