Mammoth Mountain began work in August on the new, long-awaited ski back trail to the village. Finishing of the new trail will take three years, but construction this fall should allow it to open to skiers and snowboarders this December.

The Village Ski Back Trail, which connects Mammoth Mountain with The Village at Mammoth, is intended to reduce down-slope congestion on the Village Gondola. The trail was originally proposed in the late 1970s, but design finally began in 1994. The design has been updated several times since then to meet the evolving priorities of the Town of Mammoth Lakes, the U.S. Forest Service, and Mammoth Mountain.

Skiers and snowboarders can access the new trail near the bottom of Roller Coaster Express and the top of Chair 7. The 7,800-foot-long and 22-foot-wide trail follows the natural slope and grade, but the design reduces visual impact to residents in adjacent neighborhoods. The trail is expected to handle 900 to 1,200 skiers and snowboarders per hour.

Sawyer work began in early August, cutting trees for the run. Tree removal and minor grading work is taking place in September. The trail is expected to open by this Christmas, pending a required base of natural snow.

Work during the next two summers will complete the trail. A pedestrian bridge spanning the street Forest Trail will be installed next summer to provide access to The Village at Mammoth. Other work includes additional grading and installation of retaining walls.

The trail will rely on natural snowfall for opening for the next two winters. Snowmaking equipment installation is planned for summer 2011.

More information. Or call 760-934-2571.