Mammoth Mountain Ski Area—home to the highest skiing in California (at 11,053 feet)—lands top honors in the 2013 OnTheSnow Visitors' Choice Awards for Best Overall Resort in the West. Located along the eastern edge of California’s Sierra Nevada Mountain Range, Mammoth is a favorite for it’s 3,100 vertical feet of skiing, 3,500 skiable acres, 400 inches of annual snowfall and an average winter season that lasts from November to June. Mammoth’s accommodations include their Main Lodge, Canyon Lodge and Eagle Lodge, all conveniently located near the mountain. The mountain also offers cross-country and snowshoeing terrain, snowmobile adventures, and luxurious snowcat tours. Alaska Airlines flies from Los Angeles (LAX) to Mammoth-Yosemite Airport daily. By car, access Mammoth via the scenic north-to-south US Hwy 395, running along the eastern edge of California's Sierra Nevada Range.
APRÉS SPOTS: Nightlife revolves around a handful of bars: The Yodler at Main Lodge is the liveliest spot at the end of the day, but other popular watering holes include Tusks and the Dry Creek Bar. Mammoth has more than 50 restaurants offering a wide choice of international cuisine. The Lakefront in the Tamarack Lodge is one of the best with French-themed food and great views.
WHERE TO SKI: The 28 lifts link an impressive area, suitable for all abilities. The highest runs are wide open, the lower ones sheltered by trees. A choice of quiet, gentle slopes are available for beginners, the best ones are accessed from Chair 7 and Schoolyard Express chair. There's plenty of good cruising for intermediates and some of the longest runs (served by the Cloud Nine Express and Chair 25) are also ideal for this level. Experts will find steep double-diamond chutes stretching across the mountaintop as well as challenging terrain lower down in lightly wooded areas, ideal in bad-weather conditions. The world-class Unbound Terrain Parks are made up of 10 parks with more than 50 jumps, 65 jibs and three halfpipes.