Mammoth Mountain is one of California’s premiere ski resorts, attracting amateur and professional skiers from around the world, including pro ski/snowboarder, Shaun White. It is just south of June Lake near Yosemite National Park on the Eastern side of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. This huge resort covers 3500 acres on the aptly named Mammoth Mountain. Peak elevation lies at 11,053 feet, while base elevation is at 7953 feet. This gives this resort a respectable vertical drop of 3100 feet. Additionally, because of the resort’s location and elevation, Mammoth has one of the longest ski seasons in the country, often lasting well into June and beyond.
An Overview of the Trails
Mammoth has 150 trails scattered over the mountain. The difficulty mix is split up into 25 percent novice, 40 percent intermediate, 20 percent advanced, and 15 percent expert trails. The mountain is serviced by 28 lifts, including nine high-speed quad, two high-speed six-pack lifts, and three gondolas. The chair lifts can carry over 50,000 people per hour around the mountain. Mammoth is also home to eight Unbound terrain parks, all of which are extremely popular with extreme sports enthusiasts. Mammoth is also the only resort in the United States that has three different sized halfpipes. The largest is the 22-foot Super Duper Pipe. The next largest is the 18-foot Super Pipe, and the smallest is the 8-foot Mini Pipe.
For beginning skiers, stick near Canyon Lodge. There are groupings of novice trails that are a great way to cut your skiing teeth. Be careful, however, as the snow can get fairly slushy in the afternoon, especially on warm days. Some great novice cruisers can be found on the backside of the mountain, just off quad lift 3. Intermediate skiers should look to mid-mountain for appropriate trails. Lower Dry Creek is a great run as are the trails immediately off the Canyon Express. If you’re looking for a great cruiser, Chickadee and Water Tank can be found just off lift 15. Skiers who are looking to stretch their abilities are going to find the most fun out on the ridge. From here, there are a ton of chutes that lead right into bowl skiing. However, the run that everyone comes to Mammoth for is Cornice Bowl. With a terrific drop into a lip and turn, you’ll find one of the best and fastest lines available in the country.
Mammoth as a place to ski is an amazing resort. There is terrain for everyone, no matter what his or her skill level. Keep in mind that for its size, Mammoth still gets extremely crowded. On an average day, there are usually over 14,000 visitors hitting the slopes. This many riders means that the snow can get choppy early in the day. Still, Mammoth has ski lines and bowls that have to be experienced at least once in your life. The apres-ski activities and nightlife are also big and bustling at Mammoth, with plenty to do and see when you’re not on the slopes. Live entertainment and great food abound, making Mammoth a great place for entertainment no matter what the time.