Owner of Snow Summit and Bear Mountain resorts is looking for a buyer

Sean Jameson of San Clemente makes his way to the bottom of Bear Mountain.
Sean Jameson of San Clemente makes his way to the bottom of Bear Mountain.
Grant Slater/KPCC

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The company that owns the Snow Summit and Bear Mountain ski resorts in the San Bernardino Mountains is looking for a buyer.  

The Board of Directors of the Snow Summit Ski Corporation hired investment banking firm Houlihan Lokey to market the company as an attractive acquisition.  

"In the last couple of years, there's been a number of what we call expressions of interest of major ski companies and other investment companies that would like to acquire us if the time is right,"  Snow Summit President Richard Kun said.

Kun's stepfather, Tommi Tyndall, started the business in 1952 with one chair-lift.  Eight years later, Snow Summit, Inc. began making its own snow to stay open through winters when there wasn't enough.  Over the decades, the company has expanded to adjust to tourism trends, welcoming summer sight-seers, mountain-bikers and snowboarders.

Kun said a major company milestone came in 2012, when Snow Summit acquired its nearby competitor, the Bear Mountain Ski Resort. The purchase enabled the company was able to market the two areas differently.

"Bear Mountain became the youth market: thrill seeking, snowboarding, hot-dog skiers," Kun said. "At Snow Summit, we were able to focus more on mainstream skiers and snowboarders, families, senior citizens.  So the feeling and the atmosphere when you come to the two resorts – even though they’re only a mile apart - is considerably different given the clientele."

Free shuttles now run between the two, which operate under the name Big Bear Mountain Resorts, and a lift ticket at one is good at the other.  There are 26 lifts between the two resorts. Kun said they employ 1,600 full- and part-time workers during the peak winter season.  

He wouldn't name any potential buyers or comment on the company's worth. In a press release, the company said the process is likely to take months and won't necessarily end in a sale.