Big Bear New: Snow Festival

Snowshoe races and fat bikes'll be front-and-center at the mountain gathering.

WINTERTIME SPORTS... have traditionally been of the ski or snowboard or ice skate or luge variety, and while we wouldn't want to see those snowy standards schussing away, it's always interesting to see what flakes-based fun people are getting up to these days. Something that's been growing for awhile now is the bike-to-snow trend, as in fat bikes, those cycles ready-made for snowy terrain (well, groomed snowy terrain, of course, not a situation that's feet-deep). And Big Bear is all about this here-to-stay trend, so much so that there's a new festival ready to roll on the final weekend of February. It's the first-ever Big Bear Winter Festival, but the poles and skis'll be stowed as the fat bikes -- and the snowshoes -- reign.

SATURDAY, FEB. 27... is the date of the fest, which isn't alone in its firstness on the fat bike-focused forefront; several snowier destinations are getting into the swing. People participating in the Big Bear event, which is billed as "the only organized fat bike ride in California," will have a quartet of courses to roll down, from six miles to 18, and all tracks are groomed. The Snow Summit party continues into Sunday with a snowshoe showdown, some live tunes, and other mountain-style haps of a sportsy, soak-in-the-sun (or snowy skies) nature.

IF YOU WANT SOME SNOW... but don't plan on biking through it, there are several doings throughout the cold season 'round the village, including simple places to go out and make a snowball or two. The photos from the early January El Niño storms showed several inches piled up around the shops and restaurants, and more flakeage is expected in the weeks to come. Best keep those mittens close, winter lovers.

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