An Ode to June Mountain

Oct 20, 2020

As the old two-seater chair steadily climbs up the face of June Mountain there is plenty of time to look around and enjoy the view—it’s an amphitheater of rugged landscape. There are June, Gull and Silver lakes sparkling in the sun below; Mount Wood and Carson Peak standing tall and mighty; and Mono Lake and the Craters can be seen in the distance.

J1 takes at least 20 minutes to ride, but it’s just enough time to absorb the views, breath in the crisp mountain air, and unwind.

There’s something about June Mountain…

The chairlifts are long and slow, and the terrain is mostly intermediate. The black diamond runs are less difficult and the amount of skiable terrain is less than half of its big sister resort.

But no one skiing at June Mountain notices the lack of high-speed quads or renovated lodges. Just 30 minutes north on Highway 395, Mammoth Mountain’s sister resort has an entirely different vibe. The slower pace and cruisey terrain just feel good. The grooming at June Mountain is top notch. And the absence of crowds keeps the feel-good energy alive.

The powder lasts for days and the backcountry access is—oh, never mind.

Turn off your devices; at June Mountain you have to go to know.

The June Mountain ski school instructors and lift-ops have that cheery early-season energy even in the spring.

At June Mountain, kids ski free. Yep, free.

The Mountain Chalet is perched on the edge of the cliff and it’s never hard to find a seat in the cafeteria. Every table is the best lunch table in the Sierra.

Lap after lap, it’s hard to leave June Mountain, but even when you do, kicking off your boots in the parking lot feels like tailgating. The good energy just doesn’t end and you don’t have to go home yet.

In town, there’s the new June Lake Brewing that serves tasting flights of delicious locally crafted beer. And Ohana’s 395 Hawaiian food truck, parked outside of the brewery, offers traditional plate lunches for hungry après-skiers.

There are lakes and sunshine for days, and a sandy beach to enjoy the scenery.

At June Mountain, the skiing isn’t entirely about the skiing.

Did I mention the good energy and the views?

Monica Prelle

Monica Prelle is an outdoors, wine, and travel writer who would rather be running, climbing, or mountain biking. See more of Monica's posts here, read more of her work at monicaprelle.com and connect on twitter @monicaprelle

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