Rusty Gregory lays out plans for June Mountain

monosupervisorsMono Supervisor Chair Byng Hunt laid out the ground rules at Tuesday’s Board meeting in Bridgeport with Mammoth Mountain CEO Rusty Gregory and a room full of people from June Lake. Hunt said officials wanted to hear about the re-opening of June Mountain but also about the revitalization of the community. Hunt also said there should be “no back-stabbing or tomato throwing. I want civility in the Boardroom.”

junelakecrowdThe June Lake crowd, wounded by Gregory’s decision to close the ski area last year, did speak calmly but also made it clear that the CEO had to gain their trust by his actions. Gregory said he realized what he did “created a lot of hardship and a lot of bad feelings.” He said he was there at the Board meeting to “be accountable.”

Throughout the three-hour session, Gregory said he knows he is “not well-liked”. He said he intends to build trust through his actions. He started with what he called a three-point plan. First, he will open June Mountain this summer when crews will begin to prepare the ski area for winter operation and conduct four weddings and a triathlon. Second, Gregory will focus on snow-making and a new lift for J1. Third, he will focus on community development. He said the town needs 1,000 additional hotel rooms.

The CEO said his plans include test drilling for snow-making water this summer and in January of 2014 updating the June Mountain Master Plan with hopes to get construction rustygregory1approvals from the Forest Service for the new lift and snow-making. Gregory said construction would start in the summer of 2015 with plans to operate the new lift and snow-making the winter of 2015-2016. Later Forest Service Ranger Sarah Tomsky said that it could take two years for bureaucratic approvals for the replacement of Chair 1 at June Mountain.

Gregory retraced the financial down-turn and problems with lenders that led to the closure of June Mountain which was losing $1.5 million. He spoke about the major ups and downs of Mammoth and June Mountains, depending on weather and finances. Gregory said he would “re-position the resort” by making it an entry level family ski area with a “learn to ski family package.” He also made it clear Mammoth Mountain no longer has first right of refusal to buy the Rodeo Grounds and is not interested in that.

junemountainAlice Suszynski from the Committee for a Viable June Mountain spoke of opposition to Mammoth’s land trade to acquire property at the Main Lodge for hotel development. She said, “You’re going to spend $600 million at Mammoth Mountain while June Lake goes unimproved.” She suggested a mediation between Gregory and the community over long-term viability. She said, “We suggest that the Mono Supervisors not support the land exchange until our agenda is addressed.”

To those who questioned his sincerity, Gregory said, “I know I’m not well-liked,” and “trust comes from actions not words.” Connie Black, owner of the Double Eagle Resort in June Lake, asked Gregory if there were some small measures he could take this summer to help with trust. She said no major improvements until 2015-2016 doesn’t feel very good.” Gregory said, “Tell me what you want. I know there is animosity. I am not saying to love me. Tell me.” She said some type of small improvements to re-build trust. Gregory said, “I have a very thin skin. I do care how people feel about me. I don’t want to do token things.” Black indicated she would present items later.

At that point, Gregory asked Carl Williams and Ron Cohen from the Mountain to hold up a banner that displayed June Mountain along with Mammoth Mountain as services for MVP holders. He said he would share his June Mountain operations plan with the community in May or later. He said the fact that the community organized major events last winter and showed commitment caused him to go forward with plans for June Mountain.

At the end of 3 hours, Supervisor Tim Alpers said he plans to agendize more on June Mountain next week if there is new information. After that, Alpers will offer a policy recommendation to the Board. He said, “Let’s get our new beginning going.”

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June fan
June fan
9 years ago

When MMSA bought June it was to join the two areas. Dave came in and tore out a lot of trees and reformed the contour of the Mountian and put in new lifts (chair#6 and detachable quad #7), then a couple of bad winters and June Mt. is not affordable… Read more »

Desert Tortoise
Desert Tortoise
9 years ago

Resort destinations offering discount tickets to local residents is founded in sound economics. It is known in the technical jargon of economists as “third degree price discrimination”. How much of something is bought and it’s price are subject to supply and demand. The demand curve for resort products is a… Read more »

Curious
Curious
9 years ago

If you’re so successful, why do we need to subsidize your airfare?

