Going to Orange County this winter from Dec.18-29 (not for snowboarding, but going to sneak some in). Never been boarding in the area. What would you say the best is to go to? Are the weekends just a zoo? What day of the week is least crowded? What mountain is best at Mountain High?
steer clear of mountain high! its always crowded, not that much terrain to ride, and its a tiny mountain.
bear mountain got rated the #1 for its park the past two years by transworld. its worth it to give it a try for sure
If park isn't your thing, hit Snow Summit (Bear's sister resort). Like the others have said, steer clear of Mt. High, especially on weekends. It's the easiest to get too, but is a zoo on weekends, and they have the most inefficient ticket line imagineable.
Big Bear definitely the best. Big Bear Mountain/Lake has two resorts: 1) Bear Mountain and 2) Snow Summit. They are about a 5 min drive away from each other and a lift ticket purchased at either place works for both parks. Bear Mountain has more freestyle/park stuff, while Snow Summit has nicer freeride/long runs. Snow Summit is usually less crowded too. Weekends can get a little crowded, but not bad. Snow Summit has night boarding on Fridays and Saturdays (for an extra $15 bucks or so on top of your day lift ticket). Night boarding there is nice...well lite and not many people on the night runs. I did a ride from top to bottom on a night run and only saw 3 other people on the mountain once.
Cheapest place to stay if you stay the night is Motel 6. Not a crap-hole either.
If the snow gets bad, you may want to check road conditions on Cal-tran's website: Road Conditions
Quickest way up there is Hwy 330 to Hwy 18 into Big Bear Lake.
Since you're going to spend more than a week in OC, I would check out both Big Bear/Snow Summit and Mt High. Maybe a few days at Big Bear and one day at Mt High. The great thing about Mt High is that it's only maybe a little more than an hour drive from OC so you can make it a day trip out of it and be back to OC early enough so you can still have plans for your evening.
I was at Big Bear/Snow summit last weekend it the conditions for the time of the year were perfect. Even know all runs were not open yet it was not to busy. If you have the time spend the extra money and drive the extra house to Mammoth and enjoy a real MTN.
I was talking to a guy that worked there the other night while taking a lift up with him, he said that they hired the Mammoth Mountain Park designer for this season and he said that the park is much better than it previously was. I honestly have no clue myself, just going off what he said because im not quite to the skill level for park stuff yet.