After nine months and an unprecedented amount of snow, Mammoth Mountain Ski Area has finally closed for the 2022/23 ski season.
Open since early November, the California ski resort was walloped by a record 700 inches of snow on the main mountain and 900 inches on the summit, meaning their season lasted a whopping 275 days. Though it’s not uncommon for some of the resort’s 28 chairlifts to still be running h in early July, it’s highly unusual for almost the entire mountain to be open until August. It’s so unusual, in fact, that it has only occurred twice before in the resort’s 70-year history.
California’s largest ski resort, Mammoth is tucked into the eastern Sierra Nevada mountain range in the Inyo National Forest about five hours north of LA and three hours south of Reno. The top of the mountain stands at 11,053ft above sea level, making it a typically snow sure resort, but the conditions this season were extra favorable for powder hounds thanks to the El Niño climate pattern creating wetter than normal weather conditions.
The season got off to an early start on November 5, 2022 when early season storms – described by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as ‘atmospheric rivers’ – began to drop record amounts of snowfall on northern California. In December alone, the resort reported 116 inches of fresh snowfall, then in January they received a staggering 222 inches. February and March continued to deliver over 100 inches per month, ensuring happier skiers through the summer and occasionally shutting down the resort for avalanche mitigation and digging out chairlifts.
Mammoth's longest season took place nearly 30 years ago, when it was open from October 8 all the way through to August 13, 1995. That season it received 540 inches of snow over the season.
Now with only 100 days to get ready for the 2023/24 season, resort employees don’t have much time to rest and recover before the lifts start turning again on November 10.
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Julia Clarke is a staff writer for Advnture.com and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.