- 22 Resorts
- Consistent Snow
- Diverse destinations
- Resorts open before those of many other states
- Home to Vail, Beaver Creek, Copper Mountain
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June Mountain is in the Eastern Sierra peaks, past its bigger sister, Mammoth. The runs for beginners are wide open and forgiving and yet there's plenty of intermediate terrain and challenge. It's great for families, too. All the trails eventually end up at the Chalet. The skiable terrain covers 500 acres on a 2,589-foot vertical drop. The top of the mountain is 10,135 feet.
It’s not just another buyout. When Mammoth Mountain announced the purchase of Bear Mountain and Snow Summit, most Southern California skiers and snowboarders glossed over the $38 million price tag to hone in on the benefits to be reaped.
The purchase anchors together four resorts within 3-6 hours of Los Angeles: Mammoth Mountain, June Mountain, Snow Summit and Bear Mountain. Together, the stats add up: nearly 6,000 acres, 61 lifts, 240 named runs, 15 terrain parks, six halfpipes and two superpipes. Best of all, one pass—the new Cali4nia Pass—accesses all four resorts.
The price for the adult Cali4nia Pass rolled out at $689, the same rate as the Mammoth Mountain season pass when it went on sale last April. Bear Mountain and Snow Summit passholders need to pay a fee to upgrade. But with Mammoth’s full price day ticket ranging from $76-103, a few days at Mammoth recoup the difference. The Cali4nia Pass also has rates for seniors, youth and children, and previous pass purchasers at all four resorts can upgrade to the new passes.
One benefit stands out with the new pass: unlimited access at all four resorts. No restrictions. No blackout dates. With Mammoth having a longer season than the three smaller resorts, the Cali4nia Pass extends the number of possible ski and ride days. The pass also includes perks, such as discounts on resort services. Another variation of the pass, the Cali4nia Premium Pass adds on more bonuses.
“The response has been really positive,” says Joani Lynch, director of brand marketing for Mammoth. “So much of our market is in Southern California, and the social media channels seem to indicate that people really like it.”
Social media sites show a couple local Mammoth skiers and riders scoffing at skiing the smaller resorts, but most commenters approve of the additional pass options besides the regular Mammoth pass and Mountain Collective pass. For those who missed last April’s sale, the new Cali4nia Pass also gives a second chance at the same rate.
For local Bear Mountain and Snow Summit skiers, the purchase of their resorts may mean more. “Bear Mountain and Snow Summit have had such a wide variety of passes with restrictions and blackouts. The Cali4nia Pass is an unusual product as there are no restrictions,” adds Lynch.
“A lot of previous pass purchasers are upgrading to the Cali4nia Pass, and new passholders are saying this is a no brainer,” echoes Chris Riddle, vice president of marketing from Bear Mountain and Snow Summit.
Riddle also points out how the Cali4nia Pass contrasts with other multi-resort passes, such as the Mountain Collective or Epic Pass. “Pass collectives require major travel, and this one is really useable because it’s all in the same market area,” he says. “It’s the best of both worlds: you can day trip to Bear Mountain and Snow Summit and go for a weekend to Mammoth.”
For passholders in the greater Los Angeles environs, direct 75-minute flights enable quickie weekend trips to Mammoth. Alaska Airlines flies direct daily from LAX to Mammoth, and starting in mid-December, direct flights link San Diego and Mammoth.
Despite dismal California snowfall in the past few seasons, Mammoth’s purchase of Bear Mountain and Snow Summit heralds a brighter future. Plans are afoot for skier deals and resort upgrades, but Lynch notes that more announcements will wait until the sale closes. “Being in Mammoth's family, we will be in a position to do some things we couldn’t do on our own,” adds Riddle.
For the best price on the new Cali4nia Pass, both Lynch and Riddle urge buying the pass soon. The price is slated to increase to $799 for adults on October 20.
All four resorts are preparing for opening day. Mammoth aims for November 13. Because Bear Mountain and Snow Summit require cold temperatures for snowmaking, they do not set opening dates, but usually fire up the lifts mid- to late November. June Mountain plans to operate starting December 13.
When the new family of resorts opens for the 2014/15 season, it’ll be eyes to the future. As Riddle says, “It’s an overall improvement for Southern California skiers and snowboarders.”
P.O. Box 146
93529 June Lake