What Were Dillon and Keystone Resort Like Before the Great Recession?

The Uncorked Mountain Wine Festival at Keystone, Colo features delicious wines, award winning jazz, and a juried fine art show in River Run.

 

Photo credit: reid.neureiter on Best Running / CC BY-NC-SA
Mountain Operations: Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Heavenly and which includes lift ticket, ski & snowboard school, dining, retail and rental businesses

 

Part Two:  What Were Frisco and Copper Mountain Like Before the Great Recession?

With the help of our knowledge bank, you can choose for variations in your new neighborhood by:

An excerpt from Book Three in “The Knowledge Path Series” dedicated to helping you find the place of your dreams.

5-Year Time Frames — 2003 – 2008

Only five miles separate Dillon and Keystone Resort on US 6.

Roughly the same amount of travel time and distance that separates Dillon from Frisco.

Location At-A-Glance

Region: Western United States

Dillon and Keystone, Colorado Zip Code 80435 Google Maps

State: Colorado

Travel Region: Northwestern Colorado

County: Summit County

Patchwork County: Monied Burbs

Town: Dillon– Keystone, Keystone Resort

Population Density: Town and Country

Real Estate Phase: Innov Towns

Zip Codes: 80435

Ski Area Citizens Scorecards:

(C) Keystone Ski Resort 53.3% (Fall 2008)

(B) Keystone Ski Resort 76.0%  (Winter 2013 – 2014)

Profile At-A-Glance (Summer 2008)

Life Stages: Singles, Couples, Mid Life, Empty Nests, Baby Boomers

Ages: 20-29, 25-54, 30-44, 45-65

Community Neighbors:

Wireless Resorters

Premier Resorts – WRPR (Declined, Evolved or Moved)

09M1T1, Big Fish Small Pond, 45+, Couples, Affluent Empty Nests, Accumulated Wealth, Landed Gentry (Mammoth Lakes, CA)

Maturing Resorts — WRMR

11Y1T1, God’s Country, 30-44, Couples, Midlife Success, Landed Gentry (Boulder, CO)

23Y2T2, Greenbelt Sports, 25-54, Mainstream Singles, Country Comfort (Aspen, CO)

Distant Exurbans – WRDE (Declined, Evolved or Moved)

48Y3T4, Young and Rustic, 20-29, Striving Singles, Rustic Living (ParkCity, UT)

Community Neighbors:

High Country Eagles

Rural Cowboys– HCERC

45Y3T3, Blue Highways, 20-29, Striving Singles, Middle America (Dillon, CO)

For those BOFs with 09M1T1 lifestyles flying from Whitefish, Montana, and touching down in Summit County they may have felt right at home.

Three Wireless Resorter communities welcomed new nesters.

The 09M1T1 Premier Resort lifestyle, two lifestyles living in Maturing Resorts and the third rustic living Distant Exurbans.

Except, something happened along the way.

Half of Dillon’s Wireless Resort lifestyles turned over.

Including the Premier Resorts 09M1T1 and Distant Exurbans Young Rustics.

The same lifestyle that left Copper Mountain and Frisco.

More on that a little later.

What happened?

Let’s take a look at the “before.”

Highlights and Headlines.

Winter 2007 – 2008

Opening Race

Photo credit: reid.neureiter on Best Running / CC BY-NC-SA

Nor Am Cup Giant Slalom Season

GIANT SLALOM. Colorado. Keystone Travis Ganong wrote the following column Nov. 25 while waiting for his delayed flight to Colorado for the opening race of the Nor Am Cup season – a giant slalom at Keystone Resort on Monday.

Tree Hugging Know Your Limits

Collision ABC Correspondent John McWethy

TREE COLLISION. Colorado. Keystone. A coroner says the skier who died after hitting a tree at Keystone Ski Resort Wednesday morning was former ABC correspondent John McWethy.

Vail Resorts Redevelopment Proposals

Redevelopment Of The Mountain House Base Area

Photo credit: reid.neureiter on Best Running / CC BY-NC-SA

If you’re not moving forward, you’re going backwards” Building heights, employee housing and parking were listed as key issues during a recent review of a Vail Resorts proposal to redevelop the Mountain House base area at Keystone.

