Winter is coming early to some of the mountains in California. This year Mammoth Mountain had a early opening day of October 31st, and a two-foot powder day at that. “Opening day was insane. There’s so much snow this year,” says Jeff Anderson. “We’ve had enough to set-up rails in the backcountry for like three weeks now.”
Thursday, the day before Jeff’s 21st birthday, he pulled the first documented 450 boardslide on one of those backcountry rails. “At Hood this summer I was doing 270s and I pictured a 450 but wanted to wait to get stronger to try it. It took like three tries and I got it.”
Todd Hazeltine was filming all the early season Mammoth rail insanity, so look for the footage in a Bullseye productions film in the near future.
The first opening Saturday changed the small town of Mammoth into a regular winter Saturday. The crowds on the hill and in town quite possibly doubled the population within a matter of a few days. “The mountain opened eleven days early this year and the shop’s been so busy,” said Wave Rave shop manager, Pete Landini. “The $375 passes sold in August have made a big difference in the number of people up here right now, too. It’s been stressful, but we’ve also gotten to ride a lot already and that’s a really good stress reliever, so it hasn’t been bad.”
With four lifts running, great early season coverage, sunshine, jumps and a pipe it’s no wonder the mountain was packed. “Opening day was sick,” says new Mammoth local, Zack Leach. “Today there’s too many people but it’s still fun.” Probably because of the three decent sized main table-top jumps and small but fun pipe, snowboarders out-numbered skiers by a large margin.
If this is early November at Mammoth, just think of what it’ll be like in January. “We haven’t had this much snow for opening week in so long. It’s usually like this in December,” says Kevin Jones. Locals and tourists alike are crossing their fingers, hoping that this will be one of the seasons to remember and not just an early season fluke.