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Mammoth Lakes is a must-visit destination for skiers, snowboarders, and mountain enthusiasts. You needn’t look any further than last ski season to discover how special it is. Mammoth Mountain’s 2022-23 ski season was record-breaking, seeing 700-plus inches of snow at the Main Lodge and 900-plus inches at the summit. Skiing continued at Mammoth Mountain until August 6.
Simply put, Mammoth Lakes is a world-class ski destination, and there’s a lot to discover in this mountain town in the heart of California’s Eastern Sierra. Continue reading for five unreal ways to experience Mammoth Lakes.
Ski the highest ski resorts in the U.S.
That’s resorts, plural. Mammoth Lakes is home to the two highest ski resorts on the West Coast, Mammoth Mountain and June Lake. Mammoth has a summit elevation of 11,053′, while June Mountain clocks in at 10,090’. Between the two mountains, you could ski all week and still just scratch the surface of all the skiable terrain, since Mammoth is one of California’s largest ski resorts, boasting 25 lifts, 175 trails, 3,500+ skiable acres, and 3,100 feet of vertical. On average, Mammoth receives an impressive 400 inches of fresh powder per year. Over at June Lake, skiers and riders have access to 1,500 acres of skiable terrain and 2,590 feet of vertical. Bonus: Both mountains are on the Ikon Pass.
Mammoth also boasts one of the longest ski seasons in North America, often remaining open into the summer months. Pro tip: Book your Mammoth trip midweek for no lift lines, powder for days, lodging deals, and après-ski specials.
Experience one of North America’s best après-ski parties
We’ve called Mammoth’s Weekend Après Party one of the best après-ski parties in North America. And it’s for good reason. Kicking off Christmas weekend, December 22, Mammoth’s Canyon Lodge deck turns into a complete party with a DJ spinning music from an elevated gondola car, giveaways, drink specials, and more. Mammoth’s Weekend Après Party kicks off at 2 p.m. and goes until 5 p.m., every Friday and Saturday until April, culminating with the pond skim. Afterward, hop on the complimentary Village Gondola and continue après-ski down at the Village at Mammoth.
Enjoy dinner from a Michelin-starred chef
Ski towns aren’t historically known for their culinary bounty. Enter Mammoth Lakes, and the Village at Mammoth, which is dotted with some unique food and drink spots, like the sleek Whitebark Restaurant & Lounge inside the Westin Monache, Lakanuki Tiki Bar, and Shelter Distilling. One of the newest additions is Vulcania, which comes from the Voltaggio brothers of Food Network fame. Bryan is a James Beard finalist, while Michael is Michelin-starred. Enjoy Italian American staples with the Voltaggio’s own twist.
Go on a guided snowmobiling tour of Mammoth Lakes
Few places boast the vastness and beauty of snowy terrain like the Eastern Sierra backcountry. Inyo National Forest alone is home to more than 100 miles of groomed multi-use trails stretching from Minaret Vista and the San Joaquin Ridge to June Lake and the remote Bald Mountain warming hut. However, you don’t have to have your own snowmobile to explore Mammoth Lakes’ backcountry. Mammoth Mountain offers a few different snowmobile tours, including a 1-hour guided tour of Minaret Vista, featuring 360-degree views of the Minarets, Mammoth Mountain, and the Ritter Range.
Go on a full moon snowshoeing tour
Home to three million acres of wilderness, Mammoth Lakes has no shortage of mountains, valleys, and trails to explore by snowshoes, cross-country skis, and hiking boots. What’s better than a bluebird day of snowshoeing than a guided snowshoe tour by moonlight. Mammoth Mountain offers 90-minute moonlit guided tours, which take place a few times during the winter, departing from the Tamarack Cross-Country Ski Center. Tamarack is a good starting place, too, for accessing 19-plus miles of secluded, groomed trails for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. All told there are more than 140 miles of cross-country trails throughout the Mammoth Lakes region.
Start planning your Mammoth Lakes trip now. Fly into Bishop (40 miles south of Mammoth Lakes), or directly into Mammoth Lakes, from around the country. United offers nonstop service to Bishop (BIH) from San Francisco and Denver, while Advanced Air flies into Mammoth Yosemite Airport (MMH) from Carlsbad and Los Angeles.