FOR over half a century, Angelinos have flocked for this secluded corner of California’s Sierra Nevada mountains. It’s easy to see why. In spite of the 8,000-foot altitude, houses for sale in mammoth sprawl of splashy condos and strip malls includes a distinct Los Angeles feel. Nevertheless the surrounding frozen lakes and granite peaks, immortalized by the photographer Ansel Adams, are decidedly un-Los Angeles, and will hold their very own with any landscape in Colorado or Canada. And with expanded daily flights from your San Francisco Bay area and La, not to mention a flurry of brand new après-ski offerings, Mammoth is hoping to draw skiers from beyond the Golden State.
1) SIBERIAN SPA
Imagine an enormous white expanse of the items seems like frozen Siberian tundra, dotted with natural hot springs and encompassed by soaring peaks. Hilltop Hot Spring is well-liked by locals, nevertheless, you can take part in, too. There are actually no formal signs or footpaths – just keep to the S.U.V.’s beyond the airport five minutes east of Mammoth Lakes and revel in a steaming soak, free of cost. For further privacy, cross the direction to Wild Willy’s, a more secluded spring, which needs a 20-minute trek and a couple of snowshoes.
2) From The FIREPLACE
On the other side of town is Tamarack Lodge and Resort (163 Twin Lakes Road, off Lake Mary Road; 760-934-2442; tamaracklodge.com). The rustic log cabin, featuring its bark-wood ceiling fixtures and 1920s-era fireplace, also happens with an impressive wine collection along with the area’s best chef: Frederic Pierrel (cheffrederic.com). The intimate Lakefront R Restaurant serves up a combination platter of elk medallions, grilled quail and pork marinated in wine over a bed of spicy mashed potatoes ($30). Before being seated, have got a mulled wine ($5) or hot cider ($4) with the fire.
3) PANCAKES AND BISCUITS
Before showing up in the slopes, fill up on pancakes and black-and-white memorabilia in the Stove (644 Old Mammoth Road; 760-934-2821), a cozy spot with long wooden booths and old pictures of cattle ranchers on its walls. For more than 4 decades, the Stove has served hearty meals just like the Sierra Sunrise (a heap of fried potatoes, peppers, onions and ham topped with eggs and cheese for $9.95). On the road out, pick up a homemade pie ($13.95) – apple, apricot, cherry. Arrive there early because the place fills up fast.
4) BLACK TIE SKIING
Experts from Black Tie Ski Rentals (760-934-7009; blacktieskis.com) will come to your condo and fit you for skis or snowboards. Heck, when the boots don’t feel snug by midday, Colin Fernie and his team will meet you on the slopes and exchange your gear, or switch your snowboard for a set of skis. Pretty good for under $40 (at the very least for beginner skiers).
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5) FRESH TRACKS
With 3,500 acres of trails, Mammoth has more variable terrain than most mountains (mammothmountain.com). You will find three lodges: Eagle, Canyon and Main. Skiers looking for soft powder and fresh-groomed runs start on Eagle and follow the sun up to Main or maybe the backside of your mountain (to prevent lift lines, reverse the order). Or take the gondola from Main for the summit, 11,053 feet above sea level, where you can find a calming location for hot chocolate. Marvel at the daredevils who ski off Hangman’s Hollow. Or brave the steep and icy chutes of Dave’s Run or Scotty’s. A safer alternative is Santiago, away from the summit’s less crowded backside, that offers scattered glades in addition to gorgeous views of the Minarets, a majestic group of jagged granite peaks.
6) SOUTH Of Your BORDER
Lunch on Mammoth typically involves Mexican fare. In the event you can’t get the new Roving Mammoth, a bright orange snowcat that doubles being a food cart, serving up burritos ($5.50) – you can even track the snowcat’s whereabouts on Twitter – there are actually pulled-pork nachos ($11.42) in the Mill Cafe (760-934-0675), a festive après-ski spot with the base of Chair 2 (in true California fashion, its entrance is scattered with beach chairs). Or, for overflowing plates of nachos and fish tacos, go to the Yodler (10001 Minaret Road; 760-934-2571), a Swiss-style chalet off of the Main Lodge. Gomez’s (100 Canyon Boulevard; 760-924-2693; gomezs.com), a Mexican place with more than 200 tequilas and fittingly mammoth margaritas, relocated to your spot in the center of the village this past year.
