How To Have An Amazing Mammoth Family Ski Trip With the Kids

Hint: Stay at the best location.

The Village Lodge is the preferred location for Mammoth ski trips with kids.

My husband and I have fond childhood memories of skiing. From the early fears of riding chair lifts, to the euphoric thrill of speeding down the slopes, we looked forward to winter trips. When our eldest turned 3, we began our ski adventures as a family. Traveling with kids can be a challenge. Especially coupled with long drives, loads of extra cold weather gear and ski lessons with strangers. A fun family trip can turn sideways fast! We quickly learned convenience is key. Here is why The Village Lodge is the best place to stay when skiing Mammoth with kids.

Why kids love The Village Lodge:

  • Once they arrive, they don’t have to get in the car again (no battling seatbelts while wearing winter gear!)
  • Convenient entertainment in the Village with Woolly’s Parade on Saturdays. The party takes place in the Village on Saturdays at 3:45pm during the winter season. Woolly & his friends from ski school host with face painting, dancing & a parade!
  • Year round heated pool & jacuzzi, onsite game room/arcade & a media room for watching movies
  • Hugs ice cream shop & Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory are steps away
  • They love the incredible ski school located at Canyon Lodge
  • Woolly’s Tube Park is 1 shuttle stop up the road
  • Onsite fire pits for roasting marshmallows

Why parents love The Village Lodge:

  • Once you park your car, you won’t get in it again until you leave
  • Condos offer full kitchens & a sleeper sofa for the kids (Hooray for privacy!)
  • Jacuzzis are perfect for end of day relaxation
  • Steps to the Village for restaurants, shopping and entertainment
  • Steps to Canyon Lodge Gondola (a 6 minute scenic ride to the slopes) & the operators always seem to be having a blast
  • Awesome ski school for kids 3 years + at the Canyon Lodge
  • State licensed day care in the Village for tots too young for skiing (right next to the Gondola). Daily from 8am – 4pm and offers Friday, Saturday evening care from 5pm-9pm (advanced reservations are highly recommended)
  • Lockers available at the Canyon lodge so you can leave all the kids equipment and not drag it back and forth to the hotel. (as a parent, there is nothing more annoying than having to carry your kids skis & poles + your own all while the kids are hanging on you to keep from slipping in their ski boots)
  • Covered parking garage (which is fabulous when it’s snowing)
  • Fully equipped fitness centers in each building
  • Vending machines & coin-op laundry facilities (for those emergency laundry sessions)
  • There is a full service local Vons grocery store a short drive from the hotel
skiing Mammoth with kids

We arrived in Mammoth around 2pm after a leisurely drive up from Southern California.

Mammoth is about 4.5 hours north of Los Angeles and about 6.5 hours from San Diego. It has a regional airport about 10 minutes south of town, however we prefer to drive. We leave early enough to account for stops with the kids and arrive with time to ski in the afternoon.


Our one bedroom condo (which easily fit 2 adults, 2 kids & a crib) was ready when we arrived. After parking in their underground parking garage (huge bonus when there’s a snow storm) we made our way up to the condo located in Lincoln House. The three buildings, Lincoln House, Grand Sierra and White Mountain all boast condos styled with different decor/furniture. This visit, we requested a room move due to the size of the condo and its oversized furniture (there was no room to fit the crib). The Front Desk was super quick to accommodate and had another one bedroom ready to go down the hall within minutes. Our new one bedroom (3214) was excellent.

Here is a peak inside the condo:

The Village Lodge living space
Living Space
the Village Lodge master bedroom
King Bed
The Village Lodge view from the Lincoln House balcony
Lincoln House balcony facing fire pits and swimming pool

Each building has a fully equipped fitness center, equipment lockers, vending machines and coin operated laundry room. The Grand Sierra building is often the most desirable since its the newest, houses the Front Desk, Media Room, Game Room, has a larger gym and is closest to the pool. The Lincoln House is the closest to the Gondola.

The Lincoln House Fitness Center

The next morning we headed to the snowy slopes.

The Village Lodge is conveniently located within the Mammoth Village, steps from the Gondola. We needed to rent a locker and get the kids fitted with ski rentals (at Canyon Lodge) so we took the Gondola around 8:15. This gave us about an hour before lessons started at 9:15. Leaving early also meant no wait times at the gondola or in the ski school check-in line!

