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Oh Mammoth Skiers

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

I'll be in Newport Beach for a one-day meeting on Friday April 26 and I will try to make a run up to Mammoth.  I will only ski one day.  A few questions:  Is it better to try to get a head start Friday night, or would it make more sense just to take my time and drive Saturday morning.  What I'm asking I guess is how bad is the traffic on a friday night?  

 

As regards coming back.  I will probably drive to Palmdale or somewhere like that after skiing on Sunday and spend the night.  How bad would it be to drive from Palmdale to LAX on a Monday morning?  How much time to allow?  Also are there any lift ticket/lodging deals through Mammoth?  Thanks....

post #2 of 19

It's LA. The traffic is always bad. Go Friday night. 395 moves OK even if it's busy. The hard part will be getting out of LA to 395.

 

The really hard part will be getting to the airport. Traffic is random but you do go through the heart of bad traffic to get to LAX. Avoid rush hour. Good luck.

 

Big Bear instead? I love that mountain.

 

Eric

post #3 of 19

Traffic all the way from Orange County to Palmdale will be horrible on a Friday evening unless you leave around 8pm, and even then it could really stink going over the Sepulveda pass on the 405. You could take the 57 up to the 210 I suppose which should be a bit better. If you are only going to ski one day, make it Sunday because it will be less crowded. Then you can drive up on Saturday (WAY less traffic, but don't wait until the afternoon--hit the road by 9) and enjoy the view of the eastern high Sierra along 395. It's a beautiful drive.

 

Traffic from Palmdale on a weekday morning will also stink. Read: the 405 SUCKS no matter how you slice it. My husband drives it daily to the air force base which is right next to LAX. Are you looking at Palmdale because it is less expensive? Because the drive from Mammoth to the LA basin after a day of skiing is totally doable (it's what we do every time we drive up there.) You could try staying in Torrance which should be a bit less expensive but is easy to get to LAX from (easy by LA standards.) wink.gif  If you DO stay in Palmdale, either plan to fly out later in the day, or plan to leave ugly early and know that the normal 90 minutes will take upwards of two hours. (Did I mention how bad the 405 is??)

 

As for Big Bear, first thing is you can't count on it being open at the end of April, and secondly, it pales in comparison to Mammoth. If you have the time and inclination, Mammoth is WELL worth the drive. As for lodging and lift tix deals, sign up for their emails via Mammoth's website and I guarantee you'll get something. I keep getting last-minute deal emails from them and they'll only get better towards the end of April. (Let's do the math--Big Bear has about a 3 foot base, whereas Mammoth has an 18 foot+ base.)

post #4 of 19
Thread Starter 

Your advice makes sense to me.  I'll drink friday night with the folks from my meeting, drive Saturday and ski Mammoth Sunday.  I'm looking at a noonish flight from LAX Monday

post #5 of 19

Your flight out of LAX Saturday morning departs 8:40AM, your return flight Sunday evening departs 5:37PM. Day and a half on the hill @ $200 for airfare, saves 12 hours drive time and whatever you'd pay for the rental car.

 

Better hurry, Alaska Air's website shows only four tickets for Sunday night at that price.

 

http://www.alaskaair.com/planbook

post #6 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmaie View Post

Your flight out of LAX Saturday morning departs 8:40AM, your return flight Sunday evening departs 5:37PM. Day and a half on the hill @ $200 for airfare, saves 12 hours drive time and whatever you'd pay for the rental car.

 

Better hurry, Alaska Air's website shows only four tickets for Sunday night at that price.

 

http://www.alaskaair.com/planbook

 

Hey, that's not bad especially when you factor the cost of gas! I know we budget about $175 round trip for gas up there, but we are in a gas-guzzling F-150. So a better car you might spend $100 on gas. (Although we def never take 6 hours driving each way, and we live south of LAX by almost 30 minutes.) Something to think about, Teddy!  Most lodging offers free airport transportation, and you absolutely don't need a car to get around in Mammoth. They have an amazing free transit system that will take you directly to any of the three base areas from pretty much everywhere in town.

post #7 of 19

I'm not a Mammoth regular but I have had fun at Mammoth, great powder and wonderful spring skiing. And they typically have the latest closing date of any ski resort - with good skiing on closing date. June Mountain (same ticket different vibe) can be really fun too, making that second day more enticing. Certainly skiing Mammoth is a bucket list must do and spring might be the best time to get it.

