Bear Valley is located in the Northern California Sierra Nevada on Highway 4, between Lake Tahoe and Yosemite, 180 miles from San Francisco. From the Bay Area, take 580 East to 205 East to 120 East. Exit onto 99 North toward Stockton. Then take Highway 4 East through Angels Camp, and follow signs to Bear Valley.
Summit elevation: 8,495 feet. Vertical drop: 1,900 feet. Skiable acres: 1,280 acres, plus 500 acres of soft-boundary "adventure" terrain. Lifts: Two triple chairs, seven double chairs and two surface lifts. Annual snowfall: 360 inches.
Adult, $40; young adult (13-23), $35; children (7-12), $13; kids (6 and under), free; seniors, $5 for ages 65-74, free for ages 75 and over; interchangeable parent, $46.
There is no slopeside lodging. The closest lodges are BaseCamp (209-753-6556), Bear Valley Lodge (209-753-2327), and Tamarack Pines Inn (209-753-2080) or Tamarack Lodge at Bear Valley (209-753-2090). If traveling without children, try the Dorrington Hotel (209-795-5800). For assistance in finding lodging in the surrounding area, contact the Calaveras Visitors Bureau (800-225-3764 or www.visitcalaveras.org). For cabin or condo rentals, call Bear Valley Real Estate (209-753-2334) or Prudential California Realty (209-753-6400).
Bear Care, for ages 2 and up, is available on weekends and holidays for $45 all-day and $30 half-day. Skiing Bears Ski School is offered for ages 4-8 at $80 for all-day and $55 for half-day (209-753-2301 ext. 106).
A Good Deal
Bear Valley offers 2-for-1 lift tickets on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. There is also a 2-for-1 Intro package available on nonholiday Wednesdays and Thursdays, including a lift ticket, a two-hour lesson and gear rentals.
Bear Valley Cross-Country (209-753-2834) has 3,000 acres of trails, a kids sledding hill and snowshoeing. For a break from the snow, venture into the Calaveras Wine Country, featuring 11 wineries. Contact the Calaveras Wine Association (800-225-3764 ext. 25 or www.calaveraswines.org).
Bear Valley Mountain Resort: 209-753-2301, dial ext. 2 for snow report; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.bearvalley.com.