Juniper Springs Resort
Poshbrood recently spent a long weekend at the Juniper Springs Resort for Daddio's birthday. He wanted to ski. At check in, the front desk staff were welcoming and friendly and pointed out the game room on the first floor which was fantastic for our kids (aged 9 and 11) and their pals on this trip. They spent HOURS there after skiing, playing Wii and Ping Pong.
We stayed in a one-bedroom suite with a king in the bedroom and a queen sofabed in the living room. It was a very family friendly arrangement -- natch -- the kids got the sofabed.
The furniture was comfortable and simple (not posh but certainly nice). There was a full kitchen stocked with pots, pans, silverware, dishes, full-sized fridge and stove/oven, microwave, dishwasher, coffee maker, and plenty of cabinets for storing your own food. Even a pitcher for margaritas and a big serving platter. (Tequila anyone?)
The room came with a humidifier which was critical because the air is incredibly dry. There was a round table with 4 chairs for dining and table linens. The only drawback of the accomodations is the bathroom was pretty small and we've got 3 girls in a family of four. Also, the resort hasn't updated their TVs so they are still the big boxes (but perfectly good picture). The main activity for our family (and almost everyone else) here is skiing (and snowboarding). Juniper Springs is slopeside to Mammoth Mountain's Eagle chair lift, rental/lesson area and restaurant.
Once the shuttle drops you at check-in or you park your car in the resort's garage, you don't have to leave! Huge plus in my book. The bottom of the chair lift is a 1-minute walk from the lobby. There is a locker room on the first floor where you can store your equipment. My husband skied three days and rented demos at Eagle, which he loved. Our girls also rented equipment on-site and took 3 days of group ski lessons, which they also loved (9am-3pm, includes lunch). Each instructor gives the parents a report and assessment at the end of the day.
Mommy spent half each day at nearby Tamarack Lodge, snowshoeing on the beautiful trails alongside hikers and cross-country skiers. I also shopped around in town, where there are several sports/gear shops, gift shops/galleries, a big grocery store (Vons/Safeway), a movie theatre, ice skating rink, restaurants and even Color Me Mine. I drove myself but there are shuttle buses running everywhere frequently. At Juniper Springs, we loved the outdoor pool and 3 jacuzzis. Apres ski, everyone gets in their suits and braves the chilly temperatures to sit in the warm hot tub or splash in the warm pool. The kids loved plunging themselves in the snow banks that surround the pool area and making snowballs, then dashing back into the warm water and watching the snowballs melt. Parents loved relaxing, partially submerged, with a beer in a plastic cup. Robes and pool towels come with the rooms.
Truly, we never had to leave Juniper Springs to have a great time - we were so exhausted after a day on the mountain that we were more happy to crash at the hotel and stay put than to consider a night on the town. We brought food to make group dinners with our friends, fed the kids first and sent them down to the game room while we ate. The kids LOVED the game room and the independence! Keep in mind our kids are 9 and 11. You might have a tougher time here in the evenings with kids under age 4 or so. We did get a flyer for a Mammoth Kids Night Out program (took place at a different lodge on weekends and holidays only) but our kids didn't attend. The card says "Just drop your kids off with our child care experts and they'll enjoy movies, games, crafts and dinner while you paint the town!" $55/child, 5-12 year olds, 5-10pm. There is also accredited daycare and babysitter options available.
Juniper Springs is an excellent place to stay with kids -- I'd highly recommend it for discerning travelers who are looking for a great ski vacation. The atmosphere is relaxed, the staff is friendly and helpful, and everything is very conveniently located, Families and other guests walk around the building and lobby in their ski clothes with chapped faces and hat-head and there's lots of chatter about the day's runs and the weather conditions. It's a great place to stay if you plan to cook for yourself and have a relaxed, great time with your family and/or friends California slopeside.
Room rates as low as $119/a night. Be sure to check for specials and mid week discounts.
Submitted by Rebecca Hutchinson