Ski Mammoth Mountain

Mammoth Ski Resort is the largest ski area in California, about a five hour drive north of Los Angeles.  It is on the east side of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in the Inyo National Forest.  The town of Mammoth Lakes (population 7,000) provides accommodation for skiers and boarders.  We spent two weeks enjoying the Mammoth slopes in January 2012.

Lower slopes at 2,400 metres (8,000 feet)

When we arrived in mid January, there had been no substantial snowfall since November, though the average winter snowfall is 10 metres (400 inches).  The runs were only open because of extensive use of snow guns.


Snow guns in action

Then, from 21st to 23rd January, there was a big dump of 1.5 metres of fresh snow.


Village Gondola after fresh snow

The slopes are accessed from three major points around the mountain; Main, Eagle and Canyon.  The Village Gondola takes skiers from the village to Canyon Lodge.


Canyon Express chairlift from the Village Gondola

The ski area is very large, with 1400 hectares (3500 acres) of skiable terrain, serviced by 28 lifts.


Early morning on the Rollercoaster chairlift


Looking out towards Nevada and Death Valley


At the top of Broadway from the Panorama Gondola at 3,0000m (10,000ft)


Early morning ski plumes on Broadway


Legendary Dave McCoy, the founder of Mammoth Ski Area

Dave McCoy was a hydrographer working in the area when he noticed that Mammoth Mountain had consistently more snow than other mountains.  He installed the first rope tow in 1941, with the first ski lift built in 1955, and was actively developing the mountain until 2005.  Now aged in his late nineties, he lives in nearby Bishop, from where he has developed a reputation as a professional nature-based photographer.


McCoy Station


Panorama Gondola


Top of Mammoth Mountain, 3,368 metres (11,053 feet)


The Village in the snow storm


Clearing snow in The Village after the snow storm


Keeping warm in Village Central


Early morning in The Village, with contrails in the sky

7 thoughts on “Ski Mammoth Mountain

  1. Love your photo of the Dave McCoy statue – thanks for adding the back story about him. Great photo essay…I wouldn’t have imagined there was such a vibrant ski area just 5 hours from LA.


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