Slopeside lodging at Mammoth Mountain is available at inexpensive rates for arrivals through Dec. 16. You can make tracks on the mountain, which is open top to bottom, before the Christmas crowds show up.

The First Tracks lodging packages are available for $119 per person per night. The packages require a stay of two or more nights and include lift tickets for each person for each night's stay.

The lodging package is for rooms at Mammoth Mountain Inn sitting at 9,000 feet on Mammoth Mountain. Rates, which are based on double occupancy, include a standard hotel room equipped with Internet and TV/DVD. The inn offers amenities such as indoor spas, a heated outdoor swimming pool, and a fitness center. Mammoth Mountain Inn also houses a ski and snowboard rental shop on the premises plus two restaurants and a bar.

Complimentary transfers to and from the Mammoth airport are available. A night shuttle also runs to the Village starting at 6:30 p.m.

You can also arrange an early December stay around events at Mammoth. Opening day at the ice skating rink and the annual holiday tree lighting ceremony are scheduled for Dec. 4. The 2009 Mammoth Ullr Festival, which is scheduled for Dec. 11, features live entertainment, bonfires, prizes, hot beverages, and the appearance of the Ullr God and Goddess.

Other more expensive packages are available at Mammoth Mountain Inn, too. Reservations are available by phone or online.

More information. Or call 800-MAMMOTH.