Is There Artificial Snow at Mammoth Mountain?

The snow is usually mostly from Mother Nature for a good part of the traditional winter activity season at Mammoth Mountain, but it’s often enhanced with artificial snow. This is the case to a larger extent during the months when actual snowfall is minimal or nonexistent. Of course, this doesn’t mean the team at Mammoth doesn’t do a great job of keeping conditions as ideal as possible for as long as possible. Below, the friendly team from Mammoth Bound, where you can find everything from stylish Mammoth t-shirts to snuggly Mammoth beanies, offer the scoop on Mammoth’s mix of real and “fake” snow.

Reasons for Fake Snow at Mammoth

Natural snowfall isn’t entirely predictable. The way it falls can vary greatly, ranging from massive snowstorms to more limited or intermittent dustings or showers. For this reason, many resorts, including Mammoth, use artificial snow to supplement what comes down naturally. Making some mechanically enhanced powder also improves conditions and keeps terrain ideal for skiers and snowboarders of all skill levels.

Accommodating Seasonal Changes

The snow at Mammoth is usually more natural than artificial from November through February. However, it’s common for machine-made snow to be regularly used at the resort to ensure there’s a solid base and to augment natural snowfall. As spring arrives and days get longer and warmer, most of the Mammoth terrain is covered with artificial snow coupled with anything natural that’s in the mix to adjust for seasonal changes. Artificial snow creation continues until conditions are no longer suitable for snowmaking.

The Basics of Mammoth’s Snowmaking System

Mammoth’s current snowmaking system was installed in 1980. Regularly maintained and updated from time to time, it works remarkably well thanks to key components and elements that include:

• Compressed air and water
• Snowmaking guns and cannons
• Snow-grooming components that enhance the results as snow is produced

Mammoth’s snowmaking system is referred to as a “wet bulb” system. This means temperatures need to be in the low to mid 20s (or up into the lower 30s if the humidity is low) for the Mammoth crew to work their fake-snow magic. All ski areas at the resort have snowmaking pipes installed, which is what produces even, well-manicured surfaces as the artificial snow is blown out. The water needed for the snowmaking process comes from a pond at the McCoy Station. Melting snow from the mountain also refreshes the groundwater pumps.

The “Fake Snow” Months Can Still Be a Lot of Fun

Snowmaking allows the resort to be a welcome getaway for snow-based activities for much longer than what you might expect in sunny California. Plus, the crew works pretty much through the night to make sure all accessible areas are ready to be enjoyed. In other words, you can definitely have a lot of fun even when most of the snow is artificial. This type of powder can be softer, though, so be prepared to adjust your technique a bit for skiing and snowboarding later in the year when visiting Mammoth, and you should be good to go.

It can still get chilly on the mountain even during spring and summer, so if you’re looking for stylish Mammoth Mountain clothing to keep you warm when you visit, Mammoth Bound is your one-stop shop for gaiters, hats, beanies, and a variety of logo wear. Stop by on your way to the mountain or contact us at [email protected].

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