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“We’re going to June Lake!” We tell that to friends often – we travel to the Eastern Sierras up Hwy. 395 at least four times a year. “Where’s that?” most say. By simply describing it as “up near Mammoth,” we receive knowing nods of approval.

Most skiers never travel the extra 20 minutes north of Mammoth to visit the calmer, quieter, smaller sister of the bustling world-class ski resort. The quaint town of 500 is home to June Mountain, owned by the operators of Mammoth but less expensive. (A single-day lift ticket is $64 compared to Mammoth’s $87*.)

Jeremy and John at Ernie’s Ski Shop, operating since 1953, provided our ski and snowboard equipment. With the expected higher-than-normal snowpack, June Mountain may stay open into April.

The legendary Tiger Bar has been around since the ‘30s. Inexpensive family eats – breakfast, lunch and dinner – and adult beverages. Open 365. (Caution, it’s not really a place for young kids after dinner.)

Travel prepared; a cell phone and AAA card aren’t enough. Due to cold crosswinds blowing off the 10,000-14,000 ft Sierra range, temps along 395 can drop below zero. Always carry chains in the winter.

Motel, cottage and cabin rentals are available throughout the village. We stayed at the historic Heidelberg Inn timeshare. $139/night for a one-bedroom suite.

*2010 prices

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