Big Bear Escape the June Gloom

Smooth Jazz, Cool Mountains, Great Times
Big Bear's First Ever JazzTrax Festival Scheduled for Saturday, June 18

Smooth jazz will echo from mountain top's of Big Bear Valley at the inaugural JazzTrax Summer Festival on June 18, 2005.  This is the first time ever that an event is held at Snow Summit Mountain Resort's (Snow Summit) natural mountain amphitheater. JazzTrax will offer an afternoon of world class jazz at a world class resort. Part of the audience experience is the Scenic Sky Chair ride from the base to the top of the mountain, high over the forest.

Jazz Trax Announcer

Headlining the day is a special tribute to the great Luther Vandross titled "Forever for Always Luther" starring Lalah Hathaway, Kirk Whalum, Brian Culbertson and Paul Jackson, Jr. This all-star tribute group's CD was nominated for a Grammy in 2004.

The festival opens at 12 noon with a performance by guitarist Steve Oliver, plus a second supporting act, saxophonist Steve Cole. JazzTrax fans are encouraged to arrive by 11 a.m. to allow ample time for the ride to the top of the mountain.   

"For many years I have wanted to create a festival in Big Bear and finally it has become a reality," said Art Good, JazzTrax summer festival's creator and producer. "I know this will be a great escape with great music for all who attend."  

The natural amphitheater will be divided into three sections. The club section is the first seventeen rows of assigned seating in front of stage; the second section is picnic table seating; and the upper section lawn area is general admission seating. Ticket prices are: club seating $65, table seating $55 and general admission $35. Tickets are available online at or 800.4.BIG.BEAR (800.424.4232).

"Big Bear music festivals go beyond great music," said Big Bear Valley Events Coordinator Bonnie Tregaskis. "The natural surroundings tend to touch down on all five senses, especially sight."  

The View Haus, Big Bear's most scenic eatery located at the top of Snow Summit, is the icing on the cake. Mouthwatering barbeque chow, plus beer, wine, and soft drinks will satisfy taste buds from 12 noon to 5 p.m.   

Jazz Trax

Club ticket holders have a bonus, the after party at the View Haus Top of Mountain Lodge with a special performance by guitarist Luis Villegas. The after hour party is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. and is included in the club

Once the music ends at Snow Summit, Big Bear Village revs up for the night's sessions of live jazz. Nottingham's Restaurant and Tavern located at 40797 Lakeview Drive, (at Bartlett Road) presents saxophonist Mark Lessman at 8 p.m. Also, Nottingham's will have a pre-festival party on Friday, June 17 at 8 p.m. Lessman performs then, too. The Catz in the Hatz, another Big Bear favorite, play at Mandoline Bistro located at 40701 Village Drive. The band performs classic jazz standards starting at 8 p.m.

Knickerbocker Mansion is offering a special Sunday brunch for JazzTrax festival goers. The innkeepers of this historic and elegant bed & breakfast have put together a tasty menu for this special event. Reservations are required for the Sunday brunch by calling 909.878.9190.

Scenic Sky Chair Gives Summer Recreation a Lift
Now that the snow is gone, it's time for some summer fun at Snow Summit Mountain Resort (Snow Summit). On Saturday, May 21, 2005, Snow Summit converts its East Mountain Express chairlift into the Scenic Sky Chair.

"A ride up or down on the Scenic Sky Chair offers breathtaking views of brim-full Big Bear Lake and the surrounding San Bernardino National Forest," said Big Bear Mountain Resorts Marketing Director Chris Riddle. "The Sky Chair is especially popular for cross-country mountain biking and hiking, providing access to some amazing world class trails."

View from the chairs

During the summer, chairlift speed is reduced to allow plenty of time to take in the natural beauty of Big Bear Valley and the surrounding San Bernardino National Forest. The Sky Chair ride takes about 15 minutes to transport cross-country mountain bikers, hikers and sightseers from the base elevation of 7,000 feet to the summit elevation at 8,200 feet. At the top of the mountain, guests find the View Haus, home to Big Bear's most scenic eatery to enjoy a full lunch, a snack or a cold beverage while taking in the spectacular views of San Gorgonio, Southern California's highest mountain peak. Sightseers complete the adventure with the relaxing ride down to the base area. For the hikers and cross-country cyclists, the descent is extraordinary: wildflowers, spectacular views and, according to their preferences, challenging or easy trails.

The Scenic Sky Chair helps mountain bikers and hikers because it does most of the uphill climbing. Also, it leads them to Skyline Ridge (2N10), one of the most scenic trails in Big Bear Valley. The two favorite loops on the 2N10 ridge are Grand View Loop and Plantation Trail, both rated intermediate. Grand View's riding time is approximately 2 to 2 1/2 hours, and Plantation Trail is 3 to 3 1/2 hours.   

