Mammoth Resort Guide
Insider tips from our team
Snow - If you want snow then you have to visit Mammoth. The mountain has one of the best snowfall records in North America, often averaging over 50 feet a season! This stuff falls dry and fluffy making for excellent powder conditions on an almost daily basis. Mammoth has a great mix of terrain with the upper bowls being very wide and open. On a powder day they may take a while to open as ski patrol will be making them safe - don't waste time standing in the queue, get in between the trees and make some of the best powder turns of your life.. For less experienced skiers/snowboarders definitely get a lesson, the instructors here are superb and it's more than likely you could be learning how to make powder turns on a powder day!
Getting up the mountain - as in many popular ski resorts, the lifts can get busy, mainly first thing in the morning. Get going early, or stay in bed and go up later to avoid queues. It is amazing how much skiing you can get in if you go up at 11.30 or 12 and ski until the end of the day. Mammoth has 3 resort bases for those wanting ski in ski out accommodation and a quick way up the mountain, and there is ample parking for those driving to the resort from the other accommodations in the town. Also provided is a great shuttle bus, runs every 10/15 minutes and is an excellent free service.
Ski smart - to get as much skiing in as possible, think about how ‘most’ people like to ski - ie go up between 9 and 10, lunch between 12 and 1 and ski down between 2.30 and 3.30. If you can avoid these peaks you won’t wait for lifts and the runs will be far less busy. Trail maps are the best way to navigate your way around the mountain and are often never used - you can find these free little gems all over Mammoth Village so make good use of them.
Weather - Mammoth has an average of 300 sunshine days per year. Taking into account the huge snowfall here those bluebird powder days are almost guaranteed. We have never been so protective of our skin as we are these days so suncream of a high factor is a must - the combination of altitude, reflective glare and sun will burn you if you are not prepared. Mammoth like any other ski resort is in a mountain environment so protection against the elements can be necessary, particularly when extremely cold or when the sun is out. It does not often reach below minus 10 degrees but always be prepared. Proper ski and snowboard clothing is a must.
Improve your technique - we highly recommend Mammoth's s ski and snowboard school programmes, whether it be a refresher course, developing a particular aspect of your technique with a private lesson, or a freestyle course for your teenage children. Taking a course will hugely increase your enjoyment of your holiday, whatever your ability level.
Naturalist Tours on skis or snowboard Fridays and weekends, 10:30am and 1:30pm meet at the bottom of Stump Alley Express; 2½ hour Explore Mammoth Tours with a Mammoth Host meet at Main and Canyon Lodge supersigns at 10:15am daily. All tours are free with a lift ticket, December through April, weather permitting.
Eating & Drinking
On-mountain - mountain restaurants are of a good standard in Mammoth, serving a good range of incredibly affordable options including pizza, chilli, stir-fries, burgers, sandwiches and salads. If you want something more leisurely, go down to one of the 3 base areas for a better selection. One great place for a "stunning" lunch is the "top of the Sierra Cafe". Although not gourmet, they do have great sandwiches, smoothies, beers and baked goods, not forgetting one of the most stunning views in California. If you love burgers then definitely head to the Mountainside Grill, located at the Mammoth Mountain Inn - local Mammoth legend Bill bought me a burger here big enough to sink a battleship...cheers Bill.
Groceries - if you are staying in accommodation with a kitchen it is a really good idea to get some shopping in as soon as you get there. Mammoth Village has a small general store where you can find most supplies for a hearty breakfast, lunch or dinner, but head into Mammoth Lakes and stock up from the bigger supermarket if you enjoy cooking it up back home.
Book tables when eating out - this is particularly important during holiday periods but is recommended at all times. People tend to eat early in North America. If staying in a hotel, ask the concierge for their advice and to assist with making reservations.
Restaurant delivery services - most restaurants will deliver to your accommodation. Look out for the Resort Dining Guide when you're out there for more details. I would recommend Doorstep Dinners.
- For the best Thai food head to Thai'd Up, the locals favourite, they have a "hot" rating system, one Chilli is mild, five is hot hot hot!
- Angels is a great option for wholesome fare where you can find everything from homemade pies to burgers, ribs and Mexican - a good option for families.
- For juicy steak or ribs go to Slocum's.
- For couples my top tip is The Lakefront at Tamarack Lodge where you will find a fine menu of Californian and French cuisine set in very intimate winter surroundings.
- Fast Food is unsurprisingly in abundance here - welcome to America! However there is one place for Mexican lovers - Salsa's is the best Mexican fast food place on the planet and a meal here will cost in the region of $5.
- Self-catering - there is an amazingly well-stocked supermarket in Mammoth Lakes if you are self-catering. You will need to go to the liquor store for beer and wine - try the Mammoth local beer.
The Yodeler is located next to the adventure centre at Mammoth Mountain, they serve a wide variety of beers, cocktails, spirits and wines - sit and sip on their superb sundeck and reflect on another Mammoth day!
The Alpenhof is where you find the beer, if you cant find it here then it's not worth having. Get seated and have a pitcher of beer, play some pool and put on some seriously good tunes from their huge jukebox selection.
If you are after a warming hot chocolate or coffee instead of beers, the Looney Bean is a locals favourite.
Mammoth attracts people from all over - and as such, there are plenty of activities around the Mammoth Lakes area to keep you busy during the day. As well as resort staples such as tube parks, snowmobile adventures, snow-shoeing and cross-country skiing, you can also take a night-time tour in a snowcat to have dinner at the Parallax restaurant at McCoy Station.
Small World Child Care provides care for newborns through 8 years at Main Lodge. Childcare + Lesson combos available. In Just For Kids, Woolly introduces a Kids Winter Calendar.