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How to get to Mammoth

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

I'm thinking of flying south in March instead of our typical trips into BC. I'm with the wife and kid who are beginner/intermediate, so a range of terrain is needed. Someone on the top of Little Whistler suggested I try Mammoth

 

I'm looking at the map and trying to figure out how to get there. It looks like the run from SanFran is shorter, but the roads look a lot smaller. Or I could do Vegas and use the bigger roads.

 

Suggestions from someone who's done this run?

post #2 of 13

You can actually fly directly to Mammoth. Your next best bet is to fly into Reno and drive south on the 395. Some 4 lane, mostly 2 lane, but not very much traffic once you get south of Carson City.

post #3 of 13

Looks like there are a variety of reviews for Mammoth on the EpicSki Resort page.  Always been curious because it usually stays open well into May or even June.  Have heard of July 4th ski parties.

 

http://www.epicski.com/products/mammoth/reviews/

 

I added a Tag on the right side of Post #1 that links directly to the Mammoth EpicSki description.

post #4 of 13
Can't be your trip planner here based on my limited knowledge....just to say that you will LOVE Mammoth. Went there last year with my son and brother in law and his son and it was truly magnificent. Also, lot of beautiful people scenery complements of the LA crowd but everyone into a good time and great skiing. Have fun!
post #5 of 13

I'll add just a little bit to this last post as Mammoth was our local mountain for many years until we moved up to the Lake Tahoe region. Mammoth is, IMHO, the best mountain I've ever skied. It has the best lift system anywhere - no matter what run you do you always end up right at a lift and you can get from one side of the resort to the other side with very little effort and no poling. It has terrain ranging from extreme to simple, with ample amounts for everyone. It has the highest base and the highest peak in California, so it gets the best snow in California.

 

It also can be very crowded on Saturdays (although it's pretty empty mid-week), gets it's share of Sierra cement, and has recorded 150+ MPH wind gusts at the peak on occasion. Still it's a terrific place to ski.

post #6 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by stephen1254 View Post

I'll add just a little bit to this last post as Mammoth was our local mountain for many years until we moved up to the Lake Tahoe region. Mammoth is, IMHO, the best mountain I've ever skied. It has the best lift system anywhere - no matter what run you do you always end up right at a lift and you can get from one side of the resort to the other side with very little effort and no poling. It has terrain ranging from extreme to simple, with ample amounts for everyone. It has the highest base and the highest peak in California, so it gets the best snow in California.

 

It also can be very crowded on Saturdays (although it's pretty empty mid-week), gets it's share of Sierra cement, and has recorded 150+ MPH wind gusts at the peak on occasion. Still it's a terrific place to ski.

I will have to agree, it is an awesome mountain and great place to ski. As for the best mountain I have ever skied, don't know about that, but top 5 easy. What I like about Mammoth is that there are a lot different aspects at different elevations to ski, so it seems there is always, at least some of the mountain skiing well, even in marginal conditions. The wind does like to blow there though, which sometimes is a good thing as it blows a lot snow onto the upper mountain. However, east winds there truly suck.

 

To the OP, flights from S.F. and San Jose, driving there from S.F. in one day would be chore. Depending on the weather and traffic in the Bay Area, it could take you anywhere from 6.5-9 hrs. I can do the run from my house on the North Shore of Tahoe to the parking lot of Mammoth in 3hr 15mins depending on who I get behind and how many CHP are out. 

post #7 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maury Markowitz View Post

I'm looking at the map and trying to figure out how to get there. It looks like the run from SanFran is shorter, but the roads look a lot smaller. Or I could do Vegas and use the bigger roads.

 

Suggestions from someone who's done this run?

 

To get to Mammoth from SFO you will HAVE to drive thru Tahoe (6-7 hours assuming no stormy weather) - Tioga and Sonora passes will be most likely (99.9%) closed for the winter. If they won't be closed - seek skiing someplace else ;-)

 

The best, hassle and traffic free way is from Reno on 395 - about 3-4 hours with no chain control (unlike thru Tahoe). Or, just fly directly to Mammoth airport (not an option for many depending of where you live).

 

Mammoth is a great mountain for every ability level and it is NOT crowded - people complaining about crowds at Mammoth do not know what crowded mountain is.

post #8 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by cfr View Post

Mammoth is a great mountain for every ability level and it is NOT crowded - people complaining about crowds at Mammoth do not know what crowded mountain is.

