Mammoth Tourism Director and staff work to offset government shutdown

Tourism Director John Urdi told the Council there is a sign on the closed Welcome Center that tells visitors to go next door to the Tourism Office.

Tourism Director John Urdi told the Council there is a sign on the closed Welcome Center that tells visitors to go next door to the Tourism Office.

When they met Wednesday night, the Mammoth Town Council fell short of sending a letter of complaint to Congress about impacts of the government shutdown. They only made note, along with Tourism Director John Urdi, that the federal government shutdown will prematurely close campgrounds in Mammoth Lakes and hurt tourism.

Urdi and his Tourism Department stepped up to the plate when the feds shut down the Welcome Center which operates in connection with the Forest Service Visitors Center. Urdi told the Town Council Wednesday that his department, next door to the Welcome Center, is now functioning as a welcome center. He said when Caltrans put out the word that Highway 120 was closed, Urdi’s crew explained to tourists that it is open. They are also letting visitors know how they can enjoy Mammoth Lakes since they can’t recreate in Yosemite.

Urdi told the Council that the federal shutdown will close all campgrounds in and around Mammoth by Friday at noon. He said many Europeans and especially Germans are coming through. Many are driving RVs. Those who started in Las Vegas, going through Death Valley and on to Yosemite are “very disappointed.” Urdi said he has talked to Mammoth Mountain about the Ski Area parking lot as a contingency location.

The Tourism Director and his crew are taking advantage of the situation by letting visitors know what they can do in Mammoth Lakes and encouraging longer stays. The Tourism Office will remain open through the weekend to continue that effort. Urdi said he’s “fired up” about the fact that the government will prematurely close Mammoth campgrounds for the winter due to the current shutdown.

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19 Responses to Mammoth Tourism Director and staff work to offset government shutdown

  1. upthecreek October 7, 2013 at 9:52 pm #

    Bring back Ralph Mcmullen .
    he was one of mammoth’s best..

    Give the people what they want..

  2. support local busniesses October 5, 2013 at 5:09 pm #

    Ken, you have posted that you don’t support local businesses – now you give a damn?

  3. Target Audience October 5, 2013 at 5:58 am #

    Mammoth has one less resort than Park City, good skiing, some expensive restaurants, an airport …
    Perhaps Mammoth needs to upscale. Clean up the eyesores, ie. ,the dilapidated hotel on Main & Minaret is disgusting, and focus on the part of America that is desperately trying to control the country – the mega-rich.

    • Ken Warner October 5, 2013 at 1:01 pm #

      If your mythical “Mega-Rich” did come here — for reasons I can’t see — you wouldn’t be able do live here anymore. Nor would anybody else including most of the existing small business owners who wouldn’t be small business owners anymore.

      Examples abound. Take a good look at Irvine, Laguna Beach, Del Mar, La Jolla, Santa Barbara or anyplace else that started as a small, quaint, beautiful village and got “discovered” by the mega-rich.

      Why would any sane person want that?

      • Marketing research October 5, 2013 at 4:24 pm #

        You’re not paying attention to how the economy is going, Ken.
        Only the wealthy have the money. Each quarter they will have even more.
        And those types aren’t interested in rubbing elbows with riff-raff (their POV)families and hippie snowboarders (Deer Valley prohibits snowboarding).
        There will always be the same group of people skiing in Mammoth but the numbers are dwindling.
        I thought EVERYBODY knew that!

    • Tsinipla October 5, 2013 at 1:18 pm #

      You can invite Warren Buffett to dinner all you want, but don’t hold your breath. Jimmy Buffett is more likely.

      • Different Strokes October 5, 2013 at 5:52 pm #

        Warren B has the dough.
        Jimmy B has the partying thing.
        Business works best with dough.

        • Tsinipla October 5, 2013 at 6:50 pm #

          Jimmy is reportedly worth 400 mil. It would seem he knows how to party and run a business.

          • No thanks. October 5, 2013 at 8:14 pm #

            But who wants to attract a bunch of drunken partiers to our town?
            We’ve already have more than we can handle.

          • Tsinipla October 6, 2013 at 12:02 pm #

            It was a rhetorical analogy.

