Officials, citizens struggle to save June Mountain

A one-two punch to the economy of June Lake. That’s what Supervisor-Elect Tim Alpers called the closure of June Mountain and now a Senate Bill that would cut fish hatchery funds.

Faced with the toughest changes in its history, June Lake was well represented at Tuesday’s Special Meeting of the Mono Supervisors in June Lake. Members of the public talked about their feelings in the some four-hour meeting which started out with a call to send a letter to the Legislature opposing Senate Bill 1148. That proposed law would take away funding from hatcheries and give it to wild trout programs.

Talk quickly moved to June Mountain. Bottom line – people want it open. The “Keep June Mountain Open Coalition” reportedly has names of prospective buyers, but nothing is certain and Mammoth Mountain CEO Rusty Gregory has said he doesn’t want to sell. Tim Alpers has talked with Gregory about ways to keep June Mountain and protect the survival of the community. Alpers says what is needed is a “skier hatchery” – making June Mountain a place for young people to get into the sport of skiing.

Ideas from the Mono Supervisors include a Transient Occupancy Tax overlay to allow second homeowners to rent their spaces. The Supervisors are moving forward with that and considering money from the County Contingency Fund for better marketing of winter activities in June Lake. Alpers said he would like to see a better image for June Lake other than an overflow mountain for Mammoth.

Alpers said the situation needs help now. Two options surfaced at the Special Meeting – the community finding a new buyer for the Mountain to go in a new direction or work out a deal with Rusty Gregory. Will Gregory go that route? Alpers said if the right team and image appear, he thinks Gregory will do it. Alpers posed that if someone bought June, maybe Gregory would operate it.

Supervisor-Elect Alpers said he told the community that June Lake will be his number one priority during his term on the Board. He said the Forest Service officials are trying to work with the community on the issue. Alpers said he believes the Forest Service would talk to any prospective buyer, but Mammoth Mountain does have 180 days in which to come up with an operations plan for June.


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13 Responses to Officials, citizens struggle to save June Mountain

  1. MotherNature August 1, 2012 at 10:53 am #

    Well, if that isn’t the tail wagging the Dog…

    Tell me again Bennett, what is Rusty’s position with the Federal government that he can mandate Forest Service policy?

    If you or I had that permit and defaulted, guaranteed the USFS would be at our doorstep threatening us and just simply award it to someone else!

    Alpers worked for the Forest Circus, he knows this.

    Inquiring minds want to know!

    • Benett Kessler August 1, 2012 at 1:02 pm #

      The written rules on a Forest permit do require allowing the permittee to have 180 days to come up with a new operations plan.
      Rusty is not getting special treatment.

      • Michael Bogash August 1, 2012 at 6:56 pm #

        Rusty made his announcement June 21st. The Forest Service (who works for us) has yet to site him with a notice of non compliance to start the 180 days. Is that special treatment? I think so.

    • MotherNature August 5, 2012 at 3:17 pm #

      Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain…

      I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.

      “Thanksgiving or Christmas, depending on the snow pack, June Mountain will OPEN.”

      Rusty has pulled all the ropes, pushed all the buttons and he is poised to get what he wanted all along. The Forest Circus Honchos will bend to his demands and he will open with some kind of modified schedule (previously unacceptable in his current contracts) to maintain ownership. Magically, ordinances which were set in stone will change and permits will be issued.

      He will dangle the Friday, Saturday, Sunday opening carrot in front of the Town and Forest Service and, they will bite.

      He will prolly have the audacity to offer “BLACK PASS” exclusive powder days midweek.

      Click your heels together three times and make a wish. We couldn’t possibly have two drought years back to back.

      Or could we!

  2. Candace McCarthy August 1, 2012 at 5:50 pm #

    It is sad that the original idea of a family space has been lost. Mammoth has always been the race/international/faster paced resort and June has always been a great family place that was safe and beginner to intermediate runs. It got you ready for the big slopes. We as a family used to stay at June and some of us would go to Mammoth for speed and challenges and the newbies stayed at June for the day. The problem I have seen internationally at all ski resorts is the inability to provide real family and real experienced venues. The town is sleepy and for families that works. Mammoth has a much broader appeal to a faster crowd. What a unique situation to be able to offer both styles “under the same roof”. A solution to open or keep open the mountain should be found. We can all win on this. Let’s not try to speed up the town or the hill…leave it for newbies and families. I say this from enjoying both for over 50yrs.

