1st Person Perspective: Mammoth Mountain

Posted By: The Ski Channel on November 15, 2010 2:12 pm


The season is officially here for California.  Mammoth, Mt High, and Snow Summit all opened last weekend.  Most Tahoe resorts are either open or planning to open this weekend.  Last Friday we brought you the report on Mammoth’s opening day and the fun that was had.  But that wasn’t enough for me.  I decided to round up some friends, get a cheap motel room in Bishop, get my shred on for opening day (entirely for the purpose of a better article of course), and snap some pictures.  I’m your man on the ground and today you’ll get the 1st person perspective on what was a truly epic opening day at Mammoth Mountain, CA.

Most of us probably have a deeply ingrained mental image of opening day.  It involves rocks, dirt, slush, possibly some jibs, and no jumps.  Riding the only open run surrounded by a zoo of people with the rest of the mountain still covered in dirt.  Well, not this year, not this resort.  Boosted by recent storms and a seriously dedicated park crew, Mammoth had one of the best opening days I’ve ever seen.  Does your opening day look like this?

Didn’t think so

First, there was the snow.  Pretty much the entire mountain was blanketed.   A Journey off to the side of any groomed run was rewarded with a nice layer of powder, and there were many slashes to be had.  There were even a few small drops to be found at skier’s right off of Face Lift.  Mammoth pulled out all the stops to open Panorama Gondola top to bottom servicing Cornice.  Speaking of Cornice, once you got past the howling winds and temps as low as 9 degrees at the top, you were greeted by great coverage and refreshing pow slashes at skier’s left.  I’ve seen it with worse conditions in March/April.   My skis didn’t find any rocks (on open runs at least), and conditions were great over the whole mountain.  You could even spot groms getting stuck in powder off the side of the Discovery Chair runs. 

Face Lift looking very tasty from the chair

The amazing snow conditions also allowed Mammoth to build up Main Park to an impressive size for opening day and keep the park rats happy.  Along with two small jumps they unveiled a new urban staircase feature with three hittable parts, and some crazy new boxes.  They also had a bonk set up and a handful of small rails and boxes.  More than enough to keep you busy.  Word has it they installed a big jump for Friday as well.

Despite the crowds of stoked shredders, having so much of the mountain open really helped to disperse the crowds.  No one had to wait more an a couple minutes to get on any chair.  You didn’t feel caged in at all and it was very possible to get whole runs to yourself with good timing and a bit of luck.  The deck still had a party atmosphere going with music playing, local radio in attendance, and excited riders enjoying Mammoth’s fine selection of brews.  Those with a keen eye were even able to spot Woolly the Mammoth enjoying his first day out of the season, taking runs down Broadway.  Stoke was at an all time high  and it was all smiles around the whole resort.  Thursday was indeed a day to remember, and bodes well for the upcoming season.  

So only one question remains.  Couldn’t you use a vacation right about now? 

One last shot for maximum jealousy.  Wait, are we sure this was opening day?  Couldn’t be…