So give me four thoughts to describe Snowcreek,” I said to my wife, Rebecca, as I sat back and idly swirled a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon. A fire flickered next to us as we sat at our favorite table at the restaurant that had become our Mammoth dinner tradition.
She sat back and finished a mouthful of lobster.
Snowcreek townhomes are exceptional
Mammoth Mountain vacation hideouts.
“Comfortable. Comfortable is definitely the first.”
Indeed, from the moment we checked into our townhome at the Snowcreek, we succumbed to a sense of relaxation. We had just completed the six-hour drive from San Diego and arriving in the evening, soon found ourselves curled up on the large, overstuffed couch enjoying wine, Miles Davis, and the flickering flames in one of two fireplaces in the home.
Through the large scenic windows, the snow-covered slopes of Mammoth Mountain glowed in the winter moonlight. We convinced ourselves to leave the couch later that night only because our downstairs bedroom offered down comforters and another fireplace. In fact, throughout the weekend we found ourselves reluctant to leave the comfort of the townhome even for a day of schussing.
have six floor plans.
This type of comfort was the goal of Snowcreek Resort’s original founder, Tom Dempsey. Dempsey had been involved in the construction of some of the first chairlifts on Mammoth Mountain in the 1950s and, recognizing the lack of development in the area at that time, set out to establish the ideal mountain retreat community.
In the late 1970s, Dempsey purchased 355 acres of wide-open meadowland featuring breathtaking views of the surrounding Sherwin, Mammoth and White Mountain ranges. The site would become the soul of Snowcreek Resort. In the three decades since, Snowcreek has expanded to 450 acres, although much of the land still remains in its original state – wide open, undeveloped, and framed against a backdrop of soaring mountains.
I awoke during the first night of our stay thirsty from the dry alpine climate and despite the frigid winter cold, found myself drawn outside by a view to behold. A full moon monopolized a clear black sky and blanketed the snow-covered landscape in soft blue light. The entire meadow- trees, distant rooftops and Mammoth Mountain itself glowed in the night as if under giant psychedelic black light. When the chill of the brisk winter air finally overcame my wonderment, I was drawn back inside to a warm down comforter and the fire in our bedroom fireplace.
Snowcreek grounds at dusk.
A testament to the appeal of Snowcreek’s location and surrounding is the fact that all of the homes in the Snowcreek development are privately owned. The first phase of Snowcreek’s newest development, known as the “Lodges,” sold out in record time in February 2004. The second phase of the Lodges is expected to be completed in the spring of 2007. Of the more than 1,000 properties within the development, about 200 are available in the rental program. This mixed-use composition creates a neighborhood feel to Snowcreek, adding to the warmth and comfort created within the homes themselves.
The townhomes are a quiet
retreat yet close to shussing.
I nodded my head in agreement as I polished off the last bite of Filet Mignon.
Mammoth has the feel of a mountain town that aspires to be like its big brothers Vail or Aspen, but can’t seem to shake the small-town, rustic vibe. There is a progressive tide in the Mammoth community that is pushing development, and the tide has crashed upon the shore in forms such as the new Village at Mammoth featuring high-end eateries, art galleries and boutiques.
That was then, this is now!
Warming fireplace in the living room.
Purists shake their heads and scorn the commercial development, but change is inevitable in a place with as much appeal as Mammoth. Snowcreek Resort, however, has managed to adjust to evolving tastes and styles without sacrificing its rustic identity. It embraces its western mining town roots with elegance. Homes range in value from $689,000 to $2 million and feature stone-clad fireplaces with wood mantels, knotty alder cabinets, granite countertops, stainless steel appliances and gourmet kitchens. The Lodges feature rough-hewn timber and extensive stone clad facades which help to blend townhomes into the alpine landscape. A Bose sound system in our townhome continuously provided a soundtrack for a weekend of idle bliss.
In addition, the amenities offered through the Snowcreek Resort are top-notch. If outdoor activities do not offer enough exertion, guests at Snowcreek Resort receive complimentary use of the 30,000 square-foot Snowcreek Athletic Club as well as preferred green fees/tee times at the Snowcreek Golf Course. The Residential Concierge can assist with restaurant reservations, lift tickets, and even stocking a home with groceries prior to a guest’s arrival. And when all the activity becomes overwhelming, in-suite spa appointments can be arranged, from massages to full-body scrubs and wraps.
