mammoth snow report

mammoth snow report

The Benefits of Skiing at Mammoth Mountain

1. Introduction

El Nino is expected to bring significantly more precipitation to Mammoth than Southern California. As most of you are, I am tired of wasting corners of the mountain hoping to find better snow conditions. This year I expect most of the mountain to be skiable from top to bottom, where normally there are only rocks and patches of snow. This snowfall should also help ensure coverage into late spring and early summer.

Dry, dusty, crusty snow has been the story this season. This new snowfall will be a substantial till on the base and will make great skiing conditions for all levels. When I was coming down Upper Dry Creek, trying to carve, I couldn’t help but smile at the fresh snow, my first since over 10 months.

It’s been 10 years since the last proper El Nino event. Mammoth Mountain officially received 7 inches of new snow over the weekend – the first significant snowfall this season. Taking the hike up to the top, it looked more like an early season day mid-winter day. Wind loaded snow, below freezing temperatures, and violent winds, the summit was looking, feeling, and skiing mid-winter. What a sight for sore eyes and a great feeling.

2. Unparalleled Snow Conditions

In essence, the reason to visit Mammoth Mountain is for the snow – snow which is still falling in May! Mammoth is located in a unique geographic location where Pacific moisture hits the High Sierras, creating high precipitation in the form of snow. The mountain receives around 400 inches of snow on average, creating a 10-foot solid base. Another clear attraction is the minimal time that one spends in the lift lines, because skiing on snow is always more enjoyable than standing in a queue. This relative lack of congestion on runs is due to the 3100 acres of skiable and 300 days of sunshine a year the mountain offers. Mammoth opens on average in early November and closes in June, making it one of the longest ski seasons in the state. This is closely linked to the snow conditions that Mammoth is known for. Due to a higher elevation than most other California resorts (9000 ft, highest lift served in California), Mammoth is above the rain-snow line so when precipitation falls, it always comes down as snow resulting in a much higher quality of snow. High elevation also means lower temperatures which slow the melting rate of the snowpack. With global warming, who knows how long skiing in areas below 8000 feet will be sustainable. The intrinsic snow quality and quantity at Mammoth means that it is a prime location for the US Ski and Snowboard teams to train. Its long season and consistent snow provide the best training conditions for elite athletes. It has a long history of producing world-class skiers and snowboarders with many growing up in the area as it is the only place where top-level training can be sustained. This simply means that Mammoth is the premium location for the best riders on the planet, and a very good place to get some autographs!

3. Extensive Terrain for All Skill Levels

Mammoth Mountain is best known for its top-notch terrain parks and pipes. It is home to some of the country’s most famous terrain parks, which continually provide the best jumps, jibs, and superpipe for both amateur and professional riders alike. When it comes to skiing and boarding, there isn’t much that Mammoth does not offer. With a variety of beginner, intermediate, and expert terrain, skiers and riders will never run out of new areas to explore. The Stump Alley and Sesame Street are two fun areas specifically designed for beginners; these are some of the best learning areas offered in California. Intermediate and advanced skiers will discover that there is a vast amount of terrain spread throughout the entire mountain. Trails like Andy’s Double Gold and the Paranoids are just a few examples of the challenging and technical tree runs that stem off of the popular ski runs. The steeps and the bumps are quite plentiful at Mammoth; just explore around Climax or Dropout Chutes for some good action. On a good powder day, it is no secret that the entire mountain gets covered with tracks; there are definitely some sweet spots, but you will have to find those on your own. With the recent addition of terrain on the backside of the mountain, the expert-minded will find an uncrowded haven to play in, and the adventurous type might even want to explore the premier backcountry. A new feature that Mammoth has added this year to better help skiers and riders access the terrain is the signage system, which designates the rating of trails, name, and direction to some of the off-hill amenities.

