Mammoth Lakes Tourism announced this week that it will spend $900,000 over the next year on a local cloud-seeding program to enhance snowfall in Mammoth Lakes.
The program will commence on April 15.
MLT Executive director John Urdi told The Sheet this week that it was imperative the cloud-seeding initiative start immediately because of the outside chance Mammoth can reach 1,000” in 2022-2023 seasonal snowfall.
“1,000 inches … talk about a nice, round number. Talk about a marketing opportunity!” crowed Urdi.
The contract is for $75,000/ month. The cloud-seeding firm, Snow Job LLC, is based out of Las Vegas.
Sheet: It feels like a little bit of overkill.
Urdi sighed. It’s tiresome dealing with fools. “I’ve learned a really important lesson this year,” he began. “And that is that snow really drives visitation. I mean, without snow, the money we spend on marketing really amounts to just lighting money on fire. So we’ve determined cloud seeding is the highest and best use of our marketing spend. That and paying airlines millions of dollars to subsidize them for the empty seats on their planes.”
Sheet: What would you say to local residents who are already nervous about the structural integrity of their homes and the prospect of flooding?
“To be successful as a world-class destination resort, we all have to make sacrifices. We all know there will be tradeoffs. My contract, for example, provides me with season passes at the local golf courses. This year, the courses will likely open far later than expected, and I won’t get to play as much. And this will likely affect my handicap.
That is a sacrifice I am willing to make for the greater good,” said Urdi.
“But what I’m really tired of,” he added, “is the mixed message I’m getting from this community. When we first passed the TBID, people were worried about the very survival of their businesses, so I brought them customers. When they worried about putting food on the table at the beginning of the pandemic, I opened a Food Bank and fed them. And when they worried about drought and fire, I brought them rain. Fire and Rain. I mean, I’m like James F&%king Taylor here.”
Urdi then suddenly broke into song. He was in perfect key.
Winter winter winter then fall
All you got to do is call
And I’ll be there
You’ve got a friend.
Ain’t it good to know that you’ve got a friend
When people can be so cold?
They’ll hurt you and desert you
Well, they’ll take your soul if you let them
Oh, but don’t you let them
And from Pike’s desk …
MLT’s cloud seeding program pairs well with a newly introduced housing initiative from Mammoth’s Town Council.
The idea – presented by a contracted, external consultant from Creative Housing Solutions based in Santa Clarita – is simple: use what we have to make what we don’t have.
In this case, using the excessive snowbanks in Town to create temporary housing for the local workforce.
“Snow caves date back tens of thousands of years,” said Mayor Wentworth. “I think it’s really important that we as a Town harness the past to accelerate our future.”
Councilmember Amanda Rice applauded the initiative as a creative solution.
Councilmembers Sauser and Bubser agreed that it was high time snow caves returned to Mammoth Lakes. The pair then high-fived because their names end in the same syllable.
Snow caves are typically 4 to 5 feet high and around 8 feet deep, meaning that up to 3 caves could be built per 20- foot snowbank.
Councilmember Rea was absent.
Councilmembers were careful to express the temporality of this solution. “Once Parcel construction concludes,” said Wentworth, “we want as many Cave dwellers as possible moving out of the banks and into the new units.”
Construction on the caves is expected to begin immediately and last until about the end of this sentence.
Happy April Fools Day.