Mammoth Mountain only just failed to achieve top marks in the test category for advanced skiers. The distribution of trail difficulties is ideal in Mammoth – while beginners can hone their skills on the lower trails or practice areas around the base lodges, experts can enjoy the run of the higher trails. In particular, the slopes on the north side of the “Top of the Sierra” should not be underestimated – from here, only black diamond (difficult) and double diamond runs (extremely difficult) lead back down to the valley. Cornice Bowl is the only groomed trail here, while the rest of the runs are untouched powder or mogul runs. If the prospect of the steep slopes on the north side is too much for you, you should head onto the Skyline connecting trail and then take one of the intermediate slopes like the Reds Lake Run or Road Runner back down to the south side.
Wide groomers between Cloud Nine and Broadway Express
While the highest part of the mountain around the Top of the Sierra almost exclusively feeds very difficult trails, the middle section of the mountain between the Cloud Nine Express in the south and the Broadway Express in the north-east is dominated by numerous intermediate groomers which are perfect for carving. Our favourite runs were the Ricochet trail from the Cloud Nine Express, the Rollercoaster run from the Rollercoaster Express and Broadway from the Broadway express.
A handful of older lifts prevent the ski area from picking up top marks for advanced skiers
At over 1,416 ha in size, Mammoth Mountain is one of North America’s largest ski areas. The range of very difficult trails and beautifully prepared groomers is almost perfect. However, we were still unable to award the ski area the full 10 points in this category. Unfortunately, a handful of the chairlifts are older models which are not fitted with weather protection hoods. As a European, you need nerves of steel when taking the trip up with Chair 23. This chairlift does not have a safety bar and it carries skiers very steeply up to the windy summit ridge.