MAMMOTH RESORT GUIDE
Mammoth Mountain Resort Overview
Mammoth Mountain embodies the relaxed, fun-loving character of California ski culture, initially envisioned by Dave McCoy when he opened the first rope tow in 1942. The name Mammoth certainly fits. The resort sits atop the high Sierras, and boasts a wide array of terrain throughout its 3,500 skiable acres. Whether you are in search of steep chutes, tree skiing, or well-groomed trails, Mammoth has it all. It also has one of the longest seasons in the U.S., with an average of 400 inches of annual snowfall - there is opportunity to ski from November through June.
The lift system here is incredibly efficient - between the 28 lifts it is easy to avoid crowds on a busy day. The majority of lodging is located just 4 miles away, in the town of Mammoth Lakes, and ranges from quaint motels to luxury condos. The area has the atmosphere of a very small town , but with the amenities of a world class resort. While it is possible to squeeze in a weekend trip to Mammoth, we recommend spending at least 3-4 days.
Passes: The Ikon Pass is the season pass to Mammoth with unlimited access and the Ikon Base Pass provides unlimited access with restrictions. Mammoth is also a member of the Mountain Collective. Mammoth lift tickets are also valid at nearby June Mountain. Kids 12 and under ski for free at June. Beginner passes with restricted access to 4 lower lifts are available for nearly 50% off.
Snow-Making & Grooming
On Mountain Dining
Extreme / Off-Piste Terrain
Uniquely amazing weather conditions. Where else can you find 300 days of sunshine/year and consistently deep snow?
Don't hesitate to bring the kids. Mammoth offers reasonable lesson packages and those 4 and under ski for free. Off-mountain, there's plenty to do - tubing, bowling and more
The atmosphere is very laid back, but there are a variety of higher-end accommodations (e.g., Westin Monache)
Outstanding terrain variety. Beginner and intermediates will feel at home. Experts will be challenged
Crowds. With the most snow and terrain in Southern CA this is not surprising, particularly on powder weekends and holidays - try to plan accordingly (e.g., come mid-week, if possible)
Accommodations near the base areas are limited and expensive. Head to the nearby town of Mammoth Lakes (~6 miles away) for more variety
It can be very windy. The top of the mountain is highly exposed, leading to frequent closures during storms
On mountain dining is primarily limited to cafeteria style food
Getting there will require a 3-5 hour drive, unless you fly into the smaller, Mammoth Yosemite Airport
On windy days, the chairs out of Eagle and Canyon Lodge are often the most sheltered. If you are looking for more challenging terrain when the top is closed, definitely head to Chair 22
On a powder day, the trees under chairs 12 and 14 retain snow longer than most other spots
Try to book lodging ahead of time. Lodging at the base areas is limited and goes quickly. Fortunately, there are more condos and houses in the broader Mammoth Lakes area (~10 minutes away). Try Airbnb or Booking.com for last minute deals for weekend getaways
For lessons, always try to book ahead of time and pick up your rentals the day prior. Lines can be long and rentals can sell out. Lessons and rentals are offered at all three base areas (Main, Canyon, and Eagle)
To increase your chances of finding fresh snow, skip the weekend crowds and head over to June Mountain, ~30 minutes North. Mammoth Passes also apply here, but its much quieter and the fresh snow tends to last all day!
For an in-depth breakdown of Mammoth's terrain, head to our Mountain Guide. Top trails and mountain stats included.
Getting To & Around
Mammoth Mountain is a ~5 hour drive North from Los Angeles via the scenic CA-395. While we recommend having a car to get here, the area is easy to get around and Mammoth Lakes has free public transportation. Base area parking lots are free but tend to fill up quickly. The Village is the hub of the shuttle bus system and offers a gondola connection to Canyon Lodge.
Closest Major City: Los Angeles
Distance: ~315 miles South
Travel Time: ~ 5 hours drive
Closest Town: Mammoth Lakes
~5 miles, ~13 minute drive
Las Vegas, NV: ~315 miles, ~5 hours 15 minute drive
San Francisco, CA: ~330 miles, ~6 hours drive
Mammoth is part of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range and can easily be combined with a visit to other California resorts. *Mammoth Lift Tickets are also valid same day at nearby June Mountain.
Closet Neighbors on the Ikon Pass
June Mountain, CA* (~24 miles, ~40 minutes)
Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows, Lake Tahoe (180 miles, ~4 hours)
Other California Resorts on the Epic Pass
Heavenly, Lake Tahoe (140 miles, ~3 hours)
Northstar, Lake Tahoe (170 miles, ~3 hours, 40 minutes)
Kirkwood, Lake Tahoe (155 miles, ~3 hours mins)
Travel by Plane
Closest major commercial airport: LAX (Tom Bradley International Airport)
~120 miles South, ~3 hours, 20 minutes
Regional airport: MMH (Mammoth Yosemite Airport)
Travel By Bus
Mammoth offers free shuttles to/from MMH airport for guests staying at Mammoth Lodging Collection Properties
Shuttles: MAWS Transportation (the Mammoth All Weather Shuttle) offers reasonable shuttle fares to and from MMH airport. They also offer transporation throughout California with a fleet of vehicles for parties of different sizes.
Travel by Car
We prefer to have a car to get here, its an easy drive from much of Southern California and parking is ample and free.
Pros: Free parking at each of the three base areas
Cons: No true use for the car once in the area, public transporation is easy
Ride shares: (e.g., Uber, Lyft) are not reliable here