Mammoth Mountain, CA, Report: Closing Weekend After a 270+ Day Season; Spectacular Skiing, Hot Springs, and Life-Long Memories

John Cunningham | | Conditions ReportConditions Report

Mammoth mountain

Report from Friday, August 4th, 2023

Our 4 a.m. departure from South Lake Tahoe to Mammoth Mountain for closing weekend, summer shredding was an adventure in itself.

Only the moon was lighting up the drive until well passed 5:15 before making way to a hazy, foggy sunrise.

Foggy hazy sunrise on highway 395
It felt like a chilly, fall morning already. | Image: Denise Sylvester

We were making outstanding timing; no traffic, no animals, just Zach Bryan ‘Going South’ playing quietly while smooth sailing down Highway 395.

We made a last-minute decision for a quick pit stop to visit the Travertine Hot Springs for a pre-ski sunrise soak.

Hot Springs
Hot Spring. | Image: Author

Now that we were refreshed and awake, the journey down to Mammoth for summer skiing continued.

We ate some fruit and snacks as we pulled into the parking lot around 7:30, right on time to see the Panorama Gondola start spinning.

It was a cool 48º while gearing up, but the sun’s hot, penetrating rays were already warming my body and soul.

Mammoth mountain
Stoked to be back at Mammoth. | Image: Denise Sylvester

Going up the gondola, a snowboarder, also from South Lake, said ‘he hadn’t been to Mammoth since opening weekend in October but had to be a part of this historical season riding on closing weekend in August.’

We got up to The Summit, took in the absolutely stunning 360º views of the surrounding mountains, and strapped in amongst dozens of other skiers and snowboarders, as well as plain-shoe tourists enjoying the hiking views.

A narrow strip of snow down the skier’s left traversing towards Cornice Bowl slowly disappeared, turning into a rocky hike down into the bowl.

Rocky hike to cornice bowl
Rocky stroll with Chair 23 in the background and the drop-in spot just above my head. | Image: Denise Sylvester

We strapped in once again, this time with a long, wide-open field of snow ahead of us, leading down to Chair 3 to our right or 23 to the left.

After a chilly night, likely in the low 40s on the upper mountain, the snow was firm but rapidly softening from the hot summer sun and still so fast and rip-able all the way down to mid-mountain.

A small park setup off of Chair 3 in Saddle Bowl, followed by a big kicker still looming in the shadows of The Face, was beyond impressive to see this late into the year.

We lapped Chair 3 a few times, bombing, spraying, and jumping around on the playful and forgiving snow before heading over to Chair 23.

Mammoth mountain
Side hits are more my style than the 20+ foot kicker. | Image: Denise Sylvester

I took a mogul lap skier’s right, below 23, in what snow was left on the steeper skiing of the mountain.

The top turns through monstrous mogul walls lead into navigating around some exposed and scattered rocks before opening up.

Fast and funky turns wore me out, burned my quads, and stressed my knee before bombing out of the bottom and back to 23.

We bounced around back and forth from 3 to 23, all the way until 11:30 or so.

The entire day was full of smiling and laughing, watching huge tricks get thrown on the big kicker, and listening to the excitement and thankfulness shared by everyone to be there at Mammoth, skiing and riding some amazingly fun snow in the middle of the summer.

While still in the midst of wrapping up this historic and memorable 275-day-long 22-23 season, Mammoth Mountain went ahead and announced on their Instagram that opening day for the 23-24 season is already less than 100 days away!

During our last run of the day of what has felt like this never-ending season, we thought to each other,

This is just the last day on lifts for the season, not the last day on the hill.’

With ten months of consecutive skiing already under our belt, we now just have to figure out September and October (unless Mammoth opens early) to reach our obtainable goal of getting turns 12 months in a row, which will only be the beginning.

Thank you so much to Mammoth Mountain for keeping the lifts spinning, the runs groomed, and the stoke levels at an all-time high for this unforgettable closing weekend and the duration of this record-breaking season.

In true California fashion, we went straight from skiing and riding to the Hot Creek Geological Site for captivating views of the boiling, turquoise-blue hot springs flowing into the creek. 

Hot Creek Geological Site
A taste of Yellowstone just outside of Mammoth. | Image: Author

After taking in the unique and mesmerizing displays of mother nature at Hot Creek, it was time to drive to June Lake for a quick dip.

The water was the perfect temperature to cool down after skiing all morning and our short hike, but the mountain wind made for a chilly exit out of the lake.

On the drive home, one final detour to Buckeye Hot Springs would complete this already outstanding day.

A long soak, mud-scrub, and cold beverage in the hot spring was the perfect way to relax and unwind after skiing and hiking and before taking a cold plunge in the adjacent Buckeye Creek to wake me up for the drive back to Tahoe.

Hot spring chilling
Soaking in the hot spring next to the creek. | Image: Denise Sylvester

We arrived back home to South Lake just in time to catch the last piece of sun going down behind the mountains. 

To say it was an amazing day would be an exponential understatement. 

From unreal summer skiing at Mammoth Mountain on closing weekend to soaking at two hot springs and swimming in an alpine lake all within 12 hours. 

The Sierra Nevada Mountains are truly a one-of-a-kind, special place, and I am beyond blessed and grateful to experience them in all of their beauty.

Snow Numbers

Image: Mammoth Mountain


Image: NOAA


Moon and stars
Moon and stars. | Image: Denise Sylvester
Foggy hazy sunrise on highway 395
Almost an eerie feel from the fog. | Image: Denise Sylvester
Hot Springs
Hot Spring. | Image: Author
Snowy foggy Mountains
The fog burnt off showing off these magical mountains. | Image: Denise Sylvester
Mammoth mountain
Stoked to be back at Mammoth. | Image: Denise Sylvester
Going up! | Image: Author
Look at all the snow left on The Minarets. | Image: Author
The morning haze burning off from The Summit. | Image: Author
Rocky hike to cornice bowl
Rocky stroll with Chair 23 in the background. | Image: Denise Sylvester
Looking up at Cornice Bowl. | Image: Author
Chair 3 looking over at the Panorama Gondola. | Image: Author
Skiers and snowboarders were sending off the big kicker. | Image: Author
The snowblading, umbrella wielding, Burke under Chair 23. | Image: Author
Pink snow was abundant and getting dark in spots. | Image: Author
The little jump was more my style and size. | Image: Denise Sylvester
Hot Creek! No swimming here. | Image: Author
June Lake. | Image: Author


Two hot springs in one day, before and after skiing. Yes please. | Image: Author
Hot spring chilling
Soaking in the hot spring next to the creek. | Image: Denise Sylvester

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