Receive all the essential information for an affordable, stress-free + all around epic family snow vacation to Mammoth Mountain Ski Resort.
As Mammoth Mountain was founded on the notion that skiing should be accessible to all, almost every aspect of this ski resort lends itself to families. With that said, certain aspects of the mountain (like lift ticket prices and lesson availability) can get a bit tricky if you don’t know how to work the system. So we’ve crafted this article to ensure your family and bank account have a good time on the slopes of this world renowned frozen volcano (that’s right, it is an active volcano.)
*All rates below are current as of January 21, 2019
If you and your offspring already have gear, awesome, skip this part. But if you are one of the many people still unsure of your commitment to skiing or snowboarding, you’ll need to find a good rental shop.
The options below provide a variety of prices and conveniences, so whether you want to get the absolute best deal, or are willing to pay extra to have someone come to your accomodations and fit your family for boots, skis and boards, Mammoth Mountain has you covered.
Note: All prices below are for standard boots and skis (or snowboard.) These rental shops also offer performance gear, and add-ones like helmets and boot warmers for an additional cost.
Best for Convenience: Black Tie Ski Rentals of Mammoth
The ultimate gear concierge service, Black Tie will fit you for the appropriate gear in your accommodations, come back to pick up the gear when you’re done, and will meet you on the mountain if you need gear adjustments or swaps. This is an especially good option if you, or someone in your family, is an intermediate to advanced skier who is particular about your gear in various conditions. And for an extra $20/ day you can get heated boots, which may make all the difference if you’re riding in below freezing temps and (like Bailey) have circulations issues.
Adults: $55/day for boots and skis, or snowboard
Kids: $35/day for boots and skis, or snowboard
Second Best for Convenience: Mammoth Mountain
As Mammoth has on-site rental shops in all of their base lodges (with the exception of The Mill) it's pretty darn convenient, if it's not too crowded. But a wait might be worth it to you if perks such as being able to swoop in to switch out skis for a snowboard, or vice versa, free overnight gear storage, and a Try Me, Buy Me program that allows you to test as many skis or snowboards as you like until you find your ideal match, sounds dreamy.
Adults: $49/day for boots and skis, or snowboard
Kids: $34/day for boots and skis, or snowboard
Save Some Money Tip: You receive 20% off multi-day rentals when you reserve your gear seven or more days in advance.
Best for Affordability: ASO Mammoth
Beyond having the charm and thoughtful, friendly service of a small business that was started with the purpose of adding value to the community, ASO offers the best rental rates in Mammoth (if you rent your gear ahead of time online.) While their prices are pleasing, their attention to detail (specifically the customer's comfort) has inspired a loyal customer base.
This place doesn't make you feel like you're just another warm body, but a unique human who the shop attendees want to ensure has a great time on the mountain. They have a wide range of equipment, ask extensive questions to ensure they set you up with the right gear, and are happy to offer quick tune ups or gear swaps, if needed.
Adults: $36/day for boots and skis, or snowboard (when you pre-register online)
Kids: $22/day for boots and skis, or snowboard (when you pre-register online)
Best for Friendliness: Kittredge Sports
This shop is not only great for snow gear rentals, but rentals for just about any outdoor adventure sport. The staff are like walking encyclopedias for everything from ski boot fit to the best bike for a back country adventure, ensuring you leave with gear that will give you the best possible chance of having an epic journey. And the best part - they’re super friendly and have rates that are only slightly higher than ASO.
Adults: $42/day for boots and skis, or snowboard
Kids: $26/day for boots and skis, or snowboard
Best for Buying Second Hand Gear: Mammoth Mountaineering Supply and Gear Exchange (in Bishop!)
Whether you're looking for brand name snow clothes, or ready to say a long term "I do" to skiing or snowboarding gear, this extensive supply and exchange store offers everything you need to be professionally prepped for the mountain. Even our friends that work at Patagonia, and get seriously discounted elite gear, swear by this shop. If you're coming from Southern California, you'll pass through Bishop on your way to Mammoth - it's about 45 minutes southeast. This is also a great stop if you're an experienced skier or boarder and are ready to upgrade your gear.
