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Image of Mammoth Mountain Lake, California

With the rugged backdrop of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and a town filled with lakes, a holiday to Mammoth Mountain offers a unique skiing experience. For Californians in Los Angeles, Mammoth Mountain is the number one ski resort, and as such is flooded with condos, hotels, motels and restaurants. However, despite the vast snowfall, which averages 400 inches every year at the summit, most of the days at Mammoth Mountain are sunny and there is plenty to keep you busy away from the slopes. If you're planning on staying within the Mammoth region, you will need to hire a car, and there is a small airstrip just east of US 395 with connecting flights from gateway cities such as LA.

 Mammoth Mountain is also great for walking, boating and mountain biking...

Best for...
California's ultimate ski resort keeps you busy both on and off the slopes...

Mammoth Mountain and the surrounding lake region is predominantly a ski resort and is generally aimed at more experienced skiers though there is plenty for youngsters to do away from the slopes. Due to its wide selection of shopping facilities, excellent dining and lively nightlife there is plenty to keep passive skiers interested if they prefer to spend extended time off the piste. During the summer months, Mammoth Mountain is also great for walking, boating and mountain biking.

Image of natural hot springs in mammoth Mountain, California

What to do...
First and foremost the Mammoth Mountain area is about skiing, and as such you can enjoy not only time on the slopes but also a good time in the many surrounding lodges. The range of snow-related activities has rapidly expanded and now includes tubing, ice-skating, dogsledding and more. There are snowmobile excursions and cross-country ski trails allowing you to discover what the mountain has to offer.

If you fancy some time away from the slopes, trailing along the Mammoth Lakes' many villages will introduce you to some varied shops and give you ample opportunity to take some souvenirs home. Mammoth Memories sells branded items, while the designer boutiques and sports equipment stores also offer high quality items. There are a lot of restaurants and plenty of bars to enjoy and the more active visitor can hire a mountain bike in the summer months or head to the spa or fitness centre.

The many lakes can be explored in a fishing boat and boat rentals are available. Movies can be viewed at the local theatre, and those who prefer to get out and around could head to Bodie, an historic ghost town, or Yosemite National Park, which is acclaimed for its clear waters, biological diversity and spectacular cliffs.

For many however, the attraction of a ski resort is not just testing their skills on the snow, but sampling the social scene. Apres-ski begins around 3pm, when the Thunder Mountain Bar becomes so packed you might struggle for a place to stand. After returning from hotel rooms, visitors bring the area to life again at around 9pm when the nightlife scene kicks in. Some of the most popular spots are Fever, a high-energy club, a popular Dublin-influenced Irish bar and Whiskey Creek which has live bands and a dance floor.