Cars and Snowmobiles
Bear Valley is unique for many reasons, but one especially unique feature is that the roads (other than in the village) are not plowed during the winter (when there is snow that is!). They are instead groomed for snowmobiling and skiing. Learn more:
Parking Cars on Bear Valley Roads (When Roads are Open)
All cars must be parked in designated parking areas, in driveways, or along the side of roads. If along the side of roads they need to be well to the side so that emergency vehicles can get through.
When roads are still open in the winter (i.e. when plowing is still occurring, you must be sure to park you cars completely off the road. This might require some shoveling to clear a spot for your cars. Tickets have been issued for cars not completely off the roads.
Condo parking lots are private property for condo owners and guests only.
Winter Parking (When Roads are Closed)
During the winter months, you must leave your car in one of the parking lots around the village. Each lot has restricted parking days, meaning days on which you need to move your cars out of the lot for plowing.
If it has been snowing since you last parked your car, call 753-6155 before 9am on the days with restricted parking for your lot. A recording will inform you whether you need to move your car or not. If in doubt, call. If there is no message to move, then you need not move your car. If the date on the recording is wrong, it’s safest to move your car. Generally you are not asked to move cars over the Christmas-NY winter holiday, but that can change if there’s a lot of snow — so again be sure to check.
Winter Parking Tips
- To facilitate plowing of the village parking lots, vehicles must be moved from designated areas on weekdays. Refer to the Winter Parking Map to see which areas are “No Parking” for which times. Other parking tips:
- Parking “move days” may not be enforced if there’s nothing to plow. Call 753-6155 for a recorded message letting you know whether to move your car. Never assume; even if it hasn’t snowed, maintenance people may need to move berms or do other routine maintenance. Listen to date of last message; if message is not up to date then best to move your car.
- Weekends and holidays may be crowded. Park close together and don’t waste space.
- Snow plowing equipment needs lots of space to turn. Don’t park beyond the signed end of a row – you may get clipped, and it will be your fault.
- Trailers, RVs, buses, and any extra long vehicles should park in “A” lot or on Creekside Drive past the library. A vehicle that sticks out farther than other cars in a row disrupts plowing.
- Moving your car often during a big storm is easier than letting lots of snow pile up and freeze. And a deeply buried car may become invisible to a snowplow. In 1969 in Bear Valley a loader picked up a buried Volkswagen and dumped it on top of another buried car without ever knowing there were cars under there.
On the schematic are marked the move days and times for each area. For example, Lot A move days are Monday and Thursday, 9am to 4pm; don’t park there then.
You usually — but not always — do not need to move your car over the Christmas holiday season through New Years.
Snowmobiles (and Other Over-the-Snow Vehicles)
Snowmobiles (and other over-the- snow vehicles -herein designated as snowmobiles) at Bear Valley are used for daily transportation to houses as well as for recreational purposes. Please be respectful of homeowners and don’t bomb around the residential roads.
Important or those of you who store your snowmobile in the Transportation Center (Bear Valley Snowmobile (209-753-2600)! It is best to call the night before so that the crew knows how many to get out each morning. If you call to have your snowmobile put outside and then change your mind about coming, please call back to let them know. Snowmobiles left out unused can create chaos for the crew working the center. Snowmobiles need to be put out and back in each time you come up.
You can contact Bear Valley Snowmobile (209-753-2323) for information on groomed public recreation trails from Bear Valley to Lake Alpine and beyond, and at Spicer Road. Snowmobile gas, oil, parts, and service are available at the Transportation Center on Bear Valley Road. Gas purchase requires a credit card. Gas is also available at the gas station; leave your snowmobile on the snow, walk to the station and use a loaner gas can.
Winter Snowmobile Parking and Summer Storage:
- Winter Parking At Your Home: One of the biggest challenges in Bear Valley in the winter is keeping the roads packed. There must be room for the groomer to get through at all times. By county code, snowmobiles must be parked off of the road. In other words, snowmobiles must not be parked on the groomed portion of roads. You must create an off-road parking place at your house (county law). Whatever you do, DO NOT park your snowmobile in a place that blocks access for the road groomer. Parking tickets are not cheap, nor is repairing a snowmobile that the groomer hit because he couldn’t see it.
- Winter Parking In the Village: Make sure you follow the posted signs for parking your snowmobile in the village and around the Transportation Center. Here is the 2024 Snowmobile Parking Map to help you in your snowmobile parking decisions.
- These rules are to allow better road grooming during the winter season, as well as clearer traffic routes through Bear Valley Village and easier access for emergency vehicles when necessary. Snowmobiling parking regulations will be aggressively enforced. Please educate yourself and guests to follow these guidelines.
- Short term parking (in front of the Lodge) is up to 6 days with a move day every week on grooming days. Long-term parking (between the Transportation Center and Quaking Aspen Road) is longer than 1 week with no move days on grooming days.
