When it comes to ski vacations, Californians are split into two camps: NoCal folks hit Tahoe, while SoCal bunnies head for Mammoth. Since readers are probably more familiar with Tahoe vacation homes, let’s zero in on the latter.
Hardcore skiers and snowboarders in the L.A. area have been flocking to Mammoth vacation rentals for years. A reliable snowpack, solid restaurants and an unpretentious atmosphere made it a natural fit for those on a budget, but the secret is out, and now the luxury makeover has begun. Alongside affordable vacation condos come resort-style homes styled with gourmet kitchens, spa bathrooms, hot tubs and heavenly views of this quaint town.
Walk into the village for antiquing, upscale boutiques and potentially a celebrity spotting. Brad and Angelina took their brood there last year, according to The Oregonian, and the crew from the original “Laguna Beach” show visited–presumably without their parents–on a high-school getaway so many seasons ago. (I don’t remember having that luxury as a teenager, but then again I never had an infinity pool or drove BMW convertibles either.)
Without further due, find three vacation homes for exploring the so-called “Aspen of the West.”
1. Mammoth vacation home
You can walk to the village from here in eight minutes, but why would you want to? All that you need is here, from a 36-bottle wine cellar, two king master suites, a hot tub, game room and dining table for 12 guests.
2. Mammoth vacation rental
The outside comes inside at this retreat nestled in a wooded knoll area. Marvel at the quartzite floors, slate vertical surfaces, granite and concrete counters, knotty pine doors with rust hardware and the waterfall–yep, waterfall–trickling indoors. Gather round the kitchen island on stump-like stools for mulled wine and feel as though you’re sitting in a woodman’s tavern.
3. Mammoth vacation condo
If you’re on a limited budget, consider this vacation condo in Crestview, where six snow buddies can hole up for $130 on weeknights or $160 a night on weekends after Jan. 11. After a long day on the slopes, prepare a meal with friends or take advantage of the sauna, pool table and video games in the recreation room. A free shuttle transports tourists to the village and the front door of the Canyon Lodge.
And good news for L.A. locals: Horizon Air added nonstop service from LAX to Mammoth this week, with fares as cheap as $79 each way. The drive is normally around five hours, but flights take an hour. Now you have no excuses.
Valerie Moloney is your resident blogger and the Expansion Markets Editor for Citysearch.com, who oddly enough, feels panicked when asked, "What's the best place to eat in Chicago?" or her favorite, "It's my birthday. Where should we go with a party of six?" No stranger to travel--and traveling with kids--she is a young mom who ODs on the Internet when it comes to planning family trips or buying clothes. Here's hoping she finds you the vacation you deserve.