How, When, and Where to Work in Mammoth Lakes
Less than six hours from both San Francisco and LA, Mammoth Lakes is a simultaneously quaint and vibrant getaway in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California. Home to what is widely considered the top ski resort in California, Mammoth Mountain, it boasts world-class amenities while still maintaining that cozy, rustic ski town vibe. For those looking to take advantage of some of the best snow in America (400 inches of pow on average) without going completely broke, you’ll be happy to know your options are as wide open as Cornice Bowl on a bluebird day. Below, we’ve outlined how best to go about your job search in Mammoth Lakes, and provided you with options that range from seasonal to long-term (if you happen to decide you’d like to make yourself a local).
When to Go
Though you’ll have the opportunity to find work year round, winter is Mammoth’s busy season. This means you’re going to have the best shot at landing a job (and, perhaps just as importantly, housing) if you can be available by the fall. There is plenty going on during every season, though, so don’t be discouraged if you miss the winter rush or are planning on moving during spring or summer.
Note: If you’re looking for a place to stay, the Mammoth Lakes Workforce Housing Program matches local employees with homeowners who have put their property up for rent.
How to Find Work
Although it has the look and feel of a small mountain town, Mammoth Lakes has a thriving economy that is anchored in tourism. Of course, this means that there is a litany of restaurants, ski shops, bars, and hotels lining the streets. There are also, however, schools, medical centers, law firms, a fire and police department, and a variety of other employers that provide consistent work for those in almost any industry.
You can start your search by browsing online job boards (Indeed has almost 180 positions listed), going to individual businesses’ websites, or simply calling to inquire about openings. Depending on the job, California may require specific certifications and licenses, so know how to obtain those qualifications before you apply.
Where to Look
Mammoth Mountain Ski Resort
With 3,500 acres of terrain and 150 total trails, Mammoth Mountain is, indeed, a behemoth; and it is by far the largest employer in the area. According to its ski job portal, Mammoth has openings for everything from bartender to gondola operator to freeskiing coach. And employment with the resort means access to great benefits, including free season passes; discounts on food, retail, and lodging; and sick pay, insurance, and a 401(k). Plus, according to Glassdoor, it has a very solid 4.2-star rating.
There are a number of resorts, inns, and hotels in the Mammoth Lakes area, and all of them need people to shuttle guests to the mountain, help with check-ins, and provide concierge services. There are numerous hotel jobs in Mammoth, including management, desk clerk, and groundskeeper roles. It helps if you have hotel-specific experience, but mostly you need to be good with people — and possibly know where to go for the best Mexican food in town.
Mammoth Unified School District
With an elementary, middle, and high school, Mammoth Unified School District is a major employer in the area, serving around 1,200 total students. If shaping the minds of Mammoth’s groms sounds appealing to you, consider looking for work as a teacher, administrator, or other staff member. Many of these roles are obviously going to be geared toward long-term employment, so seasonal workers may want to consider other options.
We get it. You’re not into working during the day, having all of your potential skiing and riding hours filled with work. This is where a job pouring beers at Mammoth Brewing Company or serving food at Skadi can be a godsend, as you can work at night without having to call in “sick” during powder days. Also, tipped employees in California earn a minimum wage of $13/hr. ($14/hr. for larger employers) plus tips, making this route especially attractive. Search sites likes Poached, which aggregate service industry jobs so you can see what positions are open in and around Mammoth Lakes. Also, restaurant turnover is high, so oftentimes you can find work by simply walking in and inquiring about openings (it has worked for me several times).
There are several solid options for those skiers and snowboarders who make a living setting bones, performing x-rays, and otherwise taking care of other skiers and snowboarders in Mammoth. Mammoth Hospital currently has several open roles, including nursing, laboratory assistant, and even neurologist positions. There are also a handful of medical centers and numerous doctors’ offices for those in the healthcare field. Be ready for stiff competition, though, as these are some of the most highly sought after roles in any mountain town.
Nestled throughout the Village — and spread out along Main Street and Old Mammoth Road downtown — are numerous sporting goods stores, boutiques, and specialty shops. To find a retail job, it helps to have relevant experience, but most employers just want to see that you’re knowledgeable about the products and know how to sell. Remember to play to your strengths. Can you properly wax and tune a pair of skis? Look for work at a rental shop. Know what the trout have been going after lately? Hit up one of the fly shops in town.
Mammoth Lakes is the rare place that has both the charm of a mountain hideaway and the amenities of a big city. This provides you with the opportunity to work for large chains and corporations or small independent businesses. So, prior to taking the plunge, think about what kind of lifestyle, benefits, and pay you’re looking for — and do plenty of research. Also, remember that if you’re in a cyclical industry (service, retail, etc.), you’ll want to budget for the off-season when pay can potentially decrease. With some planning and foresight, you could end up with a high-paying job that happens to come with a view of one of the most revered mountains in America.