From its outpost just off Big Bear Lake's south shore, Massive Snowboards supplies peak-destined skiers and snowboarders with the gear they need to get down the area's slopes. The shop has been a Big Bear mainstay since 1999, a long tenure in the competitive on-mountain ski- and snowboard-gear-rental game. It attributes its run of success to a combination of knowledgeable salespeople and a deep selection of boards for rent. Mountaineers can also stop in the shop to purchase new gear from brands such as Dakine, Ride, Spy, and Giro.
It took a while for Cedar Lake Camp to come into its identity, changing hands three times in 20 years before the First Congregational Church of Los Angeles bought it in 1955. Since then, the staff has worked hard to establish it as a sanctuary of reflection, renewal, and recreation. The manmade lake clearly plays a central role in the retreat’s activities, from canoeing to swimming and fishing. The camp has also extended its recreational purview to include thrills such as ziplining, rope courses, and team-building activities. It rents its lodges out year-round to guests and bears looking for a place to hibernate, and often hosts summer camps for kids and families.
When golf architect Cary Bickler designed Shandin Hills Golf Club in 1985, he wasn't about to make it easy for golfers to just waltz onto his greens. Instead, he surrounded almost every green with moats of sand to guard the precious bent and poa annua grass. When not building wooden planks to lay across the bunkers, players at Shandin Hills face several obstacles along the 18-hole course, including a large pond on 15 that splits the tee box and the bermuda-grass fairway.
Course at a Glance:
El Rancho Verde Golf Club has spent half a century basking in the majesty of the surrounding snow-capped mountains, testing golfers on a challenging course without disrupting their inner peace. The par 72 course boasts holes to make both advanced stick-swivelers and novice wedge-wielders feel at home. From the longest tees, balls can race down 6,844 yards of fairway, along pools that reflect the towering peaks and lush greenery where native owls wait eagerly to adopt lost golf balls and hatch them as their own.
Fountains whisper to themselves amid low emerald hillocks. Groups of golfers confer over tees at the ninth hole, where the fairway drops off to the left, into the cool mirror of a small lake. Architect Ted Robinson, who has designed more than 170 courses, draws heavily on the many uses of water in his creations. With mountains spearing the horizon in the distance, golfers cut beneath swaying palm trees. The scents of grilling burgers drift down from the clubhouse, and during Sunday-morning brunches, champagne glasses clink occasionally like a shy xylophonist.
Nobody in Santa Monica has a snow-covered slope in their backyard to practice slalom runs. Some think they can just march up a mountain and dominate a black diamond on courage and instinct alone. Instead, they wind up face first in snow, wishing they’d practiced.
In order to prepare skiers and snowboarders for the real deal, and to spare them from slushy, frostbitten shame, two-time world ski champion Bob Salemo devised his innovative Virtual Snow training system. In a controlled indoor environment far away from menacing ski lifts and snowballs tossed by mountain goats, winter-sports enthusiasts perfect their maneuvers in fun training drills led by skilled instructors and the clever teachings of Salemo himself. The faux ski-course simulator, which resembles a large conveyor belt, mimics the smooth surface and wily turns of a downhill slope as its snowy surface rolls beneath the feet of students on skis or snowboards. Future Picabo Streets or Shawn Whites not only expand their abilities to new levels, but they can also practice tricks without bailing out and shake off any bad habits they learned from sleet gangs.
Night lasers, black lights, and glow sticks might tempt people to mistake a Chicka Fitness workout for a rave, but make no mistake—the Chicka Fitness crew is serious about exercise. Their unique classes incorporate dozens of props, allowing pupils to have fun while they sweat off pounds and sculpt their bodies. They use sticks for self-defense, hand targets and bats for stress relief, and even drumsticks. More provocative classes also incorporate chair workouts, dance, and belly-chain wraps.