Mammoth Mountain offers the best spring skiing in the country with shredding through May, reduced lift and lodging rates, and sunshine.
Spring skiing breezes through the end of May, and often into summer, at the Mammoth Mountain ski area in California. With its location in the Sierra Nevada mountain range, Mammoth gets more than 400 inches (33 feet) of snow every year. That means you can carve turns until wildflowers replace snowy slopes. That’s just one of 8 reasons to go spring skiing in Mammoth Mountain.
8 Reasons To Go Spring Skiing in Mammoth Mountain
Not only did I learn to ski in Mammoth as a kid, but it’s also where my children learned to ski. We return often to ski our favorite runs and to challenge ourselves on steeper trails. That’s easy to do at Mammoth, aptly named for its 11,053-foot-high summit, more than 3,500 acres of ski-able terrain, and 28 lifts. The long spring season is especially fun because we can dress in light layers and often without jackets. In fact, the town of Mammoth Lakes refers to this season as “swinter,” which means winter and summer. It’s when you can spend your mornings on the slopes and your afternoons on the lake. Snow, sun, and seasonal events mean there are many great reasons to enjoy the best spring skiing in Mammoth.
Long Spring Skiing Season
Skiing in May? You bet! Sunshine, snow, deals, and fun events are great reasons to go spring skiing in Mammoth. The roads are clear and the slopes have snow—sometimes even a few fresh flurries. It’s fun to ski in light clothing (think T-shirts) and enjoy the fresh mountain air. In swinter, seasonal events take place on the mountain—some at the summit, accessible via gondola. A couple of years ago, my friend Dana and I attended a twilight summit event and were wowed by the spectacular sunset colors.
Insider tip: Enjoy the sunshine but remember to slather on the sunscreen. The best time to ski is morning to early afternoon. After that the snow may be slushy.
Lift Ticket Deals
By early April, lift tickets and lodging rates drop, making spring skiing in Mammoth a great time to hit the slopes. In general, daily lift tickets can be expensive. But there are many ways to save. For example, you can save 20 percent on the window rate when you buy tickets online early. You’ll save even more with multi-day tickets. And of course, mid-week rates are less than weekend rates. The Ikon Pass is great if you plan to ski several times each year.
Scenic Gondola Rides
You don’t have to be a skier to reach the summit for lunch with a view. For a fee, the Panorama Gondola brings passengers from the Main Lodge to the summit. Kids ages 12 and younger ride free with each paying adult. Once at the summit, enjoy a meal with panoramic views at the Eleven53 Café. There’s also an interpretive center with exhibits that feature local history and geology. Be sure to step outside for a short walk to Mammoth Mountain’s famous totem sign. It’s a traditional place to take a photo and enjoy the beautiful views of the Minarets and beyond.
Ride the Village Gondola
Whether you ski or just want to grab lunch on the mountain, the free Village Gondola is a convenient way to access Canyon Lodge. There you can rent ski and snowboard gear, book lessons, and buy tickets. The lodge also has a café, bar, sports shop, and a large outdoor space to enjoy mountain views. It’s a perfect place to rendezvous with friends and family for lunch or après-ski drinks.
Nordic Skiing and Snowshoeing
Mammoth is also known for cross country skiing. The Tamarack Lodge offers 19 miles of cross-country and snowshoe trails for beginners, intermediates, and experts. Although my daughter Christina and I had done cross country skiing before, it had been many, many years. We had so much fun! We started out on the training tracks before gliding to the beginner terrain around the Twin Lakes area. You can buy tickets, rent gear, and book rooms at Tamarack Lodge.
Everyone knows that après-ski is a big part of the ski culture. In fact, some people seem to spend more time on sunny decks with a drink than on the slopes! But for me, I enjoy a full day of skiing so I can earn an Elderberry Cosmos or a locally brewed beer. There’s no shortage of fun bars. My favorites include the ski lodges—Main, Canyon, and Eagle. In the Village, I like the Side Door Wine Bar & Café, and Shelter Distilling (great food too!). Another favorite is Mammoth Brewing, around the corner from the Village.
Spring Skiing Events
Locals like to have fun on the mountain and visitors are welcome to join or watch. Events vary. Some are low-key and include live music on weekends at Canyon Lodge. This year features a Caldera Burn and a Pond Skim. The Caldera Burn (scheduled for April 16) starts at Canyon Lodge and features ski mountaineering.
The Pond Skim (scheduled for April 17) also takes place at Canyon Lodge. Costumed skiers and snowboarders straight-line it across an ice-cold pond that’s over 100 feet long.
Explore the Village at Mammoth
The Village is a pedestrian-only area in Mammoth Lakes. A destination in itself, the Village has condos, restaurants, bars, shops, and various events. It’s also where you can board a gondola to Canyon Lodge. Mammoth’s shuttles stop at the Village to transport people to various places including the slopes.
Westin Monache Resort
On our recent visit to Mammoth, we stayed at the Westin Monache Resort, located by the Village and gondola. That made it very convenient to find good places to eat and drink. Our cozy one-bedroom suite had a living room with a sofa bed, a kitchenette, and a balcony with pool and mountain views. The hotel has two hot tubs, an outdoor heated pool, a fitness room, and a restaurant. After a day of skiing, nothing feels better than soaking in a bubbling hot tub.
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Getting to Mammoth
Mammoth is about a four-and-a-half-hour drive from Los Angeles. The mountain town’s small Mammoth Yosemite Airport has flights from designated airports in California. Once in Mammoth, getting around is easy. Mammoth has a convenient shuttle system (usually free depending on hours) that goes to the Main Lodge, Canyon Lodge, Eagle Lodge, and Tamarack Lodge. In addition, free shuttles travel around town. In fact, once we park at our hotel or condo, we never drive until we leave.