By Judi Bowers Reporter
Deputy Jim Wijnhamer is still in awe. He still can’t believe the turnout in numbers and money for the second annual Polar Plunge to benefit Special Olympics of Southern California. The fundraiser hit the $100,000 mark for Special Olympics.
The plunge March 9 at Swim Beach truly was polar, with several inches of fresh snow covering the sand at Swim Beach. The water temperature was warmer than the air temperature, but that didn’t dampen anyone’s spirit, or their spirit of giving.
Last year Big Bear set a fundraising record earning more than $23,000, and in 2013 set a record before a single person hit the icy waters of Big Bear Lake. Wijnhamer said the goal was to double the 2012 take. He did that and then some.
By plunge time March 9, the count was just shy of $40,000 and by the time plungers were drying off, it was above $70,000. The almost final count came in March 11, at $90,000, hitting $100,000 by March 12, with more expected. “I’m floored,” Wijhnhamer said. “It’s amazing.”
In addition to raising money to benefit the Special Olympic athletes in the Inland Empire, the event also raised awareness. Wijnhamer said there are nine Special Olympic athletes in Big Bear and after the event, there are more who want to sign their kids up. He also received inquiries from a number of people on how to volunteer as a coach.
In the Inland Empire, Special Olympic athletes compete in a bowling tournament in Big Bear in the fall as well as various other games held in areas such as Murrietta and Orange County. Wijnhamer said hopes are to host a track and field event in Big Bear in the spring. The funds make it possible for the athletes to have access to sporting events all year long, Wijnhamer said.
Wijnhamer has a son who is a Special Olympic athlete, which drives his passion. Asked what he thinks drives others who participated and raised so much money, Wijnhamer said the Big Bear community is so giving. When asked for help with the Special Olympics, people were eager to participate, he said. “This is a very giving community,” Wijnhamer said. “People are just amazing,” something he kept repeating.”
Will Rahill, a local real estate agent, arrived at the Polar Plunge dressed in fur. He was Pimpin’ for Special O, Rahill said. He decided the morning of the event to take part and donated $100 to the cause.
Angel Martinez of Hesperia took part for the family. His aunt, who recently passed away, had Down Syndrome. Her favorite food was hot dogs, so Martinez dressed in his aunt’s Halloween costume as Hot Diggity Dog and jumped into Big Bear Lake in her honor.
San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon attended the event, helping Amber, a Special Olympic athlete, light the torch to signal the start of the games. The torch arrived via special delivery from the Sheriff’s Dive Team. Two divers jumped simultaneously from a helicopter hovering over the lake and delivered the torch to McMahon and Amber.
Close to 300 people took the plunge. There were numerous law enforcement teams, firefighters, teams from Snow Summit, the Big Bear City Community Services District, the Big Bear Area Regional Wastewater Agency, Bear Valley Unified School District and more. The cohesiveness was all about coming together for one cause, Wijnhamer said.
“Wasn’t that amazing?” he said with a smile that answers his own questio
A late, fast moving snowstorm dropped 4 inches of fresh snow in Big Bear overnight. The light fresh, powder makes for excellent conditions at the resorts for skiing and boarding, as well as snowshoeing, tubing and other winter activities.
But to get here, you will need chains. All roads leading into the mountain communities are under R-2 conditions meaning all vehicles must have chains except those with four-wheel or all-wheel-drive and snow tires. All motorists must carry chains.
Big Bear Mountain Resorts are reporting 4 inches of fresh powder with up to a 36 inch base of machine groomed packed powder and fresh powder surfaces. Three are plenty of tickets available at Snow Summit and Bear Mountain. January is learn a snow sport month and Bear Mountain is offering free rentals throughout the month for first timers age 8 and older who purchase a beginner lesson package. Reservations are required.
On Saturday, Jan. 12, Snow Summit celebrates its 60th anniversary with live music during the day, a fireworks show at 7 p.m. and more. Purchase two lift tickets online for $60 from Jan. 7 to 10. Valid only for online purchases at Snow Summit.
Big Bear Lake Convention Center
Division Drive & Big Bear Boulevard
Wyatt’s (inside the Convention Center)
Wednesdays: Big Bear Country Dance Club, Lessons at 6pm
Tuesdays 8am to 1pm through September 27th
Big Bear Lake Performing Arts Center
39707 Big Bear Boulevard
Box office at CityBigBearLake.com
Big Bear Mountain Brewery
40260 Big Bear Boulevard
(909) 866-2337 (BEER)
Open 7 days a week at 11:30am
Great Food & Homemade Micro Brews
No Cover Charge
Live local entertainment on weekends playing original music!
