For the first time in thirteen years, Mammoth Mountain in coordination with Horizon Airlines is now offering daily non-stop flights from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to Mammoth Mountain starting December 18th. This is exciting why? Because for most Angelinos, it’s about a 5-7 hour drive by car. Normally, you would have to hit the road at a ridiculous hour in the morning to ski half a day or leave in the early evening just to get to Mammoth by Midnight. Either way, you’ve lost a day of skiing due to travel. Well no more. With flights leaving everyday, winter and summer mountain vacations are just a 60-minute flight away, making Mammoth Mountain the most accessible Mountain in California.
Mammoth Mountain has quite a history, from early settlers looking for riches in the form of gold, to spanning thousands of years back where volcanic eruptions formed the area out of molten rock. Mammoth has come a long way from an early mining town, starting with just a single rope tow and eventually expanding to six-packs, quad chairs and Gondolas. During the 2003-2004 season, Mammoth Mountain celebrated its 50th anniversary. One person's dream has evolved into a half-century of fun, exhilaration and lasting memories for millions of visitors. Through vision, determination and hard work, Dave McCoy has developed Mammoth into a world-class Mountain resort.
Mammoth Mountain ski area has an elevation of 3,100 feet with 3,500 skiable acres, 150 named trails, 29 lifts (10 express quads) and gets approximately 400 inches of snow per year. Oh, and did I mention Mammoth has 300 days of sunshine per year with one the longest ski seasons with approximately 9 months of skiing every year beginning in November and running through July. Mammoth has three full-service slope side lodges connected by a free shuttle system. June Mountain, Mammoths sister resort, is just a half an hour drive north. Mammoth passes and lift tickets are valid at June Mountain as well, making it possible to ski two separate mountains in one day.
Long lift lines are a thing of the past. 27 lifts, including the "six pack" Eagle Express, along with high-speed quads and the Panorama Gondola whisk visitors to their destinations. Summer brings mountain biking on Mammoth's extensive trail network. In 1996, Mammoth partnered with Intrawest, the leader in mountain resort development, to further expands both the mountain's capabilities and the town's appeal. The Village at Mammoth, with condominium properties, restaurants, retail space, skier services at the Mountain Center and the Village Gondola, opened in 2003. Mammoth has retained its title as California's favorite mountain resort and continues to improve upon its reputation.
In addition to skiing and snowboarding, there are snowmobiling tours, dog-sledding, Ice skating, cross-country skiing, snowshoe tours and a slew of other winter sports and activities. Mammoth also offers a Racing school for those of you who want to crank it up a notch and compete. In addition, Mammoth offers two kinds of on-hill ski/snowboard tours, those led by Forest Service Naturalists and those led by Mountain Hosts. Both are (get this) free of charge with the purchase of a lift ticket. Is this a great Mountain or what?
In the summer and fall, Mammoth Mountain offers mountain bike riding, hiking, swimming, fishing and golf. You can also take the Panorama Gondola Ride to the top of the mountain to the Sierra Interpretive Center, the only one of its kind at 11,053 feet. With views of the Eastern Sierra landscape, the Minarets, Mono Lake, and four hundred miles of peaks averaging 12,000 feet in elevation. The Panorama Gondola provides uphill access for mountain bike riders and pedestrians (and in the Winter, carries skiers to some of the most extreme terrain on the mountain). There is also the Village Gondola, connecting you from town to the slopes in just six minutes; the gondola transports passengers to Canyon Lodge free of charge.
On to the backside of Mammoth Mountain is the section of the Inyo National Forest known as Red Meadow, which is actually the valley floor between Mammoth and the Minarets, but it’s much more than that. There is Devils Postpile National Monument, scenic Alpine Lakes with the San Joaquin River meandering through the pines and tumbling over 100 feet to create Rainbow Falls. A shuttle bus constantly loops from Mammoth Mountain down into the valley and back again, with ten stops for visitors to get on and off as much as you want. Everyone who visits for the day is required to park their car at Mammoth and take the bus in (which helps reduce traffic and pollution).
Mammoth Mountain is also eco-friendly in other ways as well. In 2000 the Mammoth Mountain Ski Area's Department of Environmental Programs were created to fulfill environmental responsibilities, economic requirements, and social needs. Mammoth is also committed to resource conservation and pollution prevention, education and support of its employees, and to utilizing the best available information and technology relative to environmental protection and human health. Mammoth Mountain is committed to the enhancement, conservation, and preservation of the ecosystem.
I was one of the lucky few to experience the new flight from Los Angeles to Mammoth since 1995. It was a Tuesday morning, 8:00am. I checked in with Horizon Air at LAX. The first thing that struck me was, there was no line. I checked in and get my boarding pass (painless). Ten minutes later, I’m through security and I’m home free. I get to the Horizon Air lounge at Gate 30. There is juice, pastries and hot coffee waiting. I blinked. Was I dreaming? The staff was nice too. At 8:45am we boarded the 78 seat Bombardier Q400, I felt like James Bond, (without the martini). At 9:00am we were whisked away to Mammoth Mountain. At 10:05 we land at Mammoth Airport. It had just snowed, and there was a foot of fresh powder already on the mountain. It was glorious.
We boarded a shuttle bus and headed to the cozy Mammoth Mountain Inn for a delicious gourmet lunch, which was prepared by Mammoth partner, the Patina Restaurant Group. We started with a delicious Mediterranean salad and moved on to the main course of broiled bacon wrapped scallops with a fruit puff pastry for dessert. Yummy. At 2:00pm, we’re in the air and heading for home. Mission accdomplished. At 3:05 pm we land at LAX. Five minutes later, I’m off the plane. Ten minutes later, I’m out the door.
I was able to fly to Mammoth Mountain, take a tour, have lunch and fly back home in less time than it would take me to drive one way. Yeah, It’s nice to be a jet setter. But then, you can too. Flights start at just $79 one way. Mammoth offers a variety vacation packages with airfare, lodging and lift tickets combined. So what are you waiting for? Now you can get to Mammoth Mountain with a quick daily flight out of LAX. You can enjoy the powder with a flight in about an hour. Make your reservations today.
For more information for Mammoth Mountain Vacations go to: www.mammothmountain.com
To find out about Horizon Air and their flight schedules go to: www.HorizonAir.com