We all know that arriving at a ski resort for the first time can be a bit confusing. Here’s a guide to helping you figure out where to go, and possibly even what to do when you get there.


Avoid standing in multiple lines

Bear Valley’s BV Express service gets your whole family on the slopes fast! There’s no need to stand in multiple lines for tickets, rentals, and lessons. When you see a BV Express logo, that means you can buy multiple Bear Valley products at that location. Look for the BV express logo in the Rental Center here at Bear Valley Mountain.

Buy a lift ticket

Bear Valley has several on-mountain ticket selling locations. If all you’re after is a lift ticket, head to our ticket windows located on the parking lot side of the day lodge. Or SAVE TIME by pre-purchasing your lift ticket before you head to the slopes from one of our off-mountain ticket outlets and avoid the ticket lines all together!

Get rental equipment

Our rental shops are open 8:30am-4:30pm, 7 day s a week. The Rental Center is located across the hall from the Season Pass Office.  SAVE TIME by purchasing your lift ticket, rental equipment and lesson at the Rental Center.

Know my Skier Ability- Level I, II or III

Determining your skier type is your responsibility. Your Skier Type, height, weight, age and boot sole length are used by the shop technician to determine the release/retention settings for your bindings. Consult these descriptions to select your classification.

Type I- Cautious skiing on smooth slopes of gentle to moderate pitch. Skiers who designate themselves as Type I receive lower than average release/retention settings. This corresponds to an increased risk of inadvertent binding release in order to gain releasability in a fall. This type also applies to entry-level skiers uncertain of their classification.

Type II- Skiers who designate themselves as Type II receive average release/retention settings appropriate for most recreational skiing.

Type III- Fast skiing on slopes of moderate to steep pitch. Skiers who designate themselves as Type III receive higher than average release/retention settings. This corresponds to decreased release-ability in a fall in order to gain a decreased risk of inadvertent binding release.

Get a lesson

Children’s Lessons (ages 4-8) can be purchased in the Rental Center (limited walk-in availability) or booked online. If you have a child in this age group, be sure to make the Rental Center your first stop for the day. You can also purchase lift tickets, rentals, and group lessons for the rest of the family at this location! All other Group lessons (ages 9+) can be purchased in either the Ticket Office or Rental Center. Remember… SAVE TIME by purchasing all of your tickets, rentals and lessons in one spot! Make reservations in advance by calling 209.753.2301 x777

Know my Snow Sports level


Level 1 First Time Skier, learn to stop
Level 2 Learn to turn in both directions using a wedge
Level 3 Explore the mountain using wedge turns
Level 4 Learn to match skis and skid turns
Level 5 Comfortably match skis and skid turns on advanced green terrain
Level 6 Ski open parallel turns on blue terrain
Level 7 Links turns on black terrain, working on technique in various snow conditions and carving blue terrain.
Level 8 Make parallel turns on black terrain and moguls with ease. Exploring extremes.
Level 9 Make dynamic parallel turns and ski double black diamonds


Level 1 First Time Snowboarder
Level 2 Can traverse in both directions
Level 3 Can make turns in both directions
Level 4 Comfortably links turns on green terrain with speed control
Level 5 Links turns on easy blue terrain
Level 6 Links turns on all blue terrain with confidence
Level 7 Links turns on black terrain
Level 8 Rides the entire mountain with ease, exploring extremes

Find the lesson meeting area

All lessons meet in the Bunny Basin, next to the the Panda Carpet lift. The area is marked off with tall flags, designating the different lesson levels. You should also notice a large group of orange jackets- your instructors!

Book a Skiing Bears or Cub Riders reservation

Children’s Lesson reservations can be booked by calling 209.753.2301 ext. 777.  Reservations are highly recommended for these lessons as they can fill up quickly.  Reservation requests should be made at least 72 hours in advance (more if you’re coming during a peak period). No reservations will be taken within 24 hours.  IF you are unable to reserve a spot for your child, walk-in spaces are available on a limited basis for the 10 AM and 1 PM lessons.  Please plan to arrive early if you are trying to get a lesson on a walk-in basis.

Find your skis or snowboard

After a filling lunch from Hungry Bear Food Court, you’ll have to grab your skis to head back out to the slopes.  We recommend that you lock up your equipment whenever possible.  Unfortunately, theft happens, and there’s nothing like losing your equipment to ruin your day.  If you are unable to use one of the equipment lockers, there are equipment racks located around the day lodge.  Remember- these racks are unsupervised, so please use them at your own risk. Or better yet, use our Ski Check (open weekends and holidays for a small fee), located slopeside.

1.) When you set your gear in the rack, take a look around to see what the gear around yours looks like.
2.) You can count how many slots in your gear is to help you remember which set is yours.
3.) If you are renting gear from Bear Valley, you’re gear will have a serial number engraved on it. Remembering the last 3 digits will help you to grab the right set when you head back out the slopes. When renting gear, just because the set “looks” like yours, doesn’t mean that it is the set that you rented! You are responsible for bringing back the equipment you took out.

Remembering these tips will help you keep track of your gear and ensure that you have the best day possible!

Get to Bear Valley

Bear Valley is conveniently located on scenic and all-weather Highway 4, regionally located between Lake Tahoe and Yosemite.  Access is easy from all areas of Northern California.  Get Directions

Find First Aid

We hope you’ll never need to, but the day lodge has a First Aid/Patrol Room for those days you might’ve gone a bit too big!  It’s located at the end of the lower lodge, underneath the Monte Wolfe Saloon’s deck.

Determine a “Hard Boundary” from a “Soft Boundary”

Awesome terrain is abundant at Bear Valley, but it is imperative you know where you are going.  Traveling beyond designated Bear Valley boundaries can be very dangerous.  There are two types of boundary markers- Soft and Hard.  Both have posted boundary signage, and the HARD boundary is further designated with rope and marked “Closed.”  Take a course with our backcountry specialists at Mountain Adventure Seminars to learn how to stay safe. Be aware that anyone crossing a ski area boundary is leaving Bear Valley Mountain services, including avalanche hazard reduction measures.  These are areas of increased risk that have many unmarked hazards including, but not limited to avalanches, cliffs, rivers, creeks, and hidden obstacles.  Rescue if available, may be delayed and all rescue costs will be the responsibility of the rescued party.