For once the hyperbole actually applies. A summit elevation of 11,053 feet and hefty 3,100-foot vertical drop are just some Mammoth Mountain stats that don’t need any embroidering by Bay Area marketing whiz kids.
South of Lake Tahoe, Mammoth Mountain ski resort is served by 28 lifts numbered in the order they were built, giving a nod to in-the-know locals who are able to think in creative, non-linear ways.
The uninitiated need only to remember that the Panoramic Gondola will take you all the way to the very top, from where you should tack right to the Upper Bowl and a series of plunging drops fanning into a wider bowl. If you make it that far, you’ll have some time to catch your breath and reconsider your recklessness.
Mammoth’s signature siren-of-the-steeps is Hangman’s Hollow, a chute bordered by snarling rocks that leaves room for only one perfect turn—or one mistake. It’s not just the elevator-shaft steepness, too; it’s the mandatory air required to get into it in the first place.
Even the local wackos won’t try Hangman’s unless there’s a foot or more of new snow, guaranteeing a pillowy landing. Story by: Alistair Wearmouth