The Essential Guide to Mammoth Mountain Ski Resort

••• Mammoth Mountain

Mammoth Mountain is an 11,053-foot-high active volcano that has an annual average of 400 inches of snow and 3,500 acres of skiable terrain. Originally a mining town, Mammoth is now a mecca for alpine skiers and lovers of the Sierra Nevada mountainscapes. A past host of the X Games and U.S. Freeski and Snowboard Grand Prix, and a favorite training locale for the U.S. Snowboarding Team, Mammoth is regarded as a premier destination for not only the young and extreme, but also those that enjoy a gentle day of exploring.

 

Terrain

3,500 skiable acres; over 3,100 vertical feet; 25% beginner, 40% intermediate, 20% advanced, 15% expert

Gullies, groomers, bowls, bumps, jumps, and more can all be found at Mammoth, making it a mountain that caters to every skill level. With 162 trails and 28 lifts, there’s enough terrain for every skier and boarder to think the mountain was created with their exact abilities in mind.

  • Advanced: The Panorama Gondola that travels from Main Lodge to the top of the mountain delivers advanced skiers and boarders to a fantasy land of vertical drops, buttery turns, and steep chutes on runs like Hangman’s Hollow, Climax, and Paranoid Flats. For a technical mogul field, West Bowl, accessed from Face Lift Express, is the place to go. Those searching for an opportunity to get creative with their skills will enjoy Mammoth’s four parks, which offer a tapestry of shredable jibs, jumps, spines, berms, and bumps, with the iconic Main Park being a favorite for advanced guests. In addition, Mammoth’s half pipe was named the #1 half pipe by Transworld Snowboarding and is the go-to for snowboarding legend Shaun White.  
  • Intermediate: Intermediate skiers will find their groove on runs that spill off chairs like Face Lift Express, Chair 12 or 13, Cloud Nine, and High Five Express where the ideal combo of long runs, unofficial trails woven through trees, and side hits can be found. Riders can choose to cruise back to one of the base lodges, enjoying a ride that can last as long as 15 or 20 minutes depending on their speed, or stick to mastering one of their favorite intermediate runs (Face Lift is on the top of the list for many) by utilizing one of the numerous mid-mountain chairs.  
  • Beginner: Beginners can enjoy long “cruise-y” runs by taking Stump Alley Express from The Mill then following the signs to St. Moritz, or hopping on the Discovery chair at Main Lodge and exploring Woolly’s Woods, Disco Playground, or Apple Pie. For the “advanced beginners” catch Broadway Express at Main Lodge and work your way down Broadway, which is a wide and mellow blue.
  • First Timers: Runs with cutesy names like Sesame Street, Pumpkin, and School Yard are aplenty at Mammoth, preventing first-timers from feeling like they’ve been shunned to one tiny run. The Discovery chair at Main Lodge and Schoolyard Express at Canyon Lodge is where it’s at for first-timers.

 

Lift Tickets

Full-day adult lift tickets are $148 during peak season and $69 during Spring skiing; season passes start at $799 if you get in early. Mammoth does not offer discounts for multi-day passes but does provide discounts if you purchase your tickets early online. Lift tickets provide access to both Mammoth Mountain and family-friendly June Mountain.

 

Food & Drinks

When it comes to their culinary and beverage scene, Mammoth has mastered the art of catering to both laid-back brewery-lovers and gourmet-seeking jet-setters – and everyone in between.

Here are the favorites:

  • Mammoth Brewing Company: A favorite of locals, this “brew co” offers craft beers and a tasting room where you’re sure to find sunburned and happy snow-lovers. The Eatery by Bleu now offers stick-to-your ribs menu options in the tasting room that pair perfectly with the cold beverages. 
  • Nevados: If you’re feeling fancy, head to Nevados for innovative American cuisine, quality wine, and a great view. And yes — you pay for it, but it’s worth it. If you decide to finish your meal off with a craft beer, the Mammoth Brewing Company is directly across the street.
  • Shea Schat’s Bakery: This famous bakery has a gorgeous made-fresh-daily offering of pastries, bread, breakfast (and afternoon!) sandwiches, high-quality coffee treats, and candies. The candy-land-esque ambiance of the bakery makes it a favorite for kids - and adults who still nurture their inner child!
  • Good Life Café: A classic breakfast option, this family-friendly restaurant provides quick, delicious, and fairly healthy fare. Try the Gobbler Benedict!
  • Zpizza: At the end of a long day snow-slogging, a delivered pizza often sounds divine. But, this isn’t your average pizza - the eclectic menu with unexpected ingredients like spicy lime chicken breast, sweet corn, caramelized onions, and truffle oil will please the taste buds of all involved.

