Want to Avoid Crowds? Try Skiing at Bear Valley

You’ve heard about the skiing at Lake Tahoe or Mammoth, but one of the best ski or snowboard experiences you’ll ever have awaits you at Bear Valley, where the crowds are few, but the thrills are many.While not on a par with Squaw Valley or Heavenly or other major California ski resorts, the Bear Valley ski area is still a prime candidate for a weekend or even an extended skiing vacation. As we discovered in early February, Bear Valley offers a surprisingly complete ski vacation experience – no frills, to be sure, but still rewarding and well worth the trip deep into the Sierra Nevada range.

If designer clothing stores, zillion-dollar condos, and Hollywood-style glitz are part of your criteria for a ski vacation, this ski area might not be the best choice. If wide-open ski runs, no lift lines and plenty of groomed snow are more important to you, then by all means give Bear Valley a try.

Coming originally from the Pacific Northwest, we could not help but compare Bear Valley to one of our favorite ski areas in Washington state – a place called Mission Ridge in a town named Wenatchee. The population in that part of the state is sparse compared with the big ski areas near Seattle, so Mission Ridge is able to offer wide-open skiing runs most days of the week.

Similarly, Bear Valley is less accessible than the many larger ski areas in the Lake Tahoe area. Bay area and Sacramento residents can drive Interstate 80 to the Tahoe area and find a selection of ski resorts a short distance off the interstate. To reach this ski area, you have to drive two-lane roads through the foothills and mountains for close to 100 miles.

But when you get there, most skiers and snowboarders will find it’s worth it. Our mid-week skiing was some of the best we’ve experienced – plenty of wide-open, groomed terrain perfect for intermediates and serviced by a number of lifts where there seemed to never be lines. It was ski down the run, get right on the chair and do it all again and again until just a few hours into our day we were growing exhausted. We probably skied in four hours what it would take us a full day to do at a resort with moderate lift lines.

There are no gondolas or high-speed quad chairlifts at Bear Valley, although there are 10 lifts altogether, mostly doubles and triples. About 1280 acres are available for skiing and snowboarding; some 100 acres are in an area where they can make snow – although at 7,750 feet, it’s likely Mother Nature will supply all the snow you need.

We mentioned the intermediate skiing because that’s our favorite – but rest assured this ski area has many black diamond or expert ski runs for those looking for more of a challenge. The day lodge is situated mid-mountain with lifts going both up the mountain to 8495 feet, and coming to the lodge from the lower part of the mountain. Most of the expert runs are located on the lower mountain.

The area’s day lodge also was wide open and easy to navigate. Instead of masses of people waiting in line to get their food and find a place to sit, we stepped right up and got our cooked-to-order Philly cheesesteak sandwiches in just a few minutes. And there was no shortage of menu options – lots of different types of food from sandwiches to Asian cuisine, from soups and salads to major meals.

But the Bear Valley experience is much more than a daytrip – or at least it should be given the time it takes to get to the ski area. For our trip we booked lodging at the Bear Valley Lodge, one of just a few hotel-type facilities near the mountain. Located about three miles from the mountain, the Bear Valley Lodge seems to be the hub of activity in the area and proved to be a good choice for accommodations. While showing some of its age – it was built in the 60′s – the lodge proved to be a comfortable, convenient base of operations. A ski shuttle bus will take you to the mountain, and you can even ski all the way back to the lodge.

When we say comfortable, we are not comparing the lodge to the high-end condos you find at most major ski resorts. The rooms at Bear Valley Lodge are more like a motel unit with two double beds a bath area and a TV/entertainment area that included HBO. But small touches – such as the bay window looking out onto the snowy landscape or the pine furniture – helped to make this feel much cozier than a motel room.

