words: Mark Clavin
photos: Mary Walsh, Mark Clavin, Jeep Eddy, and Peter Morning
The whirlwind of opening weekend at Mammoth Mountain is over and now it is time to breakdown all that happened. The weather was prime, snow was on the ground, and riders from all over migrated to central California to experience four days of the legendary opening weekend. A large amount of what went down is blurry, either due to the speeding down Dave's Run or off hill antics at all the premieres, but here we go.
Thursday started early and ended late. Legs calibrating to park laps broken up by bluebird runs down Cornice Bowl left everyone stoked. Whether they where hiking the early season Unbound set up or charging down from Chair 3, it was hard to tell if anyone took a day off this summer. Mammoth locals Scott Blum, Harrison Gordon, Garrett Warnick, Jaeger Bailey, and Kimmy Fasani were on hill to spark awe and inspiration in those lucky enough to see their riding up close. It was later that day we saw what was possibly keeping some of them in shape during the offseason: the Volcom Brothers Skatepark in Mammoth Lakes is always firing. After the lifts had closed down on the first day of the season, DC and Electric showed up at the park with vans packed and ready to shred on dry land. Visiting pros and their hometown counterparts stayed froggy with a heavy session into the dusk. The city held a ceremony recognizing the park and it's place in the community while Mike Rav laid down nose manuals like it was his job. And by the looks of it, Mike Rav loves his job.
The night ended a bit farther down the road at the Wave Rave Snowboard Shop with the first of many premieres. A packed house, or parking lot rather, boasted hoots and hollers as Union's Stronger and The Fourth Phase played on the screen out back. Beers were chilled in the beds of pickups and friends reunited for the first time under heavy parts in both flicks. Harrison was also in attendance, a theme throughout the weekend.
Friday started a bit later due to…we can't remember. As headaches went away and the sun greeted riders of all ages and skill level, a heavy Facebook live session was filmed in the park. Guest hosts included Gabe Taylor, Tim Humphreys, and Jeff Holce. Ted Borland and Nirvana Ortanez had session highlights by doling out their bag of tricks to the "likes" of the interweb audience. Users typed furiously waiting for riders to fall, but to their dismay it rarely happened. Huge thanks to TJ Dawoud and the Mammoth Unbound team for keeping the place proper and riders happy from first chair to last on all four days.
Friday night started with Absinthe–the good kind. Sushi Rei hosted a premiere of Absinthe's new film AfterForever on the home turf of Mammoth locals Jaeger Bailey, Kimmy Fasani, and Garrett Warnick, who were all in attendance and received applause from the crowd as their parts seared images into brains for eternity. Along with the sake and Sapporo, Kimmy Fasani's lines in Alaska stayed on everyone's tongue for the rest of the evening. The second act of Friday night kicked off at 53 a little after 10:00 p.m. Less cocktails and more rooster tails, The SNOWBOARDER Movie: Resolution delivered to a packed house and got the people going. It was the perfect primer to send it late into the night. Industry heads and weekend warriors both seemed to abide. Harrison Gordon was once again spotted enjoying both films.
Saturday started fast. Conditions were prime for continuous drops all over and we all know the early board gets the turn (Editor's note: sorry for the cheese, but it was a long weekend). Brady Lem, Arthur Longo, and Justin Fronius were all seen getting theirs. Seth Huot was doing what he does best, filming and still riding with more style than most on hill. Jordan McDaniels, Parker Szumowski, Dylan Alito, and Tyler Flanagan continued to rip apart the rails set out for all to enjoy. SNOWBOARDER Mag Creative Director Pat Bridges was seen getting low from top to bottom with hovercrafts across the hill and under the features in the park.
The skatepark then reigned once again after the mountain closed until The Wildcats Movie premiered along with TransworldSNOWboarding's Insight at 53. Three days of partying and riding did not stop Harrison Gordon from showing up to enjoy a double feature and say hello to friends. The opening weekend community of snowboarders rallied again to gather and drink with the projector rolling and our idols on screen. As the credits rolled, attendees split to find food, more drinks, and hotel sorority parties. We can attest to two out of three, but you can guess which two. (Hint: it was food and drinks.)
Sunday once again started a bit early for what was on the docket the night before and it was far from the day of rest. Spencer Whiting, Judd Henkes, Chloe Kim, Brolin Mawejje, and Torstein Horgmo were all seen lapping before they went their respective ways. The sun softened the snow for slashing and those that didn't trek to the top were greeted with bonks and side hits of all sizes on the trails below. We can't attest to what happened the last three hours on Sunday as we migrated back to southern California, but if the first few days were any indication, Mammoth finished strong. Thanks again to the Mammoth crew and everyone that made opening weekend a blast!