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!). The following describes the following:
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 need to leave your car in one of the parking lots around the village. Each lot has restricted parking days; days which you need to move your cars out of the lot for plowing. The Bear Valley Real Estate Office has produced a very useful Winter Parking Map which you might want to print out and keep in your car.
If it has been snowing since you last parked your car, you need to 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 winter holiday, but that can change 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, RV’s, 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 do not need to move your car over the Christmas holiday season through New Years.
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 (209-753-2323))! 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 the transportation know. Snowmobiles left unused 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.
- 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). You may need to shovel your own spot or contact a local entrepreneur to pack out a spot for your snowmobile that is not on the groomed road. Travis Glass (209-795-7369) , John Henry Watts (209-753-6226), and Mark White (209-768-2288) provide this service by prearrangement. Joe Zibley (209-890-7883) is available for snow shoveling and house opening and closing.
- Whatever you do, DO NOT park your snowmobile in a place that blocks access for the road groomer. Parking tickets are not cheap.
- In the Village: Make sure you follow the posted signs for parking your snowmobile in the village and around the Transportation Center. Snowmobiles do need to be moved from the parking areas every Thursday morning from 4am to 8am. This is the grooming period at both the bottom of Bear Valley Road (by the parking lot) and the bottom of Quaking Aspen Road by the Transportation Center.
- Here is a Snowmobile Parking Map to help you in your snowmobile parking decisions. Remember parking tickets are not cheap.
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. 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.
- 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).
- 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. The move day for snowmobiles at the bus stop lot and over on Quaking Aspen is Thursday, 4am to 8am.
- Snowmobile transport trailers should be parked in parking lot “A” or on Creekside Drive between the library and the school (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.