Don't they average roughly 1.3-1.5 million skier visits? That's close to Breckenridge/Vail territory....

 

I think I read in Ski magazine they're the most 3rd most visited resort in the country.

post #9 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by cfr View Post

To get to Mammoth from SFO you will HAVE to drive thru Tahoe (6-7 hours assuming no stormy weather) - Tioga and Sonora passes will be most likely (99.9%) closed for the winter. If they won't be closed - seek skiing someplace else ;-)

The best, hassle and traffic free way is from Reno on 395 - about 3-4 hours with no chain control (unlike thru Tahoe). Or, just fly directly to Mammoth airport (not an option for many depending of where you live).

Mammoth is a great mountain for every ability level and it is NOT crowded - people complaining about crowds at Mammoth do not know what crowded mountain is.

Yep, driving from reno is the easiest option. Also car rental should be significantly cheaper from reno. Mammoth has great variety and definitely worth a shot. Normally a pretty easy <3 hour Shot from Tahoe north shore. Just observe the speed limits through walker canyon.....smile.gif
post #10 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by COBillsFan View Post

Don't they average roughly 1.3-1.5 million skier visits? That's close to Breckenridge/Vail territory....

 

I think I read in Ski magazine they're the most 3rd most visited resort in the country.


I haven't been to Vail and thus can not tell what is going on there. Been to Mammoth though, for vacation and for races with the influx of 300 Far West kids and their parents during weekends, and I never felt it is crowded. Yes, it is not Kicking Horse or Big Sky where you can be riding alone on the entire lift, but compared to North Tahoe where I regularly ski it is anything but crowded.

post #11 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by stephen1254 View Post

I'll add just a little bit to this last post as Mammoth was our local mountain for many years until we moved up to the Lake Tahoe region. Mammoth is, IMHO, the best mountain I've ever skied. It has the best lift system anywhere - no matter what run you do you always end up right at a lift and you can get from one side of the resort to the other side with very little effort and no poling. It has terrain ranging from extreme to simple, with ample amounts for everyone. It has the highest base and the highest peak in California, so it gets the best snow in California.

 

It also can be very crowded on Saturdays (although it's pretty empty mid-week), gets it's share of Sierra cement, and has recorded 150+ MPH wind gusts at the peak on occasion. Still it's a terrific place to ski.

^^True dat!

Mammoth local here. The best way to get to Mammoth is to fly to Reno and drive the 3 hours on 395S or fly to LAX, then catch a flight to Mammoth or drive 4 1/2-5 hours from LAX.  If you fly to Reno, you'll want to rent a 4 wheel drive or chains.  When coming from Reno, the 395 section from Bridgeport to Mammoth can be sketchy in bad weather and does occasionally close.  As Stephen posted above, Mammoth can be very windy which is both a blessing and a curse.  The wind moves the snow around and can buff the whole Mountain out. (Some of my top ranked ski days ever have been Mammoth wind buff days) Unfortunately, many of the flights into Mammoth get canceled due to wind.  Also, our blizzard/wind storms can shut the Top (double diamond skiing/riding) for days.

 

Saturdays are crowded, but manageable on non-holiday weekends.  The snow we get is heavy (for the most part), but it makes for a great base, and we get alot of it! (The wind is our friend here as it dries the snow out).  In a normal snow year, very rare to hit a rock.

 

I've skied all over the West, and I'd have to say you get alot of bang for your buck at Mammoth!  You can ski here a week and still not ski everything.  Kinda of a pain to get here, but worth the hassle!     

post #12 of 13

Flew to Vegas, drove to Mammoth via Death Valley in early April.  90 degrees F in Death Valley ... you can sightsee, hike, see Death Valley in bloom if you're lucky enough to pass through there during the couple of weeks it is in bloom.  (We were there toward the end, not the peak, of that season.)  Enjoy summer weather one day, then ski the next.  It's a great trip, if you have the extra days to do it.

post #13 of 13

Just to second (or third) --you may need chains or 4WD on 395 between reno and mammoth.  You can rent suvs in Reno but they're expensive last time I tried, other option is chains if you know how to use them.  When chain controls are in effect in California they're required by law, not discretionary.  Mammoth does get a lot of skiers but mostly on the weekends, from LA.

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