The Sierra Nevada Resort has been the subject of many “visions” and reimaginings over the years. And many intermediate measures implemented while waiting for the grand visions to materialize. Some of the intermediate measures were successful (Jimmy’s Taverna) and some less so (Frosty’s Mini-Golf).
But it can be argued that there was never any ‘there’ there. That the Resort felt more like a helicopter – a bunch of loose parts flying in formation.
This appears to have changed with the sale of the property to Waterton Property and Investment Co. in November, 2021.
Waterton bought the property from the previous owners, Nancy and Jim Demetriades, and plans to operate the Resort under its “Outbound” brand.
Sierra Nevada Resort will become Outbound’s second hotel. Its flagship property is The Virginian, located in Jackson Hole. It aims to be a 3.5 star property with some atmosphere and amenities. Maybe not the 5-star vision of Demetriades, whom one could argue became worn down and disenchanted by red tape and the planning process, but a definite upgrade from what it’s been over the past few years.
As Peg Blackall, Vice-President of Design/Construction for Waterton explained, Outbound’s sweet spot involves targeting National Park-type locations. Its third and fourth hotels will be in Oakhurst, Calif. and Stowe, Vermont.
Outbound’s plans for Sierra Nevada Resort are in progress, and the first project, Bar Sierra, is now open and largely complete.
Bar Sierra is the new name for Rafters.
General Manager Brent Truax said he fines himself $5 for very time he says Rafters.
There was about $100 in the jar before he retrained his tongue.
The restaurant has been transformed into casual dining focused on BBQ meats and comfort food.
A family platter of four meats and four sides runs $79. Kids meals are priced at $12.
The menu is a single page for a reason. As Truax said, over the holiday, the average ticket time was 15 minutes. That’s the benefit of keeping things simple. You can order at the counter or scan the QR code and order on your phone.
The place has also been opened up a bit and has old school, ‘80s video games you can play while you wait.
The restaurant will be open for breakfast and dinner (4-10 p.m.). No more Rafters late nights …
As Truax said, part of the new schedule is a concession to the labor situation in Mammoth – doing three meals a day and late night no longer seems wise or feasible.
Under construction are the five fourplexes and ten individual cabins which will be located in the center of the property where the miniature golf course used to be.
The back hotel wing (52 rooms) has been entirely updated. And every room has new mattresses. As Truax said, providing a bit of trivia involving former Mammoth Mountain owner Barry Sternlicht, when Sternlicht was CEO of Starwood Hotels and Resorts and introduced the Heavenly Bed at Westin properties, customer satisfaction skyrocketed 7% overnight.
New mattresses matter.
The other big change is the pool. The old pool has been filled in and a new one, more than double the size, will be installed to the left of the Bar Sierra deck (the entrance and approach to the restaurant will be from the south, with the entrance off Sierra Nevada Rd.).
The topography allows for tiered seating on the far side of the pool.
Truax hopes the pool will be operational by late summer.
Blackall credited Truax’s local knowledge and expertise with keeping the project(s) moving along in a timely fashion. “We couldn’t have done this without Brent,” she said.