State-of-the-Art Amenities

World-Class Motorcycling Destinations

Located approximately 90 minutes west of Denver, Keystone’s state-of-the-art amenities and infrastructure, as well as its proximity to world-class motorcycling destinations within Colorado’s Rocky Mountain …

Spring 2008

Sustainable Commitments

100% Certified Organic Starbucks Coffee And Fair-Trade Espresso

MOUNTAINS. Colorado. Vail. Vail Resorts is expanding that commitment, by pledging to only serve 100 percent Certified Organic Starbucks coffee and Fair-Trade espresso and to eliminate the use of all artificial Trans Fat at its 90 dining facilities at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Heavenly, eight RockResort properties and at the Company’s other restaurants beginning with the 2008-2009 ski season.

Fire Threat Removals

Photo credit: elgringospain on Best Running / CC BY-NC-ND

Western Slope Beetle-Killed Trees Removal

Gov. Bill Ritter signed a half-dozen forest-health bills into law at Keystone Wednesday to help communities on the Western Slope remove beetle-killed trees that pose a fire threat to neighborhoods, water ..

Keystone Leadership Conference

Annual Leadership Conference

GOALS Move the annual Leadership Conference from February back to August, to more

Summer 2008

35-acre Fishhook Parcel

Scenic Access Snake River near Summit Cove

Hikers and anglers will have access to a scenic section of the Snake River near Summit Cove under a new management plan for the 35-acre Fishhook parcel.

Photo: Visual Hunt

Jazz, Art and Tastings

The Uncorked Mountain Wine Festival

The Uncorked Mountain Wine Festival at Keystone, Colo is August 22-24 and features delicious wines, award winning jazz, and a juried fine art show in River Run.

Annual Sign-Ons

SingleSign-On and The OpenSSO Team

The OpenSSO team are in Keystone, CO this week for the first annual SingleSign-On Summit.

Leader and Speaker Series

Emerging Summit County Leaders

Photo: Visual Hunt

Leadership Summit is a nine-month adult-leadership training program offered through The Keystone Center that equips emerging Summit County leaders with the skills and relationships necessary to lead …

Mountain Speaker Series

The Keystone Science School is starting a mountain speaker series in benefit of the Student Scholarship Fund.

Fall 2008

Vail Resorts in Colorado and California

The Ski Area Citizens’ Coalition. Vail Resorts. Colorado. California.

Average Resort Score: 50.4%

1 Heavenly Mountain Resort 51.3% (C)

2 Beaver Creek Resort 58.7% (C)

3 Breckenridge Ski Resort 36.1% (F)

4 Keystone Ski Resort 53.3% (C)

5 Vail Ski Resort 52.7% (C)

Vail Resorts

Photo credit: Thad Roan – Bridgepix on Best Running / CC BY

is a vertically integrated operation that controls many of the companies that service resort visitors in their respective markets. Its 3 primary operational units are the Mountain unit which owns and operates

Mountain Unit: Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Heavenly

Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Heavenly and which includes lift ticket, ski & snowboard school, dining, retail and rental businesses;

Vail Resorts Hospitality and Vail Resorts Development Company

Vail Resorts Hospitality which owns and/or manages a portfolio of luxury hotels under the RockResorts brand (which consists of 8 properties located in both ski and beach destinations and an additional 6 properties currently being developed, 7 hotels and condominiums located in proximity to the company’s ski resorts, 3 resorts at Grand Teton National Park and 6 golf courses); and Vail Resorts Development Company

Time to see for ourselves.

Soak up what the mountain resorts have to offer.

Relax.

And, get answers to our questions.

What’s been going on?

Steps:

25) Compare what “life” was like in those communities before the Great Recession, how resilient each was during the economic downturn, and to what degree did each bounce back after with any “economic hangover.” 

28) Which lifestyles profiled in the western resort towns during 2008 – 2009 remained five years later in 2013-2014?  Which disappeared entirely? Why? Which new lifestyles emerged, grew or moved in to shift the neighborhood mix? Have longtime locals been forced out by escalating property 

30) Review headlines and relevant news as far back as you can find online to surface each community’s unique pulse and identify information necessary to make your decision. Is there a “ticking time bomb” issue you may uncover that eliminates the resort from your bucket list? Search on topix.com.