The four floors of rooms at the Bear Valley Lodge look out onto the Cathedral Lounge, a large open space in the middle of the lodge that offers guests a place to sit and read and enjoy the fire in the massive stone fireplace. Photos are mounted along the walls depicting the history of the lodge and Bear Valley ski area. Celebrities such as Spider Savich, Claudine Longet, Merv Griffin and several others are shown skiing or otherwise enjoying Bear Valley.

Adjacent to the lounge are several shops including an old-fashioned general store – with a deli to get quick sandwiches and soups – and a surprisingly complete ski shop with all of the latest ski equipment, clothing and accessories. But keep in mind this is not the type of resort where you can spend hours shopping when you’re not on the slopes; your down time here most likely will be spent in front of the fire reading a good book.

During our brief stay we dined in the lodge’s Grizzly Lounge – mainly because the other lodge restaurant, the Creekside Dining Room, was closed Mondays and Tuesdays. The lounge food was good and included a few menu items from the Creekside. We did learn that the Creekside has recently employed a well-educated and accomplished chef that has proven both creative and popular with guests – so we were disappointed we didn’t get a chance to sample the Creekside cuisine.

We also enjoyed a meal down at BaseCamp, a lodge that is just a short walk from the Bear Valley Lodge and the only other hotel-style lodging this close to the ski area. We enjoyed our meal at BaseCamp where we got to know an English waitress who had come to Bear Valley simply because the skiing is so good. The BaseCamp, incidentally, offers the lowest cost rooms in the area with “bathroom down the hall.”

There are also condo and cabin rentals available in the Bear Valley area, as well as the Tamarack Lodge further west on Highway 4. Prices in general will be less at BaseCamp, moderate at the Bear Valley Lodge and Tamarack, and more when you rent an entire vacation home.

While in the area, there are several small towns and attractions that are worth a stop if you have the time. To reach Bear Valley in winter, you’ll be traveling through the historical town of Angel’s Camp and then a similar but smaller Gold Rush town called Murphys.

But our suggestion would be to allow plenty of time for skiing. You’ll want to ski or board Bear Valley just as long as the weather – and your legs – will hold out.


WHERE: Bear Valley Ski Resort is on Highway 4, about 52 miles from the foothills town of Angel’s Camp, and 130 miles from Sacramento.

WHAT: Bear Valley is a throwback to skiing in the ’60′s and ’70′s – no high-speed quads or gondolas but lots of wide open groomed terrain in a gorgeous setting.

WHEN: Winter always means where is lots of snow for skiing as well as many other snow sports; the area also is a popular summer recreation area with numerous lakes, hiking trails and a pristine forest.

WHY: It’s refreshing to ski where there are no lift lines and little pretense – most of the “beautiful people” went to Colorado; the home-growns stayed here. Economically, this ski vacation is quite affordable.

HOW: For more information on Bear Valley Ski Resort, phone (209) 753-2301 or visit www.bearvalley.com. For more information on Bear Valley Lodge, phone (209) 753-2325 or visit www.bearvalleylodge.com.

Carlabad California – A Gem In The Crown of San Diego

A beautiful, fashionable beach-side town in North County San Diego is Carlsbad, a community of quaint beach towns lined along the coastline of the Pacific Ocean.

San Diego beach communities include Cardiff By The Sea, Solana Beach, Encinitas, Leucadia and Carlsbad. Each town is blessed with it’s own glorious ocean views and refreshing sea breezes.

Legoland is a fun attraction for families when they are visiting Carlsbad – it’s a well thought out, colorful and a very agreeable theme parks for parents as well as children. The lines much shorter than those at Disneyland plus the atmosphere is quiet relaxed for a children’s theme park. Adults enjoy the lovely landscaping and appreciate the healthy caf with healthier menu items.

Carlsbad has some of the finest beaches in the world. The main beach – Carlsbad State Beach – stretches more than a mile from Tamarack Avenue to downtown Carlsbad. The beach is wide and sandy along the ocean with a sidewalk along the bluff above, perfect for sunset strolls and people watching. South Carlsbad State Beach is two miles south (the locals call it South Ponto). A state campground here is very popular with wonderful views from the bluffs overlooking the ocean.

