When California skier Dave McCoy decided to build a rope tow in the 1950s, he picked the spot that consistently held the most snow in the Eastern Sierra—Mammoth Mountain. The first lift spun in 1955 and the mountain has since become one of the most underrated ski resorts in North America. I say underrated because for a mountain as big and beautiful as Mammoth, it should be in the pantheon with the Jacksons and the Squaws and the Altas. But Mammoth is remote; it’s located 170 miles south of Reno. And it caters to a Southern California market dominated by snowboarders. But if anything, that just leaves an abundance of terrain for those of skiers who do make the long, beautiful drive up the spine of the Sierra on Highway 395, destination Mammoth Lakes. Read more here. —Julie Brown