Words| Mark Clavin     PHOTOS| Mary Walsh and Mark Clavin

Breaking news: Mammoth Mountain was only closed for two months this year! Okay, it is not breaking, but opening weekend has now come and gone and we barely remember a time this past year that we weren’t riding Chair 1.  It can only be compared to happiness of a Midwest city when their two favorite hometown teams overlap playing seasons due to success. Think L.A. with the Dodgers and Lakers, Cleveland with the Indians and Cavaliers, or Houston with the Astros and Rockets. It is good to be a snowboarder in California right now, just like it has been all year.

Jesse Paul is in there somewhere. PHOTO| Mark Clavin

Mammoth had the Panorama Gondola running for opening weekend, as well as Chair 1, 3, and 11. We would say that riders had to refresh their legs on snow to start the season but it didn’t really look like many of them forgot. The first chair spun at 8:30am last Thursday and nobody, including the first 100 in the lift line that got a free pass, has really slowed down since.

Fancy Rutherford asked what the rail was wearing before she kitted up for opening weekend. PHOTO| Mary Walsh

Lapping down from Chair three, Zak Hale, Sage Kotsenburg, Harrison Gordon, Jesse Paul, Tim Humphreys and a healthy crowd of people slashed and slid their way down under a sun that held out for most of the weekend. The mornings were cold, and the snow held for fun conditions throughout the day. Down underneath the gondola, Mammoth Unbound set up a solid early season park that included a short tube, a flat bar, a down bar and a longer tube that hosted a majority of the sessions for the first four days of the season. If we ever lost anyone while lapping, it was a sure bet that they would make their way over to the rails by noon.

Amongst the hiking and follow-cams, reunions amongst friends in the park were happening throughout the weekend. Locals and out-of-towners  descended upon the park until it just became a blur of yellow #Crosspollution t-shirts, bails and early-season stomps. We apologize if we don’t get you all, but here is the attempt.  Mike Rav, Benny Milam, Scott Blum, Stefi LuxtonKimmy Fasani, Anthony and Lenny Mazzotti, Melissa Evans, Mike Gray, Fancy and Keith Rutherford, Brady Lem, Christian Connors, Eddie Wall, Seth Huot, Madison Blackley, Jill Perkins, Harrison Gordon, Jonathon McDonald, Jaeger Bailey, Tyler Flanagan, Blake Kehoe, Reid Smith, Dylan Alito, Olivier Gittler, Cody Warble, CJ Collins, Katie Kennedy, Amanda Hankison, Arthur Longo, Jared McDaniel, Ryan Pluche, Daniel Salazar, Drayden Gardner, Justin Mulford, Sage Kotsenburg, Zak Hale, and Jesse Paul made up a small fraction of the opening crew that spent most of their weekend either on hill or at the JLA Skatepark, a literal concrete kingdom in Mammoth Lakes. It isn’t quite shocking, but it is always impressive to see how good the majority of the riders listed are on a skateboard. The two month wait to snowboard must be a little more bearable when you can ride like CJ Collins.

The nights during opening weekend were refreshingly chilly, and the beers were just plain refreshing. After the full days riding and a visit to the skatepark, Wave Rave hosted a premiere one night, and 53, Clocktower, and Lakanuki held court the rest.

Huge thanks to Mammoth Mountain for hosting another great opening weekend and with more snow in the forecast for this week, we can’t wait to see you all up there again soon!