It’s been a wet winter here in San Diego, but for the relatively newish folks here this apparently is considered normal, as we have been in a drought for the past couple of years. Of course, this torrential downpour of rain in Sunny San Diego translates to heaps and heaps of snow on the mountains, with Big Bear Lake in the San Bernadino Mountains no exception. I had been itching to go all season and seeing fellow board member Eric Ching (Fundraising and Sponsorship Chair) attempt a double black diamond on his Instagram (the hardest rated on the mountain), I knew I had to round up some other board members to make the trek up to the mountain.
Two board members expressed their enthusiasm, so at 6:45AM on a chilly Saturday morning, Chun Che (Historian committee) and Cathy (Social Chair) gathered at my house and we began the drive to Snow Valley Resort. Snow Valley is a perfect place for beginners to learn with their very forgiving slopes, along with decent runs and a terrain park for the more advanced folks. Chun Che had scored a 4-pak for a hundred bucks so throw in being quite a deal to the mix too. It is also the closest resort from San Diego near Big Bear Lake. So with our McDonalds breakfast to eat on the way and the GPS showing a 2 hour drive time, we would have plenty of time for a fun day of shredding. Perfect! All was going swimmingly until we hit Highway 330 to Running Springs, when it started snowing heavy and people started dangerously losing traction, while some were putting on chains in the middle of the road! I’d like to pause here to stress the importance of having proper tires and chains while heading into the mountains, anywhere. While required chain control shouldn’t be a deterrent, it is paramount that people learn how to properly put them on for their own safety as well as the safety of others. If you have an All Wheel Drive, make sure they are running at least all season tires and not summer performance tires (they practically turn into hockey pucks underneath 40 degrees). After an extra 2 hours stuck in traffic on the mountain, we finally made it to our destination, and it was well worth the wait. The snow was powder and conditions could not be more ideal – partly sunny, low crowds, easily shreddable snow.
I always recommend taking lessons for any first timers be it skiing or snowboarding, but our fearless social chair decided to chance it and rely on her skateboarding skills (which yes, in my opinion, are somewhat transferrable) and go at it. I’ll have to admit I was very pleasantly surprised at her prowess and sheer determination to go down the mountain. At the top of the express lift, we decided for her to go first as she would be the slowest going down. Suddenly, in the blink of an eye, she disappeared. She had made her way down the first section of the mountain already!? We scrambled after her just as she caught an edge, taking a faceful (and hairful) of snow and subsequently tumbling over twice. It was a moment of amazement, hilarity, followed by concern for us. Way to go Cathy!
Chun Che of course was the veteran of our group. “Let me shake off the rust a bit”, he claimed, as we speed-boarded down the mountain. I could not tell what ‘rust’ he was referring to. In the end he was able to flawlessly execute on a funbox in the terrain park. All in all, it was a great day for all parties involved. With the recent snow storms not letting up, I foresee more TAPSD Board-ing in the future.