MMSA CEO responds to drought

mmsa1_7_14With skier visits down 37% and revenue off by more than $17 million due to the drought, Mammoth Mountain CEO Rusty Gregory let employees know that hours and days would be cut but no layoffs so far.

Gregory announced at a Department Head meeting last week his decision to require all salaried employees to take five unpaid days off during February. All hourly employees will be limited to no more than 30 hours per week. Gregory said he would reassess as March approaches. It mostly depends on snow. Gregory’s memo points out that snowfall on Mammoth Mountain averages 400 inches per year. At the end of January, Mammoth Mountain measured only 60 inches of snow for this winter.

Skier visits are down 37%, according to Gregory, who said the rate of decline continues to erode. He said the last week in January’s visit total for Mammoth and June combined was 19,805 which is less than one strong non-holiday Saturday in a normal season. Revenue is 19% below budget or $17.1 million down. The CEO said, “We cut expenses across the board beginning in early January including seasonal employees hours and pay. Unfortunately,” he said, “it is impossible to cover the revenue shortfall by expense cuts.”

Gregory also points to the fact that Mammoth and June Mountains are “in the throes of a third consecutive year of drought.” He said the winter of 2011-12 saw the worst year over year decline in visits in ski industry history with 263 inches of snow. The 2012-13 season saw 308 inches of snow and was the driest year on record for California. Now this year, which looks even worse.

Gregory did praise the performance of the entire staff. He called it “truly amazing.” He said the Net Performer Score, which is the measurement of guests’ likelihood to recommend Mammoth is 78 for the season so far. That’s 7 points higher than the goal. Said Gregory, “We have the right team and I intend to do everything in my power to keep us together to avoid layoffs like those in the drought of 2012.” He said he believes that reduction of work days and pay proportionally among salary and hourly staff will “do just that while allowing us to keep as much of Mammoth and June Mountains open as snow coverage allows.”

Gregory’s memo says, “It breaks my heart to be reducing your hours of work and pay.” He ended by saying, “Snow is coming. Keep the faith.” The entire memo is posted below.

MEMORANDUM 

TO:  All Employees

FROM: Rusty Gregory – Chairman & CEO

DATE: January 31, 2014

RE: Mammoth Business Update

You have likely heard by now of my decision, announced at Wednesday’s Department Head meeting, to make some significant temporary pay reductions as part of a larger effort to respond to the shortfall in skier visits and revenue due to the drought.  All salaried employees will be required to take 5 unpaid days off during the month of February.  All hourly employees’ hours will be limited to no more than 30 hours per week.  This is the plan for February only.  I will reassess as March approaches.

As you know, Mammoth and June Mountains are in the throes of a third consecutive year of drought.  Snowfall on Mammoth Mountain averages about 400 inches per year.  We received 263 inches of snow in 2011-12, the worst year over year decline in visits in ski industry history.  The 2012-13 season saw 308 inches, and was the driest year on record for California.  As of this morning, we have received only 60 inches of snow this winter.  The lack of snow has significantly impacted skier attendance.  Skier visits are down 37% – 193,270 from budget and the rate of decline continues to erode.  Last week’s visit total for Mammoth and June combined was 19,805, less than one strong non-holiday Saturday in a normal season.  Revenue is below budget by 29% – $17.1 million.  We cut expenses across the board beginning in early January including seasonal employees hours and pay.  Unfortunately, it is impossible to cover the revenue shortfall by expense cuts.

Despite these challenges, the performance of our entire staff, year-round and seasonal alike, has been truly amazing.  Our Net Promoter Score, the measurement of our guests’ likelihood to recommend Mammoth, is 78 for the season to date, 7 points higher than our goal.  This says it all.  You have done the impossible every day to create an incredible experience for our guests and they greatly appreciate it.  We have the right team and I intend to do everything in my power to keep us together to avoid layoffs like those in the drought of 2012.  I believe that reducing work days and pay proportionally among salary and hourly staff will do just that while allowing us to keep as much of Mammoth and June Mountains open as snow coverage allows.

Just like our guests, our employees come to Mammoth in pursuit of a dream.  My version of that dream brought me to Mammoth and it has sustained me for my 35 years on the mountain through countless ups and downs.  It breaks my heart to be reducing your hours of work and pay.  I hope you will fight to keep your Mammoth dream alive despite the hardship that this drought and the hard decisions I must make places upon you.  Snow is coming.  Keep the faith.

 

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18 Responses to MMSA CEO responds to drought

  1. Tony Cumia February 2, 2014 at 9:45 am #

    Is this more of him ‘stepping down’?….Too many bad decisions under this guy’s watch in the last 10-15 yrs. There needs to be a clean sweep from the top down on the 4th floor.

     
    • Kitty Craft February 4, 2014 at 8:51 am #

      He’s bad for business.

