Like birds flocking south for the winter, rain, sleet, snow—or even a serious lack of snow; snowboarders near and far converge at Mammoth Mountain for opening day like clockwork, year after year.

Our pilgrimage kicked off at Sole Technologies, in Lake Forest, California. MDP filmer/true bat, Corey Koniniec and I met up with the crew from ThirtyTwo who were graciously putting us up for the next couple of days.

Our first stop was at Active RS headquarters in Ontario, California to check in with “Tall Todd Wakeland and his posse of mustacheod, mulleted employees—the theme of the company trip being of course, mustaches and mullets. Active RS chartered a full bus, and was heading to Mammoth at least 70 deep. They were also holding a “Minimalist Contest.” The winner would be the one who brought the least on the trip. One guy who had to have won, brought only jogging shorts, a speedo, a tanktop, a pair of Nike’s, a pair of shades, a snowboard, and a toothbrush which was tucked away in said joggin shorts. No boots, outerwear or anything else, and let it be known that he rode till the bitter end, ice burn and all. Wow.

From Active HQ, we bee-lined it to Olancha to clean up a stretch of highway that ThirtyTwo had officially adopted on the highway 395—an awesome initiative that they should be commended for. After almost getting run down by an agro construction worker, we were fully en-route to Mammoth Lakes to kick off winter 06/07 (we’re not all so lucky as to be in Colorado yet).

We started the next morning off with a bang, and breakfast at the local Pita Pit, then jaunted up to the resort. To no-ones surprise, as we’d been checking the web-cam for days, the white ribbon of death was in full effect, but our spirits were high as the heavens. Cody Rosenthal put it best later that evening, “You need to ride opening day at Killington to really appreciate it.

First days back on the hill are quite comparable to first days back at school, everyone’s draped up in new gear, high fiving, and throwing out the age-old, “How was your summer? We reconnected with friends, mini-biked around, and had an epic day. The setup consisted of three boxes up top, a handful of natural hits, gaps, and ollies on the sides of the run, and a super fun, large round rail at the bottom, into another box. We made due with what we had, and it was awesome.

After we’d had our fill of shredding the gnar, we made our merry way down to that parking lot where we found one Robbie Sell sleeping in his truck like a little angel. Robbie had arrived about two hours earlier from Tahoe, and gone to sleep in his vehicle sincere hangover in tow. So we decided to scare the daylight out of him by vigorously pounding on the window, inches from his pounding head. As bummed as he was, we still convinced him to give us a ride back down to the village, where we got cleaned up, and mentally prepared for the debaucherous evening ahead.

After a few more hours of sobriety, we walked out of our front door and into Lakanuki. The Active heads had invited us down for dinner and drinks, and drinks. The Active party morphed into DVS/Matix’s “Blowin’ Gates and Gettin’ Dates party, with guest DJ, MFM on the wheels of steel—serious karaoke was going down as well. Bobby Meeks officially owned it with a well rehearsed rendition of Sir Mix A lot’s, Baby Got Back.

I awoke the next morning confused, in a strange place, with arms full of sharpie tattoo’s. Things were blurry as they tend to be after these encounters, but after looking through the pics, it looked like we had one hell of a time.Probably the best opening day ever.

As fun as it was, it’s going to get a lot better. Weather is moving in, and Mammoth will be at full speed in no time. For up to date weather, and resort info, log onto www.mammothmountain.com