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72 Hours at Mammoth Mountain: Shredding Pow & Après Dreams

apres ski, California ski, California winter wonderland, Mammoth Lakes, Mammoth Mountain, skiing, snowboarding, weekend getaway -

72 Hours at Mammoth Mountain: Shredding Pow & Après Dreams

Tucked away in the Sierras of California, Mammoth Mountain is a winter wonderland that is well worth a visit no matter where you are coming from. With 3,100 skiable acres, 150 trails and 23 lifts Mammoth Mountain truly lives up to its name. It is a resort of Mammoth proportions that offers a wide variety of terrain for skiers and snowboarders of all abilities. The resort also averages 500 inches or more of snow and roughly 300 sunny days per year giving visitors the best of both worlds. However, there is more to Mammoth Mountain than just skiing and snowboarding. 

From the quaint town of Mammoth Lakes to the charming base village and everywhere in between, you will find plenty of fun to be had off the slopes. So much so that you may find it challenging to get it all done throughout one long weekend. Fear not, powderhounds! This itinerary crams the best of Mammoth Mountain into a quick weekend getaway, ensuring you experience slopeside thrills, delicious eats and lively après-ski action.

Day 1: Rolling Into Mammoth Lakes

Breakfast at the Lodge: 

That morning we set out to get to the mountain early...very early. It was a powder day and I knew that we needed to get on the road from Reno at about 4 am to beat the crowds and get first tracks. The ride down past the lakes and through the majestic Sierras was simply jaw-dropping. From one side of the road to the other, it was enough to keep most of our minds off the fact that we had traveled the day before, gone to bed late and woke up early. But, in life you do what needs to be done, especially for a powder day at Mammoth. 

Rolling into town and needing to pick up our lift tickets and rentals at the mountain we headed right to the main base. Generally speaking, I'm not much of an "eat at the lodge kind of guy." The prices can be a bit much these days. However, given that we just drove down from Reno and had never been there before, doing so seemed like our best option. After all, we needed breakfast. Skiing that much acreage should not be done on an empty stomach and with Broadway Marketplace conveniently located right in Main Lodge that seemed like the best option. Boy was it! Tito's Burrito along with the variety of bakery-worthy pastries more than did the trick for the girls and I. 

Morning Pow Laps:

Fueled up and ready to go, my wife, daughters and I headed out to take advantage of the fresh powder that had fallen the night before. Again, not knowing Mammoth Mountain all that well, we mainly played around in the vicinity of the main base. Runs off Chair 1 particularly Tony's Fascination and Andy's Double Gold were the kind of powder-filled fun you look for on a ski day. However, the highlight of the morning was when my daughters and I got in line on Chair 3 just in time for them to open up Center Bowl. Floating down the untracked pow it was as deep as I've ever skied and ranked right near the top of the best runs in my lifetime. 

Early Afternoon Après at Tusks:


After a thrilling morning and early afternoon on the slopes, it was time to take a well-deserved break for lunch. If I'm being honest, it was already around 2 pm and we were exhausted from a combination of traveling the day before and weak East Coast Quads. Skiing the ice coast doesn't always prepare you for these Western swings. Nonetheless, the lactic acid pain was nothing some delicious chicken tenders, fries and a few beers from Tusks Bar couldn't fix. Basking in the sun on the deck, an ice-cold West Coast IPA in hand while looking over the mountain, I knew we were in for a treat the remaining two days. 

Canyon Après-ski Party: 

With the lifts slowing down for the day, we headed back to our townhouse at Snowcreek Resort. Located not far from the Village at Mammoth Mountain and even closer to the town of Mammoth Lakes, it provided a spacious, comfortable and convenient location for us to call home for the next couple of days. There we showered and changed quickly to get ready for some lively après-ski action at the famous Canyon Après Party.

This legendary après ski party located just outside the Canyon Lodge runs every Friday and Saturday throughout the winter and this weekend we happened to catch it just right. Not only did they feature musical artist, Nate Wyatt (who my oldest daughter recognized from Tik Tok...shocker), there was the wildly popular DJ Disco Lines headlining the show. 