Address: (While we don’t usually provide addresses, because smartphones... this one is a bit tricky to find with the phone. So here ya go! 298 North Main Street
Note: Second Chance Thrift Store in Mammoth also offers decent second hand options (mainly for ski gear.)
Be (Un)Cool Tip: If the weather will be extra chilly, ask the staff at your rental shop of choice about how to add extra heat to your gear. Some of our favorite options include electronic boot heaters and HotHands Hand Warmers. In addition, wearing mittens, high-quality base layers, and weather proof top layers will help preserve warmth.
If you’re gawking at the lift ticket prices below, I get it, they’re steep. But Mammoth rewards forethought and multi-day ski trips, by offering 20%-off discounts if you purchase tickets for two or more days, or buy them at least five days ahead of time.
If you're reading this at the very beginning of ski season, and know you plan to ride more than five days throughout the season, purchase the Ikon Pass or Ikon Base Pass (price’s below), which offer access to over 26 mountains across the globe. As an added perk, having one of these passes makes you feel way less guilty about calling it a day hours before the lifts close.
Cost of Full-Day Adult Lift Ticket (Peak Season): $110 - $169
Cost of Full-Day Adult Lift Ticket (Spring): $87 to $127
Beginner Lift Ticket for Adults: $69
Beginner Lift Ticket for Children: $28
Children's Lift Ticket (Kids 4 and under ski free): $35 - $55
Half-Day Lift Ticket (Available after 12:30pm): $83 - $127
Ikon Pass: $899, if you purchase early (no black out dates, and other perks)
Ikon Base Pass (Our top choice): $599, if you purchase early (some black out dates, and a few perks)
Note: Mammoth lift tickets provide access to both Mammoth Mountain and family-friendly June Mountain, which we highly recommend checking out. If you think you'll only want to ski June, buy your lift tickets there as you'll get a big price cut (around $95 for a peak season adult lift ticket if you purchase in advance, and $72 for a half day.)
Trying to teach your children or partner how to ski or snowboard can be a rare form of hell. Skip this argument-inducing practice by signing up the beginners in your family, or those looking to up their skill level, for the high-quality lessons offered at every Mammoth Mountain base lodge, with the exception of The Mill. All the instructors we’ve encountered at Mammoth are incredibly kind, and overflowing with the finesse needed to get even the most reluctant of riders to absorb the skills necessary to enjoy the mountain.
For many riders, regardless of age, a lesson is the tipping point for their skills, helping them get past hurdles such as fear, technique issues, and etiquette confusion.
Tip: if your children have any dietary restrictions, make that explicitly clear to the instructors, as food and treats will often be given to the mini-riders throughout the day.
Tip Deux: Lessons fill up quick, so book your spots as soon as you know when you'll be heading to the mountain.
Those looking for elite treatment will enjoy Mammoth's private lessons that allow you to bring four others (of similar skill level) along for a day with an expert instructor. The instructor will offer the support needed to enhance your moves, discover every section of the mountain that's fit for your level of ability, and skip lift lines - a perk that's especially handy on holiday weekends. This can be a fun family option if you all have similar capabilities.
Cost for a full day private lesson (not including lift tickets) is $725, and a half-day is $493.
2.5 Hour Adult Group Lesson
If you're looking to freshen up your skills, and don't mind learning alongside strangers of the same ability-level, the group lessons for ages 13 and up are a fun and effective option. While it can feel intimidating to open yourself up to critique, especially in front of people you don't know, the instructors are expertly trained to offer feedback in a clear yet non-condescending manner, and often address the entire group instead of singling someone out. And of course, this offers a prime opportunity to ask for specific tips on aspects of skiing and snowboarding you find confounding.
Cost of a 2.5-hour lesson ranges from $152 to $174, not including lift ticket or gear. For an additional session that will be used on the same day (for example, you did the morning session and would like to tack on the afternoon session), the cost is an extra $59.