Through the efforts of Judge Clifford R Lynn, the Big Bear Sports District was formed in 1934 to develop winter sports in Big Bear. The first ski lift (known as the Clifford Lynn lift) was constructed on “Lynn Hill” in 1949. Lynn Hill was purchased by the Platus Brothers in 1963 and renamed Snow Forest. Snow Forest closed in 1973, but was reopened by Bob Booth in the early 1980’s, only to close again in the late 1980’s. It has now reverted back to the National Forest.
Tommi Tyndall was the Lynn Lift’s first Far West Ski Association certified instructor. It was through Tommi’s dedication that Bear Valley became recognized as a winter sports resort. In 1952 Tommi and his wife, Jo, formed a small investment group and began the construction of Snow Summit. The next years were financially very difficult, as drought, flood, and fire hampered operations. In the early 60’s it was obvious that nature could not provide snow for a major ski area” so Tommi arranged financing for the first major snow-making system in California, and saw the system completed. Real tragedy struck in 1964 when Tommi was killed in a tractor accident while working on the slopes. Jo carried on as general manager, assisted by her son, Dick Kun. Snow Summit has increased its snow-making to over 200 acres of runs with a capacity of 7,000 skiers.
Bear Mountain was started in, the 1950’s as the “Moonridge Ski Area.” In 1955 snowmaking was tried on a 300 ft. run, but was not successful. The ski area was purchased by two former Snow Summit ski instructors, Bill Strickland and Fred Goldsmith, in the late 1960’s and renamed “Goldmine.” A mile-long lift was installed in 1969. Having no snow was always a problem, and Goldmine went into receivership in 1972. It was recovered by Joe Shuff, and snowmakers and three lifts were installed. In 1988 it was purchased by a publicly traded ski company and renamed “Bear Mountain.” It has since been sold to another publicly traded ski company. It has been increased to 195 acres of ski runs with a capacity of approximately 7,000 skiers.
The future is bright for winter sports in Big Bear Valley.