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Archive for the ‘Fun Fact Friday’ Category

Did you know that there is a scenic and safe route along the shore of Big Bear Lake that is the perfect place for all ages to enjoy the beauty of the mountains and lake? If you have never taken a stroll along the Alpine Pedal Path, you have been missing out!

The Alpine Pedal Path is a 5.4 mile asphalt path that wanders along the north shore of Big Bear Lake from Stanfield Cutoff to just west of the Solar Observatory. It is easily accessible for hikers, skaters, joggers, and even strollers and wheelchairs. This path extends through a pedestrian tunnel under North Shore Drive (Highway 38), to the Cougar Crest Trailhead parking lot. The path continues east 0.6 of a mile and connects with the Big Bear Discovery Center.

The Alpine Pedal Path is consistently ranked in the top 10 FREE things to do in Big Bear, so the next time you visit us be sure to take a walk or ride and see what it’s all about!

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Are you looking for a great place to spend the day bonding with the kids? Big Bear Snowplay is where you want to go!

Playing in the snow is one of the greatest ways to bond families together and create memories that last a lifetime. Families that seek to capture memories in the snow are in good hands because Big Bear Snow Play guarantees snow-covered hills for tubing all winter long and into spring break. Families return year after year because the Magic Carpet lifts make it very convenient to get up the hill for more downhill fun. Come on up!!

BigBearSnowplay

Visit BigBearSnowPlay.com to start your fun-filled family getaway in the snow.

Head over to RSVacations.net to pick out the perfect comfy cabin for your family. See you soon!

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How do Big Bear Mountain Resorts provide world-class skiing and snowboarding when Mother Nature is being a bit, well…difficult? Snowmaking. Here is some interesting information and facts about our local resort’s snowmaking systems. Courtesy of SnowSummit.com

 

Snowmaking Basics

Man-made snow is real snow (not “artificial”) made by “guns” spraying atomized water particles under high pressure into the cold dry atmosphere, which freeze into snow particles before they hit the ground. The colder and drier the air, the more water can be put through the gun. No additive or chemical is put in the water.  The only difference between natural and man-made snow is that the latter falls as small round pellets due to the air turbulence, while natural usually comes in the form of small to large flakes.  However, in windy conditions even natural snow will be blown into small pellets or even marble-sized balls called “grapple”.  Natural snow can be very wet or dry, depending on its water content, the same as with man-made.  After two or three days on the ski runs, natural snow becomes indistinguishable from man-made as both are subject to skier traffic, grooming, and the freeze/thaw cycle.

Buried Pipelines

Many miles of buried steel air and water pipe lines, from 2 inches to 2 feet in diameter, deliver the high pressure water and air throughout the mountain. Attached to the main lines are hydrants placed on the sides of runs, every 50 to 150 feet or so. Each resort has about 500 hydrants lining its runs. The “air” guns are attached to the hydrants by air and water hoses and the “fan” guns by water hoses and electrical lines.  The guns are placed exactly where the snow is to be made and when enough snow is made at one location, they are moved to another.

The Guns

We use two types of snowmaking guns. One uses compressed air mixed with water at the gun (which is really just a tube with a small nozzle at the end) to atomize the water into particles small enough to freeze quickly. The other “airless” type uses an electric fan in a 5 foot long by 2 ½ foot wide tube that pushes an air stream into which small particles of water are sprayed by dozens of tiny nozzles on the rim of the tube.  (Fan guns aren’t completely “airless”; there is a small on-board compressor that helps to atomize the water at the nozzles.) If we just sprayed water straight out from a hose, without atomizing the water, it would be like rain water droplets that are too big to freeze before they hit the ground, which would then freeze on the ground as ordinary ice.

The colder and drier the air, the more snow can be made at each gun since more water can be introduced into the outside air mass because it can freeze faster. In 2006, about 70 “airless” fan guns and about 80 “air” guns can operate at one time at Snow Summit alone.  Bear Mountain operates about 45 fans and 90 air guns respectively.  (We actually have several types of air guns, but they all function basically the same way.) A number of both types of guns are mounted on towers, from 6 to 20 feet high.  While they can’t be moved to put the snow exactly where desired, they produce more snow than guns close to the surface because there is more “hang time” for the water particles to freeze before they hit the ground.