If June Mountain is expected to be profitable to remain open, shouldn’t we expect the same from the airport that looses millions more in “taxpayer” dollars per year?

Sorry, I find your points full of red herring.

Trouble
Trouble
9 years ago

EsBorn-just because a corporation claims to be losing money does not make it true. Look at the Dodgers. The owner was claiming bankruptcy one day and cashing a check for 2 Billion Dollars the next. Closing June makes Mammoth worth that much more on paper. Wake up.

ESBorn
ESBorn
9 years ago

I find the dichotomy of the people here in the Eastern Sierra (especially Mammoth) very confounding: Everyone admits that the local economy depends upon tourism and the corresponding monetary benefit to exist yet the community as a whole rejects any measure that will make the Eastern Sierra more accessible to… Read more »

Ken Warner
Ken Warner
9 years ago
Reply to  ESBorn

Mark, you made a good point. Discount passes for people who work in June Lake — or Mammoth Lakes — should be available. Giving free passes to everybody who lives in either town is not what I was suggesting. That wouldn’t be right. But MMSA has the MVP pass which… Read more »

Mark
Mark
9 years ago

Wow Exskibum‚Äôs post is a perfect example of the entitlement issues some loopers seem to have. The ski area is on public land and Exskibum thinks for some reason June Lake locals should get a better deal then others. Locals all ready have the benefit of being locals and now… Read more »

ExSkiBum
ExSkiBum
9 years ago
Reply to  Mark

Mark, you are another knee jerk reactionary with anger issues. Suggestion for lower cost season pass for June Mtn Ski Area as it had in the past generated full parking lot of skier and boarders at June many years ago, these Wednesday specials and low cost season passes drew lots… Read more »

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
9 years ago
Reply to  ExSkiBum

Someone asked Rusty at last Tuesday’s Board meeting if he would bring back $10 Wednesdays. He said no.
BK

Mark
Mark
9 years ago
Reply to  ExSkiBum

ha ha you don’t even know me ūüėČ

My suggestion would be to offer an inexpensive June pass or mid week pass to everyone; not just June Lake locals who feel Rusty needs to treat them special to make ammends with them.

Ken Warner
Ken Warner
9 years ago
Reply to  Mark

Being a local isn’t something you win in a lottery or have to apply to Rusty for. It’s a choice of living in a community that fits your personality and your life needs. Locals form a labor pool and support base for local businesses and shape the community into what… Read more »

Trouble
Trouble
9 years ago
Reply to  Ken Warner

You hit the nail on the head Ken. The McCoy’s knew how to treat people the right way. Mammoth is now just a corporate cesspool.

Mark
Mark
9 years ago
Reply to  Ken Warner

We’ll have to agree to disagree. I believe there’s something called an employee pass. Rusty also mentioned some type of discount for employees of employers that participated in the BID. So if you want a discount and you’re fortunate enough to be a local get a job. But offer a… Read more »

Trouble
Trouble
9 years ago
Reply to  Mark

Mark, isn’t it a shame when the people who work for a company can’t afford the products they sell?

Mark
Mark
9 years ago
Reply to  Trouble

Many customer service jobs don’t pay enough for employees to enjoy the services their employer offers to paying guest. MMSA gives them a pass which allows them to ski while barely being able to pay rent and eat. I told my kids it’s better to get an education, get a… Read more »

Curious
Curious
9 years ago
Reply to  Mark

Are not the taxpayers the ones really participating in the BID?

The money isn’t coming out of the “employers” pocket, why do they get a discount?

More smoke and mirrors by the plutocrats!

