In sudden fashion, it was announced Thursday, June 21, that June Mountain Ski Area in Mammoth, California would close immediately. The news was delivered just as the mountain should have been opening for its summer season.
The consequences of the resort industry’s reliance on nature have been felt heavily this year. After one of the worst recorded seasons of snowfall last winter, skier visits declined by 30 percent at Mammoth Mountain. As a result, 75 full-time employees were laid off in the spring.
June Lake’s new county supervisor said to the Mammoth Times that the closure was a “complete surprise,” adding, “This is going to be absolutely devastating to the whole community.”
June has long been one of California skiing’s best kept secrets. Purchased in 1986 by Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, the company originally planned to expand the operation at June by “building new facilities, extending new runs to June Lake Village, and fostering additional developed ski areas,” the company said in a press release that explains how those plans “were never realized and June Mountain has, in turn, suffered from an identity crisis that has…stifled its ability to achieve its full potential.”
The impact on the economy in Mammoth, which is still recovering from a poor ski season, could be severe. “A lot of people are going to be out of work,” said Connie Black to the Mammoth Times. Black, the owner of June Lake’s Double Eagle Resort and Spa, is one of many business owners who rely on the mountain remaining open.
For now, June is slated for closure through winter 2012-2013, with no plans to re-open. Rusty Gregory, the CEO of Mammouth Mountain Ski Area, said, “June has operated at an annual deficit each year since its purchase in 1986.” While the resort is closed, Gregory and Mammoth hope to explore options for making the sister mountain more financially generative.
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