"Mammoth Lakes Ski Resort" Mammoth Lakes by MM212

Mammoth Lakes Travel Guide: 253 reviews and 499 photos

With Yosemite National Park and the Sierra Nevada on one side, and Owens Valley and the Nevada Desert on the other, Mammoth Mountain is certainly not short of breathtaking views. It is one of a handful major ski resorts in southern California, and is one of the largest in the whole of the USA. Its southerly latitude affords it 300 sunny (and warm) days, yet the Sierra Nevada Mountains it is on are the first line of defence against the powerful Pacific winter storms, which typically dump several feet of snow at a time on the mountain chain.

Unfortunately, the first time I skied in Mammoth (14 - 16 Jan 2012), the resort and the whole of the western USA were going through one of the worst snow droughts in memory. Not a single flake had fallen since the first storm in mid-to-late November! Luckily, the resort was equipped with enough snow cannons to keep a minimum amount of slopes open to visitors (though with a terrible quality of snow). To everyone's relief, a double storm passed through around the 20th January and brought much needed snow - 142cm of it over a period of 4 days. I returned the week after to a much better skiing experience! Still though, I would not place Mammoth among my favourite ski resorts.

Because of its geographic location, Mammoth Mountain receives skiers mostly from Los Angeles and San Diego (the mountain pass is closed in winter, which makes it impossible for people from San Francisco to drive). However, recently, the Mammoth Lakes Airport (MMH) opened to commercial traffic, and now direct flights connect it with Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego and Orange County. This has opened the resort even to international visitors, which will hopefully improve the resorts facilities and restaurants (which thus far seem very provincial!).

  • Last visit to Mammoth Lakes: Jan 2013
  • Intro Updated Jan 19, 2013
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