Tremendous Snow Production

Each gun can produce an amazing amount of snow in good conditions (5% to 20% humidity and 10° to 20° F), much faster than Mother Nature.  A compressed snowmaking28bgair gun can convert about 70 gallons per minute (gpm) into snow while a fan gun can convert up to 200 gpm in those conditions. (Consider that a garden hose puts out about 3 to 5 gpm.) So, in ideal conditions, each resort’s system can convert about 5,000 to 6,000 gallons of water per minute into snow! That’s a good sized stream flow that could fill a backyard pool in about 5 minutes! If a gun is left unmoved in those conditions, it can make several feet in front of it in a few hours, sometimes burying itself.

We can’t put 5,000 gallons per minute worth of snow on just one run at a time due to the limitations of pipe sizes and number of hydrants, so instead, we make snow on several runs at one time and might put an average of one foot of snow down on each. In normal snowmaking conditions we can open a run in about 48 hours of snowmaking over bare ground. At the start of the season, we typically open several runs and lifts after a couple of days and nights of snowmaking, and open still more soon after that.

snowmaking14bgSnowmaking Water

The practically unlimited water source for Big Bear Mountain Resort’s large scale snowmaking is Big Bear Lake. It’s pumped from the lake to the resorts and then up the mountains. Multi-million gallon reservoirs on the resorts store water for heavy production because the lines from the lake can’t flow enough water at those times. This lake water supply is the main reason Big Bear’s resorts can virtually guarantee skiing on most runs all winter long, even in the driest winter. Throughout the season, Summit and Bear each can produce at least twice the snow of any other local resort, which rely on limited amounts of on-site well water.

We have an annual allotment from the lake that we have never needed to exceed.  If used entirely, it would draw the lake level, when full, down only about 4 inches – and at least 50% of that runs back into the lake during the spring snowmelt!

Grooming

Grooming by snowcats pushing and tilling the man-made snow is an important element in providing good skiing. While the snowmaking guns are moved frequently, there typically will be piles left in front of each gun which must be graded into a smooth, relatively flat surface before operations. After a good period of snowmaking some of these snow mounds may be as big as a small bus and are called “whales” by the crew. After the new snow is spread evenly, the surface is gone over with a tiller on the back of the cat, which is a sort of grinder that pulverizes the top 3 to 6 inches of the snow to give it the ideal texture for skiing or boarding. Grooming is a real art to know when and how to push the snow around and condition it into a good grippy surface preferred by skiers and snowboarders. Fresh man-made snow is nearly always groomed into a consistently good surface prior to opening.

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RS Vacations wants to remind you that other than the professional show over the lake, ABSOLUTELY NO fireworks are allowed in Big Bear due to extremely high fire danger. Please don’t risk the loss of our homes! Thank you!!

Independence Day is almost here, and America loves to celebrate with fireworks. Here are a few fun facts about fireworks that you may not know.

1. The Founding Fathers were fans

Fireworks have been around since the days of ancient China. But their history in the United States is far-reaching, too. Right after the Declaration of Independence was approved by Congress, John Adams, in 1776, wrote to his wife that America’s independence “ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.” Illuminations, of course, meant fireworks.

The only catch was that Adams was two days off on his recommendations of when Independence Day would be celebrated. He predicted a holiday date of July 2, the day a closed session of Congress approved the resolution of independence. Instead, the country went with July 4, the date on the Declaration of Independence.

2. Chemicals create colors

Ever wondered why some fireworks are blue and others are red? It’s all in the chemicals. Copper produces blue sparks, while a mix of salts and other substances make red. Barium yields a green glow, and sodium burns yellow.

3. America doesn’t hold the record

Americans’ love their fireworks, but the biggest display ever took place in Portugal in December 2006. In 37 launch sites spread across the island of Madeira pyrotechnics experts set off no less than 66,326 individual fireworks. In fact, Madeira snagged a Guinness World Record for the largest fireworks display in the world that year.

4. Playing with fire isn’t the safest way to celebrate

As much fun as they are, fireworks are, well, kind of dangerous. In July 2010, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recorded at least 6,300 fireworks-related injuries. About 1,200 were caused by handheld sparklers, while 400 were the fault of bottle rockets. Hands and fingers were most frequently injured.

5. Fireworks are more fun with math

Just as you see a flash of lightning before you hear the thunder, you’ll notice fireworks lighting up the sky before you hear their echoing booms. That’s because light travels about a million times faster than sound. Use this knowledge to your advantage to calculate how far you are from the explosions: As soon as you see a flash, count the seconds until the “boom.” Divide by three to get the distance between you and the patriotic pyrotechnics in kilometers.

