Posts Tagged ‘Mammoth’

I did a lot of ski runs this past week while in Mammoth for spring break, but my most favorite “run” was a 10-mile loop of running from the ski resort up around Lake Mary and back down to town. I started at Juniper Springs Resort next to Eagle Lodge:

Juniper Springs Lodge Path

The elevation at Juniper Springs is above 8,000 feet so I took it easy with a warmup walk up to Lake Mary Road to hook up with the Lakes Basin Path, a 5.3-mile bike and running path with over 1,000 feet in elevation gain/loss:

Lakes Basin Path

I took breaks to stop and read every interpretive nature sign along the way. I learned that this area stands at the western edge of the largest contiguous Jeffrey Pine forest in the world, and that the resin of the Jeffrey Pine smells like vanilla and butterscotch! I stood at the edge of a volcano and admired the view:

Jeffrey Pines at Mammoth

I’d planned my 10-mile route carefully using MapMyRun and Google Maps, but I hadn’t planned for this:

Lake Mary Road closure

In the winter the city plows Lake Mary Road up to the edge of Twin Lakes. The snow on the rest of the road is then groomed for cross-country skiing, snow-shoeing and walking. Undaunted, I jogged through the snow on the designated walking section of the path to the left of the groomed ski trails:

groomed cross country ski trails

I like to think I was only one of a handful of people who made it out to see frozen Lake Mary that day:

Lake Mary in winter

After the loop around Lake Mary on the aptly-named “Around Lake Mary Road,” I ran down the mountain on Old Mammoth Road, a snowmobile and hiking path to the historical site of old Mammoth City. At the base of Red Mountain, formerly known as Mineral Hill, sat an 1878-79 mining camp.

Mineral Hill in mammoth

A sign explained that for the 1,000 miners in the area there were no less than 22 saloons, with each “saloon” being not much more than a 10-foot square shack with a barrel of whiskey inside!

With all the historical and nature interpretive signs and the gorgeous views, I simply felt joyful for the entire run. Right up until the point that I realized I’d lost my driver’s license when it fell out of my running pack as I removed my cell phone to take a picture somewhere along those 10 miles! Doh! So, on the day we were scheduled to leave Mammoth, I drove back out to the trail and retraced my steps on the snow. Fifteen minutes later I spied my license, sunken in the melted snow at the foot of the historical sign in the mining camp!

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After Mike and I started dating in high school, he taught me how to snow ski. Fast forward a whopping 24 years and now we have three daughters who ski with us. Yes, even the four-year-old, who was first on skis when she was two and skiing on her own by the time she was three.

Ballerina Skier rocks the slopes!

Ballerina Skier rocks the slopes!

That ladybug can really fly down the bunny hill!

That ladybug can really fly down the bunny hill!

For the past couple of years we’ve had annual ski passes for Snow Valley, but this year we decided to forgo the passes and spend the money on a bigger trip at a different resort (to be decided). We still like to go up for the occasional day at Snow Valley, and that’s how we got interested in SkiForFree.com (this is not a sponsored post). I was skeptical when I heard there was a place to get discount ski lift tickets for five different California ski resorts: Snow Valley, Mammoth, Homewood Mountain, China Peak and Mt. Baldy. Frankly, I thought it was a scam. After researching it further though, I discovered it’s legitimate. The only thing to be aware of is that the site charges an additional facility fee per ticket (last time I checked it was $5), and a ticketing fee ($3) so the total discount for Snow Valley is a little less than the stated 50% for weekend and holiday tickets or 60% for midweek, non-holiday tickets. You need a promo code to purchase the tickets. The promotion code can be found at the Ski For Free Facebook page (last I checked the promo code was “board”). If you want the best possible deal on discount ski tickets, make sure you compare prices first by checking the ski resort’s home page and Facebook page for any deals, and other discount ski ticket sites like Liftopia.com (which offers discounts at resorts around the United States and Canada — the tickets might be cheaper there (without charging facility or ticket service fees) but the catch is that the tickets are date-specific: you must buy them at least one day in advance and purchase them for a specific date, whereas Ski For Free tickets can be bought the same day and are good any weekend/holiday/weekday depending on the ticket type).

I found the Ski For Free website to be easy to navigate. I added the tickets to my order, paid by credit card, and printed out the receipts for the tickets. I took those receipts along with my photo ID and credit card to the ticket booth at the resort and had no trouble redeeming the receipts for lift passes for a weekend day. For four tickets (my youngest daughter skis for free), we saved about $74.

My four-year-old and Mike on the ski lift at Snow Valley.

My four-year-old and Mike on the ski lift at Snow Valley.

Do you snow ski? Have you ever tried SkiForFree.com or any other discount ski ticket site?

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