One of the Best Ski Resorts in America Is Already Open — and Just Got a Brand-new Hotel

Mammoth Mountain opened a week early and has already gotten 60 inches of snow this year. Here's what's new at the resort.

If there's one thing Mammoth Mountain is known for, it's being reliable. But just because it's consistent doesn't mean it doesn't know how to shake things up every once in a while. 

Mammoth got its start as a ski area in 1942, thanks to skiing pioneer Dave McCoy, who saw the real potential in the 100,000-year-old geological wonder mountain. It was then that he built a small rope tow to help the intrepid skiers of the time make their way up the mountain. By 1953 McCoy had finally gained a permit from the Forest Service to build a lodge, and just a few short years later, in 1955, the mountain's first chairlift was erected.  

Skiers down the mountain at Mammoth Mountain

Courtesy of Mammoth Mountain

Though few records remain from its very early days, since the late 1960s, the mountain has held the honor of having one of the longest ski seasons in North America, typically opening in early November and staying open through May, June, and, if we're all really lucky, even into July. And this year was no different. Originally slated to open on the weekend of Nov. 11, the mountain experienced a blast of cold air and a solid snowfall, which allowed it to open an entire week early

Yes, it's a place that remains the same in all the ways that matter, but this year, the mountain is tweaking a few elements to ensure it both changes with the times and stays more relevant than ever.

"We have a couple of really cool projects," Lauren Burke, the communications director at Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, told Travel + Leisure. "Mammoth Mountain, as well as the town of Mammoth Lakes, really continues to expand. A big one this season is the new Voltaggio Brothers restaurant in the village." 

Burke is indeed talking about James Beard Finalist Bryan Voltaggio and Michael Voltaggio, who also helmed Charlie Palmer's Dry Creek Kitchen in Healdsburg, California, when it earned its Michelin star. Both brothers, who are also Food Network stars, happen to also be major snow enthusiasts and are bringing their talents to the mountain with a new modern Italian American concept, Vulcania. The restaurant is slated to open in The Village at Mammoth in January 2023. 

"We are so excited to bring this project to Mammoth," the brothers shared in a joint statement. "This project is extremely special to us because the menu we have put together is a reflection of what we cook for our families in our own homes. We look forward to sharing our beloved family recipes with both visitors and locals alike."

Aerial view of the main town at Mammoth Mountain

Courtesy of Mammoth Mountain

But that's just the start of the "new" in town. Woolly's Tube Park, the beloved local sledding destination, has kicked off its multi-year expansion. This winter, guests can expect more tubing lanes, extra snowmaking, and a new, elevated conveyor lift so they can feel an even bigger adrenaline rush each and every time they drop down the hill. 

At the mountain, skiers and riders can also feel good about their chances for a powder-filled season, thanks not only to Mother Nature, but also to the mountain operation's expanded snowmaking system. Over the summer, the team installed $5 million worth of new and updated equipment to churn out more snow that will also make it easier for skiers and riders to traverse the mountain.

There's one more big announcement for travelers to Mammoth. The Sierra Nevada Resort, a long-beloved hotel, is making its grand return this season following a revamp. 

The hotel, which opened on Nov. 1, just in time for the snowfall, is welcoming travelers back, only this time to what they're calling a "mountain maximalist retreat" just a five-minute walk from the lifts. The reimagined hotel now boasts 179 rooms and will soon include 20 four-bedroom villas ideal for group getaways, slated to open in May 2023.

"The mountain, I think, is as good as it gets," Burke shared. "The demand for skiing, riding, and snow activities is higher than ever. And our whole team is feeling really good going into this season." Whether you're among the newbies or a seasoned Mammoth vet, we can promise it will always be a reliably awesome time on the slopes.  

How to Ride

Pick up a single or multi-day ticket or purchase an Ikon Pass, which includes access to Mammoth Mountain.

Where to Stay

The Sierra Nevada Resort: Have a high west stay in Mammoth at the revamped Sierra Nevada resort. The resort now sports an ultra-clean aesthetic in every room, with plush white linens, light wood floors, and roaring, modern black fireplaces to keep things toasty. Spend time with your fellow snow fans at the Americana-inspired lobby, which comes with leather chairs and rawhide stools for fireside cocktails. And if you need a quick bite, find it at Bar Sierra, the resort's modern American restaurant concept. And, best of all, you're just minutes from the mountain, making first tracks a must. 

Juniper Springs: Another longtime favorite in Mammoth is Juniper Springs. The slopeside condos offer spectacular accommodations for those looking to stay a while in Mammoth. Find townhouses boasting large living rooms and kitchens, oversized bedrooms with their own fireplaces, and communal fireplaces for toasting marshmallows after a day on the slopes.

Where to Dine 

Vulcania: Stay tuned for the opening of Vulcania, set to welcome its first diners in January 2023. Though details are sparse, skiers and riders can expect hearty meals of pastas and pizzas to warm them up after a day on the slopes. 

53 Kitchen & Cocktails: Find another relaxed dining experience at 53 Kitchen & Cocktails in Mammoth Village. This spot is stellar for a quick bite right off the slopes. Grab a basket of fries and a beer for a snack, or go all-in with wings, flatbreads, or house-marinated steak. 

Where to Après-ski

Shelter Distilling: Located in Mammoth Village, Shelter Distilling delivers a high-end whiskey experience that's still casual enough for a post-ski drink. Get a dram or one of its signature cocktails. You can never go wrong with a classic hot toddy made with High Sierra Whiskey, lemon, ginger, cinnamon, and honey.

Lakanuki: No trip to Mammoth is complete without getting a drink at Lakanuki, a party-ready après destination that mixes its winter wonderland surroundings with tropical vibes that will keep the good times going until last call. 

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