Summit

Monied ‘Burbs, Celebrities, Ski Resorts: Pre-Great Recession Lifestyles Profiles-At-A-Glance

Photo: Visual Hunt
This contours along the “Continental Divide, an imaginary line that marks the flow of precipitation. Rain falling on the west of the Divide makes its way to the Pacific Ocean. Rain on the east makes its way to the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean.”

 

An excerpt from Book Three in “The Knowledge Path Series” dedicated to helping you find the place of your dreams.

Rocky Mountain Region. WikiTravel

As you leave Telluride, the next travel region on your BOF bucket list takes you to Northwestern Colorado.  

Where is it?

South of the Wyoming state line. 

Along the western slope of the Rocky Mountains, but east of Utah state line. 

It includes Mesa, Pitkin and Summit counties.  

If you are like most people you’d recognize the region in relation to Interstate 70.  

Well, draw a line 50 to 100 miles south and you’ve found its southern border.

Follow I-70 from the western portal of the Eisenhower Tunnel in the east to the Utah state line in the west and you’ve got it covered. 

Wikitravel describes the region this way:

Splitting the Difference at the Continental Divide – WikiTravel

This contours along the Continental Divide, an imaginary line that marks the flow of precipitation. 

Rain falling on the west of the Divide makes its way to the Pacific Ocean. 

Rain on the east makes its way to the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. 

Exploring Summit County first, makes the most sense, because more resort towns ranging from innovation to early maturity can be visited in fewer vacation days.  

And, guess what?  

Patchwork Nation says Summit County can be added to the “Monied Burbs List.”

Across the county you’ll discover 8 or 9 towns that might capture your imagination.  

In fact you’d probably recognize the names of the four major ski and snowboarding resort areas already.

And, you’ll find out that two reservoirs store water for local recreation and home owners as far away as Denver. 

Summit County, Colorado. Source: Google Maps

And as you learn later, the Summit Daily News features news and information about the towns and resorts.

To be honest Summit County confused me years ago when we began our coverage.  

Here’s why.  

Zip Codes.

Oh, and in my knowledge base, I discovered more confusion.

Just like Santa Cruz County in California and Santa Cruz County in Arizona, there are other Summit Counties in other western states.

One closer by in Utah.

So let’s start with the least confusing. 

Breckenridge. 

Some like to call the most popular ski resort in the U.S. 

Probably their Chamber of Commerce, right?

Unlike Durango, Breckenridge citizens live within one zip code, 80424.

Location At-A-Glance 

Region: Western United States, Rocky Mountain Region

Colorado Regions. WikiTravel

State: Colorado 

Travel Region: Northwestern Colorado

County: Summit County

Patchwork County:  Monied Burbs 

Town: Breckenridge

Population Density: Town and Country

Real Estate Phase: Early-Maturity

Ski Area Citizens Scorecards: 

(F) Breckenridge Ski Resort 36.1%  (Fall 2008)

(D) Breckenridge Ski Resort 41.5% (Winter 2009 -2010)

(C) Breckenridge Ski Resort 65.2% (Fall 2013)

5-Year Time Frames — 2003 – 2008

Breckenridge, CO Zip Code 80424 – Google Maps

 

Profile At-A-Glance (Summer 2008)

Zip Codes: 80424

Life Stages: Singles, Couples, Families, Midlife, Empty Nests, Baby Boomers

Ages: 20-29, 25-54, 30-44, 55+

Community Neighbors: 

Wireless Resorters 

Maturing Resorts — WRMR

11Y1T1, God’s Country, 30-44, Couples, Midlife Success, Landed Gentry, WRMR Maturing Resorts, Wireless Resorters  (Declined, Evolved or Moved to Boulder, CO)

23Y2T2, Greenbelt Sports, 25-54, Mainstream Singles, Country Comfort, WRMR Maturing Resorts, Wireless Resorters (Aspen, CO)

33F3T2, Big Sky Families, 25-54, Mainstream Families, Country Comfort, WRMR Maturing Resorts, Wireless Resorters (Declined, Evolved or Moved to Park City, UT)

28M2T2, Traditional Times, Empty Nests, 55+, Couples, Country Comfort, WRMR Maturing Resorts, Wireless Resorters (St. Helena, CA)

Distant Exurbans – WRDE (Declined, Evolved or Moved)

56Y3T4, Crossroads Villagers, 20-29, Striving Singles,Rustic Living, WRDE Distant Exurbans, Wireless Resorters  (Declined, Evolved or Moved to Telluride, CO)

Community Neighbors: 

High Country Eagles

Rural Cowboys– HCERC

45Y3T3, Blue Highways, 20-29, Striving Singles, Middle America HCERC Rural Cowboy, High Country Eagles (Dillon, CO)

Over the next five years Breckenridge changed the most.  

