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Five Reasons to Take a Last-Minute Winter Trip to Mammoth

No. 1: They have this white stuff called snow.

Snowshoeing at Mammoth

Snowshoeing at Mammoth


Winter (er, “winter”) is coming to a close. Maybe you’ve made the rounds at Squaw, North Star, and Heavenly, and felt a little cheated by Mother Nature’s lack of snow this year. But there’s another place that’s a short flight away, with a decent pack and worthy winter activities—even if you’re not a ski bum. At 11,053 feet, Mammoth is the highest ski resort in California, and in the past couple of weeks, it’s received two feet of snow, leaving 125 open trails and plenty of terrain for snowshoeing. Through the end of this month, it’s just a one-hour non-stop flight on United from SFO. 

If zipping down runs while dodging pine trees isn’t your thing, Mammoth has prime snowshoeing trails that circle through peaceful woods. Tamarack Cross Country Ski Center leads snowshoeing treks and cross-country skiing adventures through mid-April. Or, rent snowshoes from Mammoth Mountain Main Lodge and trek along a 2.5-mile trail to Minaret Vista. It’s a gradual incline, so you can still enjoy the views of the Ansel Adams Wilderness without huffing and puffing. 

Snack and Drink
For those more interested in apres ski (or snowshoe), this winter Mammoth Brewing Company opened a new tasting room a few steps from the main gondola. The thirteen beers on tap come in many forms—tasting flights, growlers, pints, and even beer to-go. Refuel with shrimp and bacon beignets or short ribs at the new Eatery, located within the brewpub.

Avoid the crowded village and head south of Mammoth for an off-the-beaten path dinner at Rock Creek Lodge. Getting there is half the reason to go: Opt for a snowmobile ride, or cross-country ski or snowshoe your way from Mammoth to the lodge. At 6 p.m., the restaurant 4-course prix fixe, family-style menu of local mountain cuisine. After dinner, warm up by the fire before the journey back.

If you’re over the snow, check out Mammoth Rock ‘N’ Bowl, the Mission Bowling Club of the Eastern Sierra. The lively space features 12 lanes, plus The Brasserie and Bar, which serves fare like wild mushroom strudel and beef carpaccio. Don’t miss the views of the snow-covered Sherwin Mountains, part of the Long Valley Caldera.

If you go April 4, take advantage of the rare Pink Moon experience—an evening gondola ride from the Main Lodge to the top of the mountain to watch the sun set and the full moon rise over the mountains. Music, food, and drinks will be on hand. 


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