 

Rentals & Gear

Basic ski and board rental packages at Mammoth’s Main Lodge cost $43 for a one-day rental; demo rental packages cost $92. Receive 20% off multi-day rentals when you reserve your gear seven or more days in advance.

Mammoth’s on-site rental shops ladle on the perks, like the ability to swoop in to switch out skis for a snowboard, or vice versa, free overnight gear storage, and their “Try Me, Buy Me” program, which allows you to test drive as many skis or snowboards as you like until you find your ideal match.

A slew of rental shops can also be found in downtown Mammoth, each with a unique flavor:

  • Footloose Sports: Known for their custom foot-bed fitting process, this massive store is a great choice for those in the market for new boots. If you’re visiting during peak season, call ahead to make an appointment for a fitting.
  • Black Tie Ski Rentals: If you’d rather not leave the warmth of your hotel room to get your gear fitted, the staff of this joint will come to you, offering free delivery, in-room fitting, and slope-side service.

 

Lessons & Camps

Mammoth offers private lessons and guides for all ages and abilities, group and semi-private lessons for ages 3 and up, 10-week developmental programs, and cross-country lessons of all varieties. Prices vary.

The popular camps offered include:

  • Terrain Park Camp: Spend three days with a small group learning the basic skills to shred on a terrain park without ending up on your face time and again.
  • All Mountain Ski Camp: A three-day camp for advanced to expert skiers ready for a backstage pass to Mammoth’s secret and steep stashes of snow.
  • Women’s Ski Camp: Taught by women for women, this premier clinic caters to each woman’s unique goals while allowing for amble adrenaline-fueled female-bonding.
  • Mogul Camp: Master the moguls, or just learn to handle the inevitable bumps while skiing, in this two-day camp.

 

Skiing and Snowboarding Alternatives

Known by many as nature’s winter amusement park, the Mammoth area offers so many cold-weather activities the trickiest part is deciding what to try first.

  • Cross Country Skiing: Tamarack Lodge is the place to go if you prefer your skis stay on level ground. The ski center provides equipment rentals, access to extensive trails, and guides (if needed.) Full day packages that include a group lesson, trail pass, and gear rentals cost $87.
  • Electric Tubing: If you would prefer your snow without a heaping side of adrenaline, head to Woolly’s Tube Park. This park is most popular at night when you can tube down lighted groomed slopes, decked out in complimentary glow in the dark party favors, to the sounds of DJ jams. And don’t forget the obligatory post-tubing hot cocoa.
  • Panorama Gondola Rides: Catch a gondola at Main Lodge to the top of the mountain where you’ll find the Eleven53 Interpretative Center where guests can engage in interactive exhibits about Mammoth’s volcanic history, geology, weather patterns, and more. The top of the mountain also offers epic photo ops.
  • Wild Willy’s Hot Springs: These natural hot springs are in close proximity to Mammoth Village and offer a spectacular view. If you’re going with kids, visit before dark to avoid the rowdier crowds.

 

Lodging

Mammoth has diverse and plentiful lodging options, offering accommodations to suit a romantic weekend, family vacation, luxury trip, or big-group getaway.

Here are some favorites to get you started:

  • The Village Lodge Mammoth: A favorite for travelers who want a woodsy chic ambiance, like to feel like they’re at the center of the action, and don’t want to waste time getting on the slopes. Located in the Village complex, this resort has a gondola that delivers guests directly to Canyon Lodge, and is surrounded by Mammoth’s largest selection of restaurants.
  • Airbnb: If you’re traveling with a large crew (that you want to bunk up with) check in to the numerous home and condo rentals that range in price and space. This is a great choice if you’re looking to have a cozy home base for your group and want to save some money by preparing meals at your home-away-from-home.
  • Tamarack Lodge and Resort: For those longing for the classic cabin-in-the-woods experience, this is the place for you. Set on 6 acres, 7 miles away from Mammoth Mountain ski area, and devoid of televisions, this resort serves as a mellow and meditative escape.