FOR over half a hundred years, Angelinos have flocked to the secluded corner of California’s Sierra Nevada mountains. It’s easy to understand why. Regardless of the 8,000-foot altitude, mammoth mountain homes for sale sprawl of splashy condos and strip malls carries a distinct La feel. But the surrounding frozen lakes and granite peaks, immortalized from the photographer Ansel Adams, are decidedly un-Los Angeles, and can hold their particular with any landscape in Colorado or Canada. And with expanded daily flights through the San Francisco Bay area and Los Angeles, along with a flurry of new après-ski offerings, Mammoth is hoping to draw skiers from past the Golden State.
1) SIBERIAN SPA
Imagine a vast white expanse of the things seems like frozen Siberian tundra, dotted with natural hot springs and encompassed by soaring peaks. Hilltop Hot Spring is favored by locals, nevertheless, you can take part in, too. There are actually no formal signs or footpaths – just follow the S.U.V.’s past the airport a few minutes east of Mammoth Lakes and enjoy a steaming soak, totally free. For further privacy, cross the direction to Wild Willy’s, a more secluded spring, which takes a 20-minute trek and a couple of snowshoes.
2) With The FIREPLACE
On the reverse 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, with its bark-wood ceiling fixtures and 1920s-era fireplace, also happens to have an impressive wine collection and the area’s best chef: Frederic Pierrel (cheffrederic.com). The intimate Lakefront R Restaurant serves up a mixture platter of elk medallions, grilled quail and pork marinated in wine on the bed of spicy mashed potatoes ($30). Prior to being seated, have a mulled wine ($5) or hot cider ($4) by the fire.
3) PANCAKES AND BISCUITS
Before showing up in the slopes, fill up on pancakes and black-and-white memorabilia on 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. In excess of four decades, the Stove has served hearty meals like the Sierra Sunrise (a heap of fried potatoes, peppers, onions and ham topped with eggs and cheese for $9.95). On your way out, pick up a homemade pie ($13.95) – apple, apricot, cherry. Arrive early as the place fills up fast.
4) BLACK TIE SKIING
Experts from Black Tie Ski Rentals (760-934-7009; blacktieskis.com) will come to the condo and fit you for skis or snowboards. Heck, if 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 (a minimum of 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 begin with Eagle and adhere to the sun over to Main or maybe the backside in the mountain (to protect yourself from lift lines, reverse the order). Or consider the gondola from Main on the summit, 11,053 feet above sea level, to find a calming spot for hot cocoa. Marvel in 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, off the summit’s less crowded backside, that provides scattered glades in addition to gorgeous views of the Minarets, a majestic number of jagged granite peaks.
6) SOUTH In The BORDER
Lunch on Mammoth typically involves Mexican fare. Should you can’t obtain the new Roving Mammoth, a bright orange snowcat that doubles as being a food cart, serving up burritos ($5.50) – you may even track the snowcat’s whereabouts on Twitter – you will find pulled-pork nachos ($11.42) in the Mill Cafe (760-934-0675), a festive après-ski spot in 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, visit 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 well over 200 tequilas and fittingly mammoth margaritas, relocated to a spot in the middle of the village this past year.
7) ART PARK
Take Chair 10 as much as ski down a number of wide-open runs like Easy Rider or Solitude that stay powdery throughout the day. Or try Quicksilver, a well-groomed trail with gently sloped glades and variable terrain. Snowboarders should visit 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 along with an Acrobag – which resembles a huge blue moon bounce – to practice flips. Nonsnowboarders should use the newly carved Village Ski Back Trail, a scenic path that meanders past pine trees as well as the backyards of condos, linking the mountain with the village.
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8) GROWLERS AND PASTRIES
Thankfully, après-ski at Mammoth will not involve bad cover bands. If something, it involves its eponymous microbrew. Insiders make their method to a warehouse converted quite a while back in a beer-tasting room to the 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 look. Another favorite spot among Mammoth’s growing international crowd is Shea Schat’s Bakery (3305 Main Street; 760-934-6055), which feels, and smells, much like the within 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), that takes up almost half in 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 is actually reachable by only snowcat, which picks people up in the Mammoth Mountain Inn (10001 Minaret Road; 760-934-2581; mammothmountain.com). Hop aboard a heated snowcat that seems like a spaceship as you gaze up at the mammothllakes through its glass roof. Then feast on dishes starting from a rack of New 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 higher than the bar. Hyde Lounge (6201 Minaret Road; 760-934-0669; sbe.com/hydemammoth) lives up to its Sunset Boulevard forefather. You will find bottle-service-only booths (from $200), lasers everywhere and Mammoth’s version of the strict door policy (“No snowboard gear”). The competition sipping pricey cocktails is a mixture of slovenly clad snowboarders and dressed-to-impress partygoers, all crammed within its fire-engine red walls. Heat up using a burning mango ($12), a jalapeño and vodka concoction, and settle set for a night of men and women watching.
11) OLYMPIC WORKOUT
Lately, Mammoth Lakes has changed into a year-round hub for Olympic and pro athletes fascinated by the top altitudes and easygoing ethos. A great byproduct is definitely the state-of-the-art facilities on the Snowcreek Athletic Club, which resembles a giant 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 and a yoga studio. You could possibly even bump into the Ny City Marathon winner Meb Keflezighi exercising within 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 the man himself. Vern’s scruffy yellow jacket and unruly hair have already been a familiar presence at Mammoth since the early ’70s. He or she is a modern day-day version of Ansel Adams, who greater than anyone put this corner of California on the map.