It’s just past 10 a.m. on a Saturday as four tennis players battle it out at the Big Bear Sports Ranch. In addition to the court they are using, the other five tennis courts sit empty, a common sight at The Ranch in Erwin Lake.

At the slightly smaller courts across the parking lot it’s an entirely different story. More than 20 players, mostly seniors, take turns shuffling around the miniature tennis courts playing a game called pickleball. It’s a sport rising in popularity nationwide and sieging Big Bear’s attention with force.

“It’s pingpong on steroids,” says Dan Snook, 72, of Big Bear City. The retired purchasing manager from Rancho Cucamonga is the president of the Big Bear Valley Pickleball Club, a group of 50 members who get together three times a week at The Ranch to play.

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