Mammoth Mountain has a grand opening

Woolly wore a tuxedo. Everyone else wore smiles.

Mammoth Mountain Ski Area opened its 2010 season on Thursday and, as a bonus, the ski area unzipped the top at Cornice Bowl, as well as Center Bowl under Facelift Express/Chair 3.

You could hear the woo-hoos, hollers, whistles and oh-yeahs all over, from the bottom at Broadway Express to the top at Cornice Bowl.

At liftoff, skiers and boarders had bluebird skies with a temperature of 21 degrees at Main Lodge and 15 degrees at the top of the 11,059 ski hill.

Wind at Main Lodge was minimal. At the top, the average wind speed was 33 miles an hour at liftoff, which happened right on time at 8:30 a.m. Instruments at the top clocked one gust at 45 miles an hour – not bad for the funsters who are accustomed to getting blown right off the ridge on occasion.

The snowpack was lovely on Broadway, with man-made snow on top of a bed of one-to-three feet of natural snow that arrived, as manna, last Sunday. Cornice Bowl was fine, too, no rock skis needed.
The ski area opened the upper gondola, along with Chairs 1, 3, 6 and 11.

Open trails included Broadway, Saddleback, Main Park, Sesame Street and Center Bowl.
By press time, there was not an actual count of how many individuals crowded up to the lifts, but it was a prodigious opening, said Opening Day war horses of the past.

Many people had the day off on account of Veterans Day, including students from Washoe Valley, who arrived in their big school bus with snowboards and skis on racks, festooning the sides of the bus.
Meanwhile, snow guns began blasting the area around Stump Alley/Chair 2. Ski area spokesman Dan Hansen said Stump Alley will receive the lion’s share of the snowmakers’ attention next.

Although Stump Alley has a covering of snow, it could use more, everyone agrees. Sadly for the skiers and boarders, it might take a bit more time before Mother Nature cooperates.

The National Weather Service on Thursday called for clear skies for the balance of this weekend and next week, with high temperatures in the 40s and lows in the 20s.