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. Regardless of the 8,000-foot altitude, homes for sale mammoth lakes ca sprawl of splashy condos and strip malls carries a distinct Los Angeles feel. Although the surrounding frozen lakes and granite peaks, immortalized through the photographer Ansel Adams, are decidedly un-La, and will hold their particular with any landscape in Colorado or Canada. With expanded daily flights from the San Francisco Bay area and La, in addition to a flurry of brand new après-ski offerings, Mammoth is looking to draw skiers from beyond the Golden State.
1) SIBERIAN SPA
Imagine an extensive white expanse of the items appears like frozen Siberian tundra, dotted with natural hot springs and surrounded by soaring peaks. Hilltop Hot Spring is popular with locals, nevertheless, you can take part in, too. You can find no formal signs or footpaths – just keep to the S.U.V.’s past the airport 5 minutes east of Mammoth Lakes and savor a steaming soak, free of cost. For more privacy, cross the direction to Wild Willy’s, a more secluded spring, which demands a 20-minute trek and a couple 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, using its bark-wood ceiling fixtures and 1920s-era fireplace, also happens to have impressive wine collection along with 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). Before being seated, have got a mulled wine ($5) or hot cider ($4) by the fire.
3) PANCAKES AND BISCUITS
Before striking the slopes, fill 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 four decades, the Stove has served hearty meals much 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) can come in your condo and fit you for skis or snowboards. Heck, when the boots don’t feel snug by midday, Colin Fernie and his team will meet yourself on the slopes and exchange your gear, or switch your snowboard for a pair of skis. Not bad for under $40 (a minimum of for beginner skiers).
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5) FRESH TRACKS
With well over 3,500 acres of trails, Mammoth has more variable terrain than most mountains (mammothmountain.com). You can find three lodges: Eagle, Canyon and Main. Skiers in search of soft powder and fresh-groomed runs begin Eagle and follow the sun over to Main or even the backside of the mountain (in order to avoid lift lines, turn back order). Or consider the gondola from Main on the summit, 11,053 feet above sea level, to find a relaxing spot 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 in the Minarets, a majestic series of jagged granite peaks.
6) SOUTH OF THE BORDER
Lunch on Mammoth typically involves Mexican fare. Should you can’t get the new Roving Mammoth, a bright orange snowcat that doubles being a food cart, serving up burritos ($5.50) – you can even 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 on 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 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 into a spot during the village last year.
7) ART PARK
Take Chair 10 up to ski down a few wide-open runs like Easy Rider or Solitude that stay powdery during the day. Or try Quicksilver, a highly-groomed trail with gently sloped glades and variable terrain. Snowboarders should head 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 plus 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 together 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 way to a warehouse converted many years back into a beer-tasting room for your 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 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, much 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), which can take up almost half of your 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 while you gaze up in the mammothllakes through its glass roof. Then feast on dishes ranging from a rack of brand new 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 as much as its Sunset Boulevard forefather. There are 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 set for an evening of people watching.
11) OLYMPIC WORKOUT
Lately, Mammoth Lakes has changed into a year-round hub for Olympic and pro athletes attracted to the high altitudes and easygoing ethos. A good byproduct is the state-of-the-art facilities in 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 plus a yoga studio. You may even bump in to the Ny City Marathon winner Meb Keflezighi training in 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 the city. His color photos (prints start at $149) of nearby canyons, lakes and mountain vistas are ubiquitous around town, as is also the person himself. Vern’s scruffy yellow jacket and unruly hair are already a familiar presence at Mammoth ever since the early ’70s. He or she is a contemporary-day version of Ansel Adams, who more than anyone put this corner of California around the map.