Compared to the other Summit County mountain resort towns. 

Of the four Maturing Resorts community lifestyles only two remained.  

And, the lone representative of the Distant Exurbans vanished as well.

Breckenridge said goodbye to couples, families, and mid lifers in the 30-44 age range. 

Three “anchor lifestyles” remained – singles, empty nesters and Baby Boomers ages 20-29, 25-54 and 55+.

Why?

To find out, let’s start with how things were in 2008.

And, with the December, 2007 to February 2008 ski and snowboard season.

Highlights and Headlines. 

Winter 2007 – 2008

History and Holiday Arts

Breckenridge Heritage Alliance and the Summit Historical Society 

Edwin Carter Log Cabin Naturalist Museum Source – Wikipedia

“It’s one of few of its kind that exists.” The Breckenridge Heritage Alliance and the Summit Historical Society recently announced that the William W. Boyd Horseshoe Collection will be on display at the Edwin Carter Museum in Breckenridge.

Third Annual Arts District Holiday Party 

The third annual Arts District Holiday Party is Wednesday from 5-7 p.m. at the Breckenridge Theatre at 121 S.

Providing Medical Services

Level V Trauma Center Breckenridge Medical Clinic 

Breckenridge Medical Clinic recently passed a re-certification test to stay a Level V Trauma Center with a perfect score from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Trauma Services Division.

Land and Water Conservation

Plan For Carter Park 

“This probably represents more of a compromise” Following a recent presentation about a plan for Carter Park designed by a community advisory group and recommended by the majority of citizens who got involved, Breckenridge Town Council gave the go-ahead.

We’re Protecting The Land And The Water

Photo: Visual Hunt

“I’m representing the people of the state of Colorado to make sure we’re protecting the land and the water” The massive budget bill passed by the U.S. Congress this week includes nearly a $1 million in federal funds for the Highway 9 widening project bet

Mining Town to Destination Resort

One Of America’s Favorite Alpine Destinations 

Breckenridge, Colorado is one of America’s favorite alpine destinations. Breckenridge was founded over 140 years ago as a mining town.

Photo: Visual Hunt

2nd-Home Market In Old-Style Victorian Mining Town

“This is really a 2nd-home market” The holiday rush may be over, but January and February don’t slow down in Breckenridge, Colorado, an old-style Victorian mining town turned modern ski mecca.

Films, Festivals and Fun

Mountainfilm in Telluride 

Mountainfilm in Telluride, a festival of adventure, cultural and environmental films, is partnering with Breckenridge’s nonprofit Mountain to Mountain by bringing three nights of film to the Speakeasy. MountainFilm support and attendance helped CRMS Thank you to all who supported and attended the Colorado Rocky Mountain School’s presentation of Telluride MountainFilm on Tour this year.

North American Open Freeskiing Videos

Christopher Blunck. Photo: Visual Hunt

Watch freeskiing videos from this weekends North American Open in Breckenridge, hosted by Simon Dumont and Jon Olsson.

Budweiser International Snow Sculpture Championships 

For the 18th year, Breckenridge is hosting the Budweiser International Snow Sculpture Championships at the Riverwalk Center in Breckenridge.

Celebrities  and Salaries

Keeping Up with the Kardashians 

Photo: Visual Hunt

Breckenridge, Colorado is among the hot spots to be featured on the new season of E!’s Keeping Up with the Kardashians.

Salaries Of The Breckenridge Town Council Members 

An ordinance that will increase the salaries of the Breckenridge Town council members elected this spring recently passed the second reading with a 5-to-1 vote.

Spring 2008

Hut, Hut, Hut …

Backcountry Shelter Considered By Summit Huts Association 

The Summit Huts Association is considering several spots near Breckenridge for a new backcountry shelter, but proponents are wary of environmental concerns that scuttled the last effort.

