Mammoth Mountain Tour

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There are four base areas at the foot of Mammoth, each suitable as a jump-off point for mountain adventures, none so amenity-rich that it stands out as the essential starting point. Intermediate skiers will gravitate to the new nexus at Juniper Springs, where the six-passenger Eagle Express serves lolling moderate terrain. This side of the mountain is the most heavily forested, cut with low-angle trails and easily traversed glades. Moving toward the center of the mountain, you encounter Lincoln Mountain, home to more steeply pitched glades and splendid chutes that hold snow when other exposures have been swept bare by the wind. Below Lincoln lies Canyon Lodge, the future terminal for the North Village Gondola. Two high-speed quads that pander to lovers of wide, gorgeous groomed runs serve the lower center of the mountain. For experts, the place to be is the top, and only the Panorama Gondola will get you there. All the faces off the summit start out steep and only gradually lessen in pitch. (Don't forget to look up: You're in Ansel Adams' country, a smorgasbord of stunning vistas.) What backside there is has gentle, wide-open lines, except for the lift line of Chair 14, which is dicey enough to be fun. A lot of locals aggregate at Chair 23, which rises to the ridgeline and offers some of the mountain's longest uninterrupted fall lines. If steep trees are your thing, you are in the wrong place, but you can take solace in the remote confines of Dragon's Tail, which shelters powder stashes. To truly get away from it all, find a local who will take you to the backcountry either off of Mammoth or sister peak June Mountain.