Mammoth Lifts & Terrain

Our Terrain Ratings

Powderhound rating = advanced/expert terrain + powder + freshies + uncrowded

Our Terrain Ratings

Powderhound rating = advanced/expert terrain + powder + freshies + uncrowded
  • Vertical (ft)
    7,953 – 11,053 (3,100)
  • Average Snow Fall
    400 inches  
  • Lifts (25)
    2 gondolas
    2 x 6 packs
  • Ski Season
    Nov to June
  • Terrain Summary
    Runs – 150
    Beginner - 25%
    Intermediate - 40%
    Advanced - 20%
    Beginner - 15%
Mammoth skiing and snowboarding is pretty impressive across the 3,500 skiable acres (1,416 hectares) of terrain. The Mammoth Mountain Ski Resort is spread out both horizontally and vertically, with 3,100 feet (945 metres) of vertical drop. Most of the Mammoth Mtn ski terrain is on the frontside with slopes that drop down to four base areas. There’s also a backside, which is more like a side-side than a backside! There are different tree species on the lower parts of Mammoth Mountain ski resort, and these in the main are very well spaced. The top of the mountain is treeless and has lots of rock features, which keeps things rather interesting.

Weekends can be very busy with the LA crowds, although as a gross generalisation, they tend to be more piste hounds than powder hounds. Nevertheless when a storm hits you’ll have plenty of locals to compete with for the freshies. Fresh tracks last for a little while after a storm because Mammoth Mtn has some off-piste nooks and crannies, but many of the fresh lines are pretty obvious and it doesn’t take local knowledge to find them.

Lifts

Mammoth Mtn has 28 lifts, including the Panorama Gondola, 2 high speed six-packs, and 9 high speed quad chair lifts. There are a few slow-ish lifts around the resort, but impressively Mammoth has mostly fast chair lifts, including many with footrests. Some of the top lifts go on wind-hold during the frequent windy conditions.

In addition to most of the lifts having names, they also have numbers, which denote the chronological order in which they were installed.

Due to the efficiency of the lifts, lift queues generally aren’t a major problem. On weekends and holidays, short queues can develop near the base lodges.

Lift Tickets

Mammoth Mountain Ski Resort lift tickets are reasonably expensive, but not as costly as some of the other high profile US ski resorts, and you get plenty of value consider the Mammoth skiing and infrastructure on offer. Mammoth lift passes are also valid at June Mountain, and there’s also a Cali4nia Pass season ticket that covers Mammoth, June, Bear and Snow Summit.

Mammoth Snow and Weather

On average, Mammoth receives 400 inches (10.2 metres) of snowfall per season, which is a little less than some other California ski resorts such as Alpine Meadows, Sugar Bowl, and Kirkwood, but it’s still very impressive. Mammoth Mountain also has excellent snowmaking facilities that cover the majority of the groomers, and the grooming is very well done with barely any visible seams.

The jury is still out on the Mammoth snow quality vs Tahoe. Some folks say that Mammoth snow tends to be less wet than that found at the Lake Tahoe ski resorts because it is located on the east side of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, which affords some protection from the wet snow storms that roll in from the west coast. Others say it’s the same wet snow as Tahoe, the only difference being that the top of Mammoth Mtn is at higher elevation, which improves the snow quality significantly. For example, Mammoth is 2,005 feet (611 metres) higher than Squaw Valley, and 2,444 feet (745 metres) higher than Northstar (which is just a pimple of a hill!). Many of the slopes on the skiers’ right half of the Mammoth resort are north facing, which also helps to keep the snow in great shape.

It is often very windy, largely due to a depression in the mountain range behind Mammoth Mountain where the storms from the west can charge on through. The upside of this dip is that Mammoth gets more snow than surrounding areas. Typically the (lookers’) left side of the mountain is more protected, whilst the right side is wind city. When the storms come in, the backside in particular may be an area to avoid (unless you’re super hardcore!!).

Mammoth Skiing for the Beginner

Mammoth Mtn is a lovely resort for beginners with 25% of the trails rated as green. The beginners’ runs are in the lower protected parts of the resort and accessed from each of the three main base areas.

Mammoth Skiing & Boarding for Intermediates

Mammoth has lots of beautiful groomed cruisers for intermediates (40% of the trails rated as blue). Some of these are delightfully long.

Terrain Parks & Pipes

With 9 parks and 3 pipes (including one of only a handful of “SuperDuper” 22 ft high and 550ft long pipes in the world), Mammoth is internationally renowned for its terrain parks. Mammoth is a haven for international ski and snowboard pros who come here to train for the X games and Olympics, but there’s also plenty of scope for progression for beginners and intermediates with a mini pipe, mini jumps, and terrain parks for all levels.

Advanced Skiing Mammoth

Only 20% of the trails are rated as single blacks, but there’s a large playground at Mammoth for advanced riders when you include some of the off-piste skiing in both the alpine and the trees. Chair 12 in particular can be nice on a stormy day for some tree skiing, and for nicer days there’s some great tree skiing over the backside. There’s generally no cornice on the Cornice Bowl run and it’s often winch cat groomed, so it’s smooth, steep and fast.

Expert Ski and Snowboard Terrain

Much of the double black diamond terrain is in the upper parts of the resort and the skiers’ right fringes. Chair 22 in the guts of the ski area also has some lovely steep terrain and the added fun of plenty of trees. To a large degree, the steepness and challenge factor of the resort depends on how much base there is.

For extreme thrill seekers, there are a few cliffs to huck.