The Best Places To Hit During A Mammoth, CA Mega Storm

Lindsay Hayden | | Featured ArticleFeatured Article

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Ever wonder what it’s like to be at Mammoth Mountain after a Mammoth Mega Storm? Photo courtesy of Mammoth Mountain.

If you ask a Mammoth local, they’ll tell you that any day on the mountain is a good day. But with storm season upon us, there are snow stashes all throughout Mammoth that, when found during a “Mammoth Mega Storm”, can be some of the best tracks of your life.

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These hidden treasures are held under wraps because, well, they’re just that good. Lucky for you, SnowBrains has the lowdown on all of these must-hit spots, and we’re here to help you plan out your next big pow day at Mammoth.

The First Run You Should Hit During a “Mammoth Mega Storm” Is…

Grey McCalla ripping down Rodger’s Ridge on a beaut of a day. Photo courtesy of Mammoth Mountain.

Rodger’s Ridge

The reasons for stopping by Rodger’s Ridge during the beginning of a big blizzard or right after one are twofold. First off, during a “Mammoth Mega Storm” your plans to hit the upper part of the mountain could be put on hold due to some gnarly wind and weather, so instead of waiting it out, you’re better off warming your legs up on Rodger’s Ridge before turning the dial-up. Secondly, even after a big storm dies down, there’s usually some patrol work needed up top.

However, Mammoth’s Justin Romano says, “Rodger’s will always be open when at the very least Broadway Express (Chair 1) is running or the Lower Panorama Gondola to McCoy Station (Mid).” So, get yourself to Rodger’s early on a pow day to lay some tracks down on some of the lower mountain’s steepest terrain.

If You’re Looking For Pow Amidst Some Windy Weather, Head To…

Chris Benchetler cruising under Chair 23. Photo courtesy of Mammoth Mountain.

Dropout Chutes

You can find the Dropout Chutes under Chair 23, one of Mammoth’s most iconic lifts. Even when winds are high, snow is still able to stack up due to the direction the run faces, making it a must hit spot when the weather gets rowdy. Deep snow and wind protection aren’t the only reasons for you to make your way to the Dropout Chutes though. This run also brings the intensity, as it has a ton of features that allow you to weave in and out of its steep chutes.

When You’re Trying To Find Freshies, Look No Further Than…

There’s no shortage of pow on Dragon’s Back. Photo courtesy of Mammoth Mountain.

Dragon’s Back

Dragon’s Back and “The Tail” should be your first thought when looking for untouched snow. You can find fresh pow on Dragon’s Back for days after a storm, which makes it a run that can instantly gratify your quest for the good stuff, as well as run that will keep you coming back for seconds. Oh, and not only does Dragon’s Back bring the depth snow-wise, but it also packs a punch with its multifaceted terrain. The terrain includes very steep technical turns to protected tree runs, and not to mention, it has some of the best views of the Lake’s Basin and valley floor.

For A Run Good Enough For the Locals Try…

Chris Benchetler pops off for the crowd on the face of Chair 22. Photo courtesy of Mammoth Mountain.

Face of 22

On pow days you can find the locals on the face of Chair 22. From Lincoln Mountain’s Chair 22 you can enjoy some extra deep snow as a result of its quick rise in elevation and the preferable direction that the slope faces. With access to some of the mountain’s best snow and steep terrain, the runs on the face are always a good time. And if you’re the type of person who likes an audience, the onlookers from the chair will be your ultimate source of hype.

In The Mood For A Mammoth Classic? Make Your Way To…

Bernie Rosow making turns on a Mammoth classic. Photo courtesy of Mammoth Mountain.

Dave’s Run

It doesn’t get more classic than Dave’s Run. Named after Mammoth’s founder, Dave McCoy, Dave’s is located off the summit and is the represents what Mammoth is all about: large amounts of snow piling up.

Romano says that “on average Dave’s can be holding upwards of 30+ feet” of snow. This insane build up is, again, a result of the direction the slope faces and Mammoth’s 11,053’ summit, and is made even better due to Dave’s terrain formation. Dave’s also benefits from a refill of wind buff in between storms, which makes for “buttery smooth turns and seriously DEEP days on powder mornings.

If You’re Looking For Some Hike-To Access Get Over To…

Expect it to be steep and deep when hitting The Hemlocks. Photo courtesy of Mammoth Mountain.

The Hemlocks

The Hemlocks can be accessed from the “Backside” from Chair 14 or the top of the mountain. A 5-minute hike will get you to natural features and untouched pow, that are well worth a little sweat. With free-ride progression taking over, Romano says that

“in recent years Mammoth has started building backcountry style jumps to compliment and make the area more fun on powder days.”

From steeps to cliff drops to tight trees and big open faces, The Hemlocks has it all, and in what is possibly the best part about this run: its separation from the crowds. When you feel like leaving it all behind and hitting hidden pow stashes head to The Hemlocks, and get ready to plan some creative lines.


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