For more than half a hundred years, Angelinos have flocked to the secluded corner of California’s Sierra Nevada mountains. It’s easy to see why. Inspite of the 8,000-foot altitude, homes for sale mammoth lakes ca sprawl of splashy condos and strip malls carries a distinct La feel. However the surrounding frozen lakes and granite peaks, immortalized with the photographer Ansel Adams, are decidedly un-La, and will hold their very own with any landscape in Colorado or Canada. And with expanded daily flights in the San Francisco Bay area and Los Angeles, along with a flurry of brand new après-ski offerings, Mammoth is looking to draw skiers from beyond the Golden State.
1) SIBERIAN SPA
Imagine a vast white expanse of the things appears like frozen Siberian tundra, dotted with natural hot springs and flanked by soaring peaks. Hilltop Hot Spring is popular with locals, nevertheless, you can participate in, too. You can find no formal signs or footpaths – just stick to the S.U.V.’s beyond the airport a few minutes east of Mammoth Lakes and revel in a steaming soak, totally free. For further privacy, cross the road to Wild Willy’s, a much more secluded spring, which requires a 20-minute trek and a pair of snowshoes.
2) Through The FIREPLACE
On the opposite 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 with 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 with a bed of spicy mashed potatoes ($30). Before being seated, use a mulled wine ($5) or hot cider ($4) through the fire.
3) PANCAKES AND BISCUITS
Before striking 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 forty years, 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 the way out, grab 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) should come for your condo and fit you for skis or snowboards. Heck, if the boots don’t feel snug by midday, Colin Fernie and his awesome team will meet yourself on the slopes and exchange your gear, or switch your snowboard for a set of skis. Pretty good for under $40 (at least for beginner skiers).
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5) FRESH TRACKS
With more than 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 trying to find soft powder and fresh-groomed runs start on Eagle and follow the sun onto Main or perhaps the backside in the mountain (in order to avoid lift lines, turn back order). Or take the gondola from Main towards the summit, 11,053 feet above sea level, where you can find a soothing spot for hot cocoa. 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, off 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 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 a food cart, serving up burritos ($5.50) – you can also track the snowcat’s whereabouts on Twitter – there are actually pulled-pork nachos ($11.42) on 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, go to the Yodler (10001 Minaret Road; 760-934-2571), a Swiss-style chalet off the Main Lodge. Gomez’s (100 Canyon Boulevard; 760-924-2693; gomezs.com), a Mexican place with 200 tequilas and fittingly mammoth margaritas, relocated to some spot in the middle of the village just last 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 during the day. Or try Quicksilver, a nicely-groomed trail with gently sloped glades and variable terrain. Snowboarders should go to the new terrain Art Park, which made its debut in December and showcases funky artworks affixed to the rails and steel structures. Mammoth also recently opened the Stomping Grounds, a terrain park loaded with jumps, jibs and 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 along with the backyards of condos, linking the mountain with all the village.
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8) GROWLERS AND PASTRIES
Thankfully, après-ski at Mammoth will not involve bad cover bands. If anything, it revolves around its eponymous microbrew. Insiders make their approach to a warehouse converted a few years back to a beer-tasting room for 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 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, just 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 up to 50 % of your cafeteria at McCoy Station, a midmountain gondola station up from your Main Lodge. Its modern décor and Asian-themed trimmings, including white bark walls, would not look unnatural 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 on the Mammoth Mountain Inn (10001 Minaret Road; 760-934-2581; mammothmountain.com). Hop aboard a heated snowcat that feels as though a spaceship as you gaze up at the mammothllakes through its glass roof. Then feast on dishes starting from a rack of the latest Zealand lamb to grilled chicken with risotto (meals are prix fixe at $89, including snowcat ride). For optimal views, arrive 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 around its Sunset Boulevard forefather. You can find bottle-service-only booths (from $200), lasers everywhere and Mammoth’s version of any strict door policy (“No snowboard gear”). The group sipping pricey cocktails is a mix of slovenly clad snowboarders and dressed-to-impress partygoers, all crammed within its fire-engine red walls. Warm-up using a burning mango ($12), a jalapeño and vodka concoction, and settle in for an evening of individuals watching.
11) OLYMPIC WORKOUT
Recently, Mammoth Lakes has become a year-round hub for Olympic and pro athletes fascinated by our prime altitudes and easygoing ethos. A great byproduct is the state-of-the-art facilities with 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 even bump to the New York City Marathon winner Meb Keflezighi working out 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) in town. His color photos (prints start at $149) of nearby canyons, lakes and mountain vistas are ubiquitous around town, as is the guy himself. Vern’s scruffy yellow jacket and unruly hair have already been a familiar presence at Mammoth because the early ’70s. He is a contemporary-day version of Ansel Adams, who more than anyone put this corner of California about the map.