|ESPN.com: Freeskiing||[Print without images]|
|Mammoth's record-breaking snowfall this year kept the mountain open until July 4.|
|Lots of pros have been training in Mammoth's Unbound Terrain parks this spring/summer.|
This weekend, California's Mammoth Mountain closes after having a nearly eight-month-long opening season.
Mammoth opened for the winter on November 11 with a strong early-season base and throughout the year, an active La Niņa pattern brought storm after storm through the Sierra, leaving one of the deepest snowpacks in recent memory. The resort closes on Monday.
"We have more snow and a better park than any past summers I can remember," says Mammoth-based pro Chris Benchetler. "It's been the perfect training grounds for getting ready for next season. Skiing in the morning, hit the newly opened bike park mid day, then rock climb in the afternoon."
Around Tahoe, Alpine Meadows, Squaw Valley, and Sugar Bowl are also reopening for this holiday weekend. Snowbird, Utah, and Mt. Bachelor, Oregon, are also open for skiing this weekend.
At Mammoth, coverage on the upper mountain is unprecedented, with top-to-bottom lift served skiing in July. I had the pleasure of taking a few laps at Mammoth recently and the skiing is actually really good.
The resort is operating Chairs 1, 2, 3 and offering skiing off the gondola. Park operations include a 22-foot halfpipe, a handful of jumps, and some of Mammoth's signature pink rails and boxes.
"I love cruising through the park at Mammoth on a warm, slushy day," says Winter X Slopestyle champ Kaya Turski, who trains at Mammoth in the spring. "The park is always dialed with all-sized jumps and jibs. The park crew knows what's up and even though it gets really soft, they keep it well maintained."