Maury Rasmussen, primary force behind Bear Valley, was an intrepid, do-anything, retired aircraft mechanic who developed a portable sawmill for his Calaveras County lumber business. Approached by locals in 1958, he was asked to take a bare mountain on a near-woodless section of Ebbett’s Pass and make a miracle of a ski area. In early 1966, the U.S. Forest Service granted approval for the area but because 15 feet of snow arrived in a late April storm, initial construction couldn’t begin until August. Mt. Reba, as it was known then, opened in December of 1967 to 600 people soaking in the views of the Mokelumne River Valley, the Dardanelles, the Carson-Iceberg Wilderness, the Hamilton Range, and the foothills of Gold Rush country. By 1969 the resort was host to the U.S. National Ski Championships, and in the following years it even opened a Club Med in the Village. Though the Club no longer exists at the resort, the friendly, relaxed spirit begun by Rasmussen lingers. Bear Valley is another mid-sized resort out of the Tahoe mainstream and, ergo, the crowds. The runs are clean and straightforward, snowboarding is welcomed on 100 percent of the mountain, and when they say steep they mean steep. The Grizzly Bowl, locally referred to as The Grizz, opens later in the season due to the lower elevation, but it offers fine Colorado-style advanced runs, lot of bumps, and some narrow chutes dumping onto serious cliff jumps. This eTrail contains a thorough description of the resort including driving directions, mountain statistics, trail profiles, extensive lodging & dining information, travel tips, and much more.
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