       
    • Kit February 5, 2014 at 10:05 am #

      Mr. Gregory could surround himself by others who are knowledgeable about the business he is managing for starters. And if he did, it seems he does not know what to do with the information. An ounce of prevention. His plan is uneducated and reactionary.

       
      • Benett Kessler February 5, 2014 at 10:28 am #

        Do you even know what his plan is?
        Benett Kessler

         
        • Kit February 7, 2014 at 10:55 am #

          Improvements in mountain operations planning and modern technology upgrades are an important consideration in recent years.

          Like or dislike…modern technology is available and utilized at many mountains. These priorities are as important as managing every other part of the mountain. It is a clear and obvious knowledge deficit. Mammoth Mountain will continue on with or without the current management. In this case, it will be retrospective.

           
          • Ken Warner February 7, 2014 at 12:20 pm #

            So why don’t you get a job at MMSA and show them how to run the ski area? Just complaining about how MMSA is being run on some blog is not really going to change much.

             
  2. Steve February 2, 2014 at 9:32 pm #

    I thought the TBID was suppose to bring prosperity to Mammoth.

     
    • Let It Snow February 3, 2014 at 11:42 am #

      The TBID just started a few months ago. In order for the TBID to build up money to market with, we need visitors to pay into that fund. In order to attract visitors, we need snow. We won’t be able to measure the success of the TBID for a year.

       
  3. Rob February 3, 2014 at 2:59 am #

    Right, because getting rid of Rusty will bring snow…

     
  4. Ken Warner February 3, 2014 at 4:42 am #

    Could you please post the top 5 bad decisions that Rusty has made? Just curious as to how you would do things differently.

     
    • Eternal Liberal February 3, 2014 at 10:20 am #

      Hey Ken,

      Could you please post the latest 5,000 negative, whining, complaining comments you have made?

      Then quit your negative complaining !

       
  5. Tony Cumia February 3, 2014 at 7:01 pm #

    The Village/parking/parking lot, The Airport mess, Patina, Levy, June Mountains’ lack of promotion/vision Transfering the June Mtn, Liquor License from June to The Underground at the Village.100.00 lift tickets at MMSA ..and the general lack of a good guest experience…….shall i go on?

     
    • Ken Warner February 3, 2014 at 9:21 pm #

      No, don’t bother…The parking lot at the Village was IntraWest. The airport “mess” is the Town Council and bad lawyers. I don’t know what Patina, Levy are. June Lake could promote June Mountain like Mammoth Lakes promotes Mammoth Mountain. The liquor license is a business decision by the owners. And the $100 lift ticket is not enough to keep the mountain open without developing and selling property.

      I feel odd supporting MMSA but you have not made a good case. And MMSA is a business not a government agency. It’s not a democracy, it’s a business and you and I have no say in how it’s run.

       
      • OffamyCloud February 4, 2014 at 11:58 am #

        The Village parking lot was not Intrawest. It was, and still belongs to Credit Suisse who are allegedly not fans of MMSA or Rusty.

        Rusty loves to hear the sound of his own voice. It spews out the immense self-congratulatory rhetoric that operates as a cheap-labor factory inside of his head. I have to give him props though, on coming out smelling like a rose. It’s amazing how he slithered out of the airport debacle. If we truly reap what we sow, I almost feel sorry for what could come his way. Almost.

         
        • Ken Warner February 5, 2014 at 11:14 am #

          Thanks for verifying that Rusty had little to do with the need for the parking lot. IntraWest caused the need for that parking lot because IntraWest didn’t build adequate parking.

          That parking lot was to be a 150 (appox) room fractional ownership condominium hotel. What will happen if any development takes place there? Where will people park then? Will others still blame Rusty for the overdevelopment here?

           
      • Tony Cumia February 5, 2014 at 4:38 pm #

        You don’t think Rusty didn’t twist some arm regarding the airport? He sure was relieved when he wasn’t named on the airport lawsuit. A few years ago when Rusty was answering to a different puppet master, he personally shut the village parking lot down….. look up some news archives. I don’t know how out of touch you are olé man, but June Lake is not an incorporated city.Kinda hard to spend advertising dollars when they aren’t there. You don’t know what Patina and Levy (plain and simple… OUTSOURCING )are?

         
        • Benett Kessler February 5, 2014 at 4:54 pm #

          I believe the Mountain settled any legal dispute with Hot Creek.
          Benett Kessler

           
        • Ken Warner February 5, 2014 at 6:27 pm #

          You certainly seem upset at me because of what you imagine Rusty doing. That’s typically twisted logic. Whatever… But you have to understand, I am not associated with MMSA in any way. I just think you are imagining things.

          =====================================================

          http://www.sierrawave.net/952/mammoths-dearth-of-parking-space/

          Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, owners of the surface parking (not Rusty) lot, made it clear that they will shut down that lot on July 1st. The Village business owners, CNL, have declined to deal on any of these issues, even as they raised rents for tenants.

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