SKIERS HAD THE SECOND WEEK OF NOVEMBER... circled, several times, in thick red pen, on their personal calendars. They knew the Opening Day at Mammoth Mountain, and that was that, and they'd organize their time and life around getting up to the slopes around the ski destination's sure-to-be-set-in-stone first day. After all, California's less-than-wet winter last year still lingers in many a flake fan's mind, and the idea that an opening day could actually arrive early seemed to be something out of fiction. But things are getting fictional up the big mountain, and that Opening Day has been moved up, by seven days, to Thursday, Nov. 5. That's moved up, not back, as in sooner, not later, and no, this is not a prank: All the El Niño swirl is clearly already reaping benefits for the slopes of the Golden State.
"1ST RESORT OPEN": Mammoth Mountain is pretty darn stoked about the date change, proclaiming that the Eastern Sierra snow spot will be "the 1st resort open in CA!" The "nearly three feet of snow" that just dropped at the summit at the start of the month can be thanked for nudging the date up, and Chairs 1 and 3'll be in business as of Nov. 5. With more snow comes the expanding into more terrain, so keep those fingers crossed, inside your woolen mittens, that the continued cold continues on and, with it, precipitation.
50 BUCKS... gets you on a lift on Nov. 5, so if you need to break out the thick red pen again, and start circling new dates on the calendar, and talking to the boss about a day off, or, better yet, inviting the boss along to Opening Day, better get cracking. It isn't every year that a resort's date to unlock the proverbial gates jumps forward by a whole week, but, then again, it isn't every year we receive a visit from a particularly strong weather event that begins with El and ends in Niño.
ANNUAL PASS: If the new Opening Day is jumping ahead of you receiving your annual pass, Mammoth Mountain has a helpful suggestion for what to do in the comments of this post.