Mammoth Mountain is a bucket list resort that has been a mecca for snowboarding since it was founded in 1953. Thanks to a summit elevation of 11,053 feet–making it the highest mountain resort in California–winter in Mammoth typically runs from early November into May. With its long season and more than 300 sunny days a year, it’s no wonder big name pros like Jaeger Bailey, Scott Blum, and Kimmy Fasani call Mammoth their home mountain.
The Unbound terrain park and its pink features are burned into the minds of snowboarders, thanks to two decades of starring in magazines and videos, but the legendary parks are just the start of the Mammoth experience. When it snows here, you better bring your biggest board and set your stance back. Storms are known to come in 5-foot dumps which can accumulate very, very quickly.
Where to Ride
Given Mammoth’s tendency for massive storms, the best approach for riding the mountain can change day-to-day. When the snow’s been baked and the parks are ripe for ripping, you’ll want to focus your attention on the Roller Coaster Express, where you will have access to South Park, one of Mammoth’s premier freestyle playgrounds. Pick your line and drop in, but bring your game face, as you are sure to be lining up against some of snowboarding’s top pros. If you want to change things up midday (or if South Park is a wee bit above your pay grade), cruise over to the Unbound Express for Mammoth’s Main Park and Forest Trail park.
On days when the snow is piling up, trade your twin park ride out for something a bit bigger. If it’s still mid-storm and access to the peaks is limited, make your way to Chair 12. This old school double runs no matter the weather, and holds snow longer as crowds flock to the faster lifts. There are plenty of glade runs and fun chutes to hone your freeriding game.
After the storm has settled and bluebird skies have returned, it is time to make your way up to the top. Take Chair 23 up to the top and get your head straight on the lift, as this above alpine zone is known for its expert terrain. Between ripping lines on rider’s left through the Scotty’s Bowl, you can make your way down to the park for a freestyle jaunt, or cruise back up for more. When the snow is really good, hold the ridge line riding rider’s left and you will make your way over to the Hemlocksa Travis Rice Super Natural-inspired freestyle zone with buried log features that, when filled in, offer some of the most advanced inbounds freeriding opportunities in the country.
Beyond the above mentioned must-hit zones, Mammoth also offers a gondola ride to the resort’s peak. From here, you can ride rider’s right and access a whole new zone full of bowls, cliffs, and steep glades below. Mind you, this zone is best explored with proper avalanche gear and someone who knows where they’re going.
Where to Stay
For over half a century, Mammoths classic slope-side hotel The Mammoth Mountain Inn has provided stunning mountain views and ski-in, ski-out convenience to families and powder hounds alike.
The Tamarack Lodge provides the perfect mix of rustic charm and convenience. Located just one mile from the Mammoth ski area, this property host 35 private cabins guaranteed to deliver that in the mountains feeling that many visitors desire on a trip. The cabins are packed with all the right amenities, like fireplaces, wood burning stoves, big leather couches and historical artifacts in every room.
On the high end of lodging options rests The Westin. This full-service luxury hotel is just a few short steps away from the village gondola and offers quick access to the slopes, as well as in close proximity to the villages many restaurants, shops, and nightlife options.
What You’ll Pay
Mammoth is included on the Ikon Pass. Day tickets can be bought for $103, with discounts up to 40 percent when buying multiple day tickets. Children, teens, and seniors can all enjoy discounted day tickets, and really young kids (4 and under) and really old kids (80-plus) ride free. Discounted beginner tickets are also available, and all Mammoth tickets are valid at nearby June Mountain.