SPOT TO SKI: MAMMOTH MT.
Elevation 8,800 to 9,800 feet; yearly snowfall 35-50 feet; average snow depth 10-15 feet; skiers last year 200,000; season Nov. 1 to July 30
Californians who don't mind driving to be sure of their snow pick Mammoth Mt., 40 miles north of Bishop, Calif., for their skiing. Mammoth's modern double chair runs up to the 9,800-foot level and serves the most dependable early season cover in the state. From the top of the chair, ten runs drop down a thousand vertical feet to the base. They include two 1�-mile courses for beginners and two faster, shorter runs for experts only. For variation, Mammoth has four fast, diesel-driven rope tows at various levels. International skiers like Jack Reddish say that the Mammoth slalom and downhill runs compare with tough European courses. At the base of the lift, Area Operator Dave McCoy has built a fine warming lodge and cafeteria (above) with enough sun deck around the sides and on top to take care of several hundred skiers. Tips: The two ways to get to Mammoth are by car and air. It is 310 miles from Los Angeles, 350 from San Francisco. You can charter a plane to Crowley Lake 12 miles away. Singles and doubles along the road to Mammoth Lakes run $6.50-$10.
AS OF FEBRUARY 3
Nothing is as changeable as the weather, so be sure to telephone resorts for latest reports
TD—top slopes, depth in inches; BD—bottom slopes, depth in inches; CR—ski crowd last weekend; SN—inches of snowfall last weekend
Mammoth Mt., Calif.: Packed powder over whole mountain. Skiing excellent. TD 84-96, BD 72-84, CR 900, SN 13.
Mt. Baldy, Calif.: Best skiing of the season. Quilted parkas, Ramy-Securus safety toe irons gaining favor with long-thong fraternity. TD 24-36, CR 2,700.
Squaw Valley, Calif.: Flying Saucer and rope tows all operated. Striped bamboo ski poles and Bogner stretch pants popular combination here. TD 96-108, CR 1,000.