How is Mammoth weathering the weather?
You know something a bit unusual’s taking place when local resident Mark Davis walks into a bar on New Year’s Eve.
Because normally, Davis would be one of seven drivers scooting around town delivering pizzas for Domino’s.
But this year, Domino’s only had four drivers working on New Year’s Eve, so Davis had the night off.
To illustrate the fall-off in demand, attendance at the Canyon Lodge New Year’s Eve party was off by about half from last year, according Town Police Chief Dan Watson.
According to the Mammoth Mountain ski patrol website, the Mountain has received a total of 42.5” of snow this year. The last snowfall was 1.5” on Dec. 20. Before that, it snowed 10” on Dec. 7.
As many locals bill themslves as “Snow Farmers,” the lack of a crop to date has many concerned about their bottom lines.
Mammoth Mountain experienced a 24 percent decrease in attendance during the weekend between Christmas and New Years, according to Joanie Lynch, MMSA Director of Communications.
Meanwhile, the Town’s projected occupancy for this weekend, according to Recreation Manager Stu Brown, is 55%, down from 75% the same weekend a year ago.
Mammoth Lakes Tourism Executive Director John Urdi acknowledged that the 55% number was likely high. “We’re definitely seeing people head out,” he said.
“I just got out of a staff meeting,” he continued, “and I told my people that this is the norm [snow-wise] on the East Coast [where Urdi began his career].
“I give the mountain kudos for what they’ve done with the conditions,” he added. “And we’ve still got the off-alpine activities that are definitely getting taken advantage of.
“I got a call the other day from someone who asked if he should bring up his bike [from L.A.] … I said, ‘of course.’ You’ve got to make do with what you have.”
Mammoth Ice Rink, for example, has already booked $34,000 in revenue to date. For more on that, see page 2.
The Sheet sent Annie Maize out to speak to a few visitors about their experience. This is what she found.
The Eddy family comes to Mammoth twice a year, every year, and a lack of snow was not going to discourage them from making the trip from Bakersfield.
“We were hesitant to make the trip, but we couldn’t be happier with the vacation,” said Vincenza Eddy.
The family spends their day on the mountain enjoying the snow activities, then at the end of the day they find themselves in the Village, meeting people and participating in all of the activities that the resort has to offer.
Eddy describes Mammoth as the perfect place for families because of the friendly and experienced workers, great entertainment and all around great atmosphere.
Kathryn and Tom Herrington own their second home in Mammoth. They come to town with hopes to escape from the mayhem in San Diego, snow or no snow.
“It [lack of snow] hasn’t stopped us,” Kathryn Herrington said. “We do snowshoeing anyway, so it’s not a huge deal.”
“Like today, we went hiking around Twin Lakes,” said Tom Herrington. “Then came here [the Village] because we knew the band was playing so we wanted to check it out.”
The band Tom Herrington was referring to is “Lava Moon,” one of the many bands to appear in the Village during the New Year’s Eve Celebration Weekend.
The retail experience
Kittredge Sports owner Tom Cage said the holiday season has “been better than we thought it would be.”
“We’re pleased with where we’re at,” he said. “People really haven’t complained too much.”
He added that the consumer is healthy and they’re buying. However, “It’s really hard to sell them too much clothing when it’s fifty degrees outside. The unseasonable weather has really put a dent in our long underwear sales.”