Updated: Mammoth Mountain announces closure of June Mountain
UPDATED 6/22/12 10:43 a.m.:
Rusty Gregory, Mammoth Mountain Ski Area Chairman and CEO, announced on Thursday that the company will not operate June Mountain this summer and for the upcoming 2012-13 winter season.
“June has operated at an annual deficit each year since its purchase in 1986,” said Gregory in a press release. “It is time to invest some of this subsidy into the analysis and planning required to position the resort for a sustainable future, then secure the approvals and financing required to create it.”
The estimated annual operating deficit is $1.5 million, Gregory elaborated in a phone interview Thursday.
Mammoth purchased June Mountain in 1986 with the idea of significantly increasing the size of the resort by building new facilities, extending new runs to the June Lake Village, and fostering additional developed ski areas along the San Joaquin Ridge, resulting in a connection between Mammoth and June Mountains, the press release stated. For a number of reasons, these plans were never realized and June Mountain has, in turn, suffered from an identity crisis that has both stifled its ability to achieve its full potential and required substantial financial subsidy from Mammoth on an annual basis. Cessation of operations will help the company dedicate its focus to a new future for June Mountain. Mammoth will be working with its partner the U.S. Forest Service to reach the best possible result in this endeavor.
In the weeks to come, Mammoth will be working to determine if and to what extent it can absorb June’s year round workforce.
10 year round employees will be furloughed immediately for two weeks while Mammoth determines if it can employ them.
June Mountain G.M. Carl Williams and Marketing and Sales Manager Abigail Ross will stay on for now to facilitate the 14 weddings booked for June Mountain this summer.
Gregory said all wedding contracts will be honored.
Local June Lake resident Dean Rosnau called the closure a “death blow.”
“It will be economically devastating for the town of June Lake,” Rosnau continued. “Businesses, even the venerable Tiger Bar, can’t survive on locals only.”
Back when Intrawest was looking at developing the Rodeo Grounds in June, Rosnau remembers a group of locals who were against the development coming up with the mantra, “Don’t Mammoth, June.”
“I said, don’t Bodie, June,” Rosnau said. “Frankly that is what will happen now. June will be the new Bodie in terms of lack of viability.”
Rosnau added, however, that he wasn’t completely surprised by the decision since times are tough across the board and MMSA is struggling as well.
Don Morton, owner of June Lake Construction, was appalled at the decision.
“This has caught everyone by surprise,” Morton said. “Three or four years ago when we had a 17-day season it completely crippled the town. We have businesses that are barely hanging on anyway. We need help right now.”
Morton felt that Mammoth Mountain had “raped” June Mountain since Starwood took over in 2005.
“They stole our snowmaking equipment and haven’t put money into June Mountain for 6-7 years,” he said. “Setting June Mountain up for failure has been the most successful thing that Starwood has done. Mammoth Mountain doesn’t want the competition.”
Morton pointed out that if MMSA were to close June Mountain, permanently, it would then be required to restore the area, which would just create a negative cash flow.
“Why not sell June Mountain to someone who loves it,” Morton asked.
Bottom line for Morton, however, “in 10 years June Lake will still be here.”
Gregory said the complany has been thinking about the closure for awhile. “We need to develop a clear vision [for what we want to do at June].” But for now, he said, “the market’s speaking.”
Rusty Gregory, Mammoth Mountain Ski Area Chairman and CEO, announced today the company will not operate June Mountain this summer and for the upcoming 2012-13 winter season. “June has operated at an annual deficit each year since its purchase in 1986,” said Gregory. “It is time to invest some of this subsidy into the analysis and planning required to position the resort for a sustainable future, then secure the approvals and financing required to create it.”
Mammoth purchased June Mountain in 1986 with the idea of significantly increasing the size of the resort by building new facilities, extending new runs to the June Lake Village, and fostering additional developed ski areas along the San Joaquin Ridge, resulting in a connection between Mammoth and June Mountains. For a number of reasons, these plans were never realized and June Mountain has, in turn, suffered from an identity crisis that has both stifled its ability to achieve its full potential and required substantial financial subsidy from Mammoth on an annual basis. Cessation of operations will help the company dedicate its focus to a new future for June Mountain. Mammoth will be working with its partner the U.S. Forest Service to reach the best possible result in this endeavor.
