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Winter is here! Check out the winter wonderlands at these 5 amazing winter destinations in Montana

Where Is Bear Valley Ski Resort


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Katharyn Milan



Welcome to Bear Valley Ski Resort, nestled in the heart of the stunning Sierra Nevada mountains. Known for its breathtaking beauty and world-class skiing and snowboarding, Bear Valley offers an unforgettable winter getaway for outdoor enthusiasts of all levels.


Established in the late 1960s, Bear Valley Ski Resort has a rich history of providing exceptional winter sports experiences. With its convenient location and diverse range of amenities, it has become a popular destination for both locals and visitors from around the world.


Whether you’re a seasoned skier or a beginner hitting the slopes for the first time, Bear Valley Ski Resort has something for everyone. From adrenaline-pumping black diamond runs to gentle slopes for beginners, the resort offers a variety of terrain suitable for all skill levels.


Untouched powder and meticulously groomed trails await you, allowing for exhilarating descents and unforgettable moments on the mountain. Experience the thrill of carving through fresh powder or challenge yourself with some of the resort’s more challenging runs.


Beyond the world-class skiing and snowboarding, Bear Valley offers a range of amenities and activities to enhance your winter getaway. After a day on the mountain, unwind and relax in one of the resort’s cozy lodges or indulge in a hot beverage by a roaring fire.


Bear Valley Ski Resort is not just a destination for die-hard skiers and snowboarders. Families and non-skiers can also enjoy a wide range of winter activities, from snowshoeing and cross-country skiing to sledding and ice skating. There’s something for everyone to enjoy, making it the perfect destination for a family vacation or a romantic getaway.


Getting to Bear Valley Ski Resort is easy, with accessible transportation options and convenient parking. Whether you choose to drive, take a shuttle service, or fly into the nearby airport, the resort’s location ensures a hassle-free arrival.


So pack your winter gear, grab your loved ones, and get ready for an unforgettable winter adventure at Bear Valley Ski Resort. From skiing and snowboarding to cozy lodge accommodations and a range of winter activities, this resort has it all. Get ready to make memories that will last a lifetime in one of the most picturesque winter destinations in the Sierra Nevada mountains.


History of Bear Valley Ski Resort

Bear Valley Ski Resort has a storied history that dates back to its establishment in the late 1960s. Originally developed by a group of visionary ski enthusiasts, the resort was created with the goal of providing a premier skiing destination in the Sierra Nevada mountains.


Over the years, Bear Valley Ski Resort has undergone various improvements and expansions to meet the growing demands of winter sports enthusiasts. What started as a modest ski area has transformed into a world-class resort, offering a range of amenities and activities for visitors.


The resort’s development was greatly influenced by the passion and dedication of its founders. They saw the potential in the area’s natural beauty and terrain, and worked tirelessly to create a ski resort that would rival the best in the country.


Throughout the decades, Bear Valley Ski Resort has gained recognition for its commitment to providing exceptional ski experiences. With state-of-the-art lifts, well-maintained trails, and diverse terrain, the resort continues to attract skiers and snowboarders from near and far.


One of the defining moments in the history of the resort was the hosting of the U.S. Ski Team for training sessions prior to the 1968 Winter Olympics. This endorsement from professional athletes helped to solidify Bear Valley’s reputation as a premier destination for winter sports.


Over the years, the resort has also been a popular venue for various skiing competitions and events, further establishing its status in the skiing community. From local races to national championships, Bear Valley has played host to many thrilling and competitive events.


In addition to its skiing heritage, Bear Valley Ski Resort has also become a hub for outdoor recreation year-round. During the warmer months, visitors can enjoy activities such as hiking, mountain biking, fishing, and more. The resort’s commitment to providing a range of recreational opportunities has made it a sought-after destination for adventurers of all kinds.


Today, Bear Valley Ski Resort continues to uphold its legacy as a premier skiing destination. With its rich history, commitment to quality, and stunning natural surroundings, the resort remains a beloved spot for winter sports enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.


