Mammoth Ski Resort Guide
Mammoth offers visitors a great combination of traditional American wooded slopes along with Alpine style open bowls, sheltered in a beautiful wooded setting.
There are stunning views from the top into Nevada when you look north east, look west and you can enjoy the jagged peaks of the Minarets.
Mammoth is just a 6 hour car drive away from Los Angeles. If you do decide to travel there by car you’ll experience stunning views as you make your way through the Santa Monica mountains that are situated close to Beverly Hills. From there you’ll pass through the San Gabriel Mountains and also Mojave Desert, then finally the Sierra Nevada Range.
Mammoth Mountain is located above Mammoth Lakes, which is the resort town that is delightfully situated amongst woodland.
When you get your Mammoth lift pass you’ll see that the pass also covers a mountain called June, this is a small mountain that’s about half an hour drive north of Mammoth. June Mountain is very peaceful making it the perfect place to head to if you’re finding Mammoth too busy. It’s a very delightful place and the slopes are practically deserted most of the time.
Main Street is the four lane highway where the hotels, shops and restaurants are scattered. Old Mammoth Road crosses the four lane highway.
The buildings are very traditional in style with the majority of them being timber clad. The buildings are delightfully situated amongst trees, making the ambience very pleasant indeed with great views to be enjoyed. The village is happily car free.
There are two lift bases where the town meets the mountain. These lifts however are around a mile or so away from the majority of the accommodation, which include hotels and condos.
Canyon Lodge is the major lift base that boasts a big day lodge and four chairlifts. In the area below this lodge there are hotels, individual homes and condos.
A gondola links the village to Canyon Lodge which makes it a very convenient base. There is a green run that enables you to ski back too.
Eagle Lodge is the minor lift base which has a single six pack, this lodge is also known as Juniper Springs.
There is a road that runs along the north fringe of the mountain and takes you past a chair lift base that gets you to two other major lift bases.
These lift bases are The Mill Cafe which has two fast chairs and also Main Lodge which is a small resort that has three fast chairs and also a day lodge that is quite big in size. If you want to stay there you can in the Mammoth Mountain Inn. If you do decide to stay there just remember that you’ll be four miles from Mammoth Lakes and the fifty plus restaurants. There are shuttle buses that run regularly serving the lift bases and the night buses run until midnight.
Mammoth offers a great range of accommodation, suiting all tastes and of course budgets. There is a huge range of hotels and condos these can however be quite a distance away from the town. Some are near to the lifts and many are on the road to the lifts. Here are just some of the great places to stay: Mammoth Mountain Inn, Westin Monache Resort, Alpenhof Lodge, Quality Inn, Sierra Nevada Rodeway Inn and Holiday Inn.
Juniper Spring Lodge is close to the Eagle base and Village Lodge is close to the shops and restaurants, each of these places boast high quality accommodation. There is also Seasons 4 Resort, which is very close to the village, the 1849 condos and Mammoth Ski and Racquet Club.
- Fitness centre
- Art galleries
- Ice rink
- Dog sledding
- Gondola rides
There are great activities to enjoy when off the slopes, skating being just one of them. Enjoy stunning drives, the scenery is just awesome. A place worth visiting is Mono Lake and also try Bishop which is a town located around 40 miles south of Mammoth.
The World War 11 Centre located at Manzanar which is on the road as you head to Los Angeles is very popular with visitors.
There is also factory shopping not that far away from Mammoth.
