In excess of half a century, Angelinos have flocked to this secluded corner of California’s Sierra Nevada mountains. It’s easy to understand why. Despite the 8,000-foot altitude, mammoth homes for sale sprawl of splashy condos and strip malls carries a distinct La feel. Although the surrounding frozen lakes and granite peaks, immortalized from the photographer Ansel Adams, are decidedly un-Los Angeles, and will hold their own with any landscape in Colorado or Canada. Along with expanded daily flights from your San Francisco Bay area and L . A ., in addition to a flurry of new après-ski offerings, Mammoth is looking to draw skiers from beyond the Golden State.
1) SIBERIAN SPA
Imagine an enormous white expanse of the things appears to be frozen Siberian tundra, dotted with natural hot springs and encompassed by soaring peaks. Hilltop Hot Spring is popular with locals, but you can take part in, too. You can find no formal signs or footpaths – just adhere to the S.U.V.’s beyond the airport 5 minutes east of Mammoth Lakes and savor a steaming soak, free of cost. To get more privacy, cross the direction to Wild Willy’s, a far more secluded spring, which requires a 20-minute trek and a couple of snowshoes.
2) BY 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 get an impressive wine collection and also 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). Prior to being seated, have got 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. For more than four decades, 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, grab a homemade pie ($13.95) – apple, apricot, cherry. Arrive there early as being the place fills up fast.
4) BLACK TIE SKIING
Experts from Black Tie Ski Rentals (760-934-7009; blacktieskis.com) should come to your condo and fit you for skis or snowboards. Heck, in the event 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 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 start on Eagle and adhere to the sun to Main or maybe the backside in the mountain (to prevent lift lines, turn back order). Or consider the gondola from Main for the summit, 11,053 feet above sea level, to find a calming location 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, which provides scattered glades in addition to gorgeous views of your Minarets, a majestic group of jagged granite peaks.
6) SOUTH From The BORDER
Lunch on Mammoth typically involves Mexican fare. If you can’t obtain the new Roving Mammoth, a bright orange snowcat that doubles being a food cart, serving up burritos ($5.50) – you may even track the snowcat’s whereabouts on Twitter – you can find pulled-pork nachos ($11.42) at 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 away from 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 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 through the day. Or try Quicksilver, a nicely-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 filled with jumps, jibs as well as 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 along with the backyards of condos, linking the mountain with the village.
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8) GROWLERS AND PASTRIES
Thankfully, après-ski at Mammoth fails to involve bad cover bands. If anything, it involves its eponymous microbrew. Insiders make their strategy to a warehouse converted a couple of years back into 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 filling up 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 store 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 % in the cafeteria at McCoy Station, a midmountain gondola station up through the Main Lodge. Its modern décor and Asian-themed trimmings, including white bark walls, would not look unnatural in downtown Manhattan, save, perhaps, for your tacky TV Yule log fireplace. Yet at 9,600 feet, it 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 feels like a spaceship as you gaze up at the mammothllakes through its glass roof. Then feast on dishes starting from a rack of brand new 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 on top of the bar. Hyde Lounge (6201 Minaret Road; 760-934-0669; sbe.com/hydemammoth) lives as much as its Sunset Boulevard forefather. You will find bottle-service-only booths (from $200), lasers everywhere and Mammoth’s version of a 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 having 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 attracted to the high altitudes and easygoing ethos. A fantastic byproduct may 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 as well as a yoga studio. You could possibly even bump in the Ny City Marathon winner Meb Keflezighi training 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 out and about, as it is the man himself. Vern’s scruffy yellow jacket and unruly hair are already a familiar presence at Mammoth since the early ’70s. He is a modern-day version of Ansel Adams, who a lot more than anyone put this corner of California around the map.