Dry days in Mammoth Lakes

mmsa 1-21-12In Mammoth Lakes, the word is dry – weather, customers and bottom lines.  Brent Truax, President of the Mammoth Lakes Chamber of Commerce, said he sees a “significant decline” in business with some who face closure. With gloom afoot, word also circulated that Mammoth Mountain Ski Area had cut the pay of its workers.

Truax, of the Westin Monache, said forecasts show a big decline in transient occupancy tax and sales tax.  He sees TOT down by $1.2 million to $3 million for the winter with sales tax down too.  Truax said, “The businesses I talk to report a very rough January and some may even close.”

The Chamber President pointed out that in Southern California, beach weather has arrived which has turned would-be ski trips into sand and surf.  President’s Day did see a good crowd in Mammoth but dry weather reports persist.

At an earlier Town Council meeting, Recreation Commissioner Teri Stehlik told the Council that with the economic down turn and now no snow, “It’s scary out there.”  At that same meeting, John Vereuck said he believes skier visits are at an all time low with TOT, sales and property taxes down too.  He said it’s “very tough” right now in the private sector.  For some, he said, there are no pay checks, benefits, retirement or health insurance this winter.

Estimates of business decline in lodging and retail range from 30% to 40%.  For businesses that totally rely on snow, it’s worse.  Jim Ouimet of Mammoth Dog Teams said he ran his dogs for a few days when snow fell, but after that Ouimet said the Mono County Sheriff’s Officers carried out winter training on his trails which cut up the snow with quads and snowmobiles.  “It ruined our trails,” said Ouimet.

Dawn Vereuck, owner of Mountain Living and a member of the Chamber Board, said hardly anyone is walking through the doors of her store.  However, the remodel portion of her business is up with second homeowners and others ready to remodel and invest in that way.

Many have begun to look toward spring and summer for improved business.  The Mammoth Chamber and others now support a developed Fourth of July celebration in Town to attract visitors.

Back on the present, word on the street in Mammoth Lakes this week – pay cuts at Mammoth Mountain Ski Area.  CEO Rusty Gregory was unavailable for comment.  He traveled to Sacramento for the California Travel and Trade Show.  We expect to speak with him this week.  Reports to the Sierra Wave indicated that the Mountain cut pay by as much as 10%.

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18 Responses to Dry days in Mammoth Lakes

  1. Dingo February 24, 2012 at 8:02 am #

    For as little snow as we’ve had the skiing is really good. Rode my bike on Wednesday, 75 degrees in Febuary! Too awesome! I guess I should be more concerned about the economy and our future…but I’m not. Ignorance is bliss I guess.

  2. InyoAlias February 23, 2012 at 11:31 am #

    What do you all expect if your whole economy is tied up with the weather, its always been that way for Mammoth. Very few businesses have been able to make it long term. What is different is the amount of investment in the trendy, expensive party spots and shopping, the town’s attempt to get the wealthy from all over to show up and spend, and forget the bread and butter people and the locals. Waynes right, hikers and fisherman aren’t coming up here to party at the Village and shop, they’re here for the outdoor experience.

    • Rock of Ages February 23, 2012 at 8:39 pm #

      “What do you all expect if your whole economy is tied up with the weather, it’s always been that way for Mammoth.” EXACTLY…and Paul made that point to his doom… accountability is tough for any marketing firm, but we are all buying it!! 2+ mill a year!!! I kid you not….

  3. Rock of Ages February 22, 2012 at 11:42 pm #

    BK….Why did you censor my earlier posts? Do I need to re-evalute my opinions based on your’s?

    • Benett Kessler February 23, 2012 at 2:25 pm #

      I do not recall and do not see an earlier post.

      • Rock of Ages February 23, 2012 at 8:10 pm #

        Sorry Bennet…newbie mistake….