In the weeks to come, Mammoth will be working to determine if and to what extent it can absorb June’s year round workforce. –Press Release
Read more in Friday’s print version of The Sheet.
Maybe if Mammoth mountain didn’t have to pay for the empty seats on the Horizon flights, they would have enough money for June Mtn.
June Mountain’s average yearly budget deficit is but a fraction of the BONUSES MMSA senior managers paid themselves shortly before this past season’s big layoffs. They can afford to keep JM open, they just don’t give a crap.
…more skier days at MMSA.
Sickening. A blow to the June Lake and Eastern Sierra economy, and yet another reason to take back skiing from the big corporations and the “strip and flip” equity firms. June just got the Bain Capital treatment. Stay tuned, won’t be long before MMSA is sold.
MMSA won’t be sold until the Main Lodge Land Swap is completed where Starwood gets the most valuable chunk of land of public land in a national forest in the Eastern Sierra for scraps and bits of worthless land in places where you will never go.
Once the land swap is completed, then Starwood will sell for a tidy profit to some foreign developer and the people of Mono County will once again be told how all that is a “Benefit to the Community”.
It will never happen… but… it would be great if June were owned by another ski company. A little competition between the two ski areas would be a good thing. I’m quite sure another owner could make a profit w/ June Mtn against MMSA.
It is not that the June Mountain Resort is not profitable, it just does not make the projected profits that a corporation expects. The core purpose of a corporation is to increase stock holders value. This was drilled into my head over and over in business school. The corporation not concerned about the Eastern Sierra, the town of June or people unless it affects their profits. Corporations are not bad but the do have a negative side.
It’s amazing to me how quickly people have forgotten that just five years ago or so Mammoth Mountain wanted to invest in June Mountain and develop some of its property there. June Lake locals resisted and Rusty responded by threatening to damage the June Lake economy by operating June Mountain only on weekends if Mammoth was not allowed to proceed with the planned development.
Subsequently the Forest Service stepped in, reminding Mammoth that its permit for June Mountain required it be operated daily or not at all. Mammoth thus lost its leverage on the anti-development folks in June Lake and the planned slope-side condos were never built.
Meanwhile, back in Mammoth, all the development at The Village and at Chair 15 means that the mountain must remain committed to opening Canyon and Eagle, and running the lifts in these areas as early as possible, whether business is down or up.
The closure of June is a bad deal, however it would seem that June Lake’s anti-development folks brought this on themselves.
Here’s the thing… if a business isn’t expanding then it’s on it’s way out of business! You have to continue to grow in order to be viable long term. If the June residents really want a long term resort then they’re going to have to come to grips with some kind of development. I’m not saying that they need a Vail situation but to have a really nice village somewhere at or near the resort is in need.
Trust me, I’d rather it didn’t happen that way but that’s the hard reality especially if Mammoth decides to sell it. If they sell it (they won’t unless the end plan is to sell MMSA as some poster’s think may happen) then they’ll have a viable competitor in their area. Who knows, maybe a Vail ski company might come in like they did in Tahoe and bring a sustainable and profitable ski resort!
I know that’s not a popular option for locals (as none seem to like develop and or change) but they do a fantastic job of bringing additional marketing and economy to the resorts they purchase and operate which then brings an economy.
And I think they would relish in the fact that they were in Mammoth’s back yard! Another coop for a very strong organization!!!!
Sierrafan: There’s two arguments that are usually made by developers who are trying to exploit an area to make money for themselves.
1) Grow or die.
2) Development brings a sustainable economy.
As the best lie is hidden in a truth, while growth and development can boost an economy short term, growth is not always necessary to sustain an economy long term. Adaptation is.
An economy cannot grow indefinitely. Somewhere, sometime, the limits to growth will be met. Then what? Mammoth Lakes is a good example of how developers promises of prosperity based on growth is a hidden lie.
On the other hand, adaptation can preserve the essence of the area without the penalties of growth for growth’s sake. June Lake can adapt to the new economic parameters. Perhaps the new economic parameters de-emphasize Winter tourism and emphasize a livable community for people who work in the greater surrounding area.
Creative people can think their way out of problems without sacrificing the very essence of what makes them unique — like Mammoth Lake didn’t do.