Hanging in the VIP section we had front row champagne spraying tequila pouring from the stage action. The place itself is jammed from the patio to the bar to the rooftop above with people of all ages ready to get their après-ski party on. Beach balls, blow-up aliens, cows and more floated amidst the crowd of head-bopping, hand-pumping après skiers. What an act!?

By the time we walked out, the VIP section had been reduced to a mere foot wide and there were no signs of the party slowing down. I've been to some pretty wild après ski parties in my day, but this one certainly takes the cake.

Drinks for Dinner? Kinda: 

Heading down the Canyon Gondola to the village we were aiming to cap off our first day with a well-earned dinner. Mammoth offers a range of options, from casual pub fare to upscale dining. For our celebratory first-day meal, we made our way to Shelter Distilling. It did not disappoint! The nachos more than delivered and my Pork Belly Tacos were legit. The real star of the show though were their creative cocktails. Stirred up with their very own spirits they were just the lilbation we needed to round out our first day at Mammoth. 

Day 2: Getting to Really Know Mammoth Mountain

Good Bagels in Mammoth, Really?


Waking up and being only minutes from the village was a welcome reprieve from having to drive down the previous morning from Reno. This gave us a little extra time to relax, get ready and head out for a nice breakfast. This day we chose Old New York Deli & Bagel Company. If I'm being honest, there are two things that I'm skeptical of when I'm in other parts of the country, pizza and bagels. Being from the tri-state area, it is hard to top the wide array of really good bagel and pizza options we have around here. Nonetheless, Old New York Deli & Bagel came highly recommended and boy did it deliver the goods. 

Their Early Riser bagel sandwiches were as good as I've had in a ski town. Crispy on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside, they gave us a little taste of home on the West Coast. Aside from the bagels, I'm always on the hunt for the best breakfast burrito and I found theirs more than worthy. I particularly enjoyed the Redline. Filled with a healthy dose of eggs, chorizo, avocado, pepper jack cheese and a side of their spicy salsa for dipping it ranked right near the top of my list. 

A Morning Tour of the Mountain

This morning we met up with resort rep and queen of the champagne spray, Neev Zaiet for a little tour around Mammoth Mountain. To be honest, no tour there can be little, the place is massive. As we learned while skiing with Neev, it’s best to hit the warmer parts of the mountain early and then maneuver your way around. In the spring when the soft snow from the day before freezes over at night you'll want to find the parts of the mountain that are softest earliest. For us, we began at the Canyon Lodge. You can park there but be wary, you absolutely need to get to the lot early to find a spot. It's small and fills up quickly. Otherwise, try parking by the village and take the gondola up to Canyon Lodge. It may cost you a few bucks to park for the day but it certainly is convenient.   

Beginning under Chair 16, we found plenty of mellow blues such as Roller Coaster and Avalanche to warm up our slightly achy legs. Blood flowing through the quads, we dipped into a leftover powder stash that Neev took us to and were once again floating on cloud 9. Eventually, we made our way to Chair 22 and down toward Eagle Lodge.

Eagle is the warmest part of the mountain and offers the most unique set of lodges I've seen at a ski resort of this magnitude. They look like something straight out of the movie Outbreak. But don't let these massive white tents fool you. They may look unassuming on the outside but are rather nice on the inside. While there, definitely grab a quick snack to check out the inside before continuing to cruise around the lower half of the mountain on some of the tamer intermediate runs. You'll get what I mean.

Snacks in our bellies we made our way up Chair 25 and hit the Sunshine Glades. By this time they baked enough to offer soft and shreddable snow. With most of the Canyon and Eagle areas explored and our stomachs starting to rumble we parted ways with Neev and headed back toward Main Base.

Yodeling Our Way Through Lunch:

After a morning of smile-filled runs, we needed to refuel at The Yodler Restaurant and Bar before heading down the road to the snow tubing area. The Yodler sits just across the parking lot from the Main Base Lodge and offers a European-style après experience. There you'll find a wide array of Bavarian-inspired dishes and plenty of local and German beers to quench your thirst. 

