Table of Contents[Hide][Show]
- Mammoth Ski Resort in California
- Getting around Mammoth Ski Resort car free
- Exploring Mammoth Lakes
- Mammoth Mountain Ski Area
- Mammoth Ski Resort Rentals
- Nordic skiing and snow-shoeing at Mammoth Ski Resort
- Woolly's Tube Park & Snow Play
- Mammoth Ski Resort Events & Festivals
- Where to eat at Mammoth Ski Resort
- Date night with or without the kids
- Where to stay in Mammoth Ski Resort
Located in California’s Sierra Nevada is the world-class Mammoth Mountain Ski Resort. The name says it all. Mammoth is a massive ski resort with dozens of trails for all levels of skiers and snowboarders. Plus, Mammoth offers lodging and dining for all budgets. A comfortable drive without winding roads, it’s a popular ski resort with Southern California residents. In fact, skiers and snowboarders travel from all over the world to enjoy the ski resort that often stays open until July.
Mammoth Ski Resort in California
From the time I was a kid, my family has traveled to the Mammoth Ski Resort. It’s where I learned to ski, and where we gathered with family and friends to enjoy fresh snowfall. So, it was fun to introduce my husband and kids to Mammoth Mountain and nearby June Mountain.
The sister resorts have always been family friendly. But with expanded ski schools, snow play areas, and amenities they’re more family friendly than ever. Plus, you never know when you might run into Mammoth’s longtime mascot, Woolly. The furry creature is super friendly and quite adept on skis and snowboard.
Located in the town of Mammoth Lakes, Mammoth is a year-round resort with a charming European ambiance. With a summit at 11,053 feet, Mammoth Mountain has diverse skiable terrain. The array of outdoor activities, and dining and lodging options makes Mammoth Mountain one of the best family ski resorts in the United States. Though much smaller, June Mountain is a cozy resort for those who prefer a more intimate experience.
Getting around Mammoth Ski Resort car free
I recently went skiing with my childhood friend, Dana. We grew up skiing in Mammoth, but hadn’t skied together in years. We drove to Mammoth from Los Angeles. But once there, found we didn’t need our car to get around.
Among Mammoth Lakes’ great features is the free public transit. The Eastern Sierra Transit Authority (ESTA) bus service offers complimentary transportation all around the town of Mammoth Lakes, including each of our mountain base lodges. A free night trolley runs until about 2 a.m.
In addition, The Village gondola transports visitors in six minutes directly to Canyon Lodge, one of three mountain base lodges.
Plus, direct flights to Mammoth are also an option. United Airlines offers direct flights from LAX year-round, and from San Francisco and Denver, CO in winter.
Read More: Where Kids Ski FREE in the US!
Exploring Mammoth Lakes
There are basically three main areas in Mammoth Lakes. The town itself, The Village at Mammoth, and Mammoth Mountain. In town, you’ll find markets, restaurants, sport shops, hotels, condos, etc.
Within the town is The Village at Mammoth, a European-style and pedestrian-only complex built in 2003. Luxury condominiums, restaurants, shops, galleries, and a gondola to the slopes make this a destination in itself. Plus, it’s the hub for apres-ski activities, events and shuttle stops.
Mammoth Mountain Ski Area
If your family is here to ski or snowboard, you’ll spend most of your time exploring the mountain. Get an early start because there’s much to see! Mammoth has 25 chair lifts (includes nine express quads, two express six-packs, two gondolas) servicing more than 46 trails through pine forests.
Plus, there are eight terrain parks with 100-plus jibs, more than 5 jumps, and three half-pipes. Despite the large mountain’s size, it’s easy to navigate and avoid long lift lines. I think partly because the mountain has three base lodges, crowds are dispersed on the mountain. In addition to the Main Lodge on Minaret Road, you can access lifts at Canyon Lodge, and Eagle Lodge.
And with dining options on the mountain, you don’t have to ski to the bottom for lunch. Situated at the summit, Eleven53 Cafe is a casual eatery serving Asian noodles, wraps and other items. It’s a fun spot to enjoy lunch with a view. Another good lunch spot is McCoy’s Marketplace at mid-mountain. Or escape to the backside of the mountain for gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches and soups at The Outpost.
TravelingMom Tip: Located at the bottom of Stump Alley Express (chair 2), The Mill serves fresh BBQ. Take off your boots and relax by a fire pit on the large deck.
Ski and snowboarding schools
Not only did I learn to ski in Mammoth, two of my three kids did too. My youngest took her first lesson in Big Bear, a Southern California ski resort owned by Mammoth. Both Mammoth Mountain and Big Bear offer top-notch ski and snowboard schools for ages 3 and older. In addition, there’s an adaptive ski school for children and adults.
At Mammoth Ski Resort, lessons take place at the Main Lodge (four miles past The Village at Mammoth on Minaret Road), Canyon Lodge and Eagle Lodge. The closest base lodge to town, Eagle is located on Meridian Boulevard next to Juniper Springs Resort.
