Grand reopening projected for February-MarchPerhaps Mammoth Lakes took for granted the exceptional facilities it had in the Snowcreek Athletic Club… until they were snatched away by an exploding water main early on the morning of Nov. 6, 2013. The resulting spill of nearly one million gallons flooded the basement and first floor of the building.
The rising tide took out all the wood floors on the 25,000 square-foot first floor. Water pushed with such force beneath the gymnasium floor that it busted open the doors at the other end in its rush to get outside.
It made a mess of the relatively newly laid yoga floor and all the carpeting in the exercise rooms. It shorted out many of the cardiovascular machines and wrought havoc in the locker rooms, showers, Jacuzzis and steam rooms.
Electrical transformers and all laundry facilities were knocked out in the basement where the water rose six feet.“We want to dispel any rumors of our not opening until summer.” – Ralph Lockhart
Randy Lukas, Project Manager for the renovation and head of maintenance at Double Eagle, said when he got the call early that morning, he threw his waders and tools to fix a broken pipe into his truck and headed for the Snowcreek Club. What he found were fire engines, SCE trucks and chaos—a whole lot more than a simple broken pipe.
But now, two and a half months later, there is light at the end of the tunnel. The Club is almost back, say owners Connie Black and Ralph Lockhart, with a scheduled reopening set for sometime as early as February or March. “It’s still a floating date at this time because of possible improvements we haven’t announced yet,” Lockhart said. “We want to dispel any rumors of our not opening until summer.
“The first month after reopening will be a credit for members,” he added, in response to questions about the automatic withdrawals that occurred in November. In addition, “Double Eagle workouts have been free and classes at the Sierra Center Mall have also been free.”
Club members were devastated by the loss of their facilities. “The first few weeks people were in shock… what am I going to do now?” they said, according to service desk doyenne Brenda McCann.
Last summer, Stacey Cook and Kelly Clark could be seen every day in the Club working towards next month’s Olympic Games.
“Snowcreek makes it possible to be a world-class athlete in a small town,” Stacey Cook said from Cortina, Italy, where she has three races this weekend. “Having the right equipment is crucial for my training and for all the athletes in town, but beyond that they are interested in what we are doing and so supportive and that goes further than most anyone would imagine to helping us achieve our goals.”
John Urdi of Mammoth Lakes Tourism commented on the impact in a community built on recreation. “Locals and visitors alike live active lifestyles and for many that includes working out regularly,” he said. “We hope to see Snowcreek back in action as soon as possible to fill that need for our community as well as those visiting us from around the globe.”
Many classes have been moved to the Sierra Center Mall, and Summit Physical Therapy and Le Centre Dance Studio has temporary space there, too. “I’m grateful to the Sierra Center Mall for their generosity in making space available to Club members,” Black said.
According to Black and Lockhart, who took time this week to give the Sheet a tour of the facilities, they have been able to use this unexpected tragedy to make some long-wished for upgrades in addition to the renovations.
“We feel the responsibility,” Lockhart said. Lead times for delivery of lockers and flooring were longer than they would have liked, and other materials deliveries ran into delays.
That said, they haven’t scrimped. Here are some of the upgrades getting close to completion:
- The Pilates and yoga studios will have new spaces, the yoga studio with hydronic radiant heating in the floor, and the Pilates room with new carpeting.
- More stretching areas are being created.
- New maple floors have been installed in the gym and racquetball court.
- Floors in the cardio rooms are channeled so that electrical and video cords can be recessed—for safety, space and aesthetic.
- Men’s showers are being fully remodeled, with partitions for privacy.
- Both locker rooms will have five-inch deeper and wider keyless lockers.
- Both men’s and women’s steam rooms have been rebuilt from the ground up.
- Pool and co-ed jacuzzi tiling are being re-grouted, reconditioned and re-sealed.
Despite the enormous costs—$750,000 in damage that is covered by insurance, and 20 side projects paid for by the owners, the bottom line for members is that there are no anticipated rate increases, at least for a year, according to Lockhart.
“We’ll be better than ever,” Black said. Celebrations will include a grand reopening party and a party for the employees.
Further details are on the Club’s website.
“You don’t know what you have until you lose it,” one member said. The Club is a major asset in a sports minded town—for cross training, resistance training, physical therapy, Pilates, yoga, and simply staying in shape with myriad classes.