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From SKI’s 2021 Resort Guide: Mammoth, Calif., No. 20 in the West
As the name implies, Mammoth Mountain is BIG. Boasting 3,500 skiable acres, it’s no surprise that it earns the No. 3 spot for Terrain, and readers have no trouble getting to every last nook and cranny (No. 7, Lifts and Accessibility). Everyone loves to hate on Mammoth’s “Sierra cement” (No. 24, Snow), but if you’ve ever visited California while it’s getting battered by the Pineapple Express, you know that when it snows, it really snows. Besides, heavier snow sticks around longer. Resort laps in June, anyone?
Expect some COVID-related changes this year, including pass holder priority and $1 million in safety investments. Nonetheless, the skiing will surely be as badass as ever. After all, this is a skier’s mountain. Sure, it’s a bit off the beaten path and a little rough around the edges (No. 25, Travel Ease; No. 28, Charm), but anyone who’s ever lapped Chair 23 after a storm or ridden the Unbound parks when they’re dialed knows it’s best to keep their priorities straight. That’s what Mammoth is all about: “A heady experience, unequaled skiing, and friendly people.” —Rick Sorensen
Mammoth Mountain Stats
- Skiable acres: 3,500
- Trails: 150
- Summit Elevation (feet): 11,053
- Lifts: 28
- Vertical drop (feet): 3,100
Where to Stay in Mammoth
The Village Lodge
The Village Lodge offers ski-in/ski-out condos with access to the heated pool, jacuzzis, fitness rooms and arcade. Each condo has its own cozy aesthetic complete with a gas-fireplace. With rooms to occupy anywhere from two to eight guests, enjoy a quaint studio apartment, or if you’re traveling with a larger group, try a one bedroom, two bedroom, three bedroom, or three bedroom deluxe room. Enjoy the prime location in Mammoth Village, a quick walk from shopping, dining, nightlife, and of course, top-notch access to the ski slopes that you came for.
The Westin Monache Resort
The Westin Monache Resort boasts of its jaw-dropping views of the Sierras and proximity to the best outdoor activities California has to offer. The luxury resort has access to a free local shuttle and is only a 45 minute drive from Yosemite National Park for those interested in venturing a bit further, then return to enjoy a savory breakfast, lunch or dinner at the Whitebark Restaurant. With a ski valet, heated outdoor pool, and 24-hour fitness room, The Westin Monache doesn’t skimp on services.
Mammoth Mountain Inn
If you’re traveling on a budget, or traveling with your four-legged friend, the Mammoth Mountain Inn is a phenomenal choice. Conveniently located right across from the main lodge, the ski-in/ski-out inn is complete with a whirlpool spa, pool, and fitness center. The Mountainside Bar and Grill offers casual onsite dining with a superb mountain view, perfect for both breakfast and dinner. Their hotel rooms and condos have everything for a ski get-away, and for an additional small fee, you can even bring your dog!
Mammoth Resorts Lodging Collection
If you’re in Mammoth for an extended stay with a large group, consider renting an entire home for the added privacy and convenience it affords. Mammoth Mountain manages several luxury homes and townhomes through its Mammoth Resorts Lodging Collection that comfortably sleep up to 14. With amenities such as outdoor hot tubs, decks with grills, heated garages, and many different types of sleeping arrangements, there’s sure to be a home suitable for your crew.
Where To Eat In Mammoth
- Skadi: Arguably one of the best tables in Mammoth, Skadi serves up alpine cuisine with an ever-changing menu based on freshness and availability. The ambience and cuisine both reflect chef Ian Algerøen’s Norwegian roots—the restaurant is named for the Norse goddess of hunting and skiing. Expect classics such as house-cured Gravlax and Canadian duck breast with spaetzle and lingonberries as well as lighter fare such as savory crepes and scallops with lemon Beurre Blanc. Note that the dining room is very small and intimate; reservations are a must.
- Shea Schat’s Bakery: Shea Schat’s Bakery located on Main Street offers freshly squeezed orange juice and the best baked goods in Mammoth. Famous for their Sheepherder Bread, the bakery also has doughnuts, banana bread, croissants, strudels and hot drinks. Open daily at 6 a.m., Shea Schat’s Bakery is a sweet spot to start your day.
- The Lakefront: The Lakefront is nestled on the shore of the Twin Lakes, in the cozy Tamarack Lodge with the most intimate fine dining in the area. The large stone fireplace sets quite the mood, with an exquisite menu of rich seasonal dishes and fine wines to warm the soul after a long day of snowy adventures.
- The Melt House : The Melt House, located on the backside of Mammoth Mountain near Chair 14, opened during the 2017-’18 winter season. Warm up with a gooey grilled cheese and hearty soup, before getting back out to the ski slopes, or soak up the views and the sunshine while sipping a lunch-time beer on the expansive deck.
Where to Après in Mammoth
- Clocktower Cellar: With over 160 varieties of whisky and 26 beers on tap, Clocktower Cellar is an essential player in Mammoth Mountain nightlife. The cozy bar, located right across from the Village Gondola, is complete with foosball tables and a delicious array of pub food – the perfect place to kick off your night.
- Shelter Distilling: Newish to Mammoth Mountain Village, Shelter Distilling is a hip spot to unwind after a long day on the slopes. Their extravagant drink menu offers a variety of home-brewed beers, ciders and spirits each with unique flavors. If you can’t decide what looks best, Shelter Distilling also offers beer and spirit tastings so you can sample the best of the best.
- Lakanuki: Lakanuki Bar & Cafe brings the tropics to the ski slopes, with tiki torches, fruity cocktails and late night dancing. Their full menu with burgers, salads, wings and more, is sure to satisfy your late night cravings and you can’t go wrong with their signature cocktails.
Must-Do Activities in Mammoth
- Snowcat Tours: Don’t miss out on Mammoth Mountain’s awe-inspiring views of the Sierras, take a scenic tour on the snowcat and then enjoy a tasty spread at Minaret Vista. Adults can snack on fresh fruit, cheeses, and wine while kids are treated to their own sweet spread plus hot cocoa.
- Uphill Skiing: Mammoth Mountain Ski Area recently updated its uphill skiing policy. With an uphill ticket purchased at the base lodge, you can now skip the chairlift lines and skin up designated routes on your skis or splitboard.
- Hot Springs: The natural hot springs that surround Mammoth lakes are a must between ski days. Crab Cooker, Hilltop, and Wild Willy’s are all about 15-20 miles from Mammoth and feature water between 95-105 degrees. They’re all natural hot spring pools, no built-up concrete or curvy slides to be found here. They’re all small (as in, each pool only holds 6-8 people comfortably, sometimes less). And they each offer unobstructed views of the Eastern Sierra range.