- Do not park your snowmobile on any groomed roadway (excluding Thursdays on Bear Valley Road). Park off the groomed portion to ensure groomers and emergency equipment can get through. Snowmobiles parked on the groomed roadway will be cited and towed.
- Snowmobiles parked in the NO Parking areas will be cited and towed, Be sure to observe all posted No Parking signs. No parking in the groomed roadway connecting Quaking Aspen and C Lot.
- Look for the clearly marked Loading Zones when loading/unloading. Do not load/unload in Fire lanes,
- Follow the snowmobile move day to facilitate grooming of the parking areas. Snowmobiles may be parked on one side of Bear Valley Road on Thursdays.
- Please see map for location. Signs will be posted when in effect.
- Long term parking of snowmobiles is seriously discouraged as grooming equipment may run over buried machines and could cause damage.
- After digging out a buried snowmobile, please fill in the hazardous hole.
- Summer Snowmobile Storage: Within a reasonable time limit after the roads are reopened, (no more than 3 weeks), homeowners must store their snowmobiles in the snowmobile transportation center or on their private property as set forth below. Snowmobiles and over-snow vehicles stored for the summer must be hidden as much as possible
- Machines should be stored behind a structure or tree, preferably out of sight of neighbors. They must be 40 feet from the street unless prohibited by terrain, but no less than 20 feet.
- The machine is required to be covered with a tarp that is either brown, dark green or black. (Tarps are available for purchase at the Bear Valley Adventure Company).
Rules for Snowmobiling:
- Use designated areas for transferring between car and snowmobile, behind the Transportation Center and at the bus stop area. No unloading at the ends of Bear Valley, Quaking Aspen, or Creekside Roads; these are fire lanes.
- The speed limit is 15 mph in the busy areas at the foot of Bear Valley Road and Quaking Aspen Road. The speed limit in the rest of the subdivision is 20 mph. (Alpine County Law). No matter where you are going it’s going to be a short trip. Little is gained by exceeding the speed limit. Drive slowly and cautiously when encountering pedestrians, skiers and other snowmobiles.
- DO NOT ride in large groups. Break up into smaller groups and ride single file.
- Snowmobiles are powerful machines, DO NOT let children or young teens ride them alone.
- MInimize recreational riding in Bear Valley Village. Recreational riding is appropriate in the forests outside of the subdivision.
- Snowmobile travel in the village is allowed only on the groomed roads.
- Snowmobile travel is not allowed between the hours of 10 pm and 6 am except for travel to residence or business.
- Snowmobile travel on a common area is not allowed except to gain necessary access to residence or business. (county law)
- Snowmobile travel is not allowed on private property, including private roads, without owner’s consent. (county law)
- Use approved trails to access USFS lands.
- All snowmobiles must be properly registered. Current registration sticker must be visible on right side of snowmobile.
- All snowmobiles must be equipped with operating headlight, tail light, and brake light. Modified exhaust systems are not allowed. Snowmobiles operated in the subdivision should have mufflers. The maximum sound limit is 86db. Loud after market pipes are strongly discouraged (county law).
- Keep snowmobiles tuned up and do not let them idle too long. Use synthetic oil to reduce carbon emissions.
- The only allowable attachment to a snowmobile is a trailer specifically designed for a snowmobile. The towing of toboggans, skiers, snowboarders, sleds, saucers, etc. is not allowed.
- The County has initiated a “move day” schedule for snowmobiles to allow for grooming of popular parking areas near the village center. Please note signs at the foot of Bear Valley Road and Quaking Aspen Road. A buried snowmobile interferes with grooming and takes up several parking spaces.
- Snowmobile transport trailers should be parked in parking lot “A” or on Creekside Drive between the library and the school (county law).
- Snowmobiling and alcohol DO NOT mix. DO NOT drink and drive. You can be subject to a DUI. (Alpine County Law).
- If you have any questions regarding snowmobile operation in the village, contact the Sheriff’s Department (209-753-2321).
- Please don’t leave snowmobile idling for long periods of time (other than the minute it needs to warm up). Contributes to air noise pollution.
- Please fill in holes at roadside or in public parking areas created when you dig out your snowmobile. Not doing so creates a hazard for snowmobilers, skiers, and pedestrians.
- Try not to ride in large groups. Break up into smaller groups and ride single file. Remember that large groups of snowmobiles create high noise pollution.
- Don’t let children ride alone. These are powerful machines and not appropriate for children or young teens.
- Try to minimize riding in the subdivision. Recreational riding should be done in the Forest outside of the subdivision.
- Be aware of pedestrians and skiers.
- Don’t let your machine idle for more than 15 seconds. Snowmobiles put out clouds of blue smoke which is hazardous to your health. You can’t see it when you’re in it, but if you go up to a ridgetop and look down into the village on a calm day, you will be astonished and dismayed to see what we’re breathing on a busy weekend. So please shut your skidoo off if you’re not going anywhere.
- Try synthetic oil to reduce emissions.
- Snowmobiling and alcohol don’t mix. Don’t drink and ride.