Backcountry Skiing in Mammoth Lakes

backcountry skiing

When a town of only four-square miles attracts well over two million visitors per year, you know there is something special there.

People travel to Mammoth Lakes all year long because the spectacular natural scenery provides an escape from the on-the-go pace of modern life, especially when they’re coming from a large city like Los Angeles or San Francisco. Thanks to the world class skiing experience offered at Mammoth Mountain, many people escape by skiing some of the best snow in the world.

With a mountain as popular as Mammoth though, you still may encounter the crowds and noise you came to Mammoth Lakes to get away from. That’s why the best way to interact with the natural splendor of the Eastern Sierras while skiing at the same time is to explore the Mammoth Lakes backcountry. If you’re itching for an escape into the mountains, then check out our guide to skiing the Mammoth Lakes Backcountry below!

What You Need to Enjoy the Mammoth Lakes Backcountry

The first thing you need to worry about when trekking into the backcountry is safety. If you’ve only ever skied at resorts, then it’s easy to forget that avalanches happen and are extremely dangerous. If you’re skiing in the backcountry where the ski patrol is not monitoring snow conditions, at the minimum you should have a beacon, a shovel, and a probe for each member of your party. Speaking of your party, you should never ride in the backcountry alone as one fall could strand you in the wilderness far away from help. Along the same lines you, or someone you’re with, must have knowledge of backcountry skiing before you start trekking. Understanding snow conditions and the area is a must!

Lastly, if you’re a snowboarder the backcountry is absolutely an option for you with one major caveat. Unless you have a snowmobile, you will need to splitboard due to the amount of hiking required to access the backcountry trails.

Where Can You Backcountry Ski Around Mammoth Lakes?

If you have the gear and experience, then the Eastern Sierras offer plenty of incredible backcountry options. For example, near Mammoth Lakes there is the Hole In The Wall, the Sherwin Bowls, Solitude Canyon, and Duck Pass to name just a few options. Outside of Mammoth Lakes are even more options like White Wing off 395 near Glass Creek.

Hole in the Wall of the backside of Mammoth Mountain. Dirty Skiing?

Where Can I find Guides?

With as much Backcountry as there is to explore around Mammoth Lakes, there are excellent guides who can tailor a trek perfectly based on the conditions and goals of your trip.

One local option is Sierra Mountain Guides

Sierra Mountain Guides is a small company that prides itself on their commitment to guest experience, the progression of guests’ skills, and their vast amount of experience in the Eastern Sierras. Along with these qualities, they are a great place to start your backcountry journey as they provide the safety gear needed that many beginners may not have or be familiar enough with to buy.

While Sierra Mountain Guides offers tours all over the world, their High Sierra tours are where to start for the Mammoth Lakes Backcountry.

Another option is International Alpine Guides

International Alpine Guides offers backcountry skiing courses and tours. Like Sierra Mountain Guides, International Alpine Guides offer courses and tours that include plenty of attention from their mountain professionals to ensure that their guests not only stay safe, but also learn during their trip into the mountains.

International Alpine Guides offers course and tours all over the world that include the required safety gear, but for backcountry around Mammoth Lakes check out their Mammoth Backcountry Skiing tours.

Lastly, Mammoth Mountain

Mammoth Mountain also offers backcountry courses and tours, so if you’re looking to stay around town then they are a great option for professional tours!

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