12.30.2011

A Mammoth-Sized Christmas


Christmas in Ventura is always on the opposite end of the “winter wonderland” spectrum. It’s warm, it’s sunny, and my holiday pajama set consists of a tank top and shorts set. So this year my parents and I attempted our first white Christmas by trading in our flip-flops for Ugg boots and heading to Mammoth. We managed to squeeze every last present into the pod on top of the car…only to find that the Southern California sunshine must’ve been a stow-away. Mammoth was a within a toasty range of 45-55 degrees all week. In fact, the only white we had this Christmas was the whipped cream on our hot cocoa.

Nonetheless, being in the cold(er) air and among the fresh pine trees did lend itself to a feeling more likely found within an ABC Family Christmas movie than the coastal setting back home. Our condo has limited cell phone reception, no internet, and little square footage, and yet I couldn’t have asked for a happier or cozier Christmas home. My days here have reminded me of the simple pleasures and has given me the opportunity to prepare for those I hope to remember for years to come.

My parents actually bought our condo as a wedding present to themselves. My dad even sold a Porsche to afford it, which for those of you that know my dad, understand the sacrifice this trade must have been. It had green shag carpet and my dad’s friend painted yellow and orange swirls on the walls. This was the 70’s people. The chic ski lodge design was far off in the distance and my parents were groovy.

Since then they have transformed the condo into the “ducky house” I still remember from my childhood. A design where a mallard was the focal point on everything from the wallpaper to the dishrags. And finally we have more recently remodeled our condo into its current décor. Now it’s a perfect little mountain getaway, a simple blend of rustic and contemporary. The second I get to Mammoth, I sink into the couch and look around at the vintage skis, sleds, and snowshoes, intrigued by how far Mammoth Mountain and the sport has come.

Although its not exactly a resort city (nor is our condo a luxurious and pampered stay), Mammoth is the perfect size to offer local charm and just enough vacation amenities. If you’re ever in the area, I highly recommend a hot cider at the Tamarack Lodge, a shopping spree at Chato in the Village, a massage at BellaDonna, an local perspective at the Mammoth Ski Museum, new gear from Kittridge Sports, a playdate at Sledz or the skating rink, and a beer from Mammoth Brewing Company. In terms of nightlife, Mammoth is supportive of several local bands, beer pong tournaments at The Auld Dubliner, and even Hyde Lounge has initiated a club scene in the Village. Who knew?

However I’ll be the first to admit that I spend most of my free time in our property’s jacuzzi, looking up at the falling snow and awing at the icicle formations. (Unless of course it's much too cold and I'm stuck trying to complete the "World's Most Difficult Puzzle" AGAIN.) And even though we weren’t exactly lucky enough to enjoy fresh powder this holiday, I’ll be back as soon as chains are required on the 395.