While skiing with Neev, she could not stop raving about their Bavarian Pretzel and Duck Fat fries. With options like that, how could we say no? Walking in at lunch the place was rather crowded. A bit too chilly to sit on their deck outside we decided to put our name on the list and wait. Lucky for us, two seats quickly opened up at the bar and my wife and I were belly up, beer in hand within minutes. The girls hung in the waiting area not too far away anxious to pounce when that Bavarian pretzel came our way.

Not too much after I ordered my first pint, the charismatic bartender posed, the question to the bar, "Who likes free beer?" I like all beer, especially free ones and apparently, some guy ordered a beer and didn't like that it was in the can. Canned, bottle, tap, free, paid...I'll take it. So naturally I was more than happy to help him out. Double-fisting, I ordered up the much-heralded Bavarian Pretzel as we waited for our table.

It was - as advertised.

Forget your average pretzel, The Yodler's was a behemoth! A titan of twisted dough, it was crisp and buttery like a croissant on the outside. But beneath that golden crust, oh the magic! Light and airy as fresh pow, the inside was a pillowy dream. It was a textural symphony, a masterpiece of pretzel engineering, and quite possibly the most incredible pretzel I've ever had the pleasure of devouring.

As for the duck fat fries, they too were more than worthy. The rich duck fat made for a crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, beautifully seasoned fry that had me craving another order. 

Snow Tubing the Afternoon Away: 

Legs tired and bellies full, we packed up for the day and made our way right down the road to Woolly's Adventure Summit for some tubing. We had also planned to check out their new mountain coaster but with so much snow this season, it was predominantly buried at the time. Snow tubing more than made up for this as it was one of the better snow tubing parks I've been to. 

Excitement crackled in the frosty air as we zoomed down the slicked-over runs at Woolly's Adventure Summit. Sometimes one at a time, other times in groups of three, four, or even five tubes linked together our tubes zipped down, laughter echoing across the park leaving trails of whoops and hollers in our wake. The winter sun glinted off the pristine snow, creating a picture-perfect scene for some off-piste mountain adventure. 

A Mammoth (Brewing) Easter Dinner: 

After cleaning up and taking a well-deserved break back at our condo, we decided to end on a high note with Easter dinner at Mammoth Mountain Brewing Company. Walking in, we were greeted by a warm and inviting atmosphere. The aroma of hops mingled with savory scents, wafting from the open kitchen. Inside, the low hum of conversation and laughter filled the air as skiers and snowboarders of all ages cozied up in wooden booths and at the bar.

Golden brown pizza, piled high with melty cheese and local ingredients, were delivered to nearby tables, their delicious scent further amplifying our appetites. From our seats, we could glimpse the snow-capped peaks through the large windows, as the sun cast a low glow over them into the EATery. I sipped an array of their house-made beers. Their Double Nut Brown being one of my favorites was as good a Brown Ale that you'll find. Meanwhile, the Yosemite Pale was a worthy pairing for my Chic’fil Sriracha Sandwich, the hops providing the perfect balance for the fried chicken and slaw. To cap it all off, we just had to order the Blondie Bowl. It was, after all, Easter and the Blondie bites topped with caramel sauce made with the aforementioned Double Nut Brown was calling our names. 

Day 3: Our Final Adventures at Mammoth Mountain

A Stellar Breakfast: 

Given the proximity of our Snowcreek townhouse to downtown Mammoth Lakes, we decided to venture there for breakfast on our third and final day. Located right on Main St. in Mammoth Lakes you will find Stellar Brew. This cafe and coffee spot had come highly recommended and we could not leave town without giving it a try. There you can order from the counter or simply grab premade breakfast burritos and a coffee for a reasonable price and be back on your way to the mountain within minutes. Anxious to get first tracks on our last day, we opted for the latter. Their locally roasted, organic coffee gave me the jolt of caffeine I needed while the grab-n-go burrito had me believing it was freshly made to order. 

