Mammoth Lakes Weekend Getaway Done Right
I love skiing.
That said, I have not been skiing in . . . well, a long time. And my husband had never been. So when a couple friends of mine suggested a trip up to Mammoth Lakes for the weekend, I jumped at the chance.
First of all, LA is wonderful, but I miss the snow. Ohio is very far away, and I love the seasons and the cooler weather. I mean, not all the time. And not sub-zero. So there are definitely reasons that I live in LA 😉
One of the best reasons to live in LA is that you can drive a couple of hours and find any kind of weather. That is an amazing perk.
Mammoth Mountain is located in the heart of the Sierra National Forest, and is accessible from LA by driving or flying. It's almost directly east of San Francisco, and draws visitors from all over the world.
The awesome thing about going to Mammoth is that I planned a bit of the trip despite never having been, so I got to investigate and see what to do and what not to do. And it was an amaaaaazing weekend. First of all, we booked a condo through FlipKey. This was a great decision for a multitude of reasons.
The hotels in Mammoth are pretty expensive, even the ones that aren't great.
My friend told me stories about other times they've been there; apparently the last time they stayed in a hotel where there was no hot water. When she went to the desk to complain, they said, 'We're working on it.' The next day, she stopped by the front desk and heard a different clerk talking to another employee, saying that this has been a problem for years. They always tell the guests that they're "working on it," but really it's a problem when the hotel is at capacity and nothing is being done about it. So a condo seemed like a better choice.
Our condo was awesome.
We stayed in a place through Mammoth Sierra Reservations. It was super easy and our condo was at the foot of the mountain, so we didn't have very far to drive in the morning on Saturday to catch the shuttle up to the mountain.
The condo was furnished with lots of wildlife paintings and hardwood, with one master bedroom and a loft with two queen beds upstairs. Husband and I stayed upstairs while our friends took the master. In total we paid about $680 for two nights, which split between four people definitely isn't too bad, especially considering that hotels in Mammoth average about $450 a night.
Our plan was to drive up Friday night, get settled, have dinner, and turn in early. Get up early Saturday, like 6:30 early, ski until we were tired. Then turn in early Saturday, ski all day Sunday, head back Sunday night. Solid.
Husband and I left around 11:00 a.m. on Friday. The drive up was so beautiful.
Since I expected a six hour drive, the four and a half hours that it actually took felt really quick. There were a couple scary towns on the way up where I could definitely see myself being murdered, but fortunately we only had to stop for gas in one of them.
We arrived in Mammoth around 3:30, and headed to pick up our skis at ASO Sports. They were very accommodating, talking to us about our level of experience and fitting us accordingly. Next, we hit Mammoth Sierra Reservations to pick up our keys, which was also super easy. Then we headed back to the condo to wait for our friends, who arrived shortly thereafter.
Having decided before leaving LA that we would not be cooking in Mammoth and would dine out for our meals, we were prepared to head to dinner. We decided on Morrison's after my friend said she had a mushroom risotto there one time that she was still thinking about.
Morrison's did not disappoint.
Their house wine was really, really good, and the Muenster Cheese Asado was gooey and heavenly. As for entrees, husband really hit the jackpot with the stroganoff. Had I thought it was possible to have that entrée without the meat, I would have ordered that for sure. I had the Pistachio Pesto, which was amazing but a little richer than what I usually would eat. One of our friends got a steak and the other had fish, and though I'm not a meat eater, those dishes looked great as well.
We all headed up to the mountain at around 7:00 a.m. the next morning. We had purchased lift tickets through Costco, which was a smart move, since lift tickets are $150 apiece and Costco sells them for $380 for 5. If you have the option, get them from Costco!
Mammoth Mountain is like nothing I've ever seen.
I've been skiing in Vail, Ohio, and New York, and Mammoth holds its own against Vail for sure. Ohio and New York don't really compare (sorry, guys). The mountain towers at a formidable 14,000 feet, and although I didn't go up that high, our snowboarding friends did.
I stuck to the beginner hills and did okay, even though I hadn't skied in over 10 years. Husband took a lesson after I tried (and failed) to teach him. By around 1:30, we were done for the day. I could not control my shaking legs, and husband's knee was all swollen. We both had fun, but skiing is hard!
We retired to the lodge and ordered some food and drinks at Tusks, the bar. Expensive, yes, but totally worth it after a morning of hard work. Our friends were done about an hour later and joined us in the bar. And apparently Shaun White was there that day, so there was a lot of chatter about that.
We decided to call the day and head out for an early dinner and a stop by ASO Sports to pick up some shirts. There was a great little place called Delicious Kitchen in the plaza, so we stopped there. Nothing fancy, but the nachos were great. Then we headed back to the condo to shower, relax and play cards.
After a couple hours of cards, we headed out to the huuuuge hot tub right around the corner from our condo. There is nothing quite like sitting in an outdoor hot tub under the stairs with a glass of wine and snow falling on your head. We sat down there and soaked our tired muscles until 10:00 when the tub closed. We turned in a little early to prep for a full day of skiing on Sunday.
Sunday. . . did not go quite as planned.
Husband's knee was pretty swollen, so he was out. My friend wasn't feeling great, so she was out. We decided to go find a good breakfast place, call it early, and head home. My friend chose a spot called Breakfast Club, a quaint little diner with fresh made biscuits and cows adorning the restaurant.
It was adorable, and the food was outstanding. Just what we needed to fuel a long drive home. I had a pretty simple omelet, but the menu was extensive and they had all kinds of stuff. There was a fresh made croissant that I definitely experienced some serious food envy for.
We looked into going to the Devil's Postpile, this crazy rock formation that calls Mammoth home, but all the national parks seemed to be closed for the winter. So we decided to call it a day and head home.
Overall, the trip was awesome.
Our friends are back there this weekend. I think husband and I need to do some smaller day trips to Big Bear so he can get some more experience and I can dust off my skis, but for a first experience for him, Mammoth Lakes was a fantastic way to go. I wouldn't have done anything differently, and I will definitely be going again.
Mammoth Mountain is open from around mid-November through late April, early May. They get tons of snow, although less and less every year, it seems. If you have the opportunity to plan a trip, I'd definitely recommend it.