Mark
Mark
9 years ago
Reply to  Curious

Curious – Duh, read everthing posted again. The BID money comes from a percentage of the employers gross profits.

Curious
Curious
9 years ago
Reply to  Mark

Mark,

Then why is there an increase in percentage sales and TOT in the form of additional taxes being passed on to the customer tab?

I smell a Mammoth Tourism, Chamber of Commerce or a MMSA weasel!

DUH?

ExSkiBum
ExSkiBum
9 years ago

One way Rusty can make amends to June Lake locals is to offer reasonable priced season pass for locals again. June Mtn did that years ago and it was a great seeing alot of locals and families skiing at June. They loose money anyway, so why not try to attract… Read more »

CL
CL
9 years ago

June Mountain isn’t able to stand on its own two feet and yet the ski area should keep it open as what? A public service? I don’t trust the June people to make any effort to ensure that their town will actually bring enough people in this winter to see… Read more »

jane marie
jane marie
9 years ago

all this from a guy who commonly instructs employees to “believe what i do, not what i say.” c’mon rusty… you’re disliked and not trusted because of what the community has seen you do over the years. your bottom line and personal power are the only things that appear to… Read more »

Desert Tortoise
Desert Tortoise
9 years ago
Reply to  jane marie

So, lets see, you expect the guy to keep a business open and lose money so you can keep a job? Hmmm. Did you forget there was a big depresson, people down south going underwater on mortgages, losing jobs, losing their homes and their life savings (I hvae some family… Read more »

Mark
Mark
9 years ago

it’s the new younger more liberal generation that thinks businesses can be run like the government.

ullrnation
ullrnation
9 years ago
Reply to  jane marie

@ jane marie – In my opinion, you and others might be being a little too hard on Rusty; this is pure speculation, but perhaps: 1) When Dave McCoy sold MMSA to Sternlicht/Starwood (herein S & S), S & S acquired ultimate management and control of MMSA (and June Mtn.).… Read more »

Roger
Roger
9 years ago
Reply to  ullrnation

As a former and long term employee of MMSA, I don’t want “the Bully in Black” to be given credit for even a HINT of any human instincts for compassion and concern for others. He has stabbed in the back everyone he’s ever done business with, including Dave. He is… Read more »

ferdinand lopez
ferdinand lopez
9 years ago

its very unfortunate that so many people are affected by so fews decisions

MJA
MJA
9 years ago

Whilst we are on the subject of reopening old businesses, I miss the Pioneer Market, Baskin Robins ice cream, Paradise, Hot To Go chili, the Winery muffins, 2 dollar gasoline, the cornice on Cornice, the trees in Reds Meadows, the meadows in the meadows, some dear friends and family that… Read more »

Eastern Sierra Local
Eastern Sierra Local
9 years ago

In 2004, the community of June Lake was given an opportunity to comment on the Specific Plan for the Rodeo Grounds project. I remember this quiet vividly and remember how much opposition from the community there was regarding any change to the nature of June Lake with new roads, homes,… Read more »

Just an idea
Just an idea
9 years ago

Perhaps a solution would be to return the area to its natural state.

Ken Warner
Ken Warner
9 years ago

I see a lot of people making the point that June Lake is not “business friendly” That the community opposes “development” and that’s the reason MMSA had to close June Mountain. And if the community of June Lake embraces development, all it’s economic problems will be solved. The reasoning behind… Read more »

Trouble
Trouble
9 years ago

Rusty’s word means Jack…. here. Corporate fly boy in my book.

Dingo
Dingo
9 years ago

I’m still hearing Mammoth sold to Vail, I heard its a done deal, from a fairly reliable source.

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
9 years ago
Reply to  Dingo

At the Mono Supervisors meeting Tuesday one of the June Lake people asked Rusty about that. He once more said there is no deal. Mammoth is not selling. I will be doing a story on his comments.
BK

Ken Warner
Ken Warner
9 years ago
Reply to  Dingo

It is hard to believe anybody anymore.