In December 2010, Mammoth Mountain Resort, located in the eastern Sierra Nevada, had the most recorded snow on the planet. By July 4, 2011 (the end of the season), it had received a whopping 661 inches (50 percent more than usual). Credit for the white bounty went to La Niña, the climatic phenomenon whereby cool Pacific Ocean temperatures create cold, wet conditions in the West and Pacific Northwest. And according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, La Niña will be back with a vengeance again this year, blanketing the resort’s 3,500-plus skiable acres—which are among the most of any U.S. ski area. True to its name, Mammoth also has a 3,100-foot elevation drop and it’s served by a total of 28 lifts, which leave the slopes blissfully uncrowded. Go Now: Tamarack Lodge, a collection of cabins centered around a main lodge and a cross-country ski center with 19 miles of trails, has affordable rooms lined with knotty pine panels and a shared bathroom down the hall (www.tamaracklodge.com, +1 760 934 2442, from $99). Or consider Tallus, a new collection of private homes for rent. It's at the luxurious end of the spectrum, with hot tubs, vaulted ceilings, and private screening rooms in each of the four- and five-bedroom houses (www.tallus.com, 800 568 9976, from $850 a night for a house that sleeps ten).

Ski and Snowboard Mammoth Mountain, California

In December 2010, Mammoth Mountain Resort, located in the eastern Sierra Nevada, had the most recorded snow on the planet. By July 4, 2011 (the end of the season), it had received a whopping 661 inches (50 percent more than usual). Credit for the white bounty went to La Niña, the climatic phenomenon whereby cool Pacific Ocean temperatures create cold, wet conditions in the West and Pacific Northwest. And according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, La Niña will be back with a vengeance again this year, blanketing the resort’s 3,500-plus skiable acres—which are among the most of any U.S. ski area. True to its name, Mammoth also has a 3,100-foot elevation drop and it’s served by a total of 28 lifts, which leave the slopes blissfully uncrowded. Go Now: Tamarack Lodge, a collection of cabins centered around a main lodge and a cross-country ski center with 19 miles of trails, has affordable rooms lined with knotty pine panels and a shared bathroom down the hall (www.tamaracklodge.com, +1 760 934 2442, from $99). Or consider Tallus, a new collection of private homes for rent. It's at the luxurious end of the spectrum, with hot tubs, vaulted ceilings, and private screening rooms in each of the four- and five-bedroom houses (www.tallus.com, 800 568 9976, from $850 a night for a house that sleeps ten).
Photograph by Peter Morning, Mammoth Mountain Ski Area

Best Adventure Destinations for 2012

Just when it seemed impossible to find untrammeled singletrack in Europe or snorkel uncharted waters in Australia, we're here to remind you that optimism pays off. New parks and trail systems, wacky weather patterns, and cosmic events can make a well-traveled planet feel full of new frontiers again. Here are the best adventure destinations for 2012.

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