Location and Geography

Bear Valley Ski Resort is located in the picturesque Sierra Nevada mountains of California. Situated at an elevation of approximately 7,000 feet (2,134 meters), the resort enjoys a unique and stunning natural setting that attracts visitors from all over the world.


Surrounded by towering peaks, pristine forests, and breathtaking views, Bear Valley offers an unparalleled ski experience. Its strategic location within the mountains provides optimal snowfall and ensures excellent skiing conditions throughout the winter season.


One of the advantages of Bear Valley’s geography is its proximity to the Central Valley of California. Located just a few hours’ drive from major cities such as Sacramento and San Francisco, the resort is easily accessible for both locals and out-of-state visitors.


The resort’s location also allows for a diverse range of terrain and skiing options. From steep and challenging slopes to gentle groomed trails, Bear Valley has something to offer skiers and snowboarders of all skill levels. Its variety of runs, including moguls, glades, and terrain parks, ensures that every visitor can find a slope that suits their preference.


In addition to its winter sports offerings, Bear Valley’s geographic location also lends itself to a host of other outdoor activities. During the summer months, the surrounding mountains become a playground for hikers, mountain bikers, and nature enthusiasts. From scenic trails to hidden alpine lakes, the area is a haven for outdoor adventurers.


The unique geography of Bear Valley also contributes to its legendary snow quality. The resort receives an average of over 300 inches (762 centimeters) of snowfall each winter, making it a paradise for powder hounds. The combination of its elevation and location within a snow belt ensures that the resort consistently has plenty of fresh, fluffy snow for visitors to enjoy.


Whether you’re seeking the thrill of downhill skiing or the serenity of a mountain hike, the location and geography of Bear Valley Ski Resort provide the perfect backdrop for a memorable outdoor experience. Immerse yourself in the beauty of the Sierra Nevada mountains and discover all that this remarkable destination has to offer.


Skiing and Snowboarding Facilities

Bear Valley Ski Resort boasts a wide range of top-notch skiing and snowboarding facilities, making it a paradise for snow sports enthusiasts. With over 1,680 acres of skiable terrain and 75 trails, the resort offers a variety of options for all skill levels.


For beginners and those looking to improve their skills, Bear Valley provides dedicated learning areas and beginner-friendly slopes. Professional instructors are available for lessons, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience for newcomers to the sport.


Intermediate skiers and snowboarders will find a multitude of well-groomed runs and opportunities to progress their abilities. From wide-open cruisers to thrilling tree runs, the resort offers a diverse selection of terrain that is sure to keep intermediate riders entertained.


Advanced and expert skiers and snowboarders will not be disappointed either. Bear Valley boasts challenging black diamond runs, steep chutes, and exciting off-piste terrain. These thrilling slopes provide a thrilling experience for those seeking an adrenaline rush and a chance to showcase their skills.


In addition to its diverse range of runs, Bear Valley Ski Resort offers top-of-the-line ski lifts to ensure smooth and efficient transportation around the mountain. High-speed chairs and gondolas provide quick access to the various peaks, allowing visitors to maximize their time on the slopes.


The resort is also equipped with a comprehensive snowmaking system, ensuring consistent snow coverage throughout the season. This guarantees optimal skiing and snowboarding conditions even during periods of low natural snowfall.


For those seeking additional challenges and excitement, Bear Valley features terrain parks and a halfpipe. These specially designed areas provide riders with the opportunity to showcase their freestyle skills while hitting jumps, rails, and other features.


Skiers and snowboarders can also take advantage of the resort’s rental and retail shops, where they can find top-quality gear and equipment for their winter adventures. Whether you need to rent equipment or upgrade your gear, the knowledgeable staff will ensure you have everything you need to hit the slopes in style and comfort.


With its extensive range of skiing and snowboarding facilities, Bear Valley Ski Resort caters to riders of all levels and preferences. Whether you’re a beginner, intermediate, or expert, you’ll find your perfect slope and have an unforgettable experience on the mountain.