 

Mammoth is LA's mountain (it is certainly crowded enough with all of LA there). But it is nowhere near LA. Interminably long drive (OK I had a couple extra hours added yesterday (11 1/2) by virtue of starting in Tahoe and ending in San Diego - but I had no traffic delays except the 215 was closed in San Bernadino - LA traffic sucks). Yesterday it took 6 hours from the Mammoth turnoff to the problem in San Bernadino (still a long ways from OC). 395 is a giant speed trap - stay close to the speed limits - with expensive gas. I'd fly.

 

If Big Bear is open, it at least is a reasonably close drive to Orange county. You could leave late and still get to the mountain. The other true LA ski areas like Mountain High or Mt. Baldy are even shorter drives. All the Socal hills are quite steep and fun if they have snow. Spring skiing is especially fun this far south because the steep pitches don't get too sticky despite the warmth.

 

If you are flying off, Reno and all the Tahoe resorts are just as close with more flight optiions. Good chances for great skiing with more choices to avoid crowds and find localized quality. Mammoth is only 3 hours from Reno so even Mammoth is an option by Reno air.

 

You do have lots of choices. Mammoth would not be my first choice for a quick visit from Orange county. Unless you want to experience Mammoth for the excellent Mammoth skiing then absolutely make it happen!

 

Eric

 

PS Avoid the 405! The construction in Westwood makes the traffic always bad. Visiting my son at UCLA is a driving nightmare.

post #8 of 19

June Mountain is not open this year frown.gif

Mammoth is SO worth the drive. He could even leave ugly early on Saturday morning and still get up there with time to ski at least 4 hours AND again on Sunday, or just fly and make it even easier. I have friends who do that all the time from OC (just did this weekend, as a matter of fact.)

 

And I'll restate that I don't think the local mountains will be open at the end of April, and if they are  the conditions will be eek.gif

post #9 of 19

Contessant, I defer to your judgement. Mammoth does rock!

 

I hate driving so much I have a Cessna. I've flown into Big Bear for skiing which makes me partial to that mountain. I'm guessing TeddyO isn't really interested in renting a little plane so a car or commercial is realistic. Mammoth will be worth the trip.

 

But I'll probably be waterskiing then....

 

Eric

post #10 of 19

A Cessna--lucky you! Why don't you fly the extra hour up to Mammoth? biggrin.gif  I'd be up there every week if I could hop in my own plane!

post #11 of 19

Mammoth is awesome, but I would not drive all the way there from LA for one day of skiing.  And I'm saying that as someone who has done many up and back days to Tahoe from the bay area.

 

If you're going to go, go Friday night at least.

post #12 of 19
Cessnas and skiing don't mix well. When flying, I want Sun. When skiing, I want snow. Icing brings down Cessnas.

Sierra flying is difficult. Clouds, turbulence and scary terrain below are real challenges. The eastern Sierra is especially bad. I have never been into Mammoth. I've been into Truckee a few times - and had to leave early and miss a powder storm once. Normally I'll fly to Marysville and borrow my brother's car. Easy flight and safe if it storms. Squaw beats Mammoth too.

From San Diego I can see Big Bear once airborne. On a spring day, the skiing and flying are both good. Actually, the best is a waterski set at my lake near Palm Springs, an afternoon on the hill at Big Bear and an evening swim at the beach in San Diego. Thanks to my Cessna I've done that! Forum boasting? Sorry.

Driving sucks. SF to Tahoe is bad enough daytripping. LA to Mammoth needs an overnight.

