Mammoth Mountain To Stay Open For Skiing Until At Least Memorial Day

Mammoth Mountain will remain open until at least Memorial DayIt has been a bountiful year for snow in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains, where big storms have continued to drop fresh powder all season long. In fact, it has been so good that Mammoth Mountain has already announced that it will be open for snowboarding and skiing at least until Memorial Day (May 27) and most likely beyond.

At the moment, Mammoth is boasting a base depth of snow that is measured at an astounding 7 to 15 feet depending on where you are on the resort’s 3500 skiable acres. All of that snow means that even though spring is here, it’ll take some time for it to melt away. And with the long-term forecasts calling for more cold weather and snowfall ahead, it’s likely that the resort will remain open into June.

Mammoth is well known for having one of the longest ski seasons in all of North America, but this year has the potential to expand that reputation even further. Regular visitors to the resort who grabbed a season pass in time for opening day last November have now been skiing for more than five months. And with the resort staying open at least until late May, I’d say they managed to get their money’s worth out of those passes.

If you’re not quite ready to put your skis or snowboard away just yet then the news of Mammoth’s extended winter will be welcome. With more than 158 runs, most of which are groomed, the resort has a little something for everyone from beginners to experts. Find out more about Mammoth Mountain, purchase lift tickets and book accommodations here.

[Photo Credit: Mammoth Mountain]

Bikini-Clad Snowboarders Take To Siberian Slopes (Video)




Snowboarders worldwide usually dress warmly, covering as much skin as possible to avoid frostbite if not hypothermia. Russians are normally no exception to the rule, with winter temperatures dropping to sub-zero levels with great frequency.

To catch the attention of winter vacationers and lure them away from Moscow to Sheregesh, a Siberian resort, this video has bikini-clad snowboarders having fun on the slopes.

“We can’t guarantee a show like this every day but we’re pretty relaxed out here in Siberia,” said a Russian tourism spokesperson in a Travel Mole post today.

With some of the best snowboarding powder in Europe, Sheregesh hosts travelers every winter for its popular snowboarding and skiing during a season that lasts from November till March.

[YouTube Video via Sirdi Sa]

Off The Beaten Winter Path In Colorado: Backcountry Dining At The Tennessee Pass Cookhouse

“We’re going to ski in to this place where you get lunch served in a yurt.”

My Colorado friends know what it takes to get me excited about life; combine an outdoor pursuit with eating and I am almost always game. I didn’t even need to know the details of where we were going. The fact that I was going to a restaurant in a backcountry setting was good enough.

Near Leadville, Colorado, which at an elevation of 10,152 feet is the highest incorporated city in the United States, the Tennessee Pass Nordic Center is the kind of place for outdoor enthusiasts looking to get off the beaten path and away from more common places like Aspen and Vail. From here you can snowshoe and Nordic ski on over 25 kilometers of set track trails (hike them in the summer of course) and if you want an experience with a little more speed, spend the day on the downhill slopes of Ski Cooper.

We arrived at the Nordic Center mid-morning, kicking things off with a thermos of coffee as we rented skis and boots.

“The trail is a little bare in spots, but you’ll be fine,” instructed one of the owners.

Apparently she assumed our nordic skiing skills were a little more fine tuned than we knew they were; nordic skiing on flat, green routes is one thing, slogging uphill on icy trails is quite another, even for those used to skiing downhill. But the sun was out, the sky was blue, and we had nowhere to be except for at a yurt at 1:30 for our lunch reservations.

In the winter, the Tennessee Pass Cookhouse, which really is a full-scale restaurant in a yurt, is open for lunch and dinner, reservations required. As they put it, it’s “fine dining… backcountry style.” Is there anything better for the outdoor enthusiast?

The cookhouse is well equipped with a long list of wines and a few local beers. In the evenings, they serve up a four-course dinner for $80, and if you want to extend your backcountry experience, you can stay in one of the nearby sleeping yurts. Lunch is a little more low key, with entrees ranging from $10-17.

We skied the mile-long trail to the yurt, cresting over a hill and ending up with an overlook of the valley and the mountains behind. There are certainly worse places to eat lunch in the world.

“Who wants a beer?”

That seemed to be the appropriate choice, and with the help of a few extra layers that we had packed in, we took a seat on the yurt porch, outfitted with hefty picnic tables and torches made out of upcycled wine bottles. There are worse places to eat lunch.

A Cutthroat Porter (brewed by local Fort Collins Odell Brewing Company) was the perfect pairing for a cold day. And what goes best with a porter? A buffalo burger stuffed with feta cheese of course. I pulled out a dark chocolate bar for dessert (for outdoor adventures, it’s important to always have one on hand). After an hour of sitting outside, we warmed up by the stove inside the yurt, mentally prepping ourselves for what we knew would be an icy downhill for our return.

After looking at the map, we opted for Willa’s Way, which would take us on a loop trail, as opposed to skiing back on the trail we came in on. The main access trail to the cookhouse is frequented by staff driving back and forth on snowmobiles, meaning harder packed snow, and in the recent cold spell, very icy. We made a concerted effort to avoid Griz, marked in black as the most difficult course. Even those of us that like a challenge have our limits.

Willa’s Way meant a winding path downhill – challenging even for my expert downhill skier friends who are used to wider, more stable skis. But there is entertainment in challenge, and a few spills were merely cause for laughter. It’s hard not to feel good when you’re in the woods on a clear day. But that Willa … she’s a wily one.

