Big Bear Mountain Opens for Ski Season

Last winter, the pandemic limited daily capacity because of social distancing. This winter, changes have been made to keep lift areas from getting too congested.

Big Bear Ski Resorts opened for business Friday, marking the beginning of ski season, but there are some changes.

Night temperatures finally got cold enough to turn on the snow-making machines.

Skiers and snowboarders say even if the snow isn't natural, it's good enough.

"We were so pumped. We were talking about it on the drive up. We woke up at 5 a.m. from Los Angeles and got up right in time for lessons. It's been awesome. It's perfect weather," LA resident Liisa Jackson said.

As of Friday, seven runs and four chair lifts were open.

"We do want to advise people that we have limited runs, meaning be careful when you are out there on the slopes. It might be a little more congested than it would be when we get more terrain open," Justin Kanton of Bear Mountain Resorts said.

Last winter, the pandemic limited daily capacity because of social distancing.

This winter, changes have been made to keep lift areas from getting too congested.
Skiers are given a ticket card that beeps them through a gate.

"You don't have to stop and scan your badge. You literally just put it in your pocket and it's a lot faster as well. The line was a lot quicker," San Diego resident Kimberly Villegas said.

Nearby businesses are also reaping the financial rewards of opening day, including the Copper Q coffee shop.

"It means that definitely for the next few months while they're open we are going to have plenty of business to keep us going," manager Loralye Burger said.

Burger says the pandemic and drought have taken a tough toll on small businesses in the area.

"You know we did lose a couple of restaurants in the village due to Covid so it's good to see people coming back up and having a good time again," she said.

