June Mountain Ski Resort To Re-Open For Winter 2013/2014

June Mountain will open for winter 2013-2014The management team for the June Mountain ski resort, located in northern California, announced plans to re-open later this year. The resort, which has long been a favorite amongst the locals, was closed for the summer season last year and remained that way throughout this past winter. But after a one year hiatus, June Mountain will return to action for the 2013/2014 ski season while ownership develops a plan for keeping it operational moving forward.

June Mountain is the sister resort of nearby Mammoth Mountain and boasts some impressive stats to draw in visitors. For instance, it averages about 250 inches of snowfall each season, with ski runs traditionally remaining open from December through April. It features seven chairlifts and 35 groomed trails, the longest of which is over two miles in length. Its 500 skiable acres features terrain that is suitable for a variety of experience levels although the resort’s options for beginning skiers and riders has long been a part of its appeal.

The closure of June Mountain last summer was of particular concern with the local community. The resort had been in operation for 50 years and it helped bring revenue to the small towns in the area. Its return to operation will be a welcome boost later this year and management says there are plans to potentially open a new lift and expand the snowmaking capacity.

Once June Mountain does open again, holders of the Mammoth Mountain MVP season pass will gain access to the slopes just as they have in the past. This is a nice way to extend the value of that pass even further, expanding on the options that Mammoth already offers.

[Photo Credit: Mammoth Mountain]

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]

Spring Breakers: Mammoth Mountain Has 16 Feet Of Snow On The Ground

Mammoth Mountain has a base of up to 16-feet of snowSpring break is nearly upon us and while many travelers are looking forward to a relaxing escape in warmer climes, some of us prefer to hit the slopes for some late season skiing or snowboarding instead. It has been a banner year for many resorts across the western U.S., where heavy snows have fallen for much of the season, but if you’re looking for the absolute deepest powder in the country there is only one place to go – Mammoth Mountain.

Mammoth has had an absolutely terrific winter so far with a tremendous amount of snow falling across the region. As a result, the resort currently has a base of between 7 and 16 feet depending on where you are at on the mountain. On top of that, the Sierra Nevada range was hit with new snow storms just this week adding an additional 2 feet of fresh powder over the past couple of days alone. All of this precipitation has earned Mammoth the distinction of having the most snow of any resort in all of North America this year.

If you’re still looking for a great ski destination for the upcoming spring break, it really is tough to top Mammoth. The resort features 118 trails spread out across 3500 skiable acres, which means even on a busy day there is still plenty of room to move. Sixty-five percent of that terrain is aimed specifically at the beginner or intermediate skier, which makes the resort a great place for those who are still looking to build their skills. Add in some great lodges, restaurants and bars, and you’ll have everything you need for a memorable time both on and off the slopes.

Yeti Resort Being Built In Siberia

yetiThe Seregesh ski resort in Siberia has a new marketing plan. The Siberian Times reports that it’s building a Yeti park.

Belief in the Yeti is common in Siberia, where it’s called the “Big Man.” Hunters often report seeing them and regional governor Aman Tuleyev has offered one million rubles ($33,000) to anyone who can bag one. No takers yet, which makes one wonder about the reliability (and aim) of those hunters.

Park developer Igor Idimeshev claims to have seen the Yeti several times. He believes the creatures are aliens who can walk on water and glow in the dark. Idimeshev says the park will have a museum about the Yeti, along with conference space so cryptozoologists can meet and discuss sightings.

Park organizers seem to be cashing in on last October’s report of Yeti hair being subjected to DNA analysis. Apparently the hair, found in a Siberian cave, wasn’t human yet closely related to us. The report was vague and was met with skepticism even from some Yeti investigators.

But who knows? Siberia is a big place …

Have you ever seen the Yeti or another monster? Tell us about your experience in the comments section!

[Image courtesy Philippe Semeria]

The West’s Best Hostels For Winter Sports Enthusiasts

backcountry skiContrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be young, broke, or drunk to stay at a youth hostel. I’ll be the first to admit not all hostels are created equal, but as a perpetually cash-strapped journalist in her 40s, they’re often my only option for indulging in the snowy outdoor pursuits I love. Fortunately, there are clean, efficient, well-run hostels throughout the West that make a stay pleasurable, rather than painful.

There are other good reasons to bunk down at a hostel, whether it’s a dorm, private, or shared room. If you’re planning to play all day (and possibly night), who needs an expensive room? Hostels are also great places to meet like-minded people to hit the backcountry or slopes with – a huge advantage if you’re traveling solo.

