With school out this week, I participated in a Sierra Olympics of sorts, taking my 7-year old daughter to four different activities over four days, from Sunday through Wednesday.
It gave me a chance to experience what the average visitor experiences, in terms of crowds, accessibility, variety, price during the peak holiday season.
We had a ball.
Sunday, Keough’s Hot Springs. Admission for one child and one adult: $14. Actually, the price was a bit higher because my daughter needed a new suit ($27), but Keough’s has a gift shop with a pretty good suit selection.
Our trips to Bishop are pretty standard. Must stops: Great Basin Bakery for a molasses cookie. Cobwebs Antiques and Collectibles across the street. Spellbinder Books up the block on Main Street, Bishop City Park …
If I were Tim Casey, Taco Bell would also be a stop. As Casey, a true fast food connoisseur, said to me this week, in 100% sincerity, “The Taco Bell in Bishop is the best Taco Bell in the country. If I lived in Bishop, I’d eat there seven days a week.”
When asked what his favorite menu selection was, Tim said, “The #1. The taco and burrito combo. Supreme,” he added.
Monday, Mammoth Ice Rink with daughter and friend. Prices: Adults $7. Kids $5. Skate rentals $3. Hot chocolates $2. Two of us brought our own skates. Total cost: $26. I don’t think we’ve been to the rink in two years. The staff was nice, helpful. The rental skates had a buckle system which is a helluva lot more convenient than laces. It’s worth calling ahead (760.934.2505) or checking the schedule because I didn’t time it very well. Got there at 1:30 and the rink closed at 2 for a half hour to make new ice. Attendance was good. It seems to be catching on. Yet one more thing I was probably wrong about – the ice rink’s a pretty cool, albeit expensive to operate, amenity.
Tuesday, Mammoth Mountain. Cost: If I stopped to do the math on season tickets and equipment and how often we go skiing, you’d figure it costs us $35 apiece per day. And that’s living locally and not paying for a lot of the other stuff that the typical visitor pays for.
Again, my daughter had a friend in tow.
We skied out of Main, mostly on the Thunder Bound and Broadway Express lifts. At times, it felt like I was leading two ducklings across an expressway, but they were oblivious to whatever danger I perceived.
Favorite place for the kids to ski – a run through the trees off the terrain park called the Twilight Zone.
Classic moment: My daughter aiming the whipped cream sideways versus down into her hot chocolate, effectively covering my hat and gloves on the other side of the tray.
Wednesday, Woolly’s Adventure Park for sledding. Cost: $25 gives a kid an inner tube and 75 minutes of lift access. Adults are $30.
The kids went. I didn’t. I stood near the bottom with a gaggle of other parents. The Mountain has put out a few Adirondack chairs for people to use in an observation area adjacent to the sledding hill, but really, the Mountain is missing an opportunity here. I would put out more chairs and tables and have someone running food and drinks out there.
MMSA Winter Activities Director Mike Colbert said MMSA spent $200,000 into the Adventure Park this year, adding capacity, and that Woolly’s has hosted more than 500 customers on some days during the holiday.
Why the time limit of 75 minutes? Colbert says most parents are appreciative that there is a limit. “Without an end time, they’d never leave,” he said.
Persons of the Year?
We see that the Fifty Center named Town Manager Dave Wilbrecht and Assistant Town Manager MMM their Persons of the Year.
Which is like Vladimir Putin naming Humanitarians of the Year.
Or Mitt Romney naming Welfare Recipients of the Year.
If George (The Fifty’s Editor) must name award recipients, may I suggest he start with whiskeys or dog food brands or something that’s actually in his wheelhouse.
It’s just unfathomable to me that you can be named a Person of the Year for your role in helping to give away $48.5 million in other people’s money.
Never mind that it took folks like Wilbrecht and Martinez four months (at $1 million a month in attorney fees) to find out that the attorneys they hired didn’t think we had a snowball’s chance in hell of getting into bankruptcy. You would think that a competent and experienced bankruptcy attorney could’ve reached that conclusion about $3.9 million dollars sooner, and that an on the ball Town Manager would’ve demanded a $100,000 answer as opposed to a $4 million one.
And it’s not like Wilbrecht has led by example or taken a pay cut while he asks for sacrifice from everyone else around him (except for Martinez, who he’s shopping around in a bid to land her even more taxpayer dollars).