Eric
post #13 of 19

It's rough living in San Diego! (I'd say SoCal, but I can't stand the traffic and air quality here in LA. We will be moving within the next year.)

post #14 of 19

Been doing the Mammoth drive for over 40 years, usually ski 2 days straight, mid-week. Here's what I'd do if I was you. If you are flying into LAX and renting a car,  go to your meeting in Newport Beach and then stay and enjoy Newport Friday night(recommend Javier's Mexican Restaurant at Newport Coast for after meeting drinks and fun), spend the night in Newport and drive up to Mammoth early Saturday. Take the 5 freeway through LA and the 14 through Palmdale to 395 etc..If you leave at 6am you'll be at Mammoth Mountain Inn by noon with one stop for gas, food, etc.. Stay at Mammoth Mountain Inn where you can change and park your car adjacent to the Main Lodge where you can rent skis. Ski half day Saturday and all day Sunday, then drive all the way to Lax to return rental car and stay at a nearby hotel to catch your plane on Monday. Do not stay in Palmdale Sunday night. The drive Monday morning to Lax is awful. Big Bear will be closed by late April, and if your up for the drive, Mammoth is way worth the effot. Let me know if you need any additional information.

post #15 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by pud View Post

Been doing the Mammoth drive for over 40 years, usually ski 2 days straight, mid-week. Here's what I'd do if I was you. If you are flying into LAX and renting a car,  go to your meeting in Newport Beach and then stay and enjoy Newport Friday night(recommend Javier's Mexican Restaurant at Newport Coast for after meeting drinks and fun), spend the night in Newport and drive up to Mammoth early Saturday. Take the 5 freeway through LA and the 14 through Palmdale to 395 etc..If you leave at 6am you'll be at Mammoth Mountain Inn by noon with one stop for gas, food, etc.. Stay at Mammoth Mountain Inn where you can change and park your car adjacent to the Main Lodge where you can rent skis. Ski half day Saturday and all day Sunday, then drive all the way to Lax to return rental car and stay at a nearby hotel to catch your plane on Monday. Do not stay in Palmdale Sunday night. The drive Monday morning to Lax is awful. Big Bear will be closed by late April, and if your up for the drive, Mammoth is way worth the effot. Let me know if you need any additional information.


beercheer.gif

 

Cheers to another who thinks it's totally worth the drive, (and we even do it with a kindergartner in the car and it's STILL worth it, even with extra potty stops!) It really IS an easy drive. The 395 is just cruise control most of the way for us (a real treat after driving in LA so much.) And no windy mountain roads at all. Hop off the freeway and drive the mile or so into town, and you're there.  Wonder where the OP is from?

post #16 of 19

witth our current weather, there is NO way that any of the local SOCal Mtns will be open in end Apr.

 

I was just up at Mammoth this past wkend and Mon. and conditions were Fab on the upper Mtn and not too wet on the lower, Lincoln was in great shape and overall there was great cover.

I expect Mammoth will return to 'winter' in a week or so, but this warm weather will certainly make for a 'firm' base , once it gets cold again. So, March and early April always being a heavy snow period, let's hope it continues true to history...

In either case, I'm goin up again in early april after Easter...

 

Did the drive this last trip, and now with daylight savings time, one gets sooo much more daylight time during that drive down and up, and the Eastern slope of the sierras is truly spectacular.

It's a long drive, but an easy one and well worth the experience for the firsttime driver.

As Contesstant notes, Mammoth is really easy to get around without using the car - I rely on that, it makes being up there some real 'time off'.

One day is hardly enough to get a real flavor for the Mtn - shame you can;t spring for 2...

 

Count on there being a lift/lodging combo special, but usually they're for more than one night... check with the hotels/motels...

post #17 of 19

I got invited to go over the weekend to enjoy the two feet of fresh, but couldn't swing it. **sigh** Jealous you went. We leave in 10 days. I keep checking Mammoth Weather Guy's website but he hasn't updated since last week!

post #18 of 19
On my way today to Paris in my Cessna (OK really I overflew Perris on my way to Corona) I looked over at Big Bear's mountains. No way will there be snow in April. The mountains are just too dry. Tahoe's forcast looks like it might rain next week. Mammoth might be the only option - and the best snow!

The ski season for Socal is waterski season. My lake might get into the 70s tomorrow with air in the 90s and glass.

Eric
post #19 of 19

Friday night shouldn't be a problem at all, your not exactly going with traffic.   Just don't leave at rush hour.  Eat dinner and cruise out around 7:30.   Stay where ever,  "sierra nevada lodge" etc...   Shuttle system in town is great, super easy to get around.  Also the Sierra Nevada is cheap and has it's own shuttle.  Ski Sat and Sunday then drive back.  (for me, skiing one day just isnt enough).  

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