At ASO Mammoth, we’re as grateful as anyone for the incredible slopes just up the road from us at Mammoth Mountain. Sometimes though, you need to get away from the groomers and hit the backcountry to remember that exploring is one of the best parts about skiing and snowboarding.
To help you get lost in all the natural beauty Mammoth Mountain and the surrounding area has to offer, the team at ASO Mammoth has put together a quick guide for where to look for the best backcountry skiing, snowboard, and split boarding. While backcountry conditions and trails are always unpredictable, this guide should get you at least pointed in the right direction.
Before we go any further though, it’s important to point out the vital nature of doing research ahead of hand, having the proper equipment, and riding to your skill level when in the backcountry. You should never ride the backcountry alone and should always be with someone who is familiar with the area to avoid accidents or getting lost.
You must understand the risks involved, and take every measure possible to mitigate them.
Backcountry at Mammoth Mountain
With over 3,500 skiable acres Mammoth Mountain has a few trails that deliver all the thrills of backcountry riding to go along with the groomers.
While the daily 1 pm backcountry tour offers a guide to show you where to look, if you can’t wait to start riding there are a few areas you can start exploring within resort boundaries. You can start by taking the Gondola or Chair 23 to the top of the mountain to see if there are any chutes or bowls that satisfy you, and once you’re done there you can head to the backside of the mountain where there are fewer crowds. If you’re an expert and are looking for the best backcountry terrain Mammoth has to offer then head over to The Hemlocks while you’re on the backside. The Hemlocks is a terrain park packed with natural features, steep slopes, and plenty of powder that requires hiking to reach the top of, what’s there not to love?
Backcountry Near Mammoth Mountain
While initial searches will probably point you to the Hole In The Wall, there is a ton of backcountry terrain to explore around Mammoth Mountain. For example, near Mammoth lakes you can find The Sherwin Bowls. The bowls can be accessed from the roads surrounding Lake Mary area and run down into Mammoth Meadow and Snowcreek Golf Course. Also near Mammoth Mountain is Solitude Canyon and Duck Pass. Duck Pass can actually be accessed near Tamarack Lodge, meaning you can ride the backcountry and still end your day in one of Mammoth Mountain’s lodges. Solitude Canyon can be accessed from the roads around Sherwin Lake.
If you’re willing to head a little further away from Mammoth Mountain you will have the entire Eastern Sierras in front of you with some of the best snow in the world. White Wing is a great example, as you can access it by parking off Highway 395 and following Glass Creek up into the mountains. At the top, you’ll be greeted with wide open slopes to ride down towards your ride and a quick drive back into Mammoth Lakes.
Hiking at 10,000 feet is exhausting, so to make sure you’re able to ride again the next day by planning ahead and having a ride waiting for you at the bottom of wherever you’re riding in the backcountry. It is also incredibly important that you do your research on the current conditions and how they are affecting the snowpack to avoid ever being near an avalanche. If you have any questions about Mammoth Mountain, ski and snowboard gear, or need to rent gear stop by ASO Mammoth for the best gear and information in Mammoth Lakes!