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Backpacker Magazine – Online Exclusive

Bear Skips Hibernation, Hits The Ski Slopes Instead

The bruins of California haven't gone to sleep yet, apparently.

by: Ted Alvarez

Hibernating? That’s so last year—at least, if you’re a California black bear. This January, bears have been spotted in Yosemite and all over Northern California -- romping, eating, and climbing trees when they should be sleeping soundly. One shredding bruin even decided to crash a ski race at Heavenly last week.

Why are the bears up and at ‘em? Two things: Warmer temperatures—10 degrees above average—and the availability of food. Usually, the combination of colder temps and a natural food scarcity combine to make bears turn in to their dens. But this year, those warm temps are altering migratory patterns, and enterprising bears are finding an abundance of alternative food sources — mostly dog food and trash left out by careless humans.

Wildlife officials are warning locals to be extra vigilant with leaving trash out – that way, when a cold snap finally hits, Pooh might finally be convinced to take a long winter’s nap. But now that bears know how much fun we have skiing while they’re zonked, I’m worried that they won’t want to miss out.

Read more: Tahoe Daily Tribune

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