Courtesy of: Live Science – Stephanie Pappas, LiveScience Senior Writer

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The next year, a Spokane, Washington, woman named Sonora Smart Dodd, one of six children raised by a widower, tried to establish an official equivalent to Mother’s Day for male parents. She went to local churches, the YMCA, shopkeepers and government officials to drum up support for her idea, and she was successful: Washington State celebrated the nation’s first statewide Father’s Day on June 19, 1910.

Slowly, the holiday spread. In 1916, President Wilson honored the day by using telegraph signals to unfurl a flag in Spokane when he pressed a button in Washington, D.C. In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge urged state governments to observe Father’s Day.

In 1972, in the middle of a hard-fought presidential re-election campaign, Richard Nixon signed a proclamation making Father’s Day a federal holiday at last.

Today, the day honoring fathers is celebrated in the United States on the third Sunday of June. In other countries–especially in Europe and Latin America–fathers are honored on St. Joseph’s Day, a traditional Catholic holiday that falls on March 19.

Courtesy of History.com

 

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KayakGroupWith the Big Bear Paddlefest coming up this weekend, I thought that this post from 2013 would be fun to share. This is a really fun sport and a great way to get some exercise. I highly recommend it!!

Kayaking is the use of a Kayak for moving across water. Kayaking and canoeing are also known as paddling. Kayaking is distinguished from canoeing by the sitting position of the paddler and the number of blades on the paddle. A kayak is defined by the International Canoe Federation (the world sanctioning body) as a boat where the paddler faces forward, legs in front, using a double-bladed paddle. Most kayaks have closed decks, although “sit-on-top” kayaks are growing in popularity, as are inflatable kayaks which come without decks but which have air chambers surrounding the boat.

Whitewater kayaking involves taking a kayak down rapids, weirs and waterfalls. Sea kayaking, also referred to as ocean kayaking or touring, involves taking kayaks out on to the ocean or other open water such as a lake. It can involve short paddles with a return to the starting point (or “put-in”), or expeditions covering many miles and days. Kayaking of all kinds has become more popular through the 1990s and early 21st century.

Kayaks are classified by their use. There are eight primary classifications: polo, slalom, whitewater, surf, touring/expedition, light touring/day tripping, sprint/racing and general recreation. From these primary classifications stem many sub-classes. For example, a fishing kayak is simply a general-recreation kayak outfitted with accessories that make it easier from which to fish. A creek kayak is a certain type of whitewater kayak, designed to handle narrow gully type rivers and falls. Also within these classifications are many levels of performance which further separate the individual models. In other words, not all touring kayaks handle the same.

Kayaks and canoes are also classified by their design and the materials from which they are made. Kayaks can have hard or soft chines which require different types of handling. Each design has its specific advantage, including performance, maneuverability, stability, and paddling style. Kayaks can be made of metal, fiberglass, wood, plastic, fabrics, and inflatable fabrics such as PVC or rubber. Each material also has its specific advantage, including strength, durability, portability, flexibility, resistance to UV, and storage requirements. For example, Wooden kayaks can be created from kits or built by hand, but they are heavy to transport. Inflatable kayaks, made from lightweight fabric, can be dried, deflated, and stored in a closet.

There are several major configurations of kayaks. “Sit on tops”, as the name suggests, involve sitting on top of the kayak in an open area. “Cockpit style” involves sitting with the legs and hips inside the kayak hull with a “spray deck” or “spray skirt” that creates a water resistant seal around the waist. “Inflatables” are a hybrid of the two previous configurations, these boats have an open deck, but the paddler sits below the level of the deck. “Tandems” are configured for multiple paddlers, in contrast to the single person designs featured by most kayaks. Tandems can be used by two or even three paddlers. How a kayak is configured has nothing to do with its classification. All configurations are represented in each of the five primary classifications.

Because of their range and adaptability, kayaks can be useful for other outdoor activities such as diving, fishing, wilderness exploration and search and rescue during floods.

Info courtesy of Wikipedia

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fishinfor50_realThis weekend is the Annual Fishin’ for 50k Trout Derby in Big Bear. Here’s hoping that you catch one of the tagged trout and win some big $$! If you don’t, here are some of the fish that you might catch in Big Bear Lake. 🙂 Good luck!!