Mammoth Mountain is a year around
resort for mountain biking
and great golf links.
“Spacious,” Rebecca said as she drained the last bit of wine from her glass. I looked up from the dessert menu and had to agree, although I wish I could say as much for my stomach after the meal I had just consumed. (Still, there always seems to be room for dessert.)
Like the scenic expanse surrounding it, accommodations at Snowcreek are not short on leg room. There are six different floor plans in Snowcreek ranging from 1,856 to 3,418 square feet. When my wife and I arrived at our four-bedroom, two-floor expanse, we laughed aloud over how big it was. We passed on the initial urge to run into every bedroom and jump on the beds just to say we’d used each one. The master bathroom was larger than some apartments I’d lived in, featuring an oversize bathtub and separate shower. And the walk-in closet made my wife squeal. “Just think about how many more pairs of shoes I could have brought with me, “ she mused.
Every townhome is
spacious with full kitchens.
The real value became apparent when friends stopped by later that evening after a day on the mountain. When they mentioned what they were paying to stay at a competing resort that weekend, we realized we could comfortably sleep several couples in one home for less than the price of renting several individual rooms elsewhere. This seems ideal not only for family gatherings but also reunions or couples’ trips when keeping a group together under one roof is the goal.
And even the grounds on which Snowcreek is situated are spacious. While our home was part of a duplex, the entrances are separate and we would not have known otherwise had we not seen it from the outside. The rear living room looks out onto a wide open meadow with a backdrop of Mammoth Mountain. Adjacent homes are separated such that contact with neighbors is possible, but easily avoidable if privacy is a concern. It was Tom Dempsey’s goal that the feel of a quiet mountain village be created and preserved at Snowcreek, and he would be proud today to know that still holds true.
You should be snow bound.
“Accessible,” my wife concluded as she eyed the last bite of my molten chocolate lava cake. I suppressed the growl that was building up in my throat as she scooped up the last gooey spoonful and instead chewed on her last thought on Snowcreek. Accessible, indeed. Located on Old Mammoth Road on the eastern edge of town, Snowcreek is a two-minute drive from the heart of Mammoth.
Although close geographically, it is isolated from the hustle and traffic of the newly developed commercial center. During the winter season, regular shuttle service is provided to and from Snowcreek, eliminating the need for even short car trips. And Snowcreek not only connects its guests with Mammoth, but brings Mammoth to its guests. Through Snowcreek, guests can arrange snow shoeing, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling as well as alpine skiing and snowboarding at Mammoth Mountain and June Mountain ski resorts.
Shuttle service is daily to the slopes.
While guests generally associate Mammoth Mountain with winter activities (it is, after all, second only to Vail, Colorado for number of skier days per year), the warm summer season brings another set of activities to keep nature enthusiasts busy. Horseback trail riding is offered thru nearby areas, and anglers young and old alike can test any of more than 400 lakes and 1,100 miles of streams in Inyo National Forest for Rainbow or Brown trout. When snow finally succumbs to heat (often not until July), those who are still not impressed by gravity turn in skis and snowboards for mountain bikes and helmets and test any of a number of trails on Mammoth Mountain, including the Kamikaze trail from the top of its 11,000-plus-foot summit. And when the thrill of the day’s adventures is through, the soothing call of Snowcreek beckons.
Aprés skiing at its best.
I sat back and reflected on our meal and our conversation. When all was said and done (and eaten), my wife had perfectly summed up Snowcreek, although no words can ever do an experience full justice. The vision that began three decades ago with Tom Dempsey is also the fundamental mission of Snowcreek’s new owner, The Chadmar Group, a development firm based out of Southern California: “Creating an authentic tradition mountain village in the Mammoth tradition, allowing for a close connection to nature, providing world-class service and offering year-round memorable experiences for one and all.”
As my wife and I wrapped ourselves up in our coats, ready to head back to our warm Snowcreek den, I realized I couldn’t have put it better myself. Visit Snowcreek at www.snowcreekresort.com
Feature by Misha Troyan, San Diego Jetsetters Magazine. Correspondent. Photos by Misha Troyan and Snowcreek Resort.