The Flower Fields are famous for their beauty. Tour them from March to early May where for a small fee you can walk through acres and acres of brightly colored fields of flowers on a hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean. It’s a sight to behold.

Carlsbad hotels and inns are represented by all the big chains including the Days Inn, Holiday Inn, Motel 6, and Courtyard by Marriott. More information about Carlsbad hotels.

Many vacation time-share condos serve as Carlsbad resorts. Very pricey spa resorts are also in Carlsbad. The more upscale Carlsbad hotels and lodging accommodations are wonderful, albeit expensive.

A very prestigious and well-known upscale resort is La Costa Resort and Spa. The ambiance of this resort surrounds you from the moment you enter the gates. The grounds and facility are lovely and picturesque, the beauty and leisurely charm of Southern California enveloping you.

Regarded as one of the finest resorts in the world, La Costa guests enjoy a dazzling spa, a world-class golf course, informal sophistication and extraordinary service.

Of all the Carlsbad Beach Inns the only one that is (1) quaint and (2) romantic with (3) views of the ocean for (4) under $160 a night is the Inn at Moonlight Beach. Closer to the ocean than other Carlsbad area bed and breakfasts, the Inn At Moonlight Beach features lovely ocean views with suites starting at $129.

Single Parenting During Travel – Interesting Tips To Keep Your Kid Safe

travel packing tips
It is a difficult job for mono parents to balance their schedule both at workplace and at the household. At times they need to go for official outings or jaunts with their kids.

Equipments for traveling: For mono parents journeying with a toddler should carry just one a portmanteau with both their clothes packed inside it, as the kid’s pram is also to be carried.

Infants adore journeying in trains, playing all the way. It is better for the mono parent to take the kids on railroads other lovable means of transports like airways or automobiles. One can also bring the kid’s playthings to keep the kid entertained.

It’s more convenient to travel ahead of time to avoid any commotion with the commuters, as the kid would prefer a pleasant and playful ambiance rather than a tensed one.

One should get along with them the routine food for the child, along with some fresh juice and latescence because, the kid may not like outside food or it might no well for him. And most importantly one should take a first aid kit both for the parent and the kid and a few basic pills for the kid, as prescribed by the doctor.

Children adore being naughty and playing adventurous stuffs. It would be nice if they are taken to such places and even play along with them so as to ease our own tension and also to bond a better rapport with the child.

Children adore fantasy and comic characters like Mickey, Tom and Jerry, etc. Their ultimate notion of an outing is enjoyment. So it will good for them to be taken to places like Disney Land or some amusement parks.

Children adore making fun of animals and playing with. If the estimation for the travel is of minimum amount, they can be taken to zoological parks, where they can visualize the real version of their cartoon pictures.

Kids adore splashing in and playing with water. So places like Marge and swimming pools will be the best destination for playing. At the Marge, kids busy and entertain themselves by building castles in sand.

Journeying mono parents – Hornet’s nest

Parents who are singled, especially ones who got legally divorced, will have to meet up with perplex situations in many forms. So for their security its better opted to carry with them, all the legal papers and proofs.

Mono parents journeying with kids within the territory need only a few specified papers to be carried. But for those journeying outside, need to carry papers and proofs for their identity, to pass the immigration.

Mono parents journeying abroad, with their kids, should have the official document issued by the government, authorizing for traveling abroad. Depending upon the territory they are to enter, the legitimate papers required, differ. At times they will be asked to produce Affidavit of Consent from the other distinguished parent, to avoid abduction of their own child.

It is mandatory for a mono parent, journeying abroad with the kid, to fix up the travel requirements with the premises officially occupied by the consul. All the documents required should be verified twice along with a mark of official authorization. The parent should clearly state his or her where about, the destination and the media of journey.

After that fix up, they should also get in touch with a travel representative and fill him with the details of the journey, including the fix up with the consulate and one’s status as a mono parent.