Big Bear Lake has many summer activities to offer visitors of all ages. One of the most popular is fishing. Whether or not you like to eat fish, fishing is easy to do and can be fun for the whole family.

Fishing is allowed from a boat or from the shore and there are many beautiful places where you can set up your day camp and fish. The north shore of the lake has some of the best fishing spots.

During summer, fishing is excellent from before sunup to just before mid-morning. In the afternoon fishing is great from early sundown until dark. A California fishing license is required for anyone over the age of 16 years; these can be purchased at various establishments in the Big Bear Lake area.

Big Bear Lake is stocked with several kinds of fish including the following:

Join us in beautiful, Big Bear Lake for your next adventure and try your hand at fishing. RS Vacations has cabins to suit every need including lakefront homes with private docks, so visit us online today to find your perfect Big Bear Getaway!

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To finish off this week’s topic of Xeriscape, here are 7 informative facts about this water-conserving method of landscaping:

  • Approximately 50 percent of annual water production is used for landscape irrigation.
  • By following the “7 Principles of Xeriscape,” between 50 and 75 percent of the water used in traditional landscapes can be conserved.Xeriscape house
  • By grouping plants by water need, plants are healthier, easier to maintain and less susceptible to disease, requiring less use of pesticides and fertilizers.
  • A good xeriscape not only will save water, it also will increase your property value by as much as 15 percent.
  • There are different styles of xeriscape – natural, cottage, alternative turf, mountain and informal.
  • A typical community could increase its total vegetated area while simultaneously reducing water use significantly, primarily by replacing turf areas with trees and ground cover.
  • Many xeriscape designs include plants that attract hummingbirds and butterflies.

If you are in Big Bear Lake this weekend, be sure to take the FREE Xeriscape Garden Tour. You will get tons of information and be able to see several examples of Xeriscape in action.

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Camel-o-par-whats-it? Camelopardalids. Common pronunciations are camel-oh-PAR-dahl-idz, kah-MEL-oh-PAR-dal-idz, and camel-oh-par-DAL-idz. It it’s too much of a tongue twister, you are camelopardon-ed. 🙂

A Brand New Meteor Shower!
On May 24, 2014, the Earth will travel through debris ejected from comet 209P/LINEAR in the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. If the comet was actively producing a lot of dust during that time, the Earth may be treated to a new meteor shower, tentatively named the May Camelopardalids. The May Camelopardalid radiant is in the constellation Camelopardalis, which translates to “camel leopard” or giraffe.

Constellation map

Credit: NASA/MEO/D. Moser using Starry Night Pro.

Here’s the Comet 4-11
Comet 209P/LINEAR is a Jupiter-family comet discovered by the Lincoln Laboratory Near-Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR) project in 2004. While orbiting, the closest it comes to the Sun is 0.9 AU (84 million miles) and the farthest it gets from the Sun is about 5 AU (465 million miles), close to Jupiter’s orbit. This year, 209P will have a close approach to Earth on May 29. It will come within a distance of 0.04 AU of our planet. That’s about 3.7 million miles – a pretty close shave in cosmic terms. But no worries, there’s no chance it will hit us.
Recent data shows that 209P is not very active, meaning it’s not releasing much gas or dust. But there is no data that can tell us how active 209P was in the 18th and 19th centuries, when we think the up-coming intersecting debris trails were created. If the comet wasn’t very active back then, we may not even have a meteor shower on May 24. But if it was, we could be in for a treat.

How can I enjoy the show?
North America has a pretty good seat for this cosmic event. First, check the visibility map to make sure it’s visible from your location. Then check the weather – if you are expecting clouds, then Mother Nature has just rained on your parade, you won’t be able to see any meteors. If the weather gods are smiling down upon you, find a safe, dark location and lay out beneath the stars. You don’t need to look in any particular direction, just straight up. Meteors can appear all over the sky. Add a lawn chair or sleeping bag and snacks and you should be set!

