A lot of folks say I’m too much critic and not enough problem solver. So here’s an idea.
I was reading this ABC News report out of Australia this week about all these people getting lost in the Outback thanks to Apple Maps:
“Victoria Police say that in the past two months they have rescued six people who were lost in the Murray Sunset National Park while trying to get to Mildura – more than 70 kilometers away.”
This appears like an excellent marketing opportunity. All we have to do is get Apple to reroute Tahoe and Big Bear traffic to Mammoth, because your average consumer will innately trust anything his smartphone tells him.
At the same time, we hack local Councilmembers phones and reroute them to Boron every second Wednesday.
In regard to the recent Ski Industry/Climate Change story in the New York Times which Geisel synthesizes below, Greg Hanscom of High Country News was in Mammoth this past weekend doing research for a story on the same subject.
When he asked me about it, I told him that despite all of Mammoth’s glorious dysfunction, we always have one thing going for us, and that’s elevation.
Almost on cue, I rode the gondola on Tuesday with a guy from Tahoe who told me he’d roadtripped down to ski because the past week’s storm had dropped mostly rain on the slopes up there.
So that’s marketing point #2: 11,053 reasons to choose Mammoth over anyplace else.
Town prefers MRF
In regard to the County Solid Waste story this week (click here), it may only get worse for the County if Town Public Works Director Ray Jarvis has his way.
Jarvis, who says “The business model for Benton [Landfill] is a failure,” would like the Town to move in a different direction to solve its waste and recycling issues.
California Assembly Bill 341 went into effect in January of this year. It seeks to increase landfill diversion rates to 75% by 2020.
According to as recent agenda bill penned by Jarvis, “In February 2011, CalRecycle initiated a formal review of the Town’s solid waste recycling programs based on a number of concerns that had been previously raised; the agency provided notice of potential non-compliance and enforcement actions that might be necessary.”
At the time, the Town’s landfill diversion rate was 27%, far below the state’s target rate of 50%.
Therefore, Jarvis is interested in partnering with Mammoth Disposal on a MRF (Materials Recycling Facility). The goal is for a spring 2013 construction date.
The MRF would be built next to Mammoth Disposal’s existing transfer station in the Industrial Park.
Jarvis said Mammoth Disposal is willing to foot the cost of the facility in exchange for a long-term extension of its Franchise Agreement with the Town.
The estimated cost of building the new facility would be $5-7 million.
Sheet: Obviously, that’s a serious expenditure. Will this involve a rate hike (to help cover the cost of construction)?
Jarvis: Undoubtedly, but we don’t know what that impact would be [at this time].”
In Jarvis’s opinion, a long-haul transfer station and a MRF is the appropriate long-term strategy. “Yes, we want it to be a regional facility,” he said. If Mammoth is producing 75% of the refuse in the County, why truck that 75% out of town versus having other areas truck their 25% in?
“Yeah, it’s [a MRF] gonna bring in a lot more trucks, but it’s a lot more central, closer to the source,” he said.
Some critics believe a pristine destination resort should not be actively seeking to attract garbage.
“This is all about Mammoth Disposal and money,” said one,
County Solid Waste Superintendent Tony Dublino believes it is in everyone’s best interest to maximize use of Benton Landfill now while preparing for a longer-term solution.
A MRF would mean less garbage, and the current system relies on volume for sustainability.
“It’s up to the County to reach out,” says Jarvis. “The Town has a plan and is going forward.”
Ski Enemy #1: Climate Change
No matter one’s thinking on climate change, if you live in a ski resort town, memories are still fresh of last winter. Paltry snowfall and warm weather kept many skiers off the slopes, and out of hotels, shops and eateries. It was the fourth-warmest winter on record since 1896. Half the nation’s ski areas opened late and almost half closed early.
According to a story Thursday in the New York Times, some scientists and industry analysts are concerned that, if temperatures continue to rise, many of the nation’s ski centers, especially those at lower elevations and latitudes, will eventually vanish.
Under certain warming models, ski resorts in the Northeast will not be able to maintain a 100-day season by 2039, according to a study to be published next year by Daniel Scott, director of the Interdisciplinary Center on Climate Change at the University of Waterloo in Ontario. In the eastern U.S., by that year, the number of ski resorts could be cut in half, and in New York state by as much as 75%.
Mammoth Mountain Ski Area has rebounded from last year’s drought so far this season, opening on time and now boasting the most skiable terrain in North America, but several ski resorts in Colorado have been forced to push back their opening dates.
The warming trend “spells economic devastation for a winter sports industry deeply dependent upon predictable, heavy snowfall, according to the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC). Between 2000 and 2010, the $10.7 billion ski and snowboarding industry, with centers in 38 states and employing 187,000 people directly or indirectly, lost $1.07 billion in revenue when comparing each state’s best snowfall years with its worst snowfall years. During the last 30 years, the number of ski visits nationally from 1979, when the industry started keeping records, to 2011 has grown at a compounded annual rate of only 0.6 percent. Factoring in last year’s dismal season, the growth rate is hovering at about zero.
Some ski areas have expanded into year-round destinations and offer an array of activities that do not depend on winter weather. Summer concerts and other non-winter outdoor events and amenities are pulling in more non-winter clientele, a la Mammoth’s “Best Summer Ever” marketing campaign earlier this year.
Meanwhile, on the slopes, improved snowmaking technology has helped resorts compensate for some warmer or drier periods. However … “With nighttime minimum temperatures warming at a faster rate than daytime maximum temperatures,” the NRDC report said, “it is uncertain as to what extent snow-making will last as an adaptation strategy.” –Geisel