Skiing and Snowboarding at Mammoth
Mammoth Mountain is California’s highest ski resort, but the 11,053-foot summit isn’t just about bragging rights. The high elevation means colder temperatures, which usually means more snow. The California ski resort was not developed in the perfect location by accident. The founder of Mammoth Mountain, Dave McCoy, once worked for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power as a snow surveyor. Because of his love for skiing and his mammoth discovery, McCoy eventually opened the first chair lift in 1955. Today, there are 3,500 skiable acres with more than 3,100 vertical feet, 28 chairlifts, and two gondolas. The terrain parks are the practice grounds for Olympic athletes like Kelly Clark, but even she loves to free ride the steep treelines at Hemlock Ridge or the big bowls off the Paranoids. The mountain is most well known for its abundance of snow and clear blue skies. Families can enjoy a number of groomed trails from beginner to advanced levels. Powderhounds line up for first chair just about every day of the week. Adult lift tickets range from $79 to $107 depending on the time of year and day of week.
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Playing at Mammoth's Adventure Center
A rock climbing wall, zip line, and bungee trampoline—yes, please. Kids will love playing at Mammoth Mountain’s Adventure Center in the summertime. And they can access the beginner mountain bike park lift to practice their mountain bike skills on easy terrain. The all-day kids adventure pass, $39, includes unlimited access to the mountain playground.
Visit the Top of the Sierra Interpretive Center
Take a scenic gondola ride to the summit of Mammoth Mountain for spectacular views and an educational experience. The view of Mammoth Crest, the Minarets, and the Ritter Range are unobstructed from the 11,053-foot peak. The Top of the Sierra Interpretive Center has geology and volcanic history displays as well as telescopes for mountain viewing, an earthquake simulation stomp pad, and a café. Gondola lift tickets ($12-24) are good for a single ride to the top.
Winter Sports at Mammoth Mountain
The Mammoth Mountain lodge offers everything you need to ski, snowboard, snowmobile, or snow tube—including rentals and lessons. With a summit of over 11,000 feet, Mammoth also offers an amazing view of the Sierra.
By Keph Senett, AFAR Local Expert
Mammoth Mountain, Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546, USA