Summer 2008

Early Signals?

Hotel Occupancy In Vail, Aspen And Breckenridge

Whatever the cause, hotel occupancy this year in Vail, Aspen and Breckenridge is down slightly this year from the first six months of 2007.

Victorian Historic District

Eco-Friendly Solar Panels Into The Town’s Historic District 

Photo: Visual Hunt

Colorado – Breckenridge officials are grappling with how to usher eco-friendly solar panels into the town’s historic district while preserving its renowned Victorian charm.

First Documented Gold Strike On The Western Slope 

Breckenridge is home to the first documented gold strike on the Western Slope, but the story as told may be inaccurate.

Foundation Endowment

$100,000 to the Summit Foundation 

The Grand Lodge on Peak 7 recently gave $100,000 to the Summit Foundation for an endowment through which the donors can designate the specific beneficiaries.

Local Celebrity

Breckenridge Snowborder

DeAnna Pappas is down to two final bachelors on this season of ABC-TV’s “The Bachelorette.”

Festivals and Celebrations

Summer Festival of Film 

The Breckenridge Festival of Film, which took place June 5-8, 2008 has announced its choices for best of this year’s festival.

28th Annual Breckenridge Festival Of Film 

High drama, suspense and political intrigue drew audiences from the four corners of the nation for the World Premiere of “Washington, You’re Fired” at this year’s 28th annual Breckenridge Festival of Film.

Parade Down Main Street 

The fun begins on July 4th, with a parade down Main Street.

Second Annual Kingdom Days Celebration 

Mobile outhouses, mine tours and gunfights aim to lure folks to Breckenridge this weekend for the second annual Kingdom Days celebration.

Kickoff Of The Up With People 

Special to the Daily FARMER’S KORNER – Lovisa Cehlin traveled from her home country of Sweden to Breckenridge for the kickoff of the Up With People …

Quaint Shops

Photo: Visual Hunt

New Tin Shop Artists Arrive

The Arts District of Breckenridge’s Tin Shop is located at 117 E.

Hamlet’s Bookshoppe 

“While vacationing in Breckenridge, Colorado, over the Fourth of July weekend, I stopped by a quaint little bookstore in town called Hamlet’s Bookshoppe,” emails publicist Amber Childres.

Retreats

Signature Health And Wellness Retreats 

Sacred Tree, a holistic health and wellness center in Breckenridge, is launching a line of signature health and wellness retreats.

Mountain-Pine Beetle Aftermath

Turned From Removal To Replanting 

The Breckenridge mountain-pine beetle program’s emphasis has turned from removal to replanting.

Music, Touring and Walking

Blue River Series at the Riverwalk Center 

The Breckenridge Music Festival will present Cowboy Junkies with special guest Monahans as part of the Blue River Series at the Riverwalk Center in Breckenridge on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. The Cowboy Junkies were …

Continental Divide Land Trust Walking Tour

A walking tour of Breckenridge highlighting what remains of the wildflowers and native landscapes indigenous to our area will be offered on Saturday, August 2, by Continental Divide Land Trust.

Photo: Visual Hunt

Ride The Rockies Bicycle Tour 

After seven days and 435 miles, over 2,000 cyclists will cross the finish line in Breckenridge Saturday for this year’s Ride the Rockies bicycle tour.

On and Off the Road

A Dozen Thefts Of High-End Road Bikes 

Breckenridge police believe thieves are targeting high-end road bikes after a dozen thefts since June.

Surprise Road Closure

Denver Water closed our road without communicating with anyone in Summit County, the towns of Breckenridge, Frisco, Silverthorne, Dillon, Montezuma and the Keystone community.

Breckenridge Free Ride’s New Diesel-Hybrid Bus 

A bright grin under a white bucket hat and Wayfarer-style shades greeted riders boarding Breckenridge Free Ride’s new diesel-hybrid bus Friday.

Fall 2008

Early Start to New Season

Making Snow After First Big Winter Storm 

The first big winter storm allowed the resort at Breckenridge, Colorado to start making snow.

Photo: Visual Hunt

Top 10 Resorts

7. Breckenridge, Colorado and Whistler, British Columbia, 

18 – 20 Inches of Base Depth

As I write this, nothing but sun is falling anywhere in the Western U.S., but in the last few days and weeks snow has begun to accumulate. In Colorado, Arapahoe Basin, Keystone, Breckenridge, Loveland, Copper, and Wolf Creek are open and reporting a base depth of 18 to 20 inches.

