Can Mammoth Mountain Get Bigger And Better? It Seems The Answer Is Yes

For years, Mammoth Mountain has been the premier California destination for skiers. I had heard about it attending college on the East Coast; my California roommate would scoff at the mere hills we would ski in New York and New England. Upon finally moving to Los Angeles, he and his California native buddies took me to Mammoth. Driving for hours without snow seemed anachronistic to this East Coaster; I was far more accustomed to scraping ice and snow off the car and slip sliding all the way to the lifts.

But after a few hours through the high desert outside of Los Angeles, we turned into Mammoth and there it was. Living up to its name, Mammoth Mountain was unlike any prior skiing experience for me. Decades later, Mammoth Mountain still delivers.

With faster lifts and more terrain, Mammoth Mountain manages to speed skiers through lift lines regardless of holiday weekends. As everyone knows, the rainfall conditions in California is less than ideal, yet Mammoth made the best of it with most trails fully operational all season.

Mammoth has consolidated efforts with several other ski resorts, and the result is, well…mammoth savings for skiers. Mammoth introduced the “Cali4nia Pass” several years ago, and it just got upgraded for the 2018/19 season to the Ikon Pass, which is loaded with more pass perks than ever before. The Ikon Pass unlocks 26 of the most iconic destinations in North America, including unlimited access locally at Mammoth, June and Big Bear Mountain Resort.

The math is pretty simple, if you are going to ski at least four days at Mammoth, the pass in a no-brainer.

There are various configurations for the pass, but suffice to say, the list of resorts participating is mouthwatering:

California: Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, Mammoth Mountain, June Mountain, Big Bear Mountain Resort (Bear Mountain, Snow Summit)
Colorado: Aspen Snowmass, Steamboat, Winter Park Resort, Copper Mountain Resort, Eldora Mountain Resort
Maine: Sugarloaf, Sunday River
Montana: Big Sky Resort
New Hampshire: Loon Mountain
Utah: Deer Valley Resort, AltaSnowbird
Vermont: Stratton, Killington Resort, Sugarbush Resort
West Virginia: Snowshoe
Wyoming: Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
Alberta, Canada: SkiBig3 (Banff Sunshine, Lake Louise, Mt. Norquay)
Ontario, Canada: Blue Mountain
Quebec, Canada: Tremblant
British Columbia, Canada: Revelstoke Mountain Resort, CMH Heli-Skiing & Summer Adventures

The massive list of participating resorts is part of the strategy which involved the acquisition of Mammoth by Alterra Mountain Company, which was formed by KSL Capital and affiliates of Aspen Skiing Company.

My annual trip to Mammoth this year coincided with a nice dump of snow during the winter break, and although there were plenty of folks on the hill, I don’t recall lift lines lasting longer that 8-12 minutes. Most times we waited about five minutes.

If you have plans to ski across the continent, the Ikon Pass is a logical purchase. If you plan to confine your ski activity to California, you can get underway immediately. The Spring conditions at Mammoth in the next week will push to 50 degrees, but a splendid time will be had by all.


Brad Auerbach has been a journalist and editor covering the media, entertainment, travel and technology scene for many years. He has written for Forbes, Time Out London, SPIN, Village Voice, LA Weekly and early in his career won a New York State College Journalism Award.