  3. esfotoguy August 1, 2012 at 7:17 pm #

    Great-Now the tree huggers,leaf lickers,eco wackos or what have you, have found another revenue source…this MUST be blocked

  4. JuneLover August 1, 2012 at 7:46 pm #

    Hi Benett,
    Thanks for the update. I have a couple of questions that I am wondering if you can find out the answers. I have read through various postings, meeting notes and did not see where these items were addressed:

    1. How much will it cost MMSA not to operate June Mountain this season (e.g. maintain liability insurance, debt service, workers comp etc….)
    2. Will the public be permitted access to the mountain this winter? If no, will “guards” be posted? If so what entity will be responsible for the burden of those costs? How much will this cost?
    3. Will Sierra Mtn Guides (SMG) still be operating classes out of the June conference center?
    4. If MMSA makes the decision in their Operating Plan (due to USFS 180 days from notice which should be about 1/30/13) to shut June down permantely how much will it cost them to restore the moutain to its pre-permit state?

    Rusty seems to be flip flopping around…7/10 he stated he would considering opening June this season if certain demands were met. He also indicated he would be willing to sell. A couple of meetings later a price of $14 mil then in the most recent meeting Rusty indicated the mountain was not for sale. The final decision made was to keep June closed. Why not just state the original intention in the 7/10 meeting?

    IMHO MMSA is in far more finanial trouble than they are willing to admit. If 12/13 is not a record season I am fearful:(

  5. Trouble August 1, 2012 at 9:27 pm #

    I sure hope no one works with Mammoth Mountains Corp. to continue operating June. Take it away in 181 days.

  6. Country Mouse August 2, 2012 at 5:16 am #

    esfotoguy –

    Ever think of relocating to the city?
    Sounds like you’d be happier there.

    • Trouble August 5, 2012 at 9:33 pm #

      estoguy- hope you wake up next to Rusty someday!

  7. Jim August 2, 2012 at 10:47 am #

    I hadn’t been to June in 20 years and hadn’t been skiing in 10, before putting in 30 days last winter. Mammoth had hardly any snow, but June had less. We planned to ski June a fair amount anyhow to take advantage of their lower-key kids ski school. There just wasn’t enough snow.

    Beyond the limited snow, J1 is the biggest liability in my view. In the time Mammoth has owned June they’ve built dozens of big high speed lifts, 3 new gondola segments, a monorail, and lots of new lodges. In comparison, J1, a center-pole, low speed double, got Rube-Goldberg style safety gates last summer.

    All that said, I agree that they shouldn’t bother opening the mountain until there’s a gondola, tram, funicular, etc. for access and a dramatically upgraded or replaced day lodge when you get up there.

  8. Wayne Deja August 2, 2012 at 5:51 pm #

    Jim…Don’t understand a lot of what you said there,but sounds like you prefer Mammoth to June Lake because of the extra “new stuff” Mammoth has to offer in your opinion,and June Lake hasn’t kept up with the “times”….But maybe that’s how some people wanted it to be….keeping June Lake a more family friendly,simpler,and quiet place to enjoy..A good example..Much like where I live….It would be nice to have a shopping center with lower prices and better selection of goods,maybe a movie theater to enjoy now and then,or other things a large or larger town or city has to offer,which would probably mean better employment opportunities and a better paycheck…but some of us choose to forfit all that to live in a smaller town and a simpler life.From what I have heard from people I know that used to live and work in June,they liked the small town living there without the rowdy nightlife and other things that the larger town of Mammoth was offering….They didn’t want a “village”,or a dozen or so taverns in their town.They wanted to keep it simple….In my opinion,for what it’s worth,if June is shut down,it’s mis-management of things that what will have caused it.

  9. Trouble August 5, 2012 at 9:42 pm #

    Estoguy- I am sorry. I meant to tell Country Mouse off. Wow, Country Mouse, I hope you wake up to Rusty and a big rat someday. Hope Benett prints both these comments.


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