Skiing Mammoth with Kids
Getting fitted for ski rentals (bottom level of the Canyon Lodge)
Skiing Mammoth with Kids
Lockers at Canyon Lodge (bottom level of the Canyon Lodge)

The Mammoth Mountain ski school at the Canyon Lodge is fantastic.

The instructors are awesome and the kids have a blast every time. Drop off is at 9:15 and pick up is 3:15, which gives us 6 hours!!

Canyon Lodge Ski School, mammoth
Mammoth Mountain Ski School
Canyon Lodge Ski School, mammoth
Mammoth Mountain Ski School

After skiing we stopped at Hugs, the village ice cream shop, for a sweet treat before heading to the pool & jacuzzi.

Downstairs from the The Village Lodge is “the Village” and it has more than enough places to dine. Just to name a few offerings, there’s: pizza, sushi, BBQ, ice cream, pitas, bagels, crepes, a distillery, a wine bar, general store, chocolate shop, Mexican food, and a coffee shop which proudly brews Starbucks to satisfy those caffeine cravings.

skiing Mammoth with kids

The pool, located in the center of the resort, is a great size!

Its outdoor snowy backdrop creates an excitement about swimming during the winter. Now a daily ritual and it doesn’t matter how cold it is outside, they still love it.

Meals in the Condo

After the pool/jacuzzi, a warm shower & some cozy clothes, it’s time for dinner. Despite having numerous possibilities outside our door, we opt for dinners in. Most parents can relate. With young kids, the odds of them all cooperating at once in public is almost ZERO. So, we sit them down with either some Legos or a TV show and prepare food. Dinners always consist of simple favorites like chili dogs and chips, spaghetti and frozen pizzas. Breakfasts include bacon & eggs, pancakes, French toast, bagels & cream cheese and cereal/yogurt/fruit. (Remember that local Vons grocery store? we visit on our way into town and stock up).

Since we also visit Mammoth regularly, we bring a “go-box” on wheels with needed items the condo kitchen doesn’t provide. Items such as:

  • Pam Non-Stick Spray
  • Vegetable oil
  • Hot sauces (Cholula, Tapatio, etc)
  • Ingredients: Cinnamon, Sugar, Vanilla, Peanut Butter, Honey
  • Ziploc bag of to-go condiments: Ketchup, Mustard, Mayo
  • individual hot chocolate packets
  • a few boxes of Kraft Mac & Cheese, a few packages of Top Ramen
  • Single serve packets of Pedialyte which you mix with water (in case of dehydration)

After a restful night, we were up and back on the Gondola at 8:45am.

Everyone had another great day of skiing. At 3:15 the kids were picked up from ski school and ventured onto the slopes for a few runs together. Want to ski with your kid who isn’t completely independent?

For dependent skiers, use a Lucky Bums Ski Trainer.

It’s a harness they wear with leashes you control from behind. It helps teach them to ski while you have full control. Most come with a handle so you can easily grab them when getting on and off the chair lift. Since you need to be hands free, best if you ditch your ski poles for this.

Using a Lucky Bums Ski Trainer

After skiing today, we went exploring!

There are plenty of places for young kids to explore in and around The Village Lodge. They love to get out and look for animal dens, stomp on snow and all while finding the perfect stick or pinecone. Building snowmen and sledding are also a blast.

skiing Mammoth with kids

For those mornings kids need a break, grab the ski helmets, board the shuttle & head up the road to Woolly’s Tube Park.

No need for the car! Across from Sushi Rei (in the Village) is shuttle stop #18. Hop on the ESTA red line and travel 1 stop to #19. The tube park opens around 10am and kids must be 42″ to ride. For the smaller kiddos, there is a snow play area available for purchase.

The Village Lodge is a favorite. It provides everything our family requires for an easy enjoyable family ski trip.

We each have different needs during our Mammoth ski trips. Staying at The Village Lodge satisfies all of them. Dad wants easy ski access, Mom wants the kids entertained, while the kids don’t care, they just want to have fun! As mentioned before, convenience is key. Location, location, location! There are many more ski trips to Mammoth, The Village Lodge has not see the last of us!

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