Mammoth Mountain is ideal for skiers and riders of every age and ability level with a variety of terrain that spreads across 3,500 acres, which makes it the best-selling ski area in California. With 300 days of sunshine annually, the Eastern Sierra offers the perfect climate for a day on the slopes. The average base depth of 10 feet of snow throughout the season provides a long-lasting winter playground. There are 28 lifts at Mammoth Mountain that service over 150 named trails and over 100 acres of terrain. This is one of the only resorts in the country to offer three different gondolas, and it is one of the fastest ways to get to the summit. The park and pipe set up here is also one of the best in the world, designed to be cutting edge and to progress the sports of skiing and snowboarding.

4. World-Class Facilities and Amenities

Skiers and snowboarders can easily get access to either of the base lodges coming from any lodging unit. There are three main lodges: Main Lodge (Canyon Lodge), Eagle Lodge, and the newer Canyon Lodge. Main Lodge is the largest of the three and is in close proximity to the Village with a gondola going from the village to the lodge. The lift system has been in place since the 80s and has been quite a journey to its present state. The village gondola, being one of the newest additions, has made access to the main lodge very easy for those living in the village. The new edition of the Panorama Gondola, coming from Main Lodge, offers an alternative route to the top and has made travel from lodging units to the two higher lodges much more efficient. With plenty of snow and a little traction on your vehicle, driving to the lodges and taking the bus transport is also a viable option.

Guests looking to stay at Mammoth Mountain have a variety of accommodations to choose from with six lodges and the village to call home when they are not on the mountain. Mammoth Mountain Inn, along with Tamarack Lodge, The Village Lodge, and Juniper Springs Resort, are all located near the base of the mountain, some with gondola access to the main lodge and all with easy access up to the main resort by bus or car. The Westin Monache Resort is another marvelous choice to lodge with convenient access to the village and nightlife. Guests are not limited to staying near the mountain as there are various motels, bed and breakfasts, condos, and vacation rentals located in town or near Main Street. With so many options to choose from, guests can easily find a price and location that is to their convenience.

5. Unforgettable Experiences and Activities

Every Wednesday through Sunday evening, Minaret Village Mall hosts the Snowmobile Cinema. With the purchase of a $5 ticket, you can take a snowcat ride to a theater in the woods, complete with hot cocoa, popcorn, and two feature films shown on a 250 sq. ft. screen. This is a fun and unique experience for the entire family, a group of friends, or couples looking for a romantic evening.

For the snowmobiler, the Eastern Sierra is your paradise and Mammoth is the starting point. You can rent machines and explore on your own or take a guided tour. A 15-passenger snowcat will take you to Minaret Summit where you have a choice of guided or unguided tours through the world-class, backcountry terrain. Trip durations and destinations are designed to fit any budget or match any level of snowmobile experience.

Cross-country skiing is a favorite pastime of many Mammoth visitors. There are over 3,000 acres of Inyo National Forest surrounding Mammoth Lakes and nearly 150 miles of groomed track. Adventure passes for both the groomed track and the wilderness areas can be purchased at the Welcome Center on Hwy. 203, just before you head up to the mountain. A snowshoeing trip to the Hot Creek Geological Site is also a great way to enjoy the Eastern Sierra’s winter beauty.

If you’re a beginner or just want a break from skiing or boarding, the Mammoth Mountain Village Gondola will take you on a 15-minute ride to various restaurants, sports shops, and accommodations. On weekends, you can take a scenic gondola ride to the Top of the Sierra Interpretive Center. The center offers breathtaking views of the Minarets and the San Joaquin River Valley and many interactive displays of the area’s natural history. At no additional charge, hop back on the gondola at 3:30 and enjoy an evening cocktail at the Eleven53 Interpretive Center at the McCoy Station. The two interpretive centers provide great fun and education for the entire family.

Mammoth Mountain is more than just a place to ski; it’s an experience. The mountain and surrounding area offer a myriad of activities, services, and events to make your visit a truly amazing one.

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