Gregory talks Mammoth’s change of ownership
Mammoth Resorts Chairman and CEO Rusty Gregory spoke to a crowd of approximately 100 people on Monday, April 17 to discuss the future of local ski areas after Mammoth Resorts’ sale to Aspen Skiing and KSL Capital Partners was announced last week.
“Most importantly, we need to close the transaction,” Gregory told attendees, adding that the sale should be complete in the next 3-5 months.
“When this transaction closes, it’s… being combined with other resorts in a large geographical footprint … in a way that hedges against weather, in a way that only a multi-geographical resort can achieve.” Gregory cited “tremendous volatility and, of course, climate change” as challenges to the future of the ski industry. “The way to hedge against that is to not have all your eggs in one regional basket.”
He said that “for the foreseeable future it’s really business as usual,” at Mammoth and June Mountains, and that season pass prices and access are not expected to change at the moment.
He emphasized that, unlike the Vail collective, which has made an effort to homogenize their resorts’ feel, the Aspen-KSL consortium seeks to “go out and find the radically idiosyncratic, authentic cultures in mountain communities…and create a company of affiliated one-of-a-kind resorts rather than common resorts.”
Essentially, the goal is not to turn Mammoth into Aspen, but to keep the feel of the Eastern Sierra, which pro skier Glen Plake called “radically different” than any other ski area in the world.
Local property owner Paul Rudder asked Gregory on Monday what he foresaw in the way of capital investment in Mammoth Mountain in the next five years. Without missing a beat, Gregory responded, “One hundred million dollars.”
The priority focus, Gregory said, is Eagle Lodge. A replacement for the “temporary” sprung structure (“those tents are a testament of things of the past, they need to go”) will be built, so Mammoth can “take Eagle Express and turn that into the gondola it is.” That proposed gondola would end at the top of Chair 5, which would host a new restaurant. The third stage of the gondola would connect to the top of the mountain. A “gondola interconnect” would “connect into a building that will be expanded, think of it as a large causeway, viewing area, for landscapes to the left.”