How to Drive to Mammoth Mountain through Bad Weather

If you’re like the Mammoth Mountain pros at ASO Mammoth, weather reports with a chance of a snow blowing storm are like a ringing dinner bell that tell you to get to Mammoth as soon as possible.

Of course, if you travel to Mammoth Mountainwhenever there is a storm there’s a chance that you’ll get caught driving in snowy conditions. If you’re not properly (and legally) prepared for the challenges that come with driving to Mammoth through bad weather though, your trip could be over before you ever step foot on the mountain and more importantly you could be in put in danger.

We gave up on trying to drive up the mountain a long time ago, but we love sharing the best snow in the world so the ASO Mammoth team has put together a few tips to help you get up the mountain even if there’s a storm. Read up, stay safe, and we will see you on the mountain!

Know your California Laws

Thanks to excellent snow and terrain Mammoth Mountain attracts people from all over California and the West. As a result, people could be heading to Mammoth from Southern California or another state with no idea that California law requires chains based on conditions and the type of tires on a car.

These categories, known as chain control, are R1, R2, and R3. In R1 conditions you must have chains on your tires unless they are snow tires. In R2 conditions, your car must have All-Wheel-Drive or 4-Wheel-Drive and snow tires or chains equipped to legally drive on the road. Lastly, the most severe condition is R3. This is where we draw the line for driving up to Mammoth, because even if you have all the required equipment and car to drive through R3 conditions there is still a good chance you’ll get stuck in the snow, which means you won’t just miss your chance to ride and be in a dangerous situation.

If you’re heading up to Mammoth Mountain during a storm, check with Caltransseveral times before you walk out the door to make sure you’re prepared for the roads.

Prepare for the Worst Case Scenario

While the laws mentioned above require you to carry chains with you during certain conditions, that doesn’t mean chains are the only equipment you need to pack for your drive up to Mammoth Mountain.

If you’re going to drive through a storm, you must be prepared for an extended drive thanks to traffic, slow-driving conditions, and even pulling over in low-visibility conditions. Being prepared means not only having extra food and blankets packed in your car in case you must pull over, but it also means keeping your gas tank as full as possible to avoid running out if your route is changed due to road closure or while pulled over and waiting for better driving conditions. You will also want to have other equipment like a collapsible shovel and even sand in case you need to dig your car out of snow.

Powder is Not Worth Your Safety 

We love powder so much that we moved to Mammoth Lakes so we would always be next door when it comes, but the team at ASO Mammoth will be the first tell you that getting here to enjoy powder should never come at the cost of your personal safety.If you’re driving to Mammoth Mountain through hazardous conditions, drive slow, don’t be afraid to lose time by pulling over, and seriously consider if it’s better to wait for safer conditions to drive up. There is plenty of snow to go around, but you have to get here first to enjoy it!

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