  4. Rock of Ages February 22, 2012 at 9:35 pm #

    Previously appointed Town Manager, Paul Marangella pointed these facts out…., (for you old timer’s, you remember), check them out if you didn’t live them.We’ve been here before….but never let it get this bad…………

  5. Wayne Deja February 22, 2012 at 7:33 pm #

    Mammoth Lakes….GOOD LUCK trying to increase visitors into the area in the Summer months….hikers got Yosemite,what is it,only an hour or so away?….vacationers got MUCH better fishing and camping spots both south(Bishop,Tom’s Place)and north (Lee Vining,Bridgeport),and even the near-by camping-fishing spots like Convict Lake and June Lake…how many fishermen-campers…and their families…will want to go into Mammoth Lakes in the evening,or do the night-life scene at “The Village”?….Let’s face it….Mammoth Lakes….little or no snow in the Winter= BIG PROBLEMS ahead in the Summer.

    • J-Spoon February 23, 2012 at 6:36 am #

      Yep, not 2mention the $4.54 dollar-a-gallon gas in mammoth, it’s just not worth the trouble to go there anymore.

  6. Big Rick O'Brien February 22, 2012 at 6:16 pm #

    Welcome to my world and the world of any other guy that swings a hammer for a living. We’ve been in this boat for over 3 years now. It SUCKS, doesn’t it?

    • J-Spoon February 23, 2012 at 8:25 am #

      I wonder how Jonny & Gregg over at Neubauer-Jennison Inc. are doing in this economy?

  7. Jake February 22, 2012 at 4:19 pm #

    ^ Maybe you should step up to the plate and start a business in that direction…. just saying

  8. Ken Warner February 22, 2012 at 3:58 pm #

    Maybe now the town Illuminate will think about diversifying our economic base?

    Education — Health Care — Renewable Energy — and don’t forget the information industry. All those industries would fit nicely into our little town and make it a better place to live for everybody. Then we wouldn’t have to do the Pray for Snow Dance in our dreams.

    • upthecreek February 22, 2012 at 4:34 pm #

      I Finally agree with you on something
      Thumbs UP


    • Rock of Ages February 22, 2012 at 9:06 pm #

      Renwewable energy,…education, ….Ken?….Seiously?…Do you fathom the seriousness of the changes that the community faces…and quickly? I usually agree with your separationist views btw Town and Mountain interests…and limited government engagement in such…but the Town and Mountain are now joined at the hip in these matters of success/($$$$$), a matter you’ ve pointed out in the past. The Town/Mountain wants to spin this as tax dollars legitimately spent on Airport/Trails/Tourism/Mobility/Commisions/Poor people entitlements(housing+), when there were never enough dollars for these progams in our future. Like it or not, County level services are on the way here….some say they are/were better….This Govt. has grown to the monstrosity that it is with our blessing. ESSENTIAL SERVICES will take on new meaning, (I predict, next year), quote me…………………..

      • Ken Warner February 24, 2012 at 9:47 am #

        For the present and near future, the town and MMSA are just about the same thing. You are right about that. But it doesn’t have to be that way forever. But that’s up to the voters. They have to start caring at least enough to think about the town and it’s potential and it’s future. And they have be be aware of the World economy not just how many people drive up 203.

        Reverting the town to county governance would be one way to break the (cliche alert) unholy alliance between the town and MMSA at least as a way to get a fresh start as a town sometime in the future. And hopefully a younger generation of business leaders will be here by then who haven’t spent their whole lives grubbing for tourist dollars and suffer from PTSD (Post Tourism Survival Disorder) [ok that’s weak] and see that Mammoth can be a place for a different kind of commerce. Commerce that is connected to the internet and accessible to anybody, anywhere, anytime.

  9. upthecreek February 22, 2012 at 3:22 pm #

    Not to Mention the $4-5 dollar gas prices.. It cost the average visitor $150-200 dollars round trip from the LA area


    • J-Spoon February 22, 2012 at 5:49 pm #

      Oh upthecreek, u forgot 2 factor in tha Cost of tha “Speeding/ Traffic – Tickets” the flat-landers receive while driving through our Counties… remember “Put-Em-Away-Maillet and George Boothe has to deal with these flatlanders on a daily basis.


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