Mammoth Mountain Ski Vacation Guide

Mammoth Mountain, true to its name, is one epic place to ski, with probably the largest variety of terrain in the state of California. As you travel northwest from Bishop on Highway 395, the desert fades away as the mountains rise before you and the area is surrounded by spectacular scenery, stunning vistas, and three lakes are all situated to the east of Yosemite National Park, halfway between Bishop and Lake Tahoe. It is here, in this rare and beautiful region, that Mammoth Mountain Resort calls home.

Ski Levels

The mountain provides a full array of skiing and snowboarding terrains and slopes, 25 percent of its runs are ideal for the first-timers and beginning skiers, 40 percent are suitable for intermediate skiers, and the remaining 35 percent are areas reserved for the experts. Top-notch certified ski patrol teams and experienced PSIA-certified instructors are available to help. Even if you've been skiing for years, the mountain offers the ideal opportunity to learn snowboarding. Lessons are available for all ages and ability levels as group or individual lessons. Additionally, there are great discounted lift tickets and deals on multi-day or multi-activity passes available during the season.

Après Ski

Nightlife here is rather unique. The mountain, resort, and town are isolated—a place to itself. The live music there is quality, the resort brings in world-class acts, bands, and entertainment throughout the season. Within the village, there are several restaurants ranging from casual fare to more high-end gourmet meals. For a real treat, a luxury snowcat will take a small number of guests to the mid-mountain lodge, where they will enjoy a candle-lit, five-course meal while the sun sets on the Sierras. What a wonderful, rare, and romantic idea!

During the beginning and middle of the season, expect full winter at all times (and be ready to peel back a layer or two around mid-day). Towards the end of the season, don’t be surprised to see people flying down the slopes in t-shirts and shorts. Besides being huge, skiing in California is just that kind of experience, unpredictable, unorthodox, and surprisingly fun.

Skiing in California is a unique experience. The beauty of the mountains is unparalleled. Try to add an extra day or two to enjoy the surrounding areas as well. Mono Lake, for example, is just up the road, and offers yet another rare and surreal environment to see and experience. Go ahead and expect to have a whale—well, mammoth—of a good time!

Mammoth Mountain Snowboard Vacation Guide

Rider’s Guide

As one of the continent’s largest ski resorts and one of the highest at over 11,000 feet at base, the mountain gets around 400 inches per year, and has 29 lifts including 9 high-speed quads that can handle 50,000 people an hour. The resort has over 150 trails, and a longest run of 15,840 feet (3+ miles).

Parks and Pipes

Maybe best known for its amazing terrain parks, it has more than seven, totaling three massive superpipes. Mammoth Unbound Park spreads over 90 acres and features a gargantuan, Olympic-sized Super-Duper Pipe with 22-foot tall walls, 62-feet wide and over 500-feet long. The resort sports several beginner parks, Disco Park and Wonderland Park. Intermediate terrain is found at Forest Trail Park, Jibs Galore, and South Park. The hardest terrain and burliest features are found at the Main Park.

Out of Bounds

Rent a snowmobile from Mammoth Polaris, Mammoth Snowmobile Adventures, or DJs Snowmobile Adventures—and enjoy 300 miles of snowmobile trails. Contact Sledz for bobsledding or tubing down a designated track. Dog Sled Adventures will let you take the reins and drive a dog sled. There is also tubing, ice skating, cross country, snowshoeing, or go on a snowcat snowboard adventure.

Hangout & Hookup

Mammoth is the place for some really hot après ski action in places like Sherwin’s at Sierra Meadows Ranch, and Mammoth Mountain Inn’s Dry Creek Bar that both feature live entertainment most weekends. Also check out the action across the parking lot from the Main Lodge at the Yodeler. Grizzly’s Outdoor Bar and BBQ is great if you can’t get enough fresh air. Other popular après ski hangouts include Roberto’s Upstairs Bar, Grumpy’s, Clock Tower Cellar at the Alpenhof Lodge, Lakanuki Tiki Bar, and Dublin’s and Hennessey’s for extensive Irish whiskey selections.