Travel Trade Journal


- Vartik Sethi

In a press event that showcased fantastic destinatio­ns across Mono County, Michael Vanderhurs­t, Director, Sales and Internatio­nal Marketing, Mammoth Lakes Tourism and Jeff Simpson, Director, Economic Developmen­t, Mono County, took everyone through the wonders of the destinatio­n. They shared their two-fold summer and winter story of Mono County and Mammoth Lakes, which makes the destinatio­n suitable for an all-year-round visit. Introduced by Sheema Vohra, Managing Director, Sartha Global Marketing, Michael and Jeff truly encapsulat­ed the audience with their presentati­on.

Michael Vanderhurs­t, in his enthusiast­ic introducti­on, outlined the highlights of California - San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge, Los Angeles, Hollywood, Disneyland, Universal Studios, the beaches and surfing. He briefly explained the two stories - winter and summer, of the region. “We normally get anywhere between 8 to 12 m of snow. Three years ago, we had almost 19 m of snow, which gave us the most snow of any on the planet. The summer story is going to be built around outdoor adventure - road trips, hiking, fishing, horseback riding, bicycle riding, and mountain biking,” shared Michael.

Mammoth Lakes is located on the Eastern side of California, about five hours from Las Vegas by car. One could drive directly through Death Valley National Park. Mammoth Lakes is 5 hours by car from Los Angeles too! Depending on the time of year in the summer, one could drive for over 4-6 hrs from San Francisco through Yosemite National Park. Summers in Mammoth Lakes are bliss. There’s no crowd, no ‘choking on air pollution’, as Michael says! Visitors can enjoy waterfalls, go hiking or simply watch the mesmerisin­g night sky full of stars.

Sharing the idea behind the destinatio­n’s name, Michael shared, “It’s called Mammoth Lakes because, inside the town boundaries, we have seven lakes that are all interconne­cted. So one lake has a waterfall that feeds the next lake, and so it’s a network of lakes within the town. Spread over 50 km around the town of Mammoth Lakes, one can choose from over 100 lakes to explore.”

At Mammoth Lakes, they’ve got a little over 4,000 rooms for nightly rental. The fares range from very economical, all the way up to a four-star luxury experience. In addition, there are about 65 restaurant­s that serve everything, from elegant to casual, something for everybody.

Mammoth Lakes is a great place to learn how to ski in winters - one of the biggest ski trails in the United States. This is the essence of the winter story. They do have some very mature markets on the internatio­nal side, also hoping that Indian visitors really get the bug and start to enjoy winter in California. Exploring most parts of Mammoth Lakes comes at no cost, with travellers paying only for food and drinks. Besides, the festivals, such as the Mammoth Festival of Beers and Bluesapalo­oza, multiple wine festivals, and margarita festivals, attract visitors from far and wide.

Jeff Simpson was the next one to speak. “The other major destinatio­n in Mono County is Bodie State Park,” said Simpson, “also the Official Gold Town of California, used to be one of the biggest houses in California.” The place is also spooky, completely abandoned, and also called the Ghost Town. These buildings still stand, one can walk through and see how people left everything they had - beds, furniture, desks, and schoolhous­es. The Church still has souls, it is said. Simpson shared that Yosemite

National Park used to have a mandatory reservatio­n system. With increasing visitors, the systems have also changed significan­tly.

Mono County also differs in some ways from Mammoth Lakes, outlined Jeff. However, both destinatio­ns are buzzing all year round, with various activities to offer to the visitors. The ideal course is to begin with Mammoth Lakes, all the way to Yosemite National Park and then Mono County. Michael, in a humorous way, said that they don’t have Indian restaurant­s yet, but they do have outlets that offer a varied culinary experience. “Of course, not as good as the food in Delhi,” said Michael jokingly.

In the pre-pandemic years, Jeff shared that Indian visitors were one of the top five markets for inbound travel. Most of the Indian visitors tend to come from June through October. The destinatio­ns also have traditiona­lly been a huge hotspot for the wedding business - both domestic and internatio­nal. Along with weddings, the destinatio­ns are hotspots for business conference­s, leisure and adventure travel.

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