Hometown Mountain Shoutout: No Snow in California? You’ve Never Been to Mammoth Mountain

Jordan Guzman |
Mammoth Mountain Snowiest Months
Anyone who has seen this sign in the summer knows how deep it’s getting up there. Image: Mammoth Mountain

Nestled in the high crests of the majestic Eastern Sierras of California lies a skier paradise like no other. This is Mammoth Mountain, my skiing stomping grounds since I was three years old. This mecca for skiing and snowboarding, with an average annual snowfall of 400 inches, attracts riders from all over California, the United States, and beyond. The 25 lifts with access to 175 trails and over 3,500 skiable acres offer riders anything and everything they could want, from pow to park, groomers, trees, chutes, and more. 

The sheer size of Mammoth Mountain may seem intimidating to first-time visitors, but the resort was once a fraction of the size, a one-lift wonder for a small group of California skiers. The mountain had its first lift built in 1955 by Los Angeles hydrographer Dave McCoy who had been skiing at the snowy haven using a portable rope tow since the 1930s. Since then, Mammoth Mountain has become nationally and internationally renowned, hosting U.S. Freeski and Snowboard Grand Prix and FIS World Cup events. 

But for recreational riders, the mountain is so much more than a site for snowsports’ greatest competitors. Each lift transports riders to a new world, sometimes fast on the newer high-speed quads and sometimes at a slower, more nostalgic pace riding on the fixed triple or double chairs. Gliding through the towering pine trees of the lower mountain, riders feel at one with the nature they seek to experience not present in the metropolises of Southern California. Then as riders climb through the clouds passing the Incredible Hulk action figure near the top of Chair 23, one feels like they can conquer the world. 

Mammoth Mountain Views
Looking toward the famed Minarets from Mammoth Mountain. Image: Jordan Guzman

The diversity of the terrain but also of the riders that flock to the mountain make each day of riding a new and exciting experience. Sure, I may run into a few high school or college buddies lapping the park or the Upper Panorama Gondola, but I may also share a lift with a rider from Australia, Europe, Asia, or somewhere miles from a place that receives snow. Meeting riders from so many different places and seeing them enjoy the snow from December to well past June sends stoke levels high. 

For many Southern Californians like myself, the mountain and the town of Mammoth Lakes have become a home away from home, replacing the warm weather and beaches for a cool, serene mountain town tucked away in the Inyo National Forest. On clear days from the top of the mountain, one can see the expansion of the grand Sierras stretching as far as the eye can see, and on clear nights one can look up at the hundreds of stars and dream of bluebird powder days that are sure to come in this snowfall paradise. 

mammoth trail map
Mammoth Mountain trail map

Related Articles

Got an opinion? Let us know...