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Snowy Delights in Mammoth Lakes
It can be difficult to recognize winter in the coastal areas of California, but not so in the Eastern Sierras. A trip to Mammoth Lakes during the winter months is a great way to experience the delights of snow season while staying within the state. Located in the eastern section of the Sierra Nevada, the vacation destination is a day’s drive from Los Angeles and an afternoon’s trip from Reno, Nevada. Alaska Airlines offers flights from Los Angeles and San Diego, while United carries passengers to and from San Francisco and Denver. Those who choose to fly can then take a shuttle from Yosemite-Mammoth airport to Mammoth Mountain-owned lodges.
Many people who visit Mammoth Lakes in the winter are of course looking for snow sport and play. Mammoth Mountain is the premier game in town, offering ski lifts and terrain park action for snowboarding and downhill skiing. Those wishing for more a more serene snow experience will want to try snowshoeing or Nordic (cross-country) skiing on the many miles of groomed trails. In addition, there are snow play and tubing areas for family-friendly activities. Lessons and guided tours are available for all sports; rentals are available for skiing and snowboarding.
Those in a less active frame of mind may want to take a snowmobile tour of the area; those who wish to view the surroundings in more comfort may opt for a trip inside a heated Snowcat. A gondola ride will transport the visitor to the interpretive center; s/he can then stay for lunch while enjoying the panoramic views. For a truly unique experience, dogsledding trips are offered.
Away from the mountain, the town of Mammoth Lakes offers other adventures. There is an outdoor ice rink with amenities such as skate rentals, skate sharpening, and group rates. In addition, there are restaurants and shopping opportunities galore, ranging from sports equipment to small boutiques. Chamber music, theatre, and movies can be found within town, as can many spa services.
Lodging is available both within the ski resort and in town. Staying at the resort allows aficionados to go directly from lodge to ski hill; accommodations range from cabins to townhouses with multiple bedrooms. These accommodations are luxurious, with price tags to match. Those interested in less expensive lodgings would do well to search for deals within town, where motels, resorts, and all kinds of vacation rentals are all available.
Be forewarned: a winter sports vacation in Mammoth is not inexpensive. Lift tickets are pricey, and lodging can be as well. The beauty of the area, the depth of the snowpack, the vast array of activities – these are what makes the price tag acceptable. For those willing to spend the money, this is a wonderful way to enjoy the winter season.
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