Blondie’s Grille & Bar
625 Pine Knot Avenue in Big Bear Lake Village
Daily Happy Hour 4pm to close
($1 Draughts, $4 Martinis, $2.50 Wine & Well Drinks)
Bowling Barn & Alley Oops Lounge
Lakeview Drive & Bonanza, Village West
(909) 878-BOWL (2695)
Bowling daily at 10am
Glow Bowling starts weekdays at 8:30pm,
Fridays at 7:30pm, weekends at 2pm with karaoke at 7:30pm
3 Big Screen TVs, Pool Tables in Family Sports Bar Arcade
(909) 866-3997 at the Moonridge “Y”
Cocktails in Andy Devine Room
Happy Hour Monday – Friday 4:30pm – 6pm
40740 Village Drive
Open weekdays at 11am & weekends at 10am
Full Cocktail Bar, Pool Tables, Darts, Foos Ball
$$ Cover Charge - Weekends LIVE MUSIC
Diamond Lil’s Saloon
41072 Big Bear Boulevard
Gold Pan Restaurant
North Shore Drive, Hwy 38 in Fawnskin
Hacienda Grill & Sports Bar
41787 Big Bear Boulevard
15 TVs in Sports Bar + Big Screen
Happy Hour Monday thru Thursday 3-6pm
La Montaña Mexican Restaurant
at the Moonridge “Y”
Happy Hour Sunday – Friday 4-7pm
Sunday Champagne Brunch
Le Bistro & Tiffany Lounge at
Best Western Big Bear Chateau
42200 Moonridge Road
The LeBistro Dining Room
Tiffany Lounge open 8pm – midnight
Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm Bill Baker
Daily Karaoke at 7pm
501 Valley Boulevard, 2nd Floor
Upstairs at the Big Bear City Airport
Murray’s Saloon & Eatery
672 Cottage Way
Karaoke Thursday – Saturday 9pm
North Shore Tavern
39247 North Shore Drive in Fawnskin
Open Wednesday - Sunday
Live music on Saturday nights
Nottingham’s Restaurant and Tavern
at the Robinhood Resort
Bartlett Road & Lakeview Drive
Open every day at 3:30pm
Happy Hour 4-6pm, Full Cocktail Bar
Expanded Outdoor Patio, Live Music & Dancing
Sandy’s Sports Bar
40951 Big Bear Boulevard
Pool Tables, Video Games, Big Screen TVs
Stillwells Restaurant & Lounge
in the Northwoods Resort at 40650 Village Drive
Live music Saturdays in the Lounge after 7pm
Lounge open 9am-10pm Sundays, featuring all day happy hour drinks
Big Bear Discovery Center Amphitheater
Hosts 2011 Music in the Mountains summer concert series
40971 North Shore Drive, Fawnskin
Concerts July 16, July 30, September 3
Summer Campfire Series scheduled most Friday and Saturday nights
Check web site for dates and content
Started more than 20 years ago, Villagefest is sure to tantalize you with a new experience each time.
Villagefest is consistently voted the best event in the area, attracting thousands of visitors each week.
Each block offers great street entertainment in the heart of beautiful downtown Palm Springs.
Browse more than 200 booths offering beautiful art, handcrafted items and unique food.
Great people watching at a sidewalk cafe is a favorite of locals…
Shop in one the many shops along Palm Canyon Drive.
Many shops, galleries, and restaurants stay open late.
Join us from 6:00 pm -10:00 pm October-May
7:00 pm -10:00 pm June – September
Stroll beautiful Palm Canyon Drive.
We’re dog friendly!
The Snow Summit Scenic Sky Chair (Mountain Biking) and the Bear Mountain Golf Course are . The Driving Range is also open; range tokens and golf season passes will be available for purchase at the pro-shop.
Big Bear is a four season resort community nestled in the Southern California Mountains of San Bernardino at an altitude of 7000 ft. Boasting a beautiful freshwater lake, over 300 days of sunshine a year, two ski areas, and miles of hiking trails, Big Bear is the ideal get-away for visitors from all over Southern California and beyond that want to explore nature and have a unique mountain experience.
With over 20,000 residents and 1,400 businesses, Big Bear is also a diverse and welcoming community for growing families, couples looking to retire, or for businesses interested in relocating to a quieter lifestyle in a pristine alpine environment away from busy freeways or pollution.
Come stay with us (949) 499-4668 for booking