ONE HUNDRED miles east of the smog, gridlock and vanity of los engles, cupped high in the pine forests of the San Bernardino sits Big Bear Lake, a glistening splash of fresh alpine water ringed by 22 miles of shoreline. A resort town of the same name hugs the lake’s south shore and offers a multiseason retreat.
Working families, pro athletes, retirees, show-business personalities and outdoorsmen from Los Angeles, san diego and las vegas come for the slow pace, the stunning scenery, the bald eagles and, yes, the occasional actual big bear. And, in winter, there’s all that snow — foot upon foot of it.
“We bought here for the snowboarding,” said Marlene Taylor, who, with her husband, Tim, owns a construction business in Escondido, Calif. Big Bear has two major ski areas, Snow Summit and Bear Mountain; the latter is especially popular among snowboarders.
The Taylors’ four-bedroom house, perched on a mountainside and with clear views of the lake, is their second vacation home in Big Bear. The first was modest, but as their resources and their family grew, they traded up to their current place in the chic Castle Glen district. For $850,000 in 2004, they bought into a neighborhood where steep, twisting roads are lined by expansive and expensive new homes that sit on acre-plus lots and cost in the low millions.