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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.

Epic and Mountain Collective Passes Add to their Rosters

Eldora joins Vail’s Epic pass while Mountain Collective adds Mammoth, Snowbird, and Whistler Blackcomb.

Big boy Vail Resorts adds Boulder, Colorado’s local hill, Eldora Mountain Resort, to its 2013-14 season Epic Pass buffet.  A mere 20 or so miles from Boulder and about an hour drive from Denver, Eldora is a classic feeder mountain: it’s packed with young kids learning how to ski and is a quick drive from multiple metro areas, allowing skiers to avoid the often jammed Colorado I-70 ski corridor. As bumper stickers in Eldora’s parking lot say, “Friends don’t let friends drive I-70.”

Do Not Go Gently: A Boomer's Return to Skiing

It's never too late to get back on the mountain.

Last year when my husband Alan turned 70, he decided to return to skiing. Like a lot of us Baby Boomers, he wouldn’t succumb to old age without a fight. While I admired his gumption, I predicted one trip into the cold climes of the Sierra would send him running back to Scottsdale, ski boots abandoned. No such luck – he became a ski nut.

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