Lead Photo Credit: Peter Morning

The clink of glasses and the buzz of conversation filled the air as we snagged prime real estate on the Tusks Bar sundeck. Above, a kaleidoscope of skiers and snowboarders carved their way down the mountain, leaving trails of corn in their wake. It was the perfect ending to another Ikonic day at Mammoth Mountain, and the California sunshine was the cherry on top.

Taking Advantage of the Second Season Mammoth Mountain

Photo Credit: Peter Morning

This wasn’t your typical end-of-season scene. In fact, you may not even want to call it the end of the season. At Mammoth Mountain, winter stretches into spring with a glorious “Second Season” that kicks off in March and lasts until at least Memorial Day. We, a family of five with daughters ages 11, 12 and 15, decided to take advantage of the extended fun. Let me tell you, it was a decision that scored high marks with everyone.

At certain lower parts of the mountain, the base wasn’t what it was a few months ago. But up at 9,000 feet (where main lodge is situated), there was still plenty of fantastic skiing to be had. In fact, the two recent storms that transpired right around our visitamm boosted Mammoth’s season total to over 300″ (currently 326″), they have more than enough snow to last well into the spring. The mornings started with crisp air and grippy groomers, perfect for carving turns down freshly laid corduroy. As the day wore on, the snow softened into that delightful spring corn – just begging for playful slush bumps and laughter-filled wipeouts.

Seamlessly Transitioning to Après-Ski

Photo Credit: Mammoth Lakes Tourism

The true beauty of Mammoth’s Second Season is how seamlessly the skiing and snowboarding transitions into après-ski. After a morning spent shredding the slopes, we’d head straight for the sundeck at Tusks Bar. Sunshine on our faces, frosty beverages and snacks in hand, we’d swap stories of epic runs and near misses. With tunes pumping in the background, the vibe was pure California fun.

Photo Credit: Rich Stoner

For a change of pace, we ventured down to Yodler Restaurant & Bar just across the parking lot. With a deck of their own we’d bask in the sun while sharing their hub cap sized Bavarian pretzel, Duck Fat Fries and a local beer from Mammoth Mountain Brewing. The atmosphere was what you’d expect from a lively German restaurant and the staff was very friendly thereby making it another excellent après-ski option.

More Than Just Spring Skiing

Photo Credit: Samantha Lindberg

However, Mammoth’s Second Season isn’t just about what happens in and around the slopes. The lower elevations, closer to the town of Mammoth Lakes, were already basking in spring sunshine. We took a break from the snow and enjoyed some scenic hikes around the crystal-clear lakes. Convict Lake is a local favorite and we could easily see why. The kids loved exploring the beautiful volcanic landscape and spotting local wildlife.

One afternoon, we rented bikes and cruised the Lower Rock Creek Trail, a mountain biking must-do in Mammoth. For our crew, with three daughters in tow, the shorter loop was perfect. We pedaled around the paved road, enjoying the scenic beauty of the mountains around us. Back at the top, we were all smiles and tired legs, but the feeling of accomplishment and the shared experience made it an unforgettable Mammoth Lakes memory. Mountain biking was a delightful way to soak up the scenery and get some exercise without the skis.

Rest Your Weary Body in Nearby Hot Springs

With all of this Mammoth adventure our legs were screaming for relief. We craved an après-ski experience different from the usual crowded bars. Luckily, there are a variety of Hot Springs nearby all within an hour’s drive.

For a truly historic après-ski experience, we swapped the slopes for a soak at Benton Hot Springs, about an hour northeast of Mammoth on State Route 120. Nestled in the charming (almost-ghost-town) of Benton, these springs offer a unique way to unwind after a day shredding. Imagine relaxing under the shade of cottonwood trees in one of nine rustic tubs, each filled with ultra-pure spring water. Each tub gave us the option to control the temps with hot and cold taps making the experience not only rehabilitating but specific to each of our liking.

Après Hot Springs in Mammoth Village

Photo Credit: Mammoth Brewing Instagram

All of these Mammoth adventures left our stomachs rumbling. Replenishing our energy stores called for something more exciting than just a quick pit stop. Plus, après hot springs is a thing, right? Luckily, The Village at Mammoth Mountain offered the perfect solution. Mammoth Brewing Company and Shelter Distilling, are havens for excellent post activity libations and delicious outdoor dining. At Shelter Distilling we raised a craft cocktail made with their innovative spirits to our adventure-worthy weekend. Paired with their house-made nachos it was a nice start to our most recent refueling adventure.

However, one plate of nachos was not nearly enough after our Mammoth-sized adventures. Stomachs rumbling and yearning for more we also had our eyes set on Mammoth Brewing. Their location, only steps away, beckoned us to come and sample their delicious food and satiating craft beers. This one-stop shop for local libations promised to quench our thirst and tantalize our taste buds. It was the perfect reward for a day of exploring the Eastern Sierra.

Still Plenty of Time Left to Experience Mammoth Mountain

By the time we left Mammoth, we were all sporting goggle tans and aching muscles – the good kind that come from a long weekend of non-stop adventure. The best part? We still have two whole months left of Mammoth’s Second Season to dream about. If you’re looking for a spring ski trip with the perfect blend of sunshine, slush, and family fun, look no further than Mammoth Mountain. You won’t regret raising a glass (or a soda for the little ones) to the end of a perfect day on the slopes.

About the Author

Rich Stoner is the founder of the après-ski lifestyle clothing and media brand, All About Après. He is also the co-host of the Beyond the Après podcast. No stranger to the ski and après-ski scene, Rich has been a long time contributor for many publications on topics like skiing, gear, beer and food. However, his passion is on the slopes and enjoying good times with good people. You can find him perfecting his craft carving turns and drinking beers in the Green Mountains of Vermont.  @allaboutapres

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