Attractive Mammoth boasts an impressive snowfall record, a wide variety of slopes and excellent terrain parks...
Situated in Eastern California near the Yosemite National Park, the Mammoth Mountain ski area really is of mammoth proportions.
Its mix of Alpine-style bowls and wooded slopes should appeal to skiers and boarders of all kinds, as should its wide range of pisted runs.
There is also a top-class lift system to get you around, while the general lack of crowds makes for less queuing and a stress-free time.
For many people, however, the main reason to head to Mammoth is the resort's incredible terrain parks, of which there are nine in total. The parks make Mammoth a great place to hang out and watch the experts - the resort is a haven for international ski and snowboard pros who come here to train for the X games and Olympics.
You don't have to be able to tackle huge jumps and rails to practise here, though. There are also plenty of features for beginners and intermediates, including a mini pipe.
Resort height: 2,424m
Potential downsides of Mammoth include that, while its snow tends to be less wet than that found in the Lake Tahoe resorts, it is nowhere near as dry as the fluffy powder you can find in the Rockies.
Snow quality on the upper part of the mountain can also be affected by strong winds.
You can drive to Mammoth from Los Angeles or San Francisco in about five hours...
Alternatively, get a connecting flight from LAX or San Francisco airport to Mammoth's very own airport.
There are beautifully groomed runs for every type of mountain sports enthusiast in Mammoth...
However, snowboarders are more likely to take advantage of Mammoth's real strength - its world-class terrain parks.
There is a reasonable range of activities for non-skiers in Mammoth, but the highway that cuts through the resort spoils it for some...
Mammoth Lakes is a rather straggling place. The good news, however, is that there is fun to be found next to the slopes. The Hyde Lounge, for example, offers both lunch and dinner menus but also hosts a variety of guest DJs for skiers looking to dance. Party animals will probably find the nightlife a bit lacking, though.
Non-skiers in Mammoth can have a go at snowmobiling or cross-country skiing, while those who prefer their activities indoors can head to the Snowcreek Athletic Club or the Double Eagle Spa. Families with kids will also enjoy fireside story time at the Village Lodge.
Cost of living 4/10
A Mammoth ski pass will set you back a lot more than it will in one of the nearby Lake Tahoe resorts. And that can leave you feeling a bit hard done by - especially if lifts are closed due to high winds. You can find affordable accommodation and ski hire further down the hill, though.
Attractiveness of resort 5/10
Set among trees, most of the buildings in Mammoth are traditional, and there are some great views out across the Yosemite National Park from the mountaintops.
However, Mammoth's hotels, restaurants and shops are scattered along a four-lane highway. And that makes it a little short on village charm.