Snow Summit no longer transports downhill-specific mountain bikes on the Scenic Sky Chair during the summer months for either recreational or competitive purposes. The resort continues to haul conventional (cross-country) mountain bikes for the general public on the Sky Chair with access to off-site Forest Service trails and roads. Bikes must be less than 35 lbs., the tire size designation must be less than 2.5 lbs., front shocks must have less then 6 inches of travel and bikes must have three chain rings unless they are single speed.

The Sky Chairs

Snow Summit will continue to host a number of cross-country mountain bike races and events throughout the summer, including the Snow Summit Amateur Cup Series, Women's Only Weekend, and 12-Hours at the Summit. For more information about mountain biking events, visit or call 909-866-4565.  The Scenic Sky Chair remains open until the winter season begins. The Sky Chair is open weekends only until June 18, 2005 after which it is open daily.  After Labor Day, September 5, 2005, the Sky Chair returns to a "weekends only" status.

Scenic Sky Chair ticket prices for a one-way trip with bike are $10 adults (Ages 13 & up) and $5 children (ages 7-12); A one-way trip without bike are $7 adults and $4 Children. Roundtrips without bike tickets are $10 adults and $5 children.  

X Marks the Spot at Big Arrrr Lake
Big Bear's Inaugural Pirate Faire Scheduled for June 3 & 4, 2006

There is a buried treasure in Big Bear Lake, and the public is invited to try to find it Saturday, June 3 and Sunday, June 4 at the inaugural Big Bear Pirate Faire. Captain John's Harbor in Fawnskin will transform into a 17th Century buccaneer village with vittles hot off the grill, grog ale, pirate swag , four stages of lively entertainment, a ship-to-shore live action battle and a reenactment of the famous Mary Read and Ann Bonny trial. General Admission to the faire is $15 adults, $12 children 6-12, $12 seniors and military with ID.

Our pirate Faire is better than Disneyland, and a lot less expensive,' said Lynda McGinnis, CEO of The Big Bear Valley Renaissance Society. 'Folks can actually interact with our pirates, sail on a real pirate ship, eat authentic pirate vittles and shop with the pirates and their doxies.'

The Captain & His Doxie

One of the main highlights of the faire is the treasure hunt. Festival goers have the opportunity to sail Big Bear Lake on the Big Bear Pirate Ship in search of a buried treasure. Participants will have to band together to read maps and tell the captain where to sail and land to find the treasure spot. Once on land, the ravage band of sailors will have to survey the area to find the hidden treasure. The group will be supplied with shovels to dig up the booty. Inside the treasure chest is valuable prizes donated by local Big Bear merchants. The treasure hunt, a separate fee from the faire, is $25 and includes the found booty. There is a treasure hunt at 4 p.m. each day and is limited to 25 passengers.

Guests who don't want to go on a treasure hunt, but want to sail Big Bear Lake on the Big Bear Pirate Ship may purchase tickets for $10. Sailing departures leave from Captain John's Harbor each day at 10:30 a.m., 12 noon and 1:15 p.m. Space is limited to 25 passengers per sail. Time and space is subject to change.

Pirates live for battle, and that's just what Big Bear Pirate Faire will have. Each day at approximately 1 p.m. a ship-to-shore live action battle will take place with pirates shooting cannons at each other. Another key attraction is the reenactment of the Mary Read and Ann Bonny trial. The trial is well known because they were the only female pirates to be captured and tried. The court reenactment will be performed twice each day by two different performance groups. The style of performance will be tongue and cheek to keep the audience humored. 

The faire will have ongoing entertainment on four stages. Entertainment includes, belly dancing, jugglers, children's entertainment, comedy routines and more. One stage is dedicated as the NC-17 stage, which has naughty content and bawdy songs of a pirate's life. Children under 17 should not attend the NC-17 stage performances.  

There is a designated children's area with crafts and entertainment. The little ones will even have their own treasure hunt with lots of prizes.

The Captain

Games for all ages are plentiful at the Big Bear Pirate Faire including Splatter the platter, darts and chuck a chicken (rubber chicken) with a sling shot. Vendors will hawk clothing, jewelry, trinkets, glass ware, weapons, books, treasure maps, and fairy dust, all in the appropriate time period of 1665 to 1775. Food vendors will serve vittles including, bangers, turkey legs, and fish. Grog ale and soda will be on tap.

The new Pirates of Caribbean movie is coming out this summer,' added McGinnis. 'Consider The Big Bear Pirate Faire a sneak preview to this summer's pirate craze.

Big Bear Pirate Faire is Saturday, June 3 and Sunday, June 4 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day. Admission is $15 adults, $12 children 6-12, $12 seniors and military with ID. Adult weekend passes are $26 and children/senior/military weekend passes are $20. Children 5 and under are FREE. Parking and shuttle service is free. Advance tickets can be purchased at 1-800-4-BIG BEAR (800-424-4232). Big Bear Pirate Ship sailings and treasure hunts are sold separately.

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To learn about everything there is to see and do in Big Bear Lake, to book lodging accommodations, or to request a Visitors Guide, log on to or call 1.800.4.BIG.BEAR (1.800.424.4232).

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