Mammoth Mountain 2009 Opening Day Photos

Words and Photos: Lance Hakker

Two days ago Mammoth announced its plans to open today, October 16th, their second earliest opening ever in fifty years of operation. I assumed that with only a couple days notice, a day and a half really, that it would be a pretty mellow opening. Then BAM! Big Mountain Mike and I roll up around 9:30am and the parking was the craziest I've ever seen it on opening day. And we've been going to Mammoth's opener for 10 years or more.

That's 4,499 people I shared the liftline with today.

The reason for the crowd is simple. Free tickets for everyone. Everyone! Robbie Sell just got the official number of guests today: 4,500. That's 4,499 people I shared the liftline with today. And to be honest, the crowd sucked and it was way hotter than I expected it to be, but Mammoth was open and it was way too fun to be even remotely serious about any complaints I might have.

Big Mountain and I met up with Robbie right when we got into the line and ran into familiar and welcome faces all day. Even the staff was abnormally friendly today, giving and receiving free lift passes might just do that to people.

If you're thinking about heading up here, don't let my talk of crowds deter you. Most people are leaving after today and there's more than enough stuff to get loose on to be worth the drive. I saw people learning new tricks, falling over small trees, Big Mountain Mike hit his face jumping off a cliff and broke his glasses, and all the other good stuff people do when they haven't been snowboarding in 5 months. It's good, and it's the second earliest opening ever, we should take advantage of it.