California: Snowy Mammoth opens in a week

California: Snowy Mammoth opens in a week
Yes, that's Mammoth back there behind the snow flurries. The resort, five hours from L.A., received 12 inches this week. (Peter Morning/Mammoth Mountain)

Mammoth Mountain's opening is only a week away, as it prepares to be the first major resort in the state to welcome the new ski season. This week's storms blanketed resorts up and down the state, raising hopes for a long, snowy season. As usual, the best deals are available during November and early December. How good? Well, how does "free" grab you? See below.

Here's a look at where resorts stand as the 2013-14 ski season begins:


Mammoth has begun making snow, augmenting the 10-to-12 inches that it has received this week. Early visitors should note that in honor of its 60th anniversary, Mammoth is offering $60 lift tickets and $60 off some stays Nov. 7-11. In addition, the first 100 skiers/boarders will get free lift tickets on opening day (Nov. 7).

Among the highlights of the coming season will be qualification for the U.S. snowboarding half-pipe and slope-style teams, in which a short series of five events will decide who makes the team. The fifth, final and deciding event is Jan. 17-19, which is Martin Luther King weekend.

Mammoth schedule for opening day, Thursday, Nov. 7

7 a.m. – Coffee and cocoa served at the base of Broadway Express (while supplies last)

8:30 a.m. – First chair of the 2013-14 winter season at Broadway Express

11:15 a.m. – Live music by Lava Moon on the Main Lodge sundeck

7 p.m. – Opening weekend mixer at Underground in the Village

SoCal's easy-access resort is boasting $1 million in upgrades, including an expanded children's sports center, new snow cats and terrain features, and snowmaking improvements. The resort operates one of the biggest snow-making operations in the nation, with fully automatic guns that adjust themselves based on the conditions. They can be dialed down to make heavier base snow or dialed up to create fluffy powder. Opening day: When conditions permit, probably mid-November.

A single lift ticket will continue to provide access to both these resorts, two hours from Los Angeles. No opening date has been set, but 3 inches of real snow and cool temps this week point toward the usual mid- to late-November debut.

Meanwhile, Big Bear Snow Play, three miles east of the village, has already opened for inner-tubing from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. All-day passes including tube rental and Magic Carpet lift are $25. Info: (909) 585-0075 or  


More than a foot of fresh snow landed this week as the ski-happy region preps for mostly mid-November openings. This season, the area's resorts continue to add new family-friendly attractions, including ice skating rinks, tubing parks, mini-snowmobile trails, zip lines and treetop canopy tours.

In addition, more than a dozen Olympic hopefuls will be calling the slopes of Lake Tahoe home during the 2013-14 winter, and the area will host one of the last qualifying events on U.S. soil in advance of the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia:

Tahoe openings:

Heavenly, Kirkwood, Mt. Rose-Ski Tahoe and Northstar: Friday, Nov. 22

Squaw Valley: Wednesday, Nov. 27

Alpine Meadows, Homewood Resort, Sierra-at-Tahoe Resort, Sugar Bowl: Conditions permitting

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