Mammoth Mountain is certainly one of California’s best ski destinations, but what if you don’t ski? While the whole Mammoth Lakes area may be renowned for skiing, you can still have plenty of winter fun if the idea of getting up on a pair of skis isn’t your cup of tea.
Mammoth’s backcountry is ideal for snowmobile fun. Snowmobile Adventures is located adjacent to Mammoth’s Main Lodge and offers both guided and self-tour options. Book at least seven days in advance and they will discount your snowmobile rental 10%, except on certain blackout dates. Helmets are included with rentals, and you can even rent clothing if you don’t own appropriate winter gear.
Take a scenic ride on Mammoth’s gondola, one of the best attractions in Mammoth Lakes. Ascend to Mammoth’s summit at 11,053 feet, which offers 360-degree panoramic views of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Check out the Eleven53 Interpretive Center to learn more about the Mammoth’s geologic and volcanic history. You can also have lunch at Eleven53 Cafe, said to be the highest cafe in California.
Grab the kids and head to Woolly’s Tube Park for family fun in the snow. Woolly’s Tube Park features six groomed tubing lanes, outdoor heaters, lifts to bring you to the top and even hot cocoa to warm you up. If your children are under 42", they can enjoy building a snowman in the Snow Play Area. You can purchase an all-day access pass for children 12 and under. And, if you want to beat some of the crowds, take the complimentary shuttle bus from town and get dropped off right at the tube park.
One of the coolest excursions in Mammoth is the option to take a ride in a snowcat. The luxury vehicle holds 12-14 passengers, and the weekend-only tour departs at 1pm, taking you on a ride from Main Lodge to Minaret Summit. You’ll enjoy wine, fresh fruit, cheese and charcuterie. If you’re traveling with kids, they will enjoy a waffle sundae and hot cocoa.
Mammoth is home to what is said to be the highest altitude brewery on the West Coast of the United States. Mammoth Brewing Company is located near the village and sits at over 8,000 feet above sea level. They have a great line up of local beers and you shouldn’t miss the great eats at The Eatery by Bleu. Technically separate businesses, you can pick up beers in the tasting room and then grab some delicious eats to go at the gastropub. Then, enjoy dinner in the comfort of your cabin or room in front of the fireplace. Be sure to get there relatively early as The Eatery by Bleu may sell out of a lot of food items, even on weekdays in slow season.
Please drink responsibly and use a designated driver, as your RoamRight policy does not cover loss resulting from or caused by being under the influence of alcohol.
Located behind the Mammoth Lakes Public Library, you’ll find the Mammoth Lakes outdoor ice rink. During the ski season, the rink is open (weather permitting) daily. Don’t know how to skate? Kids can join the 3-day Learn to Skate program at the ice rink, which follows the structure of the US Figure Skating Basic Skills Program.
Mammoth Dog Teams has beautiful Malamutes, Siberian Huskies, and Alaskan Huskies ready to take you on a sledding adventure. Dogsled rides depart from the Smoky Bear Flats area, but you’ll need to call for reservations in advance. For a real adventure, inquire about the overnight dog sled camping option. What’s also awesome about the Mammoth Dog Teams is you can even visit the dogs if you come to Mammoth during the summer. There are kennel tours available so you can see the dogs you went sledding with – or will be sledding with – in winter.
What’s your favorite non-ski wintertime activity?
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Erin is a travel and food writer who currently splits her time between the Netherlands and Belize. She's traveled to 60+ countries on 5 continents with a passion for culinary travel, luxury hotels, and all things Disney. Her writing has appeared in numerous online outlets including Gadling, BootsnAll, CNN, Art of Backpacking, TravBuddy, CBS, and more. She was the major author of Belize's official visitor magazine, Destination Belize 2013; wrote the official AFAR Guide to Belize; and is also AFAR Magazine's local Belize expert.. In addition to writing for other publications, Erin maintains several blogs, Our Tasty Travels, No Checked Bags, Pooh's Travels, and the brand new Caye To Belize. Follow Erin on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google Plus.
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