Hit the Slopes Without Leaving the State
By Sarah Khan
FROM LEFT: Mammoth Mountain Village; Westin Monache Resort; Long Island duckling with fresh blackberries and pomegranate glaze at the Restaurant at Convict Lake
Heed the call of the snow, and make some turns without leaving the state.
Mammoth Mountain ski area is sure to give you a high—and not just because it soars 7,900 feet above sea level. With 3,500 acres of skiable terrain and 400 inches of snow each season, this resort in the Inyo National Forest is prime ski country. Invest in a season pass for $1,675 for adults; $1,256 for youths 12 to 18; and $838 for children seven to 12 (children six and under ski free). Daily lift tickets are $87 for adults (youths 13 to 18, $64; children 12 and under, $43). And getting there is a breeze, thanks to direct flights from LAX on Horizon Air (800-547-9308; horizonair.com) for as low as $69 each way.
WHERE TO STAY
Once there, head straight for the Westin Monache Resort, Mammoth (50 Hillside Dr., Mammoth Lakes, 760-934-0400; westinmammoth.com). The luxury suites come with full kitchens, and the enviable location will put you just steps from the gondola. Over at the Snowcreek Resort (1254 Old Mammoth Road, Mammoth Lakes; 800-544- 6007; snowcreekresort.com), vacation rentals give guests unlimited access to the massive Snowcreek Athletic Club (51 Club Dr., Mammoth Lakes, 760- 934-6055; snowcreekathleticclub.com).
WHERE TO EAT
Start your morning off right with a ham-and-cheese croissant and fresh OJ at Schat’s Bakery (3305 Main St., Mammoth Lakes, 760-934-6055). Owner Tim Dawson presides over the dining room at Nevados (6042 Minaret Road, Mammoth Lakes, 760-934- 4466), making sure guests savor every bit of their venison osso buco and raspberry crème brûlée. Ambience reigns supreme at the Restaurant at Convict Lake (2000 Convict Lake Road, Mammoth Lakes, 760-934-3803; convictlake.com); diners get stellar mountain views as they feast on pistachio-crusted ahi tuna and prime rib of elk. Take a Snowcat into Parallax (1 Minaret Road, Mammoth Lakes, 800- 626-6684; mammothmountain.com) for a refined take on mountainside cuisine: think rack of lamb with wild-blueberry demi-glace.
WHAT TO DO
With 150 trails, 3,100 feet of vertical and a season that lasts more than six months, Mammoth Mountain (1 Minaret Road, Mammoth Lakes, 800-MAMMOTH; mammothmountain.com)—the state’s tallest ski resort—is a true outdoor playground. Gear up at Wave Rave Snowboard Shop (3203 Main St., Mammoth Lakes, 760-934-2471; waveravesnowboardshop.com), where you’ll find boards, boots, helmets and everything else you need to complete your mountain look. If downhill skiing isn’t your forte, scope the options at Tamarack Lodge & Resort (163 Twin Lakes Loop Road, Mammoth Lakes, 760-934-2442; tamaracklodge.com). With 19 miles of groomed cross-country ski trails, the lodge offers naturalist tours of the surrounding area, as well as full-moon snowshoe and cross-country tours. The après-ski scene heats up around the fireplace at Tusks Bar (1 Minaret Road, Mammoth Lakes, 760-934-2571; mammothmountain.com), where you can take a turn at the “shot wheel” and drink what you spin. Or warm up with a spiked hot chocolate at Mammoth Mountain Inn’s Dry Creek Bar (1 Minaret Road, Mammoth Lakes, 760-934-2581; mammothmountain.com).
PHOTOGRAPH BY SHAWN REEDER (DUCKLING)