The Wine of Oregon

by Ian Kleine

Oregon has a good base in making wine, recognized by most of the country for its top quality wines, comparable to the quality of most French wines. Oregon has different regions divided and separated by soil quality, amount of sunlight received and the climate of the region. Additional areas cling at the borders of Oregon and Washington/Idaho. Wine making has been a very important part of the pioneer life, as it is the only source of alcohol and inebriation during those lonely times.

There are around 303 wineries in Oregon, all boasting unique tasting wines and a tourism industry worth your money. Much of the tours focus in the wineries themselves and private tasting rooms around Yamhill Valley, near southwest of Portland City. The state produces five distinct varieties that are nationally recognized: Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Merlot, and Riesling.

Others that are lesser known but are still significantly produced are Cabernet Sauvingnon, Gewurtraminer, Muller-Thurgau, Pinot blanc, Sauvignon blanc, Semillon and Syrah. Lesser known wines produced in small quantities are Zinfandel, Viognier, Tempranillo, Sangiovese, Petite Syrah, Nebbiolo, Muscat, Malbec, MArechal Foch, Grenache, Gamay Noir, Dolcetto, Arneis, Baco noir, Cabernet franc, and Chenin blanc.

Pinot noir is wine made with the red wine grape species Vitis vinifera. Otherwise known as Pinot noir grapes. Pinot and noir means ‘pine’ and ‘black’ respectiviely, and indeed, it is compacted like the nuts of a pine cone and the blackest of black grapes. Pinot noir grapes grow best in the cooler regions of Oregon, but the grape is more profilic in the Burgundy grapevines of France.

The grapes of Pinot noir variety produce some of the most excellent wines, though it is hard to cultivate and maintain. Pinot noir fetches a high price in the market, with Robert Parker, an expert in wine remarks “When it’s great, Pinot noir produces the most complex, hedonistic, and remarkably thrilling red wine in the world…”

Arizona Hiking Trails – Reasons Hikers Love Them

These trails are spread through out the state. People who are interested in the outdoors would find these ARIZONA HIKING TRAILS beneficial. There are different kinds of trails available and one can make his own choice starting from the Phoenix trails to the Sierra Vista trails. Every kind of these trails offer something exclusive but they all endow you with a glance of the best landscapes you would have ever seen. One can make an easy choice on them if they are sure of what they want their trails with.DECIDE YOUR MILEAGE

These trails are accessible in every part of the state. There is ample number of mileage choices and one can make his choice without much difficulty. E.g.: The Parison Trail which is generally for the beginners is around seven miles and if you are on search for the length then you must go for the Wet Bever Loop which is at 22 miles and this would suit your need. Please make sure you decide on basis of your time, skill and the place you are in.


One should choose their ARIZONA TRAILS on the stratum they are presented with. A beginner can start off with the Ruin Trails in Sierra Vista at the Massi point. Immense number of choices is available for those who begin with and they can take a simple one instead of an arduous one. The easy trails will also be physically demanding. There are also kid friendly Arizona trails obtainable for E.g.: In the Phoenix zone there are the Tortilla creek loop, the Overton loop where the Spring valley Trail which is otherwise named the Tortuga Trail is more advisable.

If one is on look out for an ARIZONA hiking trail that is of average basis, many of the state’s trails are of these kinds. One can find several of these in any region of the state. An ample range of difficult trails are also available here. If one wants to go in for a challenging one then he can take up in the Chitty falls Loop or the Upper First Water Creek. The trails in the Wet Beaver Loop are considered to be the most intense one.

Arizona hiking trails offer the best trails for the people who are on look out for one. These are suitable for individuals of any age and one can really have an amazing experience if they go with this. One can also go for a test drive on the challenging ones or if preferred, on the longer ones. One can also take up a family adventure with the kid friendly trails. Thus Arizona has something exclusive to proffer for all stratum of hikers.