In excess of half a century, Angelinos have flocked to this secluded corner of California’s Sierra Nevada mountains. It’s easy to see why. In spite 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 by the photographer Ansel Adams, are decidedly un-La, and may hold their particular with any landscape in Colorado or Canada. Along with expanded daily flights through the San Francisco Bay area and L . A ., not forgetting a flurry of the latest après-ski offerings, Mammoth is trying to draw skiers from past the Golden State.
1) SIBERIAN SPA
Imagine a vast white expanse of the items looks like frozen Siberian tundra, dotted with natural hot springs and surrounded by soaring peaks. Hilltop Hot Spring is popular with locals, however you can take part in, too. You will find no formal signs or footpaths – just adhere to the S.U.V.’s beyond the airport 5 minutes east of Mammoth Lakes and appreciate a steaming soak, free of cost. For more privacy, cross the direction to Wild Willy’s, a more secluded spring, which takes a 20-minute trek and a pair 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, featuring its bark-wood ceiling fixtures and 1920s-era fireplace, also happens to have impressive wine collection and 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 on a bed of spicy mashed potatoes ($30). Prior to being seated, use a mulled wine ($5) or hot cider ($4) through the fire.
3) PANCAKES AND BISCUITS
Before striking the slopes, fill on pancakes and black-and-white memorabilia at 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. More than forty years, the Stove has served hearty meals such as 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. Get there early since the place fills up fast.
4) BLACK TIE SKIING
Experts from Black Tie Ski Rentals (760-934-7009; blacktieskis.com) will come in your condo and fit you for skis or snowboards. Heck, in the event the boots don’t feel snug by midday, Colin Fernie with his fantastic team will meet you on the slopes and exchange your gear, or switch your snowboard for a set of skis. Pretty good for less than $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). There are three lodges: Eagle, Canyon and Main. Skiers looking for soft powder and fresh-groomed runs begin with Eagle and stick to the sun over to Main or even the backside of 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 calming location for hot cocoa. Marvel on 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 in the Minarets, a majestic series of jagged granite peaks.
6) SOUTH From The BORDER
Lunch on Mammoth typically involves Mexican fare. When you can’t obtain the new Roving Mammoth, a bright orange snowcat that doubles being a food cart, serving up burritos ($5.50) – you can also track the snowcat’s whereabouts on Twitter – you will find pulled-pork nachos ($11.42) on 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, 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 over 200 tequilas and fittingly mammoth margaritas, relocated to some spot in the center of the village a year ago.
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 each day. Or try Quicksilver, a well-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 filled with jumps, jibs and an Acrobag – which resembles a giant blue moon bounce – to practice 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 with the village.
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8) GROWLERS AND PASTRIES
Thankfully, après-ski at Mammoth does not involve bad cover bands. If anything, it revolves around its eponymous microbrew. Insiders make their method to a warehouse converted many years back in 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 filling up their growlers with IPA 395 ($13), a neighborhood 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, like the inside of a gingerbread house. The store serves up steaming hot chocolate 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 can take up nearly 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 unnatural in downtown Manhattan, save, perhaps, for the tacky TV Yule log fireplace. Yet at 9,600 feet, it is 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 feels as though a spaceship as you may gaze up at the mammothllakes through its glass roof. Then feast on dishes starting from a rack newest Zealand lamb to grilled chicken with risotto (meals are prix fixe at $89, including snowcat ride). For optimal views, arrive 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 approximately its Sunset Boulevard forefather. There are actually bottle-service-only booths (from $200), lasers everywhere and Mammoth’s version of your strict door policy (“No snowboard gear”). The audience sipping pricey cocktails is a mix of slovenly clad snowboarders and dressed-to-impress partygoers, all crammed within its fire-engine red walls. Heat up by using a burning mango ($12), a jalapeño and vodka concoction, and settle set for an evening of people watching.
11) OLYMPIC WORKOUT
In recent times, Mammoth Lakes has changed into a year-round hub for Olympic and pro athletes interested in the top altitudes and easygoing ethos. A nice byproduct is definitely 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 and a yoga studio. You could even bump in the New York City Marathon winner Meb Keflezighi working out from 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 around town, as it is the person himself. Vern’s scruffy yellow jacket and unruly hair happen to be a familiar presence at Mammoth because the early ’70s. He or she is a contemporary-day version of Ansel Adams, who a lot more than anyone put this corner of California around the map.