Website design by Jules Fortlage

Elevation: 7,880 ft

Mammoth Lakes, CA

Mammoth is perhaps one of my favorite resorts and always shows us a good time, regardless of the time of year we visit. Although many think of Mammoth as an “LA” mountain, it’s actually situated directly East of Yosemite. Yep, that’s right…Mammoth is actually in the central part of California. It sits pretty much equal distance (geographically) from the Bay Area as to Los Angeles. This gives die hard skiers and snowboarders easy access to some of the most epic terrain in the state – interestingly enough, not many people actually realize just how accessible this resort town can be.

Mammoth has diverse terrain, an excellent terrain park scene, and plenty of places to Apres with your friends. The employees are just as rad as the terrain and the mountain’s avalanche dogs are some of the cutest furry friends you will ever meet.

 ACCESSIBILITY & PARKING 

Northstar is accessible off Highway 267 from two directions – you can either head north from Kings Beach or south from I-80. There's only one road in and out so be prepared for 267 to get backed up in both directions. Parking sucks. Period. Unless you happen to be a super early riser and get a spot in preferred parking ($40) right at the base, you will be parking in one of two satellite lots and will have to take the shuttle to the village. Make sure to look at the end of the row you park in, there should be a number and color that will dictate what shuttle to get back on at the end of the day. All the shuttles head to the village so you can’t get on the wrong one when you head to the slopes. If you don’t know what parking row you are in, ask the shuttle driver – they are super helpful. Once you are in the village you will have to walk to the gondola. Not ideal for skiers but there are plenty of wagons and friendly information posts to help you on your way.

Directions  |  Parking & Shuttle Map  |  Village Map

Lift tickets are expensive – there’s no sugar coating it. Depending on the day of the week and when in season you visit, you are looking at $119-$150 a day. I highly suggest buying your lift tickets in advance (at least 7 days prior to your trip) and directly from the website. If you are a first-timer, Northstar has a great 'intro' package for $200 - includes a half day group lesson, lift ticket, and equipment rentals. Another benefit to purchasing lift tickets in advance is getting to skip the lines at the ticket windows! If you think you will ski/snowboard more than 6 days... the EPIC pass will come in handy. Season pass sales have ended for 2017/18 winter - season passes for 2018/19 go on sale in April. If you have the Vail season pass then you are good to go. If you know someone with a season pass, ask them (extremely nicely) if you can have one of their SWAF (skiing with a friend) tickets. It’s a discounted ticket that will vary in price depending on when you visit. Season pass holders only get 6 per season so only ask them on a day you will fully use it. SWAF tickets can only be redeemed in person at a ticket counter, day-of. Current SWAF rates: $110 [1/16-2/15].

 TERRAIN 

Northstar has a little bit of everything for all experience levels, but it’s redeeming qualities are definitely the terrain park and consistent access to insane tree lines. There are three parts to the mountain - The Backside, Mt. Pluto, and Lookout Mountain. The gondola from the village will take you to mid-station. From there, the world is your oyster, my friend. If you nervous about unfamiliar terrain, here's a breakdown of the mountain and the best runs based on ability level. 

 

BEGINNERS

Route 1 - Novice 

Lift: Arrow Express

Run: Lumberjack --> Easy Street

Route 2 - Progression

Lift: Vista Express

Run: Skid Trail --> Lumberjack --> Easy Street

Route 3 - Take It Up a Notch

Lift: Arrow Express --> Comstock Express 

Run: West Ridge --> Luggi's --> Lumberjack --> Easy Street

INTERMEDIATE

Route 1 - Get Your Mountain Legs Back

Lift: Vista Express 

Run: Sidewinder 

Route 2 - Feelin' Good

Lift: Tahoe Zephyr Express

Run: Upper Pioneer --> Deerskin 

Route 3 - Outta My Way

Lift: Tahoe Zephyr Express --> Lookout Link (T-Bar)

Run: Upper Martis --> Washoe 

ADVANCED

Route 1 - Get It

Lift: Arrow Express --> Comstock Express

Run: Sierre Grande --> Challenger --> Lower Burnout

Route 2 - For The Love of Diamonds

Lift: Backside Express

Run: Any backside run (Moguls: The Rapids)

Route 3 - Need For Speed

Lift: Martis Camp Express 

Run: Any and all - get stoked!

For the best all around lift, the winner is Vista Express. It gives you access to every type of terrain: green, blue, black, and terrain park. Runs like Logger's Loop and Drop Off tend to be less crowded than other parts the mountain. The best insider tip for your last run? I thought you'd never ask! Take Vista Express up and drop down Logger's Loop to The Woods. I call it Narnia because you feel like you are in another world - especially on a powder day! 

Pro Tip: Download the Epic Mix app on your phone before you go. Sign in with the e-mail your tickets/pass is registered with and it will track any day you are on the mountain. It's helpful for those that like to get the most out of the day by giving you lift status' and wait times for each chairlift - you can have a plan of attack for conquering the mountain! It will also track your vertical feet and # of runs you did for the day. Another useful attribute - seeing your location on a run. Did your friends just call saying they are meeting at Zephyr for lunch? Open the app to see what run you need to cut across to make it to the chairlift that will take you there in time to 'clink' the first round of drinks!

 WHERE TO EAT & APRES

Northstar has a couple of decent options when it comes to grub. If you are looking to re fuel on the mountain, Summit Smokehouse is a favorite go-to. Their BBQ is the perfect mid-day meal, especially if you are burning a ton of calories on a powder day. They have a decent craft brew selection and their back patio is where it's at on a sunny day. Grab a brewsky and be social!  My favorite pit stop, however, is actually at Zephyr Lodge for one of their legendary Bloody Mary’s. Comes with heaps of flavor and the toppings they add are the perfect light snack to pair with that protein bar you brought. The views aren't so bad either. 

Northstar has a couple of decent options when it comes to grub. If you are looking to re fuel on the mountain, Summit Smokehouse is a favorite go-to. Their BBQ is the perfect mid-day meal, especially if you are burning a ton of calories on a powder day. They have a decent craft brew selection and their back patio is where it's at on a sunny day. Grab a brewsky and be social!  My favorite pit stop, however, is actually at Zephyr Lodge for one of their legendary Bloody Mary’s. Comes with heaps of flavor and the toppings they add are the perfect light snack to pair with that protein bar you brought. The views aren't so bad either. 

THE VILLAGE

Rubicon is a good place to grab pizza and decompress after a day on the mountain or put in a to-go and head back to your cabin. You can now order online to have it picked up when you are ready, or call it in before you head down The Woods to beat the mass influx of people. They are Gluten Free friendly. 

TC’s is a great place to grab a drink and catch the game. Set TC's as the meeting spot for your group and order a shareable appetizer (we recommend the wings) while you wait. Is the gang all there? TC's is just a stones throw away from the shuttle stop for parking - isn't that convenient?!

APRES

Here’s the thing about Northstar’s Apres – it’s actually at 2pm. Perhaps one of the best kept secrets of this beautiful resort is the free 2pm champagne toast that they do at the top of the mountain every day. Yes, you read that right EVERY DAY. It’s a bit of a challenge to get to but well worth the effort for the good vibes and a free drink at Tōst.

Take Arrow Express --> Comstock to get to the top of the mountain. From there, take a left off the chair lift down East Ridge. Warning to snowboarders, it gets super flat so keep your speed. You will see a little arch with the Tōst sign on it. The line can get long (it’s free champagne after all) so get there by 1:45pm and enjoy one of the many fire pits or beanbag chairs they have for you to relax on.