South Coast Botanic Garden
A wonderland of lovely, incandescent trees, shrubs, and walkways? Find the glow at <a href="">"GLOW"</a> at the South Coast Botanic Garden in Palos Verdes Peninsula.
"<a href="">Sparkle DTLA,"</a> a free-to-see light event, is happening multiple times each night at THE BLOC in DTLA. Billed as "one of LA’s largest multi-colored interactive holiday displays," the sparkle show has music, color, and the all-important tunnel made of twinkle. Sweet: Your pup is also invited to stop by for a few light-bright snapshots, if you're taking some family pics among all of the glittery grandeur. Just call upon this illuminated destination by Jan. 2, 2022.
Night of Lights OC
Searching for a drive-thru adventure full of dazzle-strong sparkle and illuminated displays? Roll for the OC Fair & Event Center, in Costa Mesa, to find a "winter wonderland of lights." <a href="">"Night of Lights"</a> boasts elves, dancing snowflakes, and bevy of mirth-laden locations. Do bring a toy to donate, if you can, and read up on <a href="">booking your ticket</a> ahead of time.
Tanaka Farms
Where to see "over a million lights"? At beautiful Tanaka Farms in Irvine. "Loosely translated, <a href="">'Hikari'</a> means 'shine' in Japanese," shares the historical destination, and that spectacular shine shows through via pretty tree displays, a "Gingerbread Forest," and "The Land of A Thousand Lanterns." There are a couple of ticket choices, with one including a wagon ride, so be sure to review all of the <a href="">illuminated options</a> before making your purchase.
Greg Grudt/Mathew Imaging
Holiday in the Park? It's the shimmer-filled spectacular at <a href="">Six Flags Magic Mountain</a> in Valencia. "Winter Wonder Lands" lend the theme park a luminous look, while enchilada soup, turkey poutine, and other seasonal snacks are on the special holiday menu. Things'll be extra festive at the roller coaster-laden location through Jan. 2, 2022.
Holiday Road
Follow a <a href="">"Holiday Road"</a> to King Gillette Ranch in Calabasas, where all sorts of installations add brightness, beauty, and cheer to the cooler fall and early winter nights. Tickets start at $34.99.
Knott's Merry Farm
<a href="">Knott's Merry Farm</a> is back at the Buena Park theme park that almost shares its name (that would be Knott's Berry Farm, of course). The chance to shop for crafts, see Santa in his cabin, or applaud for Snoopy (the talented beagle will be rocking ice skates) are just some of the charming components of this seasonal favorite.
Alysia Gray Painter
"<a href="">Lightscape"</a> at the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden is an after-dark, ultra-illuminated wonderland of offbeat and ethereal illuminations. Visitors will wend through a portion of the pretty, tree-packed property, all to spy sparkly disco balls, sizable starbursts, and a fanciful forest of conical trees. It's all a-shimmer through Jan. 16, 2022.
Ariel Skelley
Eager to know more about the <a href="">"Science of Gingerbread"</a>? Discovery Cube OC and Discovery Cube LA have long looked into the STEM-cool background of baking and building the quintessential Christmas confection. If you'd like to enter your own gingerbread structure in the <a href="">annual competition</a>, the window opens on Nov. 20, 2021. The whimsical entries will be on display at both campuses through Jan. 2, 2022.
Universal Studios Hollywood
Hogwarts will be lit with lovely lights aplenty at "The Wizarding World of Harry Potter" while "Grinchmas" will summon the grins at <a href="">Universal Studios Hollywood.</a> Treats, decorations, and, oh yes, that magical chorus of singing frogs will all be back, as well as hot Butterbeer. (<em>Universal Studios and NBC-owned TV stations operate under the same parent company NBCUniversal.</em>)
Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade
"Jingle on the Waves" is the 2021 theme for the <a href="">Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade</a>, which is paddling into its 113th year in mid-December.
David Nguyen/Disneyland Resort
The eats and treats of the <a href="">Festival of Holidays</a> at Disney California Adventure? They pay tasty tribute to traditions from around the world. Picture-perfect desserts, hearty potato dishes, zesty cocktails, and other appetizing offerings are available at the pop-up booths dotting the Anaheim theme park.
Dodgers Holiday Festival
Baseball is synonymous with spring and summertime, and of course the thrilling post-season in the fall, but the diamond can also dazzle in wintertime, too. The D<a href="">odgers Holiday Festival</a> will put that dazzle on, over a few fall-into-winter weeks, with Santa sightings, photo opportunities, chances to shop for Dodgers merch, eats and drinks, and, oh yes, ice skating in the outfield.
The Elf on the Shelf's Magical Holiday Journey
Is there a certain impish elf who becomes an important part of your family each December? Then best get to the Fairplex in Pomona, where a stroll-through spectacular featuring all sorts of fanciful figures and scenes is now charming kids and grown-ups. <a href="">"The Elf on the Shelf's Magical Holiday Journey"</a> will frolic on through Jan. 2, 2022, and those advance tickets? They're a merry must.
Shutterstock/sakchai vongsasiripat/Alysia Gray Painter
A bevy of holiday-sweet flicks'll shimmer on an outdoor screen at one of our city's most cinematic destinations: Heritage Square Museum. The Victorian houses seen around the park? They could have sprung, fully formed, from a Christmas movie, to be honest. <a href="">Street Food Cinema</a> is behind the series, which will also include tours of the landmarks, Santa visits, places to purchase bevs/bites, and more.
The Citadel
Where to see the fab fir known as <a href="">"California's Tallest Christmas Tree"</a>? Why at the Citadel Outlets, of course. The massive sparkler is so huge you can spy its tippy-top from way down the 5 Freeway. But seeing it from an up-close spot? That's cool, too: It's free to see at the shopping center, through the holidays.
Irvine Park Railroad
It's one of the most popular attractions in all the land: Irvine Park Railroad's festive <a href="">Christmas Train.</a> Tickets? Oh goodness: They sold out faster than a reindeer flies.
Underwood Family Farms
Spend a jolly <a href="">"Christmas on the Farm"</a> at Underwood Family Farms in Moorpark. Cute critters are at home at the Animal Center, festive photo opportunities will abound, and Santa is visiting on the weekends, starting with the last weekend in November.
Jamie Pham
L<a href="">A Zoo Lights</a> brings an after-dark dazzle to the animal park throughout the 2021 holidays. The ever-popular Twinkle Tunnel, beautiful animal sculptures that glow, treats and warm drinks, and disco balls to add zing are some of the sights visitors will see through Jan. 9, 2022.
SkyPark at Santa's Village
Mrs. Claus, Santa, and Arrow, too: The Christmassy characters people adore are now at home at <a href="">SkyPark at Santa's Village.</a> Look for cookie decorating sessions, chances to ice skate, Tea with Mrs. Claus, and Breakfast with Santa at the Lake Arrowhead-close attraction, which can trace is ho-ho-story back to the 1950s.
David Nguyen/Disneyland Resor
Peppermint-y goodies, cinnamon churros, the Christmas Fantasy Parade, the Festival of Holidays at Disney California Adventure, Haunted Mansion Holiday, and characters in yuletide garb... the holidays are in full and happy flourish at <a href="">Disneyland Resort.</a>

Even if the drive is a long one, people on the slopes say it's worth every mile.

"Like once you get up here you remember how much fun it is and you are stoked to be here," Jackson said.

If you are planning to come up, the resorts are open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the weekends.