Summer skiing? Mammoth, Big Bear announce extended seasons

Mammoth Mountain, enjoying its heaviest snowfall in a decade, will extend its skiing and boarding season into July.

Although resort officials haven’t set a specific season-ending date, they confirmed in an email that the mountain will keep ski operations going through “AT LEAST July” (their capital letters).

Mammoth Mountain spokeswoman Lauren Burke said the resort has frequently remained open into the summer during years of heavy snow. However, it “has never announced an extension of this length of time, this early in the season.”

“In short, this is likely to be the best spring skiing and riding the eastern Sierra has ever seen,” Burke said.

As of Tuesday morning — with 14 to 20 inches of snow expected in the next day — Mammoth had already reached 634 inches of snowfall for the season at the main lodge, with a base depth of 305 inches at the top of the mountain, 11,053 feet above sea level. Eighteen of the resort’s 25 lifts and 137 of its 175 trails were open.

Chains or snow tires were required for drivers between Highway 395 and the Mammoth Mountain Inn. All drivers are urged to check highway conditions on the Caltrans website before entering the area.

The resort’s snowiest winter on record — 668.5 inches — was in 2010-11. If weather forecasts hold true, Mammoth officials said, that record is likely to fall next week.

Meanwhile, at Big Bear, similar season-extension plans are afoot.

Officials at Big Big Bear Mountain Resort, half-buried under the heaviest snowfall there in more than 20 years, said they would be extending their season by at least three weeks, through April 30.

The resort, which includes the Bear Mountain and Snow Summit skiing and boarding areas, has 75 to 100 inches of snow on the ground as of Monday morning, having recorded 210 inches so far this season.

All 58 of Big Bear’s trails were open at midday Tuesday, as were 13 of its 18 lifts. Snowfall was expected on Monday. Chains or traction devices are required on all vehicles except those with four-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive and snow-tread tires on all four wheels.

Mammoth and Big Bear are owned by the Denver-based Alterra Mountain Co., which also this year acquired Snow Valley near Big Bear.

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