23rd May 2023
We’re continuing our Californian Spring ski trip in Mammoth Mountain. And then heading back to San Francisco to sample its delights, and sadly see its distressing underbelly. NEW
In our first report from Mammoth Mountain we looked at the huge amounts of snow that have fallen this season, both in town and up on the slopes:
Now we’re looking at other aspects of the California resort.
The ski area is the highest in California and has the longest season, with the top slopes usually offering skiing into July.
This year the resort is planning to stay open into August.
The skiing goes up to an altitude of 3,369m
At the top the views are simply stunning.
Here’s looking west into Yosemite:
Here’s the view eastwards:
And lower down…
At this time of year despite the sections to the south above Mammoth Lakes being closed there is still 7.6m of snow on offer at the top of the resort.
There is much more skiing currently available than in Palisades Tahoe, where we were a few days ago.
There are two options for accommodation, either at the base of the ski area in the historic Mammoth Mountain Inn or lower down in Mammoth Lakes.
Mammoth Mountain Inn offers a nice touch with its towels.
We chose the Mammoth Mountain Inn as it is a traditional US ski lodge with atmosphere, charm and history.
It also has one of the best mountain views from a US ski bar that we know of.
For a longer stay it is perhaps better to look at Mammoth Lakes as there is precious little to do after skiing in the ski village itself.
Mammoth Lake has plenty of bars, restaurants and shops.
The accommodation is mainly in condos.
There are connecting ski lifts in town and a free shuttle bus to get to the slopes.
So, what about all the snow this season?
Total snowfall at the top of the resort – 22.9mTotal snowfall at the base of the resort – 18mBiggest snow depth – 15.2mCurrent snow depth – 7.6 (top) and 4.1 (base)
There is still full coverage over all the slopes, but it is not the soft snow of winter.
It is hard packed and icy first thing, it then softens up beautifully before turning to sugary slush.
But with wide skis you can just sit on top and ski it like powder.
The lifts are open at 07.30 and close at 15.00
Mountain restaurants in US resorts are pretty average, with the one at The Mill being the best on offer in Mammoth.
In our first article we mentioned the types of skiers out here – freestylers, racers, locals and people who don’t want the winter ever to end.
Including the man with the mohawk.
Sadly he wasn’t in when I banged on his door.
I bumped into Glen in Chamonix at the Kandahar World Cup slalom race in January.
He was togged up in Mammoth gear and promoting its attractions.
“You should come our to Mammoth in California after the resorts close in Europe I do it every year,” he advised me.
I bet he didn’t think I would.
It was with a heavy heart we left Mammoth as there is still plenty of skiing for many weeks to come.
In the meantime these are the views as out California ski road trip heads back to San Francisco for a few days.
We enjoyed our stay so much on the way out to the ski resorts we have decided to extend our stay back in San Francisco.
Here’s our earlier report on the city:
And now we’re heading back.
The highlight of the drive was passing by Lake Mono.
And the video view:
Then just simply driving.
Another highlight was a stop off in Placerville, two and a half hours from San Francisco.
It’s an old gold mining town and well worth a visit.
With a skiing connection too, as a mural was topped up.
Breakfast in Mel’s Drive-In is a must.
The freeways are pretty tedious.
But convenient way of getting from A to B.
Or even Mammoth Mountain to San Francisco.
Once back in San Francisco we headed across the water to Alcatraz.
We then cycled to the base of the Golden Gate Bridge – far the best place to see it from.
Then we passed by the seat of city power.
With some classic Californian sights.
Then to the Castro District.
San Francisco remains one of our favourite cities in the USA, but like the others it has another side.
It has a huge number of homeless people.
It is both very distressing and very depressing to see.
More so after the ski experiences we have had in the mountains of California.
PlanetSKI made a donation to a local charity for homeless people and considered how fortunate we are.
It is a strange, but appropriate note to end on.
Skiers and snowboarders are very, very fortunate folk.
We should never forget it.
If you have been to the streets of Tenderloin in downtown San Francisco you will know what we are talking about.
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