Mammoth Mountain Ski Area
Not only is it the highest elevated ski resort in California, Mammoth also has the longest ski season in North America—from November to June.
Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, in eastern California, resides in the Inyo National Forest along the east side of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Mammoth Mountain offers excellent dining options, top-notch lodges and hotels, and well-kept ski slopes and facilities, plus dozens of festivals and special events throughout the year.
Slope to Slope
Mammoth offers terrain to challenge all abilities, with 25% of the trails dedicated to beginners, 40% to intermediates, 20% to advanced and 15% to expert skiers and boarders. One of Mammoth’s most difficult slopes is Hangman’s Hollow, situated at the summit’s top elevation—11,053 feet above sea level.
The resort’s 150 trails, spread over 3,500 acres, allow for plenty of ways to explore this winter wilderness. At Tamarack Ski Center take the 19-mile cross country trail to explore the scenic backcountry of Mammoth’s Lakes Basin.
Tubing at Woolly’s Adventure Summit provides six tubing lanes for racing or taking it slow. There is also a snow play area for building snowmen, forts and igloos. With thousands of acres of snowmobile trails to indulge in, Mammoth Snowmobile Adventures outfitter offers two-hour, three-hour and full-day tours. Mammoth has three terrain parks for learning and practicing tricks—Park Disco for beginners, then Forest Trail and Main Park, the most advanced.
Mammoth’s 28 lifts (including nine quads, two six-packs and three gondolas) and 68 RFID gates eliminate wait time at lifts and allow guests maximum time on the slopes.
Mammoth has four main lodging options. The Village Lodge is set amidst the shops, bars, restaurants and activities in the heart of town. It offers studios as well as one-, two- and three-bedroom condos.
Juniper Springs Resort is Mammoth’s mountain-side condominium hotel. It has studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom condos and townhouses. The resort has complimentary shuttles to Mammoth-Yosemite Airport and Eagle Lodge, where chairlift access to the entire mountain is available.
Mammoth Mountain Inn lies 9,000 feet above sea level. The inn is slope-side to the Main Lodge and just steps away from Yodler Restaurant & Bar and Mountainside Grill. Offering hotel rooms and condos, Mammoth Mountain Inn is the best lodge for quick access to the slopes.
For a more nature-filled and rustic atmosphere, Tamarack Lodge offers private cabins on the shores of the Twin Lakes. Cross country skiing and snowshoeing trails are right outside your door at Tamarack’s XC Resort. The lodge has studio and one-, two- and three-bedroom cabins.
Getting Here & Getting Around
Mammoth Mountain Ski Area is a four-and-a-half-hour drive from Sacramento and five-and-a-half hours from San Francisco. In the summer, you can make the trip through Yosemite National Park from San Francisco for a truly scenic drive.
The closest airport is Mammoth-Yosemite Airport in Mammoth Lakes, about 13 miles from the resort (25-minute drive). Los Angeles has daily flights to Mammoth-Yosemite Airport via Alaska Airlines year-round. There are also direct flights from San Francisco, San Jose, Orange County and San Diego airports.
The Eastern Sierra Transit Authority provides public transportation services year-round within the Eastern Sierra region. Tour operators including Higher Ground Adventures, Pacific Sports Tours, Sierra Ski & Rafting, XTC Tours and Bus2Mammoth provide trips for individuals and groups to Mammoth.
Activities & Entertainment
Many dining options await skiers after a day on the slopes. Yodler Restaurant and Bar at Mammoth Mountain Inn features classic pub-style dining. The inn’s Dry Creek Bar has great views of the ski areas. The Lakefront Restaurant at Tamarack Lodge is famous for its French cuisine and fine-dining atmosphere.
The Village of Mammoth is the heart of town and offers many casual dining options. They include Bear Creek Pizza Den, a dine-in or take-out pizza parlor; Lakanuki, a tiki-themed bar and dance club; and Boards, a restaurant embracing the California lifestyle—surfboards, snowboards, skateboards and wakeboards.
Mammoth Ski Museum has a large collection of ski art and literature showcasing the history of ski culture. Catch a movie at Minaret Cinemas, 15 minutes from the resort off of Old Mammoth Road. The town of Mountain Lakes, just east of the Mammoth Mountain, has clothing boutiques, ice cream parlors and sporting goods stores.
Annual events at Mammoth include Night of Lights (December), a winter light show against the backdrop of Mammoth’s ski slopes, and Mammoth Invitational (April), a weekend of friendly competition in skiing, riding, sledding and more that includes the U.S. Ski Team and other pro athletes as coaches. The Mammoth Ice Rink opens in December for public skating and lessons.
After a day of shopping, eating, boarding and exploring everything Mammoth has to offer, enjoy a relaxing soak at Little Hot Creek or Whitmore Hot Springs, located just 10 minutes east of Mammoth-Yosemite Airport.