Lodging and Accommodation

Bear Valley Ski Resort offers a range of lodging and accommodation options, ensuring that visitors have a comfortable and convenient stay during their winter getaway. Whether you’re seeking a cozy cabin or a spacious condominium, there are accommodations to suit every preference and budget.


One popular choice for lodging at Bear Valley is the Bear Valley Lodge. Located just steps away from the slopes, the lodge offers comfortable rooms and suites with mountain views. Guests can relax in the cozy lobby, enjoy a meal at the on-site restaurant, or unwind in the outdoor hot tub after a day on the mountain.


If you prefer a more private and secluded accommodation, there are also numerous cabin rentals available in the area. These cabins range in size and amenities, offering a rustic yet comfortable experience. Many cabins feature cozy fireplaces, fully equipped kitchens, and stunning views of the surrounding snowy landscape.


In addition to the lodge and cabin rentals, there are also condominiums and vacation home rentals available for those who desire more space and privacy. These accommodations provide all the comforts of home, including full kitchens, living areas, and multiple bedrooms.


For those on a tighter budget or seeking a more social atmosphere, Bear Valley offers a hostel-style lodging option. The Bear Valley Hostel provides dormitory-style rooms with shared amenities, giving visitors the opportunity to meet fellow travelers and enjoy a communal experience.


No matter which lodging option you choose, you’ll have easy access to the resort’s facilities and amenities. From ski-in/ski-out convenience to shuttle services, staying in the heart of Bear Valley ensures that you’re never far from the action.


Along with comfortable accommodations, Bear Valley Ski Resort provides a variety of amenities to enhance your stay. These can include ski lockers, equipment rental and repair shops, fitness centers, and more. Many accommodations also offer complimentary Wi-Fi, allowing you to stay connected while enjoying your mountain retreat.


When it comes to dining, Bear Valley has a range of options to satisfy your cravings. From casual eateries to upscale restaurants, the resort offers diverse dining experiences. Indulge in hearty mountain fare, international cuisine, or grab-and-go options to fuel up before hitting the slopes.


Whether you choose to stay at the lodge, rent a cabin, or opt for a condominium, Bear Valley Ski Resort ensures that you have a comfortable and enjoyable stay. Immerse yourself in the mountain atmosphere and relax in your home away from home as you create lasting memories in this winter wonderland.


Dining and Apres-Ski Options

After a thrilling day on the slopes, Bear Valley Ski Resort offers a variety of dining and apres-ski options to satisfy your hunger and help you relax. Whether you’re in the mood for a hearty meal, a quick bite, or a cozy drink by the fire, the resort has something to cater to every palate.


For a casual and convenient dining experience, there are several on-mountain eateries offering a range of tasty options. Grab a quick grab-and-go meal at the cafeteria-style food court, where you’ll find a selection of burgers, sandwiches, and salads to refuel for your next run.


If you prefer a sit-down meal with beautiful mountain views, head to one of the resort’s full-service restaurants. These establishments offer a diverse menu featuring everything from gourmet burgers and pizzas to delicious steaks and seafood. Pair your meal with a fine wine, craft beer, or a cocktail from the well-stocked bar and toast to a day well spent on the mountain.


For those seeking a more aprés-ski experience, Bear Valley also offers several bars and lounges where you can unwind and socialize. Enjoy a drink by the fireplace in a cozy lodge setting or head to the slopeside patio and soak in the breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. Many of these establishments also host live music and entertainment, adding to the vibrant atmosphere.


After a day of skiing or snowboarding, it’s important to treat yourself to something sweet. Bear Valley has you covered with various options for desserts and treats. Indulge in a warm cup of hot chocolate topped with whipped cream and marshmallows, or satisfy your sweet tooth with fresh-baked cookies or decadent pastries.


If you prefer to dine off the mountain, Bear Valley Village offers additional dining options just minutes away from the resort. Explore cozy cafes, family-friendly eateries, and eclectic restaurants offering a range of cuisines. Whether you’re in the mood for Italian, Mexican, or American comfort food, you’ll find something to satisfy your cravings.


It’s worth noting that some dining spots at Bear Valley require reservations, especially during peak seasons. It’s always a good idea to plan ahead and secure your reservations to ensure you have a memorable dining experience.


