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Mammoth’s Sierra Nevada Resort is Fit for a Movie

A complete reimagination of the Alpine destination honors its Hollywood-era history

Sierra Nevada Resort’s newly remodeled Fireplace Suites feature residential-style furnishings and fixtures
Image Credits Featured image: Joshua Wilder Oakley, All other photography: Mia Park

On March 29, Mammoth Mountain announced that it received 28 inches of snow overnight, bringing the total season snowfall to a whopping 695 inches and officially breaking the all-time record. My family and I didn’t need any convincing to head up and see it for ourselves, so we set out for an Easter weekend getaway to the renowned alpine destination. 

Connecting with record snowfall
Connecting with record snowfall

Our timing was perfect because Sierra Nevada Resort, an Outbound Hotel recently debuted a complete reimagination encompassing 179 accommodations including deluxe rooms, fireplace suites, and chalets with an inviting lobby, contemporary dining concept, and wine bar. And when Mother Nature allows the renovation to resume, a collection of ten free-standing cabins will round out the offerings along with an outdoor food garden with rotating food trucks, a heated spa tub alongside cozy firepits, and a natural-edge pool overlooking the Sierra slopes inspired by the area’s hot springs.

The property was originally built in 1967 by Jerry Buss, a real estate developer and owner of the Los Angeles Lakers. His prominence led the hotel to become a favorite getaway for Hollywood’s elite including John Wayne, the “Rat Pack,” and Jerry Lewis. In fact, a 1905 Stodart piano originally owned by Clark Cable is on display in Bar Sierra, the resort’s new contemporary California restaurant concept. Speaking of movies, the ninth annual Mammoth Lakes Film Festival takes place May 24-28. In partnership with Sierra Nevada Resort, the five-day festival screens independent features and shorts and was named one of the “Top 25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World” by MovieMaker Magazine.

While my husband and our seven-year-old daughter finished their afternoon session on the mountain, I enjoyed a tour with Managing Director Brent Truax, who shared that San Francisco-based studio EDG Design led the Sierra Nevada Resort’s redesign. During the comprehensive multi-year renovation, the team preserved select architectural features from the property’s original layout including an iconic centerpiece fireplace that soars to the top of the lobby’s vaulted ceiling among exposed cedar beams. “It’s been an honor to thoughtfully restore and reimagine this historic property while keeping intact its early Hollywood legacy and unbridled spirit,” said Truax. 

Guestrooms nod to the destination’s legacy of rugged irreverence with a modern yet unfussy approach to high west design conveyed through nostalgic art, illustrated maps, and western patterns in natural tones. Select rooms feature breathtaking imagery from Josh Wray, a prominent outdoorsman and local photographer from Mammoth. 

The resort’s 19 chalets offer spacious multi-bedroom configurations with full kitchens and large dining rooms ideal for families and groups. A showstopper on the tour was a seven-bedroom, multi-level townhome with a perfect mix of expansive shared areas and private bedroom retreats.

This expansive seven-bedroom resort chalet is perfect for multi-family gatherings
This expansive seven-bedroom resort chalet is perfect for multi-family gatherings

Following the tour, we headed to the lobby’s wine bar to sip with Chip Ermish, the resort’s decorated wine director and Advanced Sommelier whose accolades include the prestigious Wine Spectator Restaurant Award. A go-to wine expert for leaders of industry and A-list celebrities (he shared fascinating stories and a peek inside his wine cellar), Ermish curates “Friday Night Flights” of Champagne and accessibly priced bottles. With an expansive collection including bottles from Greece, Lebanon, and Syria, Ermish is passionate about exposing guests to more than standard European wines. We began our journey with a delightful bottle of Charlot-Tanneux Elia Blanc de Blancs. Post-tasting, off we went to Bar Sierra for dinner with a bottle of Podernuovo a Palazzone Argirio 2016 in hand, per Ermish’s recommendation.

Sierra Nevada Resort’s wine director and Advanced Sommelier Chip Ermish
Sierra Nevada Resort’s wine director and Advanced Sommelier Chip Ermish

While Bar Sierra is only open for dinner, Café Crêpe welcomes the morning set from a bright blue food trailer in the restaurant’s parking lot. It’s open from 7am-3pm Thursday to Monday and serves up delicious French crepes and gourmet espresso drinks. I loved my Double Cream Salmon crepe so much that I had to have it more than once. 

Café Crêpe
Café Crêpe

Beyond our culinary adventures, we made sure to leave ample time for playing on the slopes, and after a second full afternoon of enjoying Chair 7 on repeat, I’m pleased to report that our daughter loves skiing and even said she might want to be an Olympic skier one day. We celebrated the milestone with Easter Sunday dinner at nearby Morrison’s with beef carpaccio, a roasted beet and goat cheese salad, rib-eye, and crème brûlée.

With the deepest base depth ever recorded at Main Lodge, Mammoth Mountain is expected to stay open through at least the end of July. Sierra Nevada Resort’s “Mammoth to the Max” limited-time offer includes a two-night stay for two in a fireplace suite, two plush resort robes, and a $150 resort gift card to use at the wine bar, Bar Sierra restaurant, or in the gift shop. We just might make our way back up for one final adventure. But this time, I have my sights set on that seven-bedroom chalet. Who’s in? thesierranevadaresort.com


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