7) ART PARK
Take Chair 10 as much as ski down a couple of wide-open runs like Easy Rider or Solitude that stay powdery throughout the day. Or try Quicksilver, a highly-groomed trail with gently sloped glades and variable terrain. Snowboarders should head to the new terrain Art Park, which made its debut in December and showcases funky artworks affixed to its rails and steel structures. Mammoth also recently opened the Stomping Grounds, a terrain park packed with jumps, jibs plus an Acrobag – which resembles a huge blue moon bounce – to train flips. Nonsnowboarders should consider the newly carved Village Ski Back Trail, a scenic path that meanders past pine trees and the backyards of condos, linking the mountain using the village.
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8) GROWLERS AND PASTRIES
Thankfully, après-ski at Mammoth fails to involve bad cover bands. If anything, it revolves around its eponymous microbrew. Insiders make their method to a warehouse converted many years directly into a beer-tasting room for that Mammoth Brewing Company (94 Berner Street; 760-934-7141; mammothbrewingco.com). Still in ski gear, they down free samples before completing their growlers with IPA 395 ($13), a nearby favorite, or grabbing kegs and cases to go. Another favorite spot among Mammoth’s growing international crowd is Shea Schat’s Bakery (3305 Main Street; 760-934-6055), which feels, and smells, like the on the inside of a gingerbread house. The shop serves up steaming hot cocoa and stocks rows of pastries – cinnamon nut bread, ginger cakes and bread pudding.
9) MIDMOUNTAIN DINING
This winter Mammoth remodeled its swanky restaurant Parallax (800-626-6684; mammothmountain.com), which can take up almost half of the cafeteria at McCoy Station, a midmountain gondola station up in the Main Lodge. Its modern décor and Asian-themed trimmings, including white bark walls, would not look out of place in downtown Manhattan, save, perhaps, to the tacky TV Yule log fireplace. Yet at 9,600 feet, it really is reachable by only snowcat, which picks people up with the Mammoth Mountain Inn (10001 Minaret Road; 760-934-2581; mammothmountain.com). Hop aboard a heated snowcat that is like a spaceship while you gaze up with the mammothllakes through its glass roof. Then feast on dishes including a rack newest Zealand lamb to grilled chicken with risotto (foods are prix fixe at $89, including snowcat ride). For optimal views, get there as night falls.
10) ROCKIES MEETS HOLLYWOOD
Never mind the gondola D.J. booth and vintage lanterns on top of the bar. Hyde Lounge (6201 Minaret Road; 760-934-0669; sbe.com/hydemammoth) lives around its Sunset Boulevard forefather. There are actually bottle-service-only booths (from $200), lasers everywhere and Mammoth’s version of a strict door policy (“No snowboard gear”). The crowd sipping pricey cocktails is a mix of slovenly clad snowboarders and dressed-to-impress partygoers, all crammed within its fire-engine red walls. Heat using a burning mango ($12), a jalapeño and vodka concoction, and settle set for an evening of individuals watching.
11) OLYMPIC WORKOUT
In recent years, Mammoth Lakes has changed into a year-round hub for Olympic and pro athletes drawn to the top altitudes and easygoing ethos. A fantastic byproduct is definitely the state-of-the-art facilities on the Snowcreek Athletic Club, which resembles a huge barn just outside town. The club recently opened the Double Eagle Spa (51 Club Drive; 760-934-8511; snowcreekathleticclub.com), with earthy massage rooms, Vichy showers along with a yoga studio. You could possibly even bump in the The Big Apple Marathon winner Meb Keflezighi hitting the gym inside the weight room.
12) MOUNTAIN MAN
To appreciate the Sierra Nevada range’s jaw-dropping beauty, drop by Vern Clevenger’s gallery (220 Sierra Manor Road; 760-934-5100; vernclevenger.com) around. His color photos (prints start at $149) of nearby canyons, lakes and mountain vistas are ubiquitous out and about, as is also the person himself. Vern’s scruffy yellow jacket and unruly hair are already a familiar presence at Mammoth considering that the early ’70s. He or she is a modern day-day version of Ansel Adams, who a lot more than anyone put this corner of California on the map.