It’s not the end of the World for June Lake. It’s just an opportunity to see things through a different lens.
Please fill us all in on the new “economic parameters” that you speak of.
The work in the surrounding areas that you speak of, just got totally terminated. No work, absolutely no reason for anyone to stay.
The best and most realistic post here so far is from MW. Without June Mtn operating, there is no reason for anyone to remain. But all them “locals” that fought tooth and nail to disallow Rusty and MMSA to not buy JM, well, they will now reap all the rewards of this action…. complete solitude.
I suppose you’d like government to take over? Oh great, like they do a great job at everything they touch.
Your thinly veiled attacks on private enterprise is an argument for giving yet more power to bureaucrats. Bain Capital was a much better allocation of capital than government bureaucrats ever will be. Think Solyndra.
Yes, private capitalists err. But they can go bankrupt. Government, unfortunately, can’t. They’re spending–er, wasting–other people’s money. Private people invest their own, to much better results overall.
It would be arrogant to suggest I know better how to live your life and spend your money than you do. Now please stop telling the rest of us how to live and spend ours.
“Please fill us all in on the new “economic parameters” that you speak of.”
How about relying on your ability to build something new and different with your own hands and intelligence instead of relying on tourism — which is basically prostitution? You know, that good old American “Can Do” spirit.
It’s not my fault if you can’t think of alternatives to snow farming.
Fill us in on your Secret that will save both June Lake and Mammoth WITHOUT eithor tourism and skiing being involved. Please… cough it up.
I don’t disagree with what you’re saying. In fact, you’re very right on too much or over development. My thoughts are to use the assets that June Lakes has for it’s best use. June has a very nice ski area and beautiful lakes. The lakes and mountains will continue to bring the hikers, fisherman and campers but that’s not enough to sustain this area year around. My thought are to bring some larger lodging right there at the mountain so it can be a destination resort rather than the side kick to Mammoth.
I’m not sure a huge village would be the right thing either but certainly something more significant and centralized than what currently exists. I love the area the way it is as much as the next guy but if you want to encourage economy in the area, it can not stay status quo.
Another idea that might work is for Mammoth to significantly lower the lift ticket prices and for MMSA to put more effort into marketing June on it’s own rather than solely piggyback on Mammoth. This is all futile conversation if the residents aren’t for any type of change but for us to have discussion. Hopefully we’ll see what happens when Rusty has a town hall in June which is rumored to possibly happen. I would just hate to see such an awesome asset to just disappear.
Fill us in on your Secret that will save both June Lake and Mammoth WITHOUT eithor tourism and skiing being involved. Please… cough it up.”
The “secret” is no secret. It’s called self reliance. Try it instead of demanding somebody else solve your problems.
a word about the Rodeo Grounds……It was supported by the resort/motel/store owners and the ‘movers and shakers’ in this town…We elected a supervisor for 2 terms who ran on her support of the Rodeo Grounds project. I wasn’t killed because of opposition. Economic times are what killed it…for now.
It wasn’t ‘slope side’ either…It was a 300-400 unit ‘village’ w/ 150-200-family homes ACROSS hwy 158 where the RODEO GROUNDS are.It might have made the mountain economically viable but it would have been an ecological disaster…[water supply]
Had Dave McCoy not been the visionary that he was and achieved his dream, there would be absolutely NO TOML nor June Lake. This entire area is ALL based on McCoy’s hard work and dreams. Nothing more. Until some of you old crotchety MMSA denialist come to realize that, you will continue to beat your swollen heads against the wall of nothingness.
There is absolutely NOTHING to be self-reliant for if MMSA ever goes away. If it does, so does 80% plus of all the revenue, property and job market requirements that both the TOML and June count on to exist. That includes all industry, education, infrastructure etc. What are you going to count on, fishing (once again, TOURISM) up at the Lakes Basin and June Lakes in the summer time? Right. MMSA goes away, there would be a mass exodus down 206 outta Dodge worse than that seen lately by the Syrian refugees to Jordan. Factoid Ken.
Knock Knock… Bodie 2.
BTW: I have absolutely ZERO problems. I am retired and reside down here in Bishop.
Time to start a ‘Boycott Mammoth Mountain’ movement.
Bill: how would that solve anything? We need to stick together and support our town through good and bad times. People have such a short-term memory!