If you’re visiting Mammoth Mountain for the first time, then you may ask yourself why anyone would need to ski or snowboard anywhere else. After all, during your first lift ride up you’ll see some of the best terrain and snow in North America spread out over 3,500 acres. However, once you get to the summit and see the rest of the snow-covered Eastern Sierra peaks within reach and begging for someone to ride their powder, you might just get the urge to head into the backcountry.
If you’re itching to get away from lift lines and groomed runs during your visit to Mammoth Mountain, we have the guide you need to begin your adventure beyond the resort boundaries below!
Before you read any further, you must understand that even the most experienced skiers and snowboarders always take the dangers of backcountry skiing and snowboarding seriously. The risk increases dramatically once you’re outside the resort boundaries, so never go into the backcountry alone and always have an avalanche beacon, snow shovel, and probe.
Do not let this guide be the only research you do ahead of your backcountry adventure! If you don’t have much experience in the backcountry, then take a class or hire a guide until you are completely confident that you can stay safe!
Backcountry at Mammoth Mountain?
Once you understand all the knowledge and skill required to safely ride in the backcountry, you’ll better appreciate the fact that Mammoth Mountain has its own backcountry style terrain park within resort boundaries.
The Hemlocks on the backside of the mountain are the closest you’ll get to backcountry riding while within Mammoth Mountain boundaries thanks to the steep slope covered in trees, natural terrain features such as kickers and logs, and the deep snow. If you’re looking for a more structured adventure, then you can also try Mammoth Mountain’s backcountry clinic. You’ll learn all the skills needed to safely adventure beyond resort boundaries from backcountry experts with the amenities of Mammoth Mountain nearby.
Backcountry Outside of Mammoth Mountain’s Boundaries
With the snow and terrain of the Eastern Sierra, you’re bound to find good backcountry skiing and snowboarding. However, if you’re new to the area and want to find the best terrain while staying safe then we recommend hiring a guide for your first tour. Sierra Mountain Guides and International Alpine Guides are great options, but we recommend taking the time to find the perfect guide for you before scheduling your tour!
One of the most popular backcountry runs is The Hole in The Wall, but if you’re not riding with someone who knows how to access it safely, then we recommend visiting other trails nearby. In the same area are Sherwin bowls, Duck Pass, and Solitude Canyon. All three can be accessed from the Lakes Basin, which means you won’t be far from Mammoth Lakes at the end of the day. However, the roads into the Lakes Basin close during winter and spring, so do not plan on driving up to the trailhead.
If you want to get away from town, then you can head to Highway 395 and ride White Wing. You can access White Wing by parking of 395, following Glass Creek up the mountain, and then riding back down to do it all over again.
Remember to bring plenty of water, food, and cold weather gear! Touring through snow at 10,000 feet is exhausting, so make sure you have everything you need to make it to not only the top of the trail, but also back to the car.