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Mammoth Mountain

Yes, Mammoth is the nearest “true big mountain” to Los Angeles. But snow-loving Californians migrate to this windswept and view-blessed knob in the eastern Sierra for reasons beyond the obvious. Mammoth’s natural terrain variety (no. 4) is among North America’s best, delivering quality and abundance across the spectrum: broad beginner boulevards, corduroy fall-line carvers, piney glades, radical steeps. Its 3,500-plus scenic and open acres are sunkissed yet get hammered with more than 33 feet of mostly dry high-altitude snow annually. Lifts (no. 7) are swift and well laid out. Off-slope, the Village at Mammoth has matured into the amenity the diffuse Town of Mammoth Lakes needs. “The biggest weakness at Mammoth” according to one reader: “You can’t ski between Fourth of July and Halloween.” —S.R.

Must Do » Sample the best of Mammoth Brewing Company’s 17 years of awardwinning craft creations in its tasting room.

Bragging Rights » The Paranoids, steep, narrow and technical chutes, drop precipitously off of Mammoth’s crest. Yikes.

What’s New» A high-speed quad replaces Chair 5; direct flights from San Diego and Orange County bring the number of cities connecting to Mammoth Lakes Airport up to five.

The Soul of Mammoth

The Soul of Mammoth
The Soul of Mammoth main
Pack the car the night before, wake at a ridiculous hour, layer long underwear under track pants, then pull away from the world of rustling palm fronds, bougainvillea, and perennial hibiscus flowers before L.A.’s 10 million or so other residents wake up and clog the roads.

Mammoth is the third most visited ski resort in the United States, although it has often ranked second and even first. For southern Californians, the big mountain’s enduring appeal is elemental—part of the cosmology of California living, like a reset button for the Angeleno soul.

Film Hero Louis Zamperini’s Mammoth Connection

Film Hero Louis Zamperini’s Mammoth Connection
Louis Zamperini
The World War II vet, and subject of the movie “Unbroken,” brought hundreds of boys to Mammoth Mountain to ski, fish, and keep out of trouble.

Louis Zamperini, the subject of the upcoming film “Unbroken,” wasn’t just a weekend warrior skier. He came to Mammoth Mountain with a bigger purpose: to help underprivileged boys stay out of trouble. 

Zamperini established the Victory Boys Camp around 1953, according to an oral history document by the Amateur Athletic Foundation of Los Angeles, and skiing was one of the many activities he introduced to those boys.

Ski Trips 101: Cheap Tickets

Jackson Hole, Wyoming | Photo: Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
Jackson Hole, Wyoming | Photo: Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
A few strategies for finding the best airfare to your next ski destination.

Getting to ski resorts has never been easier. This year, for example, Steamboat’s airport added connections to San Francisco and Washington-Dulles, Mammoth added Denver and Las Vegas, and Jackson Hole added Washington D.C. (DCA, BWI, and IAD). Adding Denver and Las Vegas is an especially big move for Mammoth: it opens massive doors to the Midwest and East.

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