3 Days of Snow Adventures in Mammoth Lakes

Winter in Mammoth Lakes naturally inspires thoughts of adventure, and it’s easily accessible from your doorstep. There are so many ways for everyone to enjoy this spectacular, snowy winter wonderland. 

Mammoth Lakes averages 300 days of sunshine annually, but if your visit does coincide with a snowstorm, don’t worry. Significant snow accumulations are generally followed by clear days under cloudless blue skies, so you can pick up your snow adventures right where you left off.

Day 1 – Ski or Snowboard Lesson

World-famous Mammoth Mountain Ski Area truly lives up to its ‘Mammoth’ name, with 28 chairlifts and two gondolas accessing nearly 3,500 acres of skiable terrain. Boasting a summit elevation of 11,053 feet, Mammoth is the highest resort in California. From easy learning terrain to wide-open bowls and expert chutes, 150 distinct runs offer something for everyone.

Sharing a chairlift ride with an Olympian or seeing a gold medalist soaring high above a massive terrain park is not unusual here. Mammoth Mountain is an official training mountain of the U.S. Olympic Team, annually hosting numerous events featuring both professional and up-and-coming athletes. 

Begin your 3-day snow adventure by booking a lesson to get your feet on the ground. Instructors fluent in several languages are available to get you started with the fundamentals or take your skills to the next level.

If a lesson isn’t for you, get acquainted with Mammoth Mountain’s vast terrain by taking a morning tour of the mountain (available late December through early April) led by a friendly Mammoth Mountain host. Tours depart from Main Lodge and Canyon Lodge at 10:15 am. Then cruise perfectly groomed runs between Canyon and Eagle lodges, bash bumps or seek out powder stashes off Chair 22 or the Cloud Nine Express.

After a full morning of skiing, take the Village Gondola or the Ski Back Trail to The Village at Mammoth for après ski drinks at one of the many restaurants there.  

Day 2 – Sightseeing and Snowplay

Venture to the top of the Sierra with a visit to the Eleven53 Interpretive Center at the top of Mammoth Mountain. From Main Lodge, ride the gondola to the summit; the 360-degree views will take your breath away.

Inside the interpretive center, explore the exhibits detailing the region’s unique landscape. Descend on your choice of intermediate or expert above-treeline terrain. Or ride the gondola back down. 

If your group includes any kids (or kids at heart) an afternoon of snowplay should definitely be on your agenda. Whether you’re building a snowman or gliding down a snowy slope, playing outside in Mammoth Lakes will surely be a memorable family activity.

Check out Woolly’s Tube Park and Snow Play, which offers all the fun and excitement of sledding with the convenience of a rope tow to pull you to the top of the hill. 

End your day with a luxury snowcat tour. Ride in heated comfort to take in stunning, expansive views from Minaret Vista. Indulge in champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries or a hot cocoa bar for the kids while observing a spectacular alpine sunset.

Day 3 – Cross Country Skiing or Snowmobiling

Mammoth Lakes is surrounded by seemingly endless acres of public lands, and a number of roads are transformed into trails for the winter so it’s easy to get out and explore on foot or via snowmobile.

Take a break from downhill skiing or snowboarding and join a morning naturalist tour on cross country skis or snowshoes at Tamarack Cross Country Ski Center. The tours are a perfect way to learn about local wildlife, plants and history, and the guides are an excellent local resource.

After the guided tour, continue to explore Lakes Basin’s meticulously groomed trails at your own pace.

Pick up the speed with an afternoon snowmobile ride. Local vendors offer guided trips, or simply rent a snowmobile to venture out on your own. Mammoth Lakes has over 100 miles of groomed trails available as well as thousands of acres of expansive, open terrain.

At the end of the day, enjoy an evening ice skating session at the Mammoth Ice Rink before treating yourself to a fine-dining meal to complete your stay.