Mammoth Mountain’s Top Runs for Snowboarders

There’s no denying that Mammoth Mountain is huge. With 3,600+ ridable acres, there is something for everyone. Here’s a rundown of the best runs for snowboarders, from beginner to advanced.

Beginner Trails for Snowboarders at Mammoth Mountain

The difficulty of terrain increases with elevation at Mammoth Mountain. The best green trails cluster at the bottom of the ski area at Canyon Lodge and wrap around to Eagle Lodge. These runs get plenty of morning sun and are out of the way of the steeper, intermediate runs that attract more advanced snowboarders riding at higher speeds.

On warm weekdays, hop on the Eagle Express (Chair 15) and ride down Sleepy Hollow, Pumpkin, or Lupin trails. If you need a bit more of a challenge, head over to Canyon Lodge to Schoolyard Express (Chair 17) and ride Spring Canyon and Round About.

The easiest runs are on the Main Lodge side. Head over to the Discovery Chair (Chair 11) and take laps on Sesame Street and Road Runner.

Tip: The amount of snowfall significantly affects the difficulty of trails and after a snowstorm, beginners with strong fundamental skills, including turning and stopping, can ride a number of the easier blue runs with soft snow. Please note that common sense should be exercised and you should always ride within your ability.

Intermediate Runs for Snowboarders at Mammoth Mountain

Because Mammoth is so massive, I like to do a little round-the-world tour when I’m riding intermediate runs. I start at Eagle Express (Chair 15) early and zoom down Chickadee or Swell to Canyon Express (Chair 16) with the abundance of options like Avalanche, Sideshow, and Downhill. If they’re not groomed early in the day, they produce sublime powder pleasures.

Then I head over to Roller Coaster Express (Chair 4) and the maze of trails that, with a good plan, can lead you back atStump Alley Express (Chair 2) and up to the bowls just below black diamond country. In soft powder, intermediates can ride most of the mountain’s big bowls with forgiving clear run outs at the bottom.

Tip: After a big storm with two or more feet of new snow, capable intermediates can enjoy most of the black diamond chutes on the mountain. Some of my favorites off High Five Express 5 are Face of Five and Sanctuary.

Advanced/Expert Runs for Snowboarders at Mammoth Mountain

For advanced riders, start on Chair 15 in the morning and head across to Chair 22. Note that there is a short traverse called Milk Run between the top of 15 and Swell. Be sure to keep up your speed!

There are a number of transitional runs like Quicksilver and Haven’t the Foggiest that offer somewhat steep, advanced terrain, but don’t necessarily require expert skills. As legs warm and ambition permits, head over to Chair 22’s expert terrain and shoot the chutes like Shaft or aptly-named, Avalanche Chutes. Then head over to High Five Express (Chair 5) to the fun and challenging chutes of Sanctuary and Triangle.

When you’re ready for the top, Huevos Grande, Dropout Chutes, and Paranoid Flats offer some of the most challenging runs and deserve their double diamonds. You’ll find more than 16 other black and double black diamond runs off of the top.

From the bottom of Huevos Grande, there’s a nice shortcut through Rooster Tail into the Christmas Bowl and down into the Lower Dry Creek area before resting your legs on Easy Rider. The Dropouts Chutes are also challenging and deserve an hour to ride all three if you include recovery time and gut checks at the top.

Keep in mind that all ratings are relative to the mountain. A Black Diamond at your home mountain may be easier or more difficult than those on Mammoth Mountain. It’s best to warm up at a full level below you’re ability, before proceeding to anything more challenging. For example, you regularly ride black diamond runs, warm up on a few blue routes. Similarly, if you ride intermediate terrain, warm up on a few green trails.

For those of you looking for a side country experience without the trouble, the backside of the mountain, near Chairs 13 & 14 offers a huge number of off-piste options. Just be sure you have the proper skills and gear.

Whatever your skill level, Mammoth Mountain has a run you’ll love! Happy Riding.

Bryan Anaclerio

I am an avid, competent, and enthusiastic (backcountry) skier. I have instructed courses at the community college level in Backcountry Skiing / Snowboarding, Avalanche Awareness, Backcountry Winter Mountain Travel, Winter Camping, Mountaineering, and Alpine Rescue. I love and respect the Sierra Nevada mountains. I have traveled extensively throughout the entire range, either hiking for weeks…

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