No matter what type of culinary experience you’re looking for, Bear Valley Ski Resort has a wide range of dining options to suit your preferences. From quick and casual to elegant and sophisticated, you’ll find the perfect spot to relax, refuel, and celebrate a day well spent on the slopes.


Winter Activities and Recreation

While skiing and snowboarding may be the main draw at Bear Valley Ski Resort, there are plenty of other winter activities and recreation options to enjoy during your visit. From snowshoeing and cross-country skiing to sledding and ice skating, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in this winter wonderland.


Snowshoeing is a popular activity for those who want to explore the serene beauty of the surrounding mountains at a slower pace. Strap on a pair of snowshoes and venture out onto the resort’s designated snowshoe trails. Meander through snow-covered meadows, through pine forests, and take in the breathtaking scenery as you immerse yourself in nature.


For those who prefer a more challenging workout, Bear Valley offers an extensive network of cross-country skiing trails. Glide through groomed tracks and enjoy the tranquility of the winter landscape. Whether you’re a seasoned cross-country skier or new to the sport, you’ll find trails suitable for all skill levels.


If you’re looking for a fun activity for the whole family, head to the designated sledding areas at Bear Valley. Bring your own sled or rent one on-site, and let the laughter and excitement commence as you zip down the slopes. It’s an exhilarating experience that will create lasting memories for children and adults alike.


Another popular winter activity is ice skating. Bear Valley Ski Resort offers a scenic outdoor ice rink where visitors can lace up their skates and glide across the ice. Whether you’re a graceful figure skater or a novice just learning to find your balance, the rink provides a fun and memorable experience for all skill levels.


If you’re in the mood for a unique and adventurous experience, consider trying your hand at snow biking. This exciting activity combines the thrill of biking with the challenge of riding on snow. Rent a snow bike and explore designated trails specifically designed for this exhilarating winter sport.


For those seeking a more leisurely pace, simply take a stroll around the resort and soak in the mountain ambiance. Breathe in the crisp, fresh air, revel in the stunning scenery, and appreciate the peacefulness of the winter landscape. It’s a wonderful way to reconnect with nature and find solace amidst the tranquility of Bear Valley.


Whether you’re into adrenaline-fueled activities or prefer a more laid-back experience, Bear Valley Ski Resort has a range of winter activities and recreation options to suit all preferences. Embrace the winter wonderland and create unforgettable memories as you explore the resort’s diverse array of outdoor adventures.


Getting to Bear Valley Ski Resort

Getting to Bear Valley Ski Resort is convenient and hassle-free, whether you’re coming from nearby cities or traveling from afar. The resort’s central location in the Sierra Nevada mountains allows for various transportation options to suit your needs.


If you prefer to drive, Bear Valley is easily accessible from major cities in Northern California. From Sacramento, take Highway 99 south to Highway 4 east, which will lead you directly to the resort. If you’re coming from the San Francisco Bay Area, take Interstate 580 east to Highway 205 east, then continue on Highway 120 east towards Sonora. From there, follow Highway 49 north to Highway 4 east to reach Bear Valley.


If you prefer not to drive, there are shuttle services available from neighboring cities and airports. Several shuttle companies offer transportation from Sacramento International Airport, San Francisco International Airport, and Oakland International Airport directly to Bear Valley Ski Resort. These services provide a convenient and stress-free option, allowing you to sit back and relax while someone else takes care of the driving.


For those traveling by public transportation, there are options as well. Amtrak’s San Joaquin train service provides transportation from major cities to the nearby town of Merced, where you can connect to a shuttle service that takes you directly to Bear Valley. Additionally, there are bus services that operate from Sacramento and other nearby cities to Bear Valley.


Once you arrive at Bear Valley Ski Resort, parking is available on-site, making it easy to unload your gear and hit the slopes. The resort’s parking areas are conveniently located near the base of the mountain, providing quick and easy access to the lifts and other facilities.