Mammoth offers a wide variety of restaurants to choose from, catering for all tastes and budgets. In fact Mammoth boasts over 50 plus restaurants, so plenty to choose from, ranging from American to Japanese. Here are just a few of the great restaurants to enjoy:
- Lakefront – boasts fantastic views, and serves excellent food
- Giovanni’s Italian – Serves pasta and pizza
- Slocums Grill – A very popular steakhouse
- Angels – Serves ribs and steaks
- Chart House – Serves seafood dishes
- The Stove
- Whiskey Creek
- Shogun – Japanese food
- Gomez’s – Serves Tex Mex
- Breakfast Club – The place to go for a hearty breakfast
- The Slide Door Cafe – Located in the Village
- The Parallax – For snow cat dinners up on the mountain
- The Meat Loaf – serves hearty home cooked meals
The après ski in Mammoth is very lively at weekends, at Main Lodge the Yodler is the liveliest place to be. The Dry Creek Bar and Tucks Bar are also excellent choices and these two are located at Main Lodge. Here are more great selections of places to enjoy:
- The Clocktower Cellar
- Whiskey Creek
- Grumpy’s Sports Bar
- Lakanuki’s is in the village and is Hawaiian in style
- Auld Dubliner Irish Bar is always a popular choice with visitors
There is an après ski bus that goes from Main Lodge to The Village and connects with the towns buses.
The Ski Runs
Mammoth is the ideal destination for skiers and boarders of all abilities with very impressive terrain parks that nowhere else can beat. Skiers can enjoy the Alpine style open bowls along with traditional American wooded slopes.
There are 28 lifts located throughout Mammoth which in total covers a very impressive area. The lowest runs in Mammoth are sheltered by trees whereas the highest runs are more open.
There is a two stage panorama gondola that’s located at Main Lodge and this gondola takes you right to the top via McCoy Station. When travelling down the front of Mammoth Mountain there are various ways you can do so ranging from the steep to the very steep. Sometimes the wind creates a cornice and when this happens there is also a vertical way down the front of the mountain too.
Go off the back of the mountain and head down to Outpost 14 where from here chair 14 and chair 13 will take you back to the lowest points that are located on the ridge. You can also follow the ridge as it curls around until eventually it brings you down to the Main Lodge area. As you follow the ridge you’ll pass through an easy area that is served by a double chair and another easy area being served by the Discovery fast quad.
To get to McCoy Station use the stump alley fast chair that’s located at The Mill Cafe which is on the road up from the town. There is also the Fast Gold Rush quad that you’ll also find at The Mill Cafe which will take you into the more eastern half of the area, this area is very heavily wooded with gentle, long runs which are served by the lifts that are up from Eagle and Canyon Lodges. There is great terrain for intermediates here on the subsidiary peak which is also known as Lincoln, lifts 22 and 25 serve this area.
You’ll be very pleased to know that Mammoth boasts a fantastic choice of fast chairs from every base. Gondolas and fast chairs are the main access lifts with the least served area being The Outpost.
All of Mammoth’s slopes and lifts are usually very quiet with very little in the way of queues, with the lift system being very satisfactory, so that’s another thing to smile about! Things can however change at peak season weekends and peak periods with many people from Los Angeles making their way here. If you do find that Mammoth is getting to busy for you at these times then you could try June Mountain which offers uncrowded, peaceful slopes and is only half an hour away from Mammoth. You can ski here for ages and not see another person.
Schools and Guides
There is a great range of schools and guides in Mammoth with special performance classes such as “camps” that are especially for women and experts.
Mammoth is a firm family favourite and is always keen to attract families. The Small World Childcare Centre is the focal point with great facilities for children from birth up to eight years of age. There is also Woolly Wood School that works very closely with The Small World and is located in the panorama gondola station and here you can take advantage of the many tuition packages that are available. There are also other schools that are at Eagle and Canyon Lodges.
Mammoth is regularly voted as the best snowboard resort in the USA and it’s not hard to see why with its awesome terrain park for boarders to enjoy that just cannot be beaten as well as the fantastic terrain on the mountain, no wonder it’s voted number 1! Fast chairs and gondolas serve the entire area which I’m sure will be great news for all you boarders! You can enjoy chutes, bowls, tree runs and cliffs that you’ll find dotted around the mountain. There are plenty of wide runs that aren’t so steep making them perfect for beginners. These runs are located at the lower parts of Mammoth. Don’t worry if you forget any of your kit because Wave Rave Snowboard Shop has you covered for all your snowboarding needs.
The terrain parks in Mammoth are world class and in total there are seven of them, so plenty to keep you occupied! You can enjoy over 50 jumps, three half pipes and 65 jibs all in 90 acres worth of freestyle territory.
