[R227R, Mammoth Mountain] became the first Far West ski resort to open this winter when it got Broadway Express spinning at 9 a.m. Monday, Nov. 3.

Mammoth has about a 6- to 12-inch base for skiers and snowboarders to enjoy. More than 18 inches of wet, heavy snow fell over the weekend and, combined with the help of snow shot from guns, the opening was possible. It might not be a lot, but it's enough to cover most rocks and other small obstacles on the intermediate run.

"The snow we got Thursday was wet, gloppy snow," says Mammoth's Joani Lynch. "Then it rained on Friday, but instead of washing away what we had, it fortified the glue on the ground.

"It has allowed us to open 10 days earlier than we expected."

Mammoth will sell lift tickets for $52 for adults, $39 for teens, and $26 for children and seniors because conditions are extremely limited. However, the cost probably will rise to Mammoth's regular early-season price of $69 for adults by the end of the week, when the resort hopes to open Face Lift Express.

"We think the top of the mountain could be ready to go by the time the storm clears out," said Lynch, who anticipated the clouds to be gone by Wednesday.

The resort will have most of the base facilities in operation - food and beverage, rental and retail shops, etc. - with the exception of ski school.