IF YOU DON'T SCHUSS, and you've never donned a pair of goggles outside of a swimming pool, and you've never stepped into a ski boot, you can gaze a bit wistfully at the beautiful peaks in the distance from your lower-elevation location. Sure, skiers might call upon those peaks, when the gondolas ferry them up the side of the mountain, but if you're not into the sport, enjoying the views from the top can feel as far away as the moon. But there are places that whisk non-skiers and skiers alike to the summit, come summer, all to enjoy the rare air and above-the-world vistas. Mammoth Mountain is such a place, and buying a ticket for a Sunset Summit Party, which happens a few times during the warmer run of the year, can feel like buying a ticket to somewhere between terra firma and the stars. That our nearest star sets behind the Minarets, the jagged peaks that sit near-ish to Mammoth Mountain, adds to the atmosphere of the evening event.
AND TICKETS ARE ON SALE NOW... for this summertime treat, one that involves a scenic trip up the mountain in a Panoramic Gondola. The dates? July 6 — an excellent choice, if you're doing Mammoth for Independence Day — as well as Friday, Aug. 17 and Sunday, Sept. 2 (yep, the Sunday of Labor Day Weekend). Booking ahead? It's a must. Even in summer, it is a mite chilly at 11,053 feet, so plan on a jacket, or a jacket and a sweater, and definitely eye the weather ahead of time. Of course, skiers who love their Mammoth on the snowiest January mornings are also welcome at the Sunset Summit Parties, which give ski-loving regulars of the mountain a fresh way to see things. And "see" is the operative word: You'll truly be skimming the top of the Sierra in every direction you glance. Though, yes, you're right, there are a number of peaks in the range that are even bigger than Mammoth, a mammoth mountain but not the very biggest. (Shout-out to Mt. Whitney for that noble title.)
PEAK, OR, UM, PEEK NOW... at the prices, times, and such for this Sierra-flavored summer fun. And did we mention the Minarets? We did? They're some of the most iconic jags in all of the Sierra Nevada, and to behold them from another mountain's summit is quite the memorable, and even moving, experience.
Note: Days of the week have been updated on this story.