Mammoth Mountain in California is a popular destination for skiers and snowboarders. As part of a series on ski resorts, Huffington Post Travel offers our guide to Mammoth Mountain, featuring all the key information snow lovers need to know before they hit the slopes.
The BasicsLocated on the eastern edge of California's majestic Sierra Nevada, Mammoth Mountain offers visitors a spectacular approach among the snow-capped peaks along Highway 395. For an even more scenic approach, you can fly in to Mammoth's own airport on a private plane or via major carriers such as United and Alaska Airlines. The Mammoth Mountain Ski Area is the highest ski resort in California and is known for receiving the highest amount of snowfall of any eastern Sierra peak.
The MountainMammoth Mountain is famous for its bowls, groomed trails, secluded runs through the trees, steep chutes and long season, which typically runs from November all the way until early July. The sheer size of the mountain, from which the ski area derives its name, offers runs for skiers of all abilities, from beginners to experts. With a summit elevation of more than 11,000 feet, Mammoth typically has snowfall of 400 inches and a dependable snowpack of at least 10 to 15 feet, along with snowmaking capabilities for when the usual powdery Sierra Mountain conditions fail. Mammoth also offers a vertical drop of more than 3,100 feet and plenty of California sunshine for springtime skiing. Just 20 or so miles up the road from Mammoth Mountain lies June Mountain, also part of the Mammoth Mountain Ski Area but with a smaller, less-crowded atmosphere.
Trails And LiftsWith 3,500 acres of skiable area, Mammoth Mountain has space for 28 lifts, including poma lifts, double-, triple- and quad-chairs, hi-speed six-packs, gondolas, carpets and 9 high-speed quads. The mountain's uphill lift capacity is 50,000 skiers per hour. The longest of the mountain's 150 trails is 15,840 feet, or three miles. The bulk of the mountain's trails are blue or "more difficult," at 40 percent, while green or "easiest" trails comprise 25 percent of the ski area. Black-diamond skiers will find 20 percent of the runs devoted to them, while expert skiers seeking double-black-diamond trails have 15 percent of the mountain. In addition to traditional ski runs, Mammoth boasts nine ski parks, including a half-pipe, jib park, terrain park and a 600-foot superpipe.
In The NewsMammoth Mountain is the home training ground for the X Games' Mammoth Team riders. Located about six hours northeast of Los Angeles, Mammoth also plays host to numerous Hollywood celebrities throughout the season, and has served as the mountain backdrop for films including "The Golden Child" and "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom." Various ski and snowboard competitions have been held on the mountain, including the 2010 all-women's Roxy Chicken Jam and the 2011 amateur snowboard contest Peanut Butter and Rail Jam. Legendary snowboarder Shaun White participated in the 2010 Winter Olympics qualifying trials at Mammoth as well.
CostDaily lift tickets at Mammoth Mountain cost $89 for adults, $76 for seniors and $30 for children ages 7 to 12, with discounts kicking in starting with the third day of skiing. Numerous rental packages of brand-name equipment such as Salomon and K2, as well as safety equipment, are available for skiers at various locations on the mountain, including the main ski lodge. Standard ski or snowboard rentals run $29 for adults and $20 for children, rising to $37 and $25 respectively for rental packages that include boots, bindings and poles. Lessons vary widely in price but generally range from $84 for a standard first-time ski or snowboard lesson to $398 for a 3-day instruction package.
Apres-SkiHyde Lounge Mammoth offers both lunch and dinner menus but also hosts a variety of guest DJs for skiers looking to dance. The Yodler Restaurant and Bar has served drinks and pub grub on Mammoth Mountain for 50 years and offers a sundeck popular for watching the sun set over the peaks of the eastern Sierras. The Snowcreek Athletic Club provides skiers access to a state-of-the-art fitness facility for $20 a day and is also the home to the Double Eagle Spa, which offers a variety of pampering massages and spa treatments. The Village Lodge at Mammoth Mountain is a town unto itself, bursting with eateries, bars and other nightlife options; it often hosts seasonal events such as screenings of "It's A Wonderful Life" and family activities like Fireside Story Time.
WATCH: Mammoth Mountain
Mammoth Mountain is large enough to offer a variety of experiences to skiers and snowboarders of all abilities.