BEAR VALLEY, Calif., Nov. 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Winter sports enthusiasts who are weary of the crowds and the hassle of driving to Lake Tahoe will be pleasantly surprised if they decide to visit Bear Valley Mountain Resort this winter. One of California's premiere winter destinations, Bear Valley is completing the first phase of a three-phase facilities upgrade that will enhance and expand the resort's facilities and nearby lodging. The reputation of the new Bear Valley investors, coupled with the current and planned upgrades and new programs and services, have stirred up growing interest in the resort, resulting in a 50 percent increase in season ticket sales. Bear Valley is situated on scenic, all-weather U.S. Highway 4 between Lake Tahoe and Yosemite on the Alpine-Calaveras County line. Under new ownership that includes well-known South Bay developer Chuck Toeniskoetter; Dundee Realty USA LLC, which in 1997 transformed the Arapahoe Basin on Colorado's famed Ski the Summit ski area; and venture capitalists Kevin Compton and Doug Mackenzie, the newly renovated resort is expected to open to the public in early December 2005. "Bear Valley is one of the Sierra's treasures," said Toeniskoetter, who has owned property in the area for the past 20 years. "With an abundance of natural beauty and slopes that world-class skiers have acclaimed, Bear Valley is an ideal destination for a variety of guests, from families with children to winter sports enthusiasts who enjoy challenging terrain." "One of the greatest attractions of Bear Valley is its proximity to the Bay Area and Silicon Valley," said Jim Gentling, general manager, Bear Valley Mountain Resort. "It offers a skiing experience that is comparable to the Lake Tahoe area, but without the traffic headaches that often accompany driving up to Tahoe. Our goal is to improve and expand the existing facilities so that more visitors can enjoy the pristine atmosphere of this beautiful area and some of the country's best skiing and snowboarding." Highway 4 was recently inducted into the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration's National Scenic Byways Program, which recognizes, preserves and enhances selected roads throughout the United States. Better Snow Grooming, Easier Transportation, Cozy Interior Some of the recent upgrades that guest can enjoy this season include: -- Increased slope grooming -- As any powder hound will attest, grooming makes all the difference in the skiing experience. Bear Valley has added two new Snow Cats, which will run nightly and increase the resort's grooming capacity by about 30 percent. -- Improved transportation -- The resort has increased its bus fleet size by 66 percent, making traveling to and from the resort and Bear Valley village easier. -- Cozy cafe -- Redesigned by Whitehavens Design of Capitola, the Cub Cafe features a warm, inviting dining/lounge area with comfortable furniture, gourmet coffees, and Wi-Fi Internet access for those who want to remain "connected." -- Enhanced guest services -- The redesigned Winter Lift retail shop and Guest Services center offer a warm inviting atmosphere, increased accessibility, visibility, and a new floor plan that allows for increased space for skis, boards, snow sports apparel and accessories. -- Monte Wolf Mug Club -- The Monte Wolf Saloon offers a new membership for beer lovers. Mug Club members can enjoy their brew in personalized mugs, plus an extra two ounces for $1 less. A Range of Runs for All Skill Levels Perhaps one of the best features about Bear Valley is the variety of ski runs it has to offer. With 67 trails, including double Black Diamond slopes and an abundance of intermediate runs, skiers from novices to experts can all enjoy the level of challenge that is best suited for them. Bear Valley boasts challenging terrain that has attracted some of the world's top skiers like Glen Plake -- well-known for his commitment to this sport. The area has produced some of the best ski athletes in the country, such as former Olympian Kyle Rasmussen. Skiers Mike Schimke (Winter X Gamer and Paul Mitchell American Freeskier Tour) and Tyler Skivington (Paul Mitchell American Freeskier Tour skier) honed their skills on Bear Valley's mountain. In addition, Safelight Rails, the mountain's official rail supplier, developed its products at Bear Valley. And as the first California resort with a half-pipe in 1989, Bear Valley is a pioneer in freestyle skiing and snowboarding. Focus on Family Fun Bear Valley Mountain Resort offers a variety of programs and services to make skiing and snowboarding a user-friendly experience for the whole family: -- One-stop shopping -- At the Children's Center, families can purchase lift tickets and rental equipment for both adults and children, register for instruction, and enroll the kids in a childcare program. -- Childcare -- Bear Valley offers childcare, seven days a week, for kids who are two to 10 years of age. -- Interchangeable lift tickets for parents -- Bear Valley is one of the first California resorts to offer interchangeable lift tickets for those with infants, so parents can take turns on the slopes while still attending to their baby's needs. -- Easy registration and reservations -- Visitors can request reservations and pre-register for lesson packages at www.bearvalley.com for faster processing at the resort. -- Friendly and entertaining instructors -- At Bear Valley the instructors understand the importance of ensuring skiers enjoy the experience. Group and private lessons are available, as well as adaptive packages for those with disabilities. For the particularly adventurous, Bear Valley offers snowboard instruction for the "over 40 crowd," as well as an avalanche seminar and lift-accessed backcountry class. -- Convenient children's lessons -- Children's lessons are offered three times daily, allowing more kids to receive lessons. And children as young as four can take individual or group lessons. -- Terrain park lessons -- Even beginners can ride the rails. Terrain park instruction is offered for beginners or for those who just want to improve their rail-riding skills. -- Picture perfect -- Bear Valley photographers are located around the mountain in such places as terrain parks, kids lessons and the mountain top, to capture memorable experiences for skiers and snowboarders as they ride, slide or glide down the mountain. A photo retail center is located next to the main dining room. For more information, phone Bear Valley Mountain Resort at 209-753-2301 or visit www.bearvalley.com.
SOURCE Bear Valley Mountain Resort