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History of Snow Summit, California

In 1947, Tommi Tyndall, the man most responsible for popularizing skiing in the Big Bear Valley, arrived in Big Bear. Among his many efforts to promote winter sports, Tommi is primarily remembered as the man who built “Snow Summit”. Organizing a group of investors, he opened Snow Summit with a one mile long double chair lift, two major ski runs and several rope tows in 1952. It was the beginning of Big Bear as a major Southern California ski area.

But 1952 was also the beginning of many dry winters that would last into the 1960’s. These drought years forced the closure of most all the smaller ski areas, and seriously threatened the existence of the new Snow Summit.

However in 1958, a man named Chuck Smith began experimenting with making snow on a small rope tow called “Rebel Ridge” near Big Bear City.

Over the next three years, Smith proved that snowmaking was an economically viable solution during dry winters.

With Snow Summit on the verge of financial collapse in 1961, Tommi Tyndall decided to go further into debt to build a major snow making system. The system was completed in 1964. It was the largest in Southern California.

But the success of this new system was overshadowed by the accidental and untimely death of Tommi that same year. The leadership of Snow Summit fell on the shoulders of his wife Jo Tyndall and her son Richard Kun.

The years following Tyndall’s death proved that snowmaking was here to stay. An exceptionally heavy winter in 1969, enabled Snow Summit to build a second Chair lift.

In late 2002, under the leadership of Dick Kun, Snow Summit brought Big Bear Mountain and collectively renamed the two resorts Big Bear Mountain Resorts. Big Bear will cater to snowboarders while Snow Summit will continue to be more family friendly.

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Snow Summit
Snow Summit

Tommi with his snow guns. Photo Courtesy Snow Summit.



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