Top Ten Extreme Ski Slopes

Beyond Black: The World's Top 10 Classic Steeps
By Peter Oliver & Alistair Wearmouth

For once the hyperbole actually applies. A summit elevation of 11,053 feet and hefty 3,100-foot vertical drop are just some Mammoth stats that don't need any embroidering by Bay Area marketing whizzkids. The mountain is served by 27 lifts that are numbered in the order they were built, giving a nod to in-the-know locals who are able to think in creative, non-linear ways.

Easier to remember is that the Panoramic Gondola will take you all the way to the very top, from where you should tack right to the Upper Bowl and a series of plunging drops that fan into a wider bowl. If you make it that far, you'll have some time to catch your breath and reconsider your recklessness.

Mammoth's signature siren-of-the-steeps is Hangman's Hollow, a chute bordered by snarling rocks that leaves room for only one perfect turn—or mistake. It's not just the elevator-shaft steepness, too; it's the mandatory air required to get into it in the first place. Even the local wackos won't try Hangman's unless there's a foot or more of new snow, guaranteeing a pillowy landing.

Resort Facts

Web: www.mammothmountain.com

Phone: 1-800-MAMMOTH

2002-03 lift pass: $60


Best Hotels in Mammoth Lakes

$236
Average/night*
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#1
The Westin Monache Resort, Mammoth
$149
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#2
The Village Lodge
$210
Average/night*
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#3
Snowcreek Resort
$210-$229
Average/night*
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#4
Mammoth Creek Inn

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