Powder Perspective

There are 24 lifts on Mammoth Mountain, but a pokey old lower-mountain triple that doesn’t even make it halfway up the hill probably accounts for more powder turns per season than the other 23 put together. Because when Mammoth gets slapped with the full force of Pacific storms (which happened enough to drop almost 700 inches of snow last winter) and the above-timberline terrain of the upper mountain shuts down for avalanche control, the sheltered trees and chutes off Chair 22 serve up free refills all day long. Which is why that’s where you’ll find the locals, and why we don’t mind telling you about it. There’s fun terrain on every aspect of 10,116-foot Lincoln Mountain (the sub-peak serviced by 22)—cliffy tree shots, glades, hidden gullies—but the north-facing Avalanche Chutes in particular are almost perfectly placed for wind deposition. If you need me for anything, I’ll be hooting from a cloud of roost along the drifted-in skier’s left of Avy 2. —HANS LUDWIG

Resort Overview

Mammoth Mountain not only claims top honors from ski and snowboard magazines, it’s also home to the highest lift-served peak in California, some of the most-varied terrain in the country, 300 days of sunshine and the most consistent snowfall in the state. Powder’s own Jaded Local has said, “Mammoth has got to be the most overlooked powder-skiing zone in the world—when the machine is on, it’s on.” He must be right; professional skiers Chris Benchetler, Kaya Turski and Parker White live here year round. For 2011-12 Mammoth has expanded air service with regular flights from Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, Orange County and San Diego.

Terrain Breakdown

The top of the mountain peaks at 11,053 feet with abundant above tree-line skiing, massive open bowls, ample chutes, drops and glade skiing. The lower mountain supplies wide corduroy groomed trails and is home to the nine terrain parks and three pipes that regularly win top awards.

Season Highlights

  • 11/10/11: Opening Day
  • 11/10/11-11/13/11: Big Winter Kick-Off
  • 12/17/11: Night of Lights
  • 2/27/12-3/4/12: US Freeskiing & Snowboarding Grand Prix
  • 4/22/12: Spring Fest Kick Off & Annual Pond Skim

Resort Specs

Annual Snowfall: 400 inches
Vertical Drop: 3,100 Feet
Skiable Acres: 3,500
Number of Lifts: 28
Number of Trails: 150
Number of Parks/Pipes: 9 Parks / 3 Pipes
Backcountry Access: Open Boundaries Policy
Ticket Prices: See MammothMountain.com
Nearest Airport: Mammoth-Yosemite Airport, CA, 7 miles from town
Local Bars: The Yodler, Hyde Lounge, Auld Dubliner, Lakanuki, Whiskey Creek
Local Restaurants: Mountainside Grill, Hyde Lounge, Roberto’s, Gomez’s
Hotels / Lodging: Mammoth Mountain Inn, The Village Lodge, Juniper Springs Resort, Tamarack Lodge and Luxury Home Rentals
Social Media: Facebook.com/mammothmtn & Twitter.com/mammothmountain