Morning Laps: A Local's Tour

Mammoth greeted us with a crisp mountain air that sent shivers down my spine, the good kind. For a little more than 48 hours, this snowy wonderland had been our playground. The first two days were a blur of adrenaline-pumping runs. We carved down every slope we could find, the wind whistling past our helmets as we perfected our turns. Our legs screamed with delicious exhaustion by the end of each day.

But day three was all about savoring the mountain's beauty one last time. For the morning, we met up with our good friend Paz from the local Mammoth Lakes company Ridge Merino. If you haven't tried their gear, I highly recommend it. Comfortable, durable and functional they are one of my absolute favorite outdoor brands.

With Paz being local, we left our day's journey up to him. Cruising around we hit plenty of runs that we had not gotten to the previous two days. This included Skyline, a steep open bowl from the top. Although no longer powder-filled, its verticality offered a challenge that was only slightly mellowed out by the softer spring snow. 

Eventually, Paz did have to head back to the store and we decided to steer clear of the high-traffic areas and headed towards Chairs 12 and 14. These hidden gems offered breathtaking views and untouched powder from Friday's storm and the new snow that fell the night before. Each descent felt like a victory lap, a reward for the previous days' hard work.

Grilled Cheese and Beer at The Outpost

As the sun climbed higher in the sky, I found myself making my way toward the Outpost Bar to bask on the sunny deck with a cold beer. Oddly crowded for the limited amount of people skiing in that area, I ordered a frosty beer and jumped in line for a delicious grilled cheese from The Melt. It was pure bliss, that simple combination of good food, good company and the feeling of accomplishment.

Stomachs full and happy hearts, we knew it was time to celebrate our amazing weekend at Mammoth. Après-ski beckoned. Just like on day one, Tusks was our first stop. What started out as a wintery morning had now turned into a beautiful bluebird spring day. The lively atmosphere on Tusk's deck washed over us like a wave. We chatted with fellow skiers, swapping stories of epic runs while gearing us up for the next stop – The Clocktower.

The Dinner Clock Was Ticking:

Stepping down from the crisp mountain air of the village and into the Clocktower Cellar, a wave of warmth and friendly bustle washed over us. Exposed brick walls and dim lighting created a cozy, pub-like atmosphere. The low murmur of conversation was punctuated by the satisfying snap of pool balls and the cheerful banter between patrons and the staff. The aroma of grilled burgers and fries mingled with the scent of beer. Another family huddled around a foosball table in the corner, their laughter adding to the inviting ambiance. 

At the bar, a dazzling display of amber liquids hinted at the Cellar's impressive whiskey collection. Unfortunately for me, whiskey was not in the cards. We had a long ride back to Reno that evening and indulging would not have been wise. What was in the cards though was a delicious bowl of Totchos and a tray of Buffalo Wings to start. This may sound ridiculous but the Totchos just might have been the best thing I ate that weekend. Crispy and loaded up with toppings that included meat and cheese, they were just what we needed on our last day. Combine those with the tasty smash burgers we ordered for dinner and it was the perfect finish to an amazing weekend at Mammoth Mountain. 

Mammoth Magic: A Weekend Packed with Skiing, Apres-Ski, and Adventure

Mammoth Mountain lived up to its name, offering a mammoth-sized helping of everything a skier or snowboarder could ask for. From fresh powder to thrilling runs, and delicious eats to lively après-ski, this trip was a non-stop adventure.

The highlight? It's hard to choose! Carving through untracked powder in Center Bowl, the legendary Canyon Après Party, or the Bavarian pretzel that redefined the concept of a pretzel - each moment offered a unique kind of magic.

But Mammoth Mountain is more than just slopes. Exploring the charming town of Mammoth Lakes and soaking in the beauty of the Eastern Sierras added another layer of enjoyment to the trip.

This itinerary barely scratched the surface of what Mammoth has to offer. Whether you're a seasoned skier or a first-timer, Mammoth Mountain has something for everyone and is well worth a visit in the very near future. 


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