Most hostels also possess a decidedly low-key, “local” atmosphere where you’ll get the inside scoop on where to cut loose (on the mountain or off). In many instances, hostels also offer tours or activities, or partner up with local outfitters, which make life easier if you don’t have a car or require rental equipment. Also…free coffee.

Below, in no particular order, are some of my favorite Western hostels, based upon their proximity to snowy adventure:

St. Moritz Lodge
, Aspen, CO

I’ve been a regular at this place for a decade now, and I’m still smitten. Its groovy, ’70s-meets-Switzerland ambience; friendly, helpful staff; clean, well-lit rooms, and free mega-breakfast kick ass…what’s not to love? It’s just a few minutes walk from the slopes, and free parking is plentiful. A dorm bed is $44, and a private room/shared bath $95, high season.

The Abominable Snowmansion, Arroyo Seco, NM
Just outside of Taos is this classic, rambling old hostel with a communal feel. Arroyo Seco is an adorable mountain hamlet (all you need to know is that Abe’s Cantina gives great green chile). A private room/bath at this hostel is $59 in winter, and the region abounds with backcountry opps and natural hot springs.banff national park HI-Mosquito Creek Wilderness Hostel, Banff National Park, Alberta
The photo at right shows the sauna at this off-the-grid cabin near stunning Lake Louise. If you’re good with no shower and using an outhouse, this 20-bed spot will keep you cozy after a day ice-climbing, snow-shoeing, or skiing the backcountry.

Grand Canyon International Hostel
, Flagstaff, AZ

Owned by the same people who have the janky Du Beau hostel in town; I recommend this place instead, which is located in a historic, multi-story building minutes from downtown. “Flag” has loads of opportunities for outdoor buffs, from backcountry, to downhill skiing at Arizona Snowbowl, 20 minutes away. The hostel also offers year-round tours to the Grand Canyon, 80 minutes away. Flagstaff itself is a happening little college town; before heading out for the day fuel up on caffeine and divine, house-baked goods at Macy’s European Coffeehouse (I accept bribes in this form).

Alyeska Hostel, Girdwood, AK
Girdwood is pure Alaska-weird. Moose wander the main street, and quirky locals are just as likely to invite you to an all-night kegger in the snow as they are to take you cross-country skiing (the bonus of being female in Alaska, I discovered). This tidy hostel will set you back $20 for a bunk bed, making it the best deal in (a very, very small) town.

Hostel Tahoe, King’s Beach, CA
I’ll be honest; I’ve never bothered to stay in a hostel in Lake Tahoe for two reasons: dirt-cheap motels abound, and my brother lives there. But I came across this place researching this story, and it looks great. You’ll need to self-drive or shuttle to ski (it’s mid-way between South and North Shore, but right by a bus stop servicing Northstar, Squaw, and Alpine Meadows), and it looks infinitely more pleasant than some of the budget lodging I’ve enjoyed in Tahoe in the past. King’s Beach is old-school Tahoe at its best: funky, boozy, and a bit down-at-the-heels.

Crested Butte International Hostel, CO

Cheap lodging is tough to come by in Colorado ski towns, which is what makes this place such a find. Eighty dollars for a private queen with shared bath in downtown CB is a hell of a deal, and a $39 dorm bed can’t fail to make cash-strapped skiers and snowboarders happy. This is also the place to induct hostel-phobic friends or partners. I find it rather sterile, but it’s spotless, quiet, and kid-friendly. With two apartments for families ($184/night) and off-site condo rentals also available, CBIH makes family vacay do-able. Bonus: loads of free parking, and just 100 yards from the free mountain shuttle (Mt. Crested Butte is 3 miles away).

Fireside Inn Bed & Breakfast and Hostel
, Breckenridge, CO

This sprawling, historic old home converted into a warren of rooms is a treasure if you’re a lover of hostels. Friendly and walking distance to downtown (you can shuttle to the Breck Connect Gondola, Peak 7 and 8, and the Nordic Center), it’s got the patina of years on it, but it’s cozy, homey, and a great place to meet like-minded travelers. Love.

The Hostel, Jackson Hole, WY
In this spendy little ski town, affordable accommodations are rare as a ski bum with a Platinum card. Located at the base of Teton Village, The Hostel offers dorm beds and private rooms. Backcountry fans will love being just one mile away from the glory of Grand Teton National Park (be sure to check park website for information on restrictions or necessary permits)

[Photo credits: skier, Flickr user Andre Charland; hostel, Flickr user Mark Hill Photography]

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