Information courtesy of Nasa.gov

 

 

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Back when I was a kid, my friends and I used to go down to the shore of Big Bear Lake in the summer and do some fishing. You have to understand that this was before cell phones, tablets, facebook, selfies, 892 cable channels and even before the internet. We actually had to go outside to be entertained. We spent our entire 3 months of summer outdoors – climbing trees, riding bikes, building forts, fishing….I think kids are really missing out by having so much technology at their fingertips. 😦

Anyway, when we went fishing, the only bait I remember using was worms and Velveeta cheese in a jar.  Apparently, bait has become a lot more advanced and fish specific. It also appears that it is all about the lures. They are extra showy and have funny names (made in Hollywood? 😉 ), but it seems that this is the way to catch a modern trout. I guess fish are harder to entertain these days as well. 🙂

Since there are a couple of fishing tourneys happening this weekend in Big Bear Lake, I thought I would share with you the best Trout lures (according to the all-knowing internet):

Courtesy of OutdoorLife.com

Rebel Wee-Craw
Designed to imitate a crawfish scooting across the bottom, this 2-inch-long crankbait reaches 5-7 feet. Formed with a tucked-under tail by the bill and bulging claws facing the aft treble, the Wee Craw (and its Teeny version) give the appearance of a fleeing crustacean.

Berkley Gulp!Trout Worm
When the fish need a finesse presentation, Berkley’s buoyant worm does the trick. Packed with the all-natural Gulp! scent attractant, the Trout Worm suspends off the bottom when fitted with a light wire hook. A good choice for float rigs, three-way rigs, or scaled-down dropshots.

Lindy Fuzz-E Grub
Trout like this grub’s soft-plastic body with its slick, life-like appearance and tantalizing marabou tail enhances the display. This, along with a two-color painted eye on the jig head prompts aggressive strikes and entices the fish to eat the whole bait, then hold on longer for greater hook sets.

Smithwick Rattlin’ Rogue
A good choice for larger trout, the Rogue offers lots of flash and erratic action, along with the ability to sit motionless – a common strike-triggering tactic. The bait’s nearly neutral buoyancy enables it to hold its position when paused and then dart away with the next twitch. Equipped with internal noisemakers, this Rogue is a good choice for cold or clear water.

Rebel Tracdown Minnow
The sinking version of the original Rebel Minnow, the Tracdown enables you to reach trout holding lower in the water column. Made for moving water, the bait’s straight tracking facilitates targeted presentations.


Strike King Bitsy Minnow

At 1 ¼ inches and 1/8 ounce, this little crank offers a bite-size morsel for feeding trout. Fished on light line, the enticing action and reflective eye makes this little crankbait appealing to fish, while ease of use makes it a good choice for kids and beginners.


Luhr-Jensen Hus Lure

With a narrow profile and compact design, the Hus Lure casts like a bullet and cuts through surface current to reach big-fish depths. An erratic minnow-like action produces strikes with minimal angler-imparted action. Swift currents will “work” the Hus Lure for you, but in lighter flows, slight rod twitches snap the bait forward so it can flutter back into the current.


Rapala Count Down

A consistent sink rate of one foot per second allows for precise targeting of specific depths whether the fish are suspended, at the weed tops or holding on bottom structure. Trolled or cast, this weighted balsa lure swims with a slow-rolling Rapala action. Sized well for stream trout, the inch-long, 1/16-ounce CD01 runs 1-3 feet and sports a single No. 12 treble.


Blue Fox Vibrax

With a 60° shallow depth blade, this detailed spinner runs from the surface to two feet, so it’s a good choice for shallow scenarios. The die cast and chrome plated body has a laser holographic painted finish and emits sonic vibration when the interior section strikes the outer bell. The treble hook is dressed with calf tail and tinsel for visual appeal and enhanced profile.


Mepps Comet Mino (Size #1)

The soft plastic minnow’s erratic swimming motion and hand-painted finish imitate an injured baitfish, while the flash and vibration of a Mepps spinner call attention to the presentation.

Mepps Little Wolf (Size 1/4)
Genuine silver plating and a reverse curve design yields intense flashing from this sturdy little spoon. Balanced for consistent side-to-side wobbling over a range of retrieval speeds, the spoon maintains its action when paused for an active fall. Ideal for 2- to 4-pound line and ultralight spinning tackle, the Little Wolf casts easily so it’s a great way to introduce kids and novices to the sport.

Mr. Twister Micro Crawfish
Sized and shaped to resemble a juvenile crawfish, the Mr. Twister Micro presents an irresistible meal for trout foraging over stream rocks. Rig this soft bait on a 1/64-ounce jighead and slowly scoot it over the bottom like a real crustacean.

Mr. Twister Twister Mite
Crafted to resemble a hellgrammite, this soft plastic bait performs well on a light Mister Twister jig head, a drop shot or a Carolina rig. Work the Twister Mite in an around structure to temp hungry trout.

 

 

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