FOR over half a hundred years, Angelinos have flocked to this particular 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 features a distinct La feel. Nevertheless the surrounding frozen lakes and granite peaks, immortalized from the photographer Ansel Adams, are decidedly un-L . A ., and might hold their own personal with any landscape in Colorado or Canada. And with expanded daily flights in the San Francisco Bay area and L . A ., along with a flurry of the latest après-ski offerings, Mammoth is looking to draw skiers from past the Golden State.
1) SIBERIAN SPA
Imagine a vast white expanse of the seems like frozen Siberian tundra, dotted with natural hot springs and encompassed by soaring peaks. Hilltop Hot Spring is well-liked by locals, however you can take part in, too. There are no formal signs or footpaths – just adhere to the S.U.V.’s past the airport a few minutes east of Mammoth Lakes and revel in 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 pair of snowshoes.
2) BY 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, featuring its bark-wood ceiling fixtures and 1920s-era fireplace, also happens with an impressive wine collection and also 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 over a bed of spicy mashed potatoes ($30). Prior to being seated, have a mulled wine ($5) or hot cider ($4) through the fire.
3) PANCAKES AND BISCUITS
Before hitting the slopes, top off 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 over 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. 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 to the condo and fit you for skis or snowboards. Heck, in case 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 over 3,500 acres of trails, Mammoth has more variable terrain than most mountains (mammothmountain.com). There are three lodges: Eagle, Canyon and Main. Skiers in search of soft powder and fresh-groomed runs begin with Eagle and keep to the sun up to Main or maybe the backside from the mountain (in order to avoid lift lines, reverse the order). Or use the gondola from Main on the summit, 11,053 feet above sea level, to find a calming destination for hot chocolate. Marvel with 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, which offers scattered glades along with gorgeous views of the Minarets, a majestic number of jagged granite peaks.
6) SOUTH Of Your BORDER
Lunch on Mammoth typically involves Mexican fare. Should you can’t discover the new Roving Mammoth, a bright orange snowcat that doubles as a food cart, serving up burritos ($5.50) – you may also track the snowcat’s whereabouts on Twitter – there are pulled-pork nachos ($11.42) on the Mill Cafe (760-934-0675), a festive après-ski spot at 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 away from 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 last year.
7) ART PARK
Take Chair 10 up to ski down a couple of wide-open runs like Easy Rider or Solitude that stay powdery each 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 its rails and steel structures. Mammoth also recently opened the Stomping Grounds, a terrain park full of jumps, jibs as well as an Acrobag – which resembles a huge blue moon bounce – to rehearse flips. Nonsnowboarders should consider the newly carved Village Ski Back Trail, a scenic path that meanders past pine trees and also the backyards of condos, linking the mountain with all the village.
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8) GROWLERS AND PASTRIES
Thankfully, après-ski at Mammoth fails to involve bad cover bands. If something, it revolves around its eponymous microbrew. Insiders make their method to a warehouse converted a couple of 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 neighborhood favorite, or grabbing kegs and cases to visit. Another favorite spot among Mammoth’s growing international crowd is Shea Schat’s Bakery (3305 Main Street; 760-934-6055), which feels, and smells, such as 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), that can take up up to 50 % of the 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 out of place in downtown Manhattan, save, perhaps, for that tacky TV Yule log fireplace. Yet at 9,600 feet, it can be 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 is like a spaceship as you gaze up with the mammothllakes through its glass roof. Then feast on dishes starting from a rack of the latest Zealand lamb to grilled chicken with risotto (foods 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 on top of the bar. Hyde Lounge (6201 Minaret Road; 760-934-0669; sbe.com/hydemammoth) lives up to its Sunset Boulevard forefather. You can find bottle-service-only booths (from $200), lasers everywhere and Mammoth’s version of your strict door policy (“No snowboard gear”). The group sipping pricey cocktails is a mixture of slovenly clad snowboarders and dressed-to-impress partygoers, all crammed within its fire-engine red walls. Warm up with a burning mango ($12), a jalapeño and vodka concoction, and settle in for an evening of individuals watching.
11) OLYMPIC WORKOUT
In recent times, Mammoth Lakes has turned into a year-round hub for Olympic and pro athletes attracted to the high altitudes and easygoing ethos. A nice byproduct will be the state-of-the-art facilities with 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 may even bump in the Ny City Marathon winner Meb Keflezighi training 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 out and about, as is the person himself. Vern’s scruffy yellow jacket and unruly hair happen to be a familiar presence at Mammoth ever since the early ’70s. He is a modern day-day version of Ansel Adams, who greater than anyone put this corner of California around the map.