Believe it or not, this Mammoth Mountain powder day shot was taken February 1st. (Courtesy of Mammoth Mountain Ski Area.)
Just when SoCal skiers and snowboarders thought winter would never come, the Pineapple Express has opened up and is dumping tons of snow on Mammoth and June Mountain. The weather phenomenon picks up moisture-laden air over the Hawaii Pacific area, and rams it through the Pacific Northwest.
Unlike a cold-air storm coming in from Alaska that can wreck havoc with floods and mudslides, we in SoCal just get a little nice rain from the southern end of the wet, but warmer Pineapple front. But for elevations above 6,000 feet, it’s nothing but snow and more snow.
June Mountain received 12 inches of new snow by February 7. And more's on the way. At the end of January, the owners of June Mountain met with the town’s residents to decide whether to try to stay open or not. Within ten days of that meeting, a majority of the runs are now fully opened with 160 acres of skiing.
Only 20 minutes north of Mammoth, June Mountain is the quieter, more family oriented sister to Mammoth. June offers free skiing to kids 12 and under. Adult lift tickets, along with accommodations in June Lake village, are less expensive as well. From the budget-conscious June Lake Motel to the high-end Double Eagle Resort and Spa, a more relaxed evening – compared to the hustle and bustle of Mammoth – awaits after a full day of skiing. For more info, check out VisitJune.com.
Don’t like the six-hour drive up Highway 395? How about 90 minutes. The good folks in Mammoth actually tax themselves, and visitor-serving businesses, so we can fly into the Mammoth airport with subsidized, lower-cost seats. Travel on daily flights from LAX or San Diego aboard Horizon Air/Alaska Airlines, or from Orange County and San Francisco on United Express.
Forget about needing all the latest and greatest gear to enjoy the Eastern Sierra slopes. Just rent from Jeremy and John at Ernie’s Tackle and Ski Shop in June Lake. (760) 648-7756.
You'd better hurry, though – there's never a guarantee of how long the great skiing lasts. Although Mammoth claims the longest ski season in the country (with snow up to the 4th of July one record year!) this season will probably turn out to be one of the drier ones.
Saturday, April 26, is generally recognized as the end of the ski season, as thousands of fishermen descend on the surrounding alpine lakes for the opening of the Eastern Sierra trout season.