Whether you choose to drive, take a shuttle service, or use public transportation, getting to Bear Valley Ski Resort is a straightforward process. The resort’s accessible location and various transportation options ensure that you can focus on enjoying your winter adventure without worrying about the logistics of getting there.


As always, it’s recommended to check with the resort or transportation providers for the most up-to-date information on schedules, availability, and any additional measures or requirements in place.


Nearby Attractions and Points of Interest

While Bear Valley Ski Resort offers a wealth of winter activities and recreation, the surrounding area is also home to numerous nearby attractions and points of interest. From natural wonders to charming towns, there’s plenty to explore and discover beyond the ski slopes.


One popular attraction near Bear Valley is the stunning Alpine Lake. Located just a short drive from the resort, this picturesque lake offers breathtaking views and opportunities for fishing, kayaking, and hiking. Take a peaceful stroll along the shoreline or rent a boat and spend the day exploring the crystal-clear waters.


The nearby Calaveras Big Trees State Park is another must-visit destination. Known for its towering sequoia trees, this natural wonderland offers scenic hiking trails and educational exhibits. Immerse yourself in the majestic beauty of the ancient forest and marvel at the giants that have stood the test of time.


If you’re interested in history, the quaint town of Murphys is worth a visit. Known for its rich Gold Rush heritage, the town offers charming streets lined with historic buildings, boutique shops, and wine tasting rooms. Sample local wines, indulge in gourmet cuisine, and immerse yourself in the small-town charm of this hidden gem.


For those looking for adventure, the nearby Stanislaus National Forest provides ample opportunities. Explore the forest’s vast network of trails, go mountain biking, or embark on a scenic drive through the wilderness. The forest is also home to picturesque lakes and rivers, perfect for fishing or simply enjoying a peaceful picnic amidst nature.


Gold Country is another fascinating region to explore. Embark on a journey back in time as you visit historic mining towns like Columbia, Jamestown, and Angels Camp. Mingle with costumed characters, pan for gold, and experience the rich history and culture of the California Gold Rush.


If you’re seeking a bit of relaxation after a day on the slopes, consider visiting one of the nearby hot springs. The Gold Strike Hot Springs or Grover Hot Springs State Park offer soothing thermal waters where you can soak and rejuvenate tired muscles, surrounded by beautiful natural settings.


These are just a few of the many nearby attractions and points of interest in the Bear Valley Ski Resort area. Whether you’re seeking natural beauty, history, or outdoor adventures, there’s something to capture the interest of every visitor. Take the time to explore beyond the resort and make the most of your winter getaway in this remarkable part of California.



Bear Valley Ski Resort is a captivating destination that offers the perfect winter getaway for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. With its rich history, stunning location in the Sierra Nevada mountains, and world-class skiing and snowboarding facilities, Bear Valley provides an unforgettable experience for visitors of all ages and skill levels.


From the moment you arrive, you’ll be greeted with breathtaking natural beauty and a welcoming mountain atmosphere. Whether you’re carving down the slopes, exploring the surrounding trails on snowshoes, or indulging in après-ski activities, Bear Valley has something for everyone.


The resort’s commitment to providing exceptional amenities and services ensures a comfortable and enjoyable stay. From cozy lodges and cabin rentals to a variety of dining options, you’ll find everything you need to relax and recharge after a day of winter adventures.


Furthermore, the area surrounding Bear Valley is filled with opportunities for exploration. Nearby attractions and points of interest, such as Alpine Lake, Calaveras Big Trees State Park, and Gold Country, offer additional experiences that showcase the beauty and history of the region.


Whether you’re seeking thrilling mountain adventures, tranquil moments in nature, or a blend of both, Bear Valley Ski Resort delivers. The serenity of the snow-covered slopes, the exhilaration of carving through fresh powder, and the warmth of cozy lodges create an atmosphere that is truly magical.


So, pack your winter gear, gather your loved ones, and embark on a memorable journey to Bear Valley Ski Resort. Discover the thrill of winter sports, immerse yourself in the beauty of the surrounding mountains, and create memories that will last a lifetime in this extraordinary winter wonderland.