At Main Lodge you’ll find The Disco Park with rails and boxes that are low-to-the-snow. The Wonderland Park is especially for beginners and is located close to chair 7. Here you can enjoy lots of micro scale rails, a fun mini pipe, mini jumps and boxes, all with a fantastic atmosphere.
Intermediates and more advanced riders will love South Park, Forest Trail Park and Jibs Galore, where they can enjoy kickers and rails. They can also try the X-Course Boarder cross at chair 4.
Main Park just above Main Lodge is massive and has everything a pro could possibly want, with kickers ranging from 18m to 24m long and boarders the very famous Super Duper Pipe that’s 183m long with 7m walls. It is cut on a daily basis and looms over the car park and makes the Super Pipe that’s located beside it look absolutely tiny in comparison.
Main Park also boasts a Fast chair lift which takes only 8 minutes to complete a full lap.
As you would expect from world class terrain parks they can get very busy at peak periods and at weekends, if things do get a bit crowded for you then head to June Mountain where you’ll be able to enjoy the peace and quiet that this mountain is well known for.
Mammoth has a long season with very impressive records of snowfall. In a typical year the average snowfall is 385inches, these figures put Mammoth way ahead of the major Colorado resorts, with it being on a par with Jackson Hole. Mammoth’s slopes are very much higher than the Californian resorts and boasts an array of snow guns that are always expanding this is why Mammoth has such a long season. Mammoth Mountain mainly faces north east, the lower and sunnier slopes are down at Eagle Lodge and because of this they do show the effects of the warmer weather. There can also be strong winds at the upper parts of the mountain and as a result of this the snow quality can be affected. The grooming is very impressive on all the slopes.
For the more advanced skiers Mammoth offers some very challenging terrain. There are double diamond steep chutes that you will find strung across the width of the mountain top that experts will definitely love experiencing.
For intermediates there are three and four broad single diamond slopes that don’t require as much courage. Experts can also experience more challenging terrain lower down the mountain too.
Chair 5, Chair 22 and Broadway are sometimes open in bad weather when the top of the mountain is shut because of the conditions. Their slopes are much more sheltered and often offer the best snow anyway. You’ll also find great slopes located over the back towards Outpost 14.
There are many steeper trails that can also be enjoyed, they aren’t as steep as the ones in the Alpine resorts but are very enjoyable nevertheless.
Below the treeline at the lower end of the mountain intermediates will discover perfect terrain for cruising. The Cloud nine express and chair 25 serve some of Mammoth’s longest runs and these are perfect for intermediates.
You’ll also discover some fantastic fairly steep trails down to The Mill Cafe. If you’re looking for easy cruising terrain try the long runs that are located above Eagle Lodge and also the shorter ones above Canyon Lodge.
Intermediates will appreciate the variety of terrain with lots of gentle stuff located at the western extremity of the slopes.
There are lots of good gentle slopes that are just ideal for beginners. There are quiet, gentle, green runs that are served by Chair 7 and The Schoolyard Express Chair that’s located at Canyon Lodge and Discovery Chair at Main Lodge. These slopes are heaven for beginners and you’ll be pleased to know that all these lifts along with another two are all included in the beginner lift pass. Beginners will be able to progress steadily thanks to the excellent piste maintenance.
For lessons and tours there are two specialist centres, Tamarack and Sierra Meadows. At Tamarack you’ll be able to enjoy 30kms worth of scenic trails where you can glide through the forest around mountain lakes. You’ll also find lots of ungroomed tracks especially in the very stunning Lakes Basin area.
McCoy Station located mid mountain offers a variety of meals and the place next door called The Parallax Table Service Restaurant is also very good with excellent views. There is also the Primitive Outdoor BBQ located at Outpost 14 that’s located on the back of the hill. Other great places to eat are Talons at Eagle Lodge, The Mill Cafe, The Yodler located at Main Lodge which serves Italian food, The Mountainside Grill at the Mammoth Mountain Inn, Canyon Lodge and Broadway Market Place.