Back at the Nordic Center, more coffee and one of Roxanne’s Cookies – a local favorite of the Tennessee Pass crew – for good measure. Lesson of the day: say yes to backcountry eating experiences, bring an extra layer, avoid Griz and always get the porter.

Gadling Gear Review: Polarmax PMX Hoodie Base Layer

Polarmax PMX Hoodie base layerIt may be hard to believe, but the arrival of winter is now just a few short weeks away, bringing colder temperatures and plenty of snow with it. But the start of the season doesn’t have to mean the end of our outdoor adventures, provided we have the right gear to keep us warm and dry. Staying comfortable in the elements begins and ends with a good layering system, with the outer shell and mid-layer fleece both playing important roles. But the base layer is perhaps the most important piece of clothing in our entire winter wardrobe, as it sits closest to the skin, keeping us warm while wicking away moisture.

Polarmax is a company that specializes in making great winter gear, especially base layers. They offer their apparel in a variety of colors and weights, providing options for a range of temperatures. But perhaps the most versatile, not to mention fun, base layer in their line-up is the PMX Hoodie, a piece of gear that will keep you warm on the slopes or trail, and still looking great back at the lodge.

Made from a blend of Polarmax’s proprietary Acclimate fabrics and spandex, the PMX Hoodie is surprisingly lightweight and yet incredibly warm. Those same fabrics are designed to pull moisture away from the skin, keeping the chill off the body as much as possible. The exterior of the garment offers top-notch technical performance while the interior is lined with brushed fleece that is very soft against the skin. The Hoodie also has the benefit of being treated with anti-microbial and anti-odor guards, which help keep it clean and smelling fresh even after wearing it during vigorous workouts.As someone who routinely takes part in a number of outdoor activities, no matter what the thermometer reads, I found a lot to like in the PMX Hoodie. Its athletic cut fits snugly against the body, just as a good base layer should, but it does so without restricting movement in any way. This combination of qualities is very much appreciated whether you’re spending a whole day snowshoeing through the backcountry or running errands around the block. The built-in hood, from which the shirt derives its name, is also a great option for when the snow starts flying unexpectedly.

Unlike most other base layers, which generally resemble high-tech underwear, the PMX Hoodie is actually stylish enough to wear around town. In fact, unless someone pointed out that it was a piece of technical apparel, I doubt anyone would be able to tell the difference. Its casual good looks wouldn’t be of much benefit, however, if the hoodie didn’t perform well as a stand-alone layer. Fortunately, I found that it was comfortable and warm on its own even as the mercury drops.

As well as the PMX Hoodie performs on its own, it works even better as part of a full layering system. Pair it with a fleece layer for colder temperatures, and add a technical shell during more extreme conditions, and you have all the gear you need for most winter adventures. It is amazing how versatile a system like this one can be, particularly when traveling. Mix and match the fleece and shell layers as needed, and you truly have everything you need to enjoy active outings even in sub-zero temperatures.

Speaking of travel, the PMX Hoodie makes a great travel companion. Not only does it pack small, the fact that it is easy to clean and staves off odors comes in handy on longer trips as well. And when you return home, it is completely machine washable and dryable, and doesn’t shrink a bit. Not all technical garments are easy to care for and Polarmax should be commended for making it so simple for us.

They should also be commended for making such a great piece of winter gear affordable as well. The PMX Hoodie costs just $69.95, which is a real bargain for a base layer that performs so well. It’ll even make a great gift for your favorite skier or snowboarder this holiday season.

[Photo Credit: Polarmax]

Dream Ski Trip: Heli-Skiing In Jackson Hole

Heli-Skiing in Jackson Hole, WyomingNestled deep in Wyoming’s Teton Mountains and averaging more than 450 inches of snow each year, Jackson Hole is easily one of the best ski destinations in all of North America. With more than 116 different runs, spread out over 2500 skiable acres, the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is a little slice of heaven on Earth for skiers and snowboarders alike. But to truly enjoy this magical place, you’ll want to get off the beaten path and indulge in a heli-skiing adventure.

As the name implies, Heli-skiing employs the use of a helicopter to carry skiers and snowboarders deep into the backcountry to access slopes that would normally be unreachable during the winter months. For example, High Mountain Heli-Skiing, the company that provides the service in Jackson Hole, uses a Bell 407 aircraft to shuttle guests out to a 305,000-acre winter wonderland that is virtually untouched for most of the season. Those guests will have the entire area to themselves while they shred through isolated mountain glades, take on steep chutes and zip across large, open bowls.

A day with High Mountain Heli-Skiing usually consists of six runs that cover anywhere from 12,000-15,000 vertical feet. A group consists of a maximum of just six people, one guide and five guests, who spend the entire day shredding virgin backcountry powder. At most, there are only four such groups in the field at any given time, which makes for a ski experience that is vastly different from the long lift lines and crowded slopes you’ll find on a typical hill.

And after spending a long day of making turns on untouched powder, you’ll want to relax in luxury and style as well. Fortunately, Jackson Hole has you covered in that department too. There are plenty of luxury rental cabins available throughout the area with amenities that will comfort and pamper you throughout your stay.

If you’re looking for a unique winter adventure for the ski season ahead, then put Heli-Skiing in Jackson Hole on your bucket list. It’ll be an experience unlike any other.

[Photo Credit: High Mountain Heli-Skiing]