            Turn away snowboarders and wait for “mega-rich”, and Mammoth will be back to one portable rope tow.

  4. robertmcdowel October 4, 2013 at 10:35 am #

    Taxeaters mentality is one of, Let them eat cake 🙂

    • Why is Park City booming? October 4, 2013 at 4:56 pm #

      I read today that Park City is booming.
      Construction and revenues are making everyone happy.
      Why is this?

      • Tsinipla October 4, 2013 at 7:28 pm #

        Better skiing, Olympic class. Easier access. Three resorts. Long term planning. Some dumb luck. Became a popular world class area BEFORE it claimed to be. You can’t always buy your way into elite status like Mammoth has failed at. Mammoth is a great family resort and town. Why try to put on airs?

        • Econ 101 October 4, 2013 at 9:45 pm #

          America is being controlled by the mega-wealthy. And the mega-wealthy want to ski where snowboarders are prohibited (snowboarders don’t have any money)
          Mammoth can now only attract the middle to lower-middle class. And they too are running out of cash.

          • Tsinipia October 5, 2013 at 8:22 pm #

            Mammoth was built and supported by the middle class and still is. The resort overplayed their hand and the town was watching too many “reality”real estate shows. Those snowboarders are who keep the lifts open so I can tease them on the slopes. Mammoth never attracted the “mega wealthy”, so get over it. Maybe when some of those snowboarders hit their stride and start to make good money, they will bring their kids back if we show them some respect.

        • RandyK October 5, 2013 at 9:16 am #

          Why try to put on airs?

          Because being a great family resort for the Southern Cal market does not sell enough real estate or build enough million dollar second, third and fourth homes? Maybe Mammoth just needs to relocate its soul as you suggest.

          You can’t build an economy or community on development for development’s sake. That is a ponzi scheme that leads to its own collapse (no great insight here after 2008). Maybe if the town concentrated on providing great services for people coming to experience its great natural resources it would become a classy enough place for people to travel to from across the country. Then maybe development would follow naturally. The current strategy of waiting for a return of the real estate craziness of the last decade may not be the path forward.

          The hiking, biking, off-roading, fishing and skiing are already world class. But its central tourist amenity seems to be an overpriced cookie-cutter real estate development designed to extract exorbitant funds from tourists, without offering much to the folks that (can afford to) live in the town or those families and other “local” visitors who have been the lifeblood of the town since its beginnings. Maybe less villages, less arrogance and more smart business people will resurrect the community.

          • No boom for Mammoth October 5, 2013 at 12:09 pm #

            Gotta appeal to those who have the dough.
            And those who can afford the experience are going elsewhere.
            It’s happening everywhere today.
            It’s a rich man’s world.

  5. tbid=Raises for tourism staff October 3, 2013 at 9:59 pm #

    Is this the right direction? Tourism staff haven’t lived in the area long enough to act as ambassador for our new tourist visiting. I’m going to send In a decoy and put these inexperienced tax eaters to the test. Half of our businesses are closed and the town looks ugly and run down like Walker,yet over salaried staff members are laughing all the way to the Bank.

    • Former VB Staff October 4, 2013 at 10:54 am #

      Heck some of the Tourism Staff I heard don’t even live in Mammoth! I heard one of them lives in like Utah and does the Mammoth stuff remotely! Instead of keeping on the 3 remaining staff that actually answered the toll free number and kept the website updated and actually helped our visitors. Instead of keeping on valuable employees that really didn’t cost that much, were let go at the end of the fiscal year a year or so ago and other new staff got season passes to the Mountain.
      How about all those running camps? We used to have someone who helped wrangle them in and do some cool stuff for them like spahgetti feeds and talks with our local USA Running Athletes and Olympians. Tourism actually functioned as part of this community. Yeah we did some hokey home town things, remember the Olympic Celebration for Meb and Deena back in ’04? Who knew bubble wrap could be so fun! Helping Recreation when we were Tourism & Rec was fun too. We helped with Halloween Carnivals, Tree Lightings, Crafts in the Mall, all the activities and events we put on that helps to tie this community together.

      Oh well….let’s just say the good ‘ol days are gone…thanks to politics and greedy people!


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