Private lessons and guides
One- and three-hour lessons with a pro are the best way to sharpen skills quickly. Make it a group lesson (bring up to 4 friends or family members) and skip lift lines with priority access.
Children’s ski/snowboard school
Grouped by age and ability, Mammoth offers half and full-day lessons to kids ages 3 and 4, 5 – 7, and 8 – 12. Prices vary depending on dates, and number of lesson days. For example, a single half-day lesson for kids ages 8 – 12 with lift ticket and rentals will run about $180. Full day will cost about $260.
Mammoth also offers a lesson and childcare package. This entails time on the slopes in the morning followed by playtime, rest and activities in the afternoon.
Mammoth Ski Resort Rentals
In addition to the base lodges, ski and snowboard rentals are available at several locations, such as The Village and in town. Again, prices vary depending on the type of rentals, which include standard, performance and demo. If possible, rent your gear the day before you hit the slopes. You can also rent lockers or leave your gear with attendants at the base mountain rental facilities.
Lift Tickets at Mammoth Mountain and June Mountain
Ticket prices vary day to day. But generally, tickets start at $129 for adults, $106 kids over 12, $52 ages 5 – 12. Kids under 4 and seniors 80 and over ski free. Mammoth lift tickets are valid same-day at June Mountain, excluding beginner tickets. Multi-day tickets are also valid at June.
Consider an Ikon Pass
In addition to unlimited season-long access to Mammoth, the Ikon Pass provides access to 27 destinations around the world. These include access to Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows and Big Bear Mountain Resort.
Nordic skiing and snow-shoeing at Mammoth Ski Resort
In addition to skiing and snowboarding, Mammoth has 19 miles of groomed cross country trails. Cross-country skis and snowshoe rentals are available at the Tamarack XC Ski Center.
Woolly’s Tube Park & Snow Play
Take a breather from skiing for tubing down groomed runs at this designated snow play area. Lifts bring you back to the top of the hill. In addition, there’s a large snow play area and a heated deck with a snack bar serving hot cocoa and adult beverages.
TravelingMom Tip: Ride the free Red Line bus toward Mammoth Mountain Main Lodge to stop 19.
Mammoth Ski Resort Events & Festivals
Mammoth hosts many family-friendly events through the year. In winter, Woolly and friends host a dance party and parade Saturdays at The Village Plaza. Music and face painting are among the activities.
During our visit in April, we attended the Winter Ezakimak (kamikaze spelled backwards). This thrilling event features local athletes racing a 5K uphill race on foot, skis, and bikes. Spectators ride the gondola to the summit for sunset views and to cheer on the racers.
Where to eat at Mammoth Ski Resort
Yodler Restaurant & Bar. Located by Mammoth Mountain Inn and the Main Lodge, the Yodler has been around for as long as I can remember. The Bavarian-inspired menu features tasty bratwursts, fondue, schnitzel sandwiches, and beer. There’s also a children’s menu and coloring books. The restaurant’s large deck faces the slopes, so it’s a nice place for lunch or apres-ski.
Bleu Market & Kitchen. Specializing in handcrafted products, Bleu is a great place to eat, and to buy food to go from the deli and market. Dinner entrees include braised beef short ribs and lemon rosemary chicken. Bleu also offers fresh bread, cheese & charcuterie, and craft cocktails.
Old New York Deli & Bakery Co. Located by the village, this popular eatery has an extensive breakfast and lunch menu. Perfect for a quick meal or to bring food back to your room.
Burgers Restaurant. With its location by The Village, you can ski to Canyon Lodge and take the gondola to walk to Burgers. Simple, good menu and friendly service.
Date night with or without the kids
Petra’s Bistro and Wine Bar. Owned and operated by brothers Kirk and Robert Schaubmayer, the upscale bistro has delicious food and a cozy ambiance. Located across from The Village, Petra’s menu includes coq au vin, salmon and pasta. The wine list has about 30 wines by the glass, and 350 bottled selections.
TravelingMom Tip: If you’re sans kids, walk around the side of the restaurant to the Clocktower Cellar. Also owned by the Schaubmayerbrothers, the tavern serves 160 whiskies, 26 beers on tap, and more than 50 beers by the bottle. Hidden from the road, if someone hadn’t told us about it, we wouldn’t have seen it.
The Eatery. Located inside the Mammoth Brewing Co., this casual eatery serves pizza, sandwiches and salads. And, of course, the beer is tasty too.
Where to stay in Mammoth Ski Resort
From posh digs to cozy cabins, Mammoth has a wide assortment of lodging options in town and slope-side. Over the years, we’ve stayed in various cabins and condos. Most recently, we stayed at Mammoth Mountain Inn, across from the Main Lodge.
Mammoth Mountain Inn is a classic ski lodge steps from the Main Lodge and ski school. Rooms range from standard hotel rooms to two-bedroom condos. Many rooms have mountain views.
The Village at Mammoth has luxury one- to three-bedroom condos. Furnished in elegant mountain décor, the condos have full-size gourmet kitchens.