Bear Mountain Valley in California said it has created an adventure academy that will offer multi-day adventures in 300 acres of newly accessible backcountry off a ridge south of the resort, known as King's Realm.

The resort has opened up another 300+ acres of advanced terrain with a marked entrance and snowcat road to the ridge top. Using snowcats, it will shuttle groups of up to eight people to virgin powder and ski descents of the fabled “Zones,” a closed area with technical chutes and steeps.

The resort has partnered with outfitter Bear Valley Adventure Company and guide service Mountain Adventure Seminars to create Sierra Adventure Academy. The academy will work with school groups to customize multi-day adventures combining environmental education and team building activities with seasonal mountain sports.


Winter options include skiing, snowboarding, cross-country and telemark skiing with hands-on workshops in avalanche awareness, snow-shelter construction and backcountry travel. Summer options include rock climbing, kayaking, hiking and mountain biking with workshops on Sierra geology, ecology or water resources. Educators with a science and environmental curriculum can use Bear as a venue and technical facilitator to help bring their courses to life in a real world setting.

Other new offerings at the resort include:

  • Reading Challenge Program. It will reach out to the student population within their region, especially those who might not otherwise have the opportunity to learn to ski, Bear is now offering a special incentive to encourage literacy, outdoor education and recreation. The Reading Challenge Program awards lift ticket, lesson and rental packages to elementary students who complete a month-long reading assignment corresponding to their grade level. While most of the schools within Bear's immediate vicinity have welcomed the reading program, the opportunity is available to any school within Bear's market, which includes Central Valley and Bay Area schools.

  • Specialized Teams, Lessons and Clinics – Two new teams have been added this year — the Adventure Ski Team and All Access Team, specifically for teens who want to learn solid snow safety and backcountry skills to combine with all mountain free riding. These join the existing All Mountain Teams. In addition Bear Valley has introduced a new competitive freestyle team that will offer participants expert training focused on preparation for competition. New lessons and clinics include Powder Progression, Park Progression and All Day Lessons for ages 4-12. “We've really expanded our offerings to accommodate all the different needs of our skiers and snowboarders,” according to Snowsports Manager Chris Moore. Powder clinics are early morning powder clinics available when conditions permit. Park Progression clinics will be held at the mountain's beginner/intermediate park where freestyle instructors will be on hand for clinics on railslides and other park techniques.

  • California Senior Winter Games – After a successful launch last season, Bear continues its partnership with the California Senior Games Association with the second annual Senior Winter Games, March 10-11, 2012. These Olympic style races include giant slalom, slalom, dual slalom and a sprint race for snowshoe and skate ski competitors. Event registration opens in December; all events are open to anyone age 50 and above. Free race clinics for competitors will be offered during January and February.

Located on National Scenic Byway Highway 4 in California's Sierra Nevada mountain range, Bear Valley Mountain has over 1,700 acres of varied terrain, more than 70 trails, two terrain parks, and 1,900 vertical feet. Bear Valley averages over 30 feet of annual snowfall per year.