As Mammoth Mountain CEO Rusty Gregory struggles with low snow, low visitor numbers and a $22 million drop in revenue, he did recently take part in a state commission that spends $57 million on California tourism. In the same conversation with Sierra Wave, Gregory also commented on the Town of Mammoth debt.
Gregory holds the spot as Chief Fiscal Officer for the California Travel and Tourism Commission. He calls it a “serious organization and very relevant to the ski industry.” Mammoth Mountain is part of a several million-dollar snow campaign through this commission. Gregory attended a meeting in Sacramento.
He explained that the state funds pay to market U.S. and foreign visitors. He said that the international market is very important to Mammoth. Gregory said, “We’ve hired an international sales manager, and we’re slowly and steadily building business.” Mammoth Mountain has developed week-long packages for the UK, Brazil, Japan, Australia and other countries. Gregory said, “A few years from now this will be an important part of our business.
Meanwhile, back in the Town of Mammoth Lakes, we asked Gregory about the Town debt to Mammoth Lakes Land Acquisition. He said, “I know it’s getting close to a decision.” Gregory said the Mountain has been providing financial projections to the Town in its talks with MLLA. Gregory said he “sympathizes and empathizes” with the Town and the need to finalize the matter. “They need to figure out the pain,” he said, “and deal with it.”
As for talk about a new lift ticket tax to help the Town, Gregory said there does need to be an income stream of some type to pay off the cash the Town will have to borrow to pay MLLA. Gregory called a possible lift tax “part of a portfolio” to pay what is owed.