SHHH – Don’t Tell Anyone But June Mountain Ski Resort Is Awesome

June Mountain Snowboarding Powder Backcountry Winter Photo By: Local Freshies<

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In today’s day and age, the focus is on only visiting the biggest, best, or even snowiest destinations. Like any popular attraction, this tends to lead to long lift lines on busy days (i.e. powder/holidays) and unbearable traffic. For many, that’s ok. But for those looking to find a true mountain getaway with a more relaxed vibe, consider picking a lesser visited and often overlooked sister resort. For the mighty Sierra Nevada, June Mountain Ski Resort is our pick.

Authentic As They Come

Snowing Heavily on main drag in June Lake during Februrburied
Snowing heavily in June Lake during one of our – Photo by: Local Freshies®

There aren’t any Starbucks. Don’t expect to find a Marriott. June Lake and June Mountain Ski resort are as authentic as it comes for ski destinations. The town is filled with independently owned Mom & Pop businesses. This slower more relaxed pace transitions over to the ski area as well. There’s time for a hot cocoa in the chalet overlooking the town and the mighty peaks jutting up from the horseshoe canyon. And still get in as many laps as your legs can take.

 

So Many Reasons To Visit

Like many a visitor before us, why would you want to leave Mammoth Mountain’s amazing terrain and drive 30 minutes to June? We’ll be honest… until 2018, we never made the trip. Two words: storm days. Mammoth’s high elevation and open bowls catch powder like nobody’s business, but on a storm day there’s a good chance most of the terrain won’t be open. And even on the busiest days expect at most 1,800 visitors across June Mountain’s 1,500 acres. That’s less than known empty resorts like Big Sky. Combine that with the jaw-dropping scenery nicknamed “The Switzerland of California”, and you’ll be smiling from ear-to-ear. Need more? Here’s 6 reasons to pick June Mountain for your next vacation.

Thinking Of Visiting June Lake?

Immerse yourself on why we love June Lake and the resort so much. We give you the scoop for all seasons, where to stay, what to eat, and even things to do besides skiing.

Terrain

June Mountain California Snowboarding Powder Trees Februburied
Us enjoying Februburied at June Mountain… Photo By: Local Freshies®

June Mountain is correctly known as a “Family Mountain Resort.” The empty slopes and perfectly groomed trails are ideal for beginners to learn the sport. And yet there is enough for intermediates and experts to play on for a long weekend.

Beginners

Even though the ski area is designed for first-timers and beginners, everyone has to take the J1 lift to the June Meadows Chalet. Don’t get intimidated. This is only a transport lift to get you to the more mellow terrain on the upper half of the mountain. From here, you’ll want to venture over to J3 – Desperado, Buckys, and River Run are good relaxing runs to start on. The big reward is while most beginner terrain is at the bottom of ski areas, June’s is up higher providing what arguably might be the most majestic scenery for a beginner area. We recommend sticking to this mid-mountain area until you feel confident in your skills. With that being said, Silverthorne off of Chair 4 is a gentle, long, and uncrowded alternative that drops off of Rainbow Summit.

 

Intermediates

June Mountain Ski Resort is an intermediate’s seventh heaven. Everything off of J4 is a carver’s dream. In fact, Tom Sims snowboard pioneer once proclaimed, “Gunsmoke, on top of June Mountain, is the best test run slope on planet earth.” Schatzi off of June Mountain Summit is another fantastic long cruiser that you can enjoy. And Matterhorn is a smidgen steeper and is often totally deserted.

Experts

June Lake June Mountain Ski Resort Winter Powder Februburied
Photo by: Local Freshies®

The steepest terrain on June Mountain is right smack dab in front of you on J1 – The Face. Due to it being on the lower mountain, it can take time for the snowpack to cover everything, but once it does – game on. It’s as steep as anything you’ll find at Mammoth. While there isn’t a ton of expert terrain, if you’re willing to poke around, you’ll find short precipitous sections off of J7 to play on.

Epic Backcountry Skiing

What it lacks in extreme stuff inbounds it more than makes up in the out-of-bounds lift accessed goods you can get. These zones are not for the faint of heart or those who don’t know how to route plan. You can get into some incredibly dangerous terrain very quickly. You’re on your own and don’t expect help. You NEED avalanche training as well as the proper gear before venturing into the backcountry. For this region, the Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center provides an avalanche forecast.

HIRE A GUIDE

If it’s your first time venturing into the Eastern Sierra wilderness or you just want to experience what backcountry skiing is about, we highly recommend going on a backcountry tour with International Alpine Guides or Sierra Mountain Guides. Tell them Local Freshies® sent ya.

 

Good Alternative For Mammoth

June Mountain’s lower elevation compared to Mammoth is a two-edged sword. On one hand, they get on average a hundred inches less per year. On the other side is its lower elevation also helps preserve the snow longer than Mammoth’s broad bowls hence it doesn’t crust up as quickly. If the weather isn’t cooperating in Mammoth, June Mountain is a great alternative to enjoy a storm day skiing or some soft corduroy if its been a while since it snowed.

Come Early

Jaime Pirozzi at June Mountain with Wi-Me Return of the Shredi snowboard made in the USAThere’s only one way in and one way out from the upper half of the mountain – J1 Chairlift. And it’s only a double chair. While the upper half will be empty, you need to get through this gauntlet. The ticket office opens at 7:30 am and J1 starts at 8 am sharp. Be there early or it may take you up to an hour on busy weekends to reach the other lifts.

When To Go

On average, they open mid-December and typically close the 1st week of April. This isn’t because of snowfall but rather it’s due to the smaller crowds that visit. Hence, it’s a great bet for a busy weekend or the holidays. From a storm track perspective, the Sierra seem to always be blessed with snow in March.

 

Where To Stay

Depending on the style of vacation you’re looking for, you have two options. For a nightlife scene and an array of over 60 dining options from modern French cuisine to delicatessens, you may want to stay in Mammoth Lakes. On the flipside, for a more relaxed vibe but still a handful of places you can walk to, then you may want to consider staying IN June Lake. Here’s a full rundown of all the places you can stay in June Lake California.

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