By Ken Harrison
While fall in the Eastern Sierra is in full force, the summer resorts are closing down and taking time to breath. Unlike what most people think, however, it’s not just lock the doors and come back in April.
The Jones family, owners of the Silver Lake Resort on the June Lake Loop, closed their business for the season on Oct. 14. Like most resort operators, after working almost seven days a week for the last six months, it will be another month before they can walk away and start to relax.
“Many people think we only work six months, and take the rest of the time off,” said resort co-owner Andrew Jones. He explained it would take until almost Thanksgiving to closed down and winterize the 20 cabins and buildings and the 90 RV spots.
The Jones family also use the down time to make repairs, improvements and paint. “We don’t have time once we open in the spring,” Andrew said.
The resort keeps most of their staff on for a week after closing, just to help move picnic tables and clean the cabins. “After that, it’s just us,” said Andrew.
Andrew’s wife Alisa is busy clearing out the general store. She’ll remove about 80% of contents inside the store. Many of the non-perishable food items will be stored in what was originally the “ice house.” Situated over a creek, the building maintains a constant inside temperature of 40 degrees. Perishables get donated to a local food bank.
Once the snow starts falling, Andrew goes to the resort once a week, sometimes by snowmobile or snowshoe, to check on the property. His least favorite thing to do is shovel snow off the roof. “We do it out of love,” he said.
Then in February, the preparations for a new season start all over again, when Andrew starts snow plowing, getting ready for the April opener.
Later next month, when everything is turned off, winterized, and the final light is shut off and door locked, the person who is last to leave the property is Silver Lake patriarch Gary Jones. He’s cherished that role for the last 35 years.
Ken Harrison is a frequent visitor to the Eastern Sierra. He owns I’ll Never Speed Again Comedy Traffic School, and writes neighborhood news and travel stories for the San Diego Reader newspaper.