Snowboarder Tara Weldon 

After a taste of Breckenridge for an episode of MTV’s ‘Made,’ aspiring competitive snowboarder Tara Weldon is devouring the whole meal.

What’s So Funny About That?

First Laughs And Lifts Comedy Festival 

If you’re all smiles today with Breckenridge, Keystone and Copper mountains opening for the season, the good vibe continues into the night and weekend with the first Laughs and Lifts Comedy Festival in Breck.

Putting the Twang in Country and the Cult in Culture

three20south in Breckenridge 

Bringing a mix of country, rock and a little bit of twang, the Colorado band Great American Taxi is bringing its self-proclaimed ‘Americana without borders’ sound to three20south in Breckenridge on Saturday.

‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’

In Breckenridge, will show the 1975 cult classic, ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’, on Friday and Saturday at 6:45 p.m. and 9 p.m. on both days.

Where to Go for Drugs

New Owners Of The Drug Store In Breckenridge 

Mark and Mary Waldman recently purchased the Drug Store in Breckenridge and say they plan to build on the Drug Store’s tradition of service and convenience. The Waldmans will host a grand opening at the Drug …

Getting Around Past and Present

Photo: Visual Hunt

Historic Locomotive 

Breckenridge town council on Tuesday gave the nod – by a 4-3 decision – to install historic Locomotive No. 

Modification Of Breckenridge Freeride Routes 

Breckenridge Freeride routes have been modified for this winter to accommodate the community and its visitors more efficiently

An Explosive Situation Leading to Stress Reduction

Dynamite Found in Frisco

What’s selling, who’s buying, who’s selling.

Tibetan Massage Therapy 

A man who lived three years in a cave, escaped China on foot and nearly passed out in the trunk of a taxi now practices Tibetan massage therapy in Breckenridge.

Keep in Clean Now

Cleaning Up The Water In Breckenridge 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is helping clean up the water in Breckenridge.

What about Frisco and Copper Mountain Resort?

Part Two:  What Were Frisco and Copper Mountain Like Before the Great Recession?

Steps:

25) Compare what “life” was like in those communities before the Great Recession, how resilient each was during the economic downturn, and to what degree did each bounce back after with any “economic hangover.” 

28) Which lifestyles profiled in the western resort towns during 2008 – 2009 remained five years later in 2013-2014?  Which disappeared entirely? Why? Which new lifestyles emerged, grew or moved in to shift the neighborhood mix? Have longtime locals been forced out by escalating property 

30) Review headlines and relevant news as far back as you can find online to surface each community’s unique pulse and identify information necessary to make your decision. Is there a “ticking time bomb” issue you may uncover that eliminates the resort from your bucket list? Search on topix.com.

Temple of Folly, Clocks Cleaned and Repaired

The hype of working the “largest bonanza outside of Virginia City” sparked a two-year long gold rush stampede of roughly 2500 miners to Mammoth.

 

There’s an enduring quality and allure to the Eastern Sierra mountain range, Mammoth Mountain and Mammoth Lakes area that attracted people throughout the ages.

 

An excerpt from Book Five in “The Knowledge Path Series” dedicated to helping you find the place of your dreams in the Sierra Mountain resorts.

Part One:  Mammoth

Part Two: What Was Mammoth Like Before the Great Recession?

Part Three: Chains that Bind – Bankruptcy, Foreclosures and No Snow

Part Four: Stuck in the Middle with You

Part Five: Breathtaking Mountain Panoramas and Bullet Holes

Photo by Stephen G. Howard

Newer decorations in Aspen Creek condo tweaked my interest, and with very little snow again covering the grounds around our condo and the roads in Mammoth Lakes, I felt a burning desire to find Lake Mary.

Old-time black and white photos triggered my curiosity.

One titled, “Stamp Mill, Mammoth Lakes” in hand printed white letters at the bottom edge.

In it two buildings occupy the lower third, a tall building resembling a two-story barn only partially in the photo, and the second a single story log cabin with shingles.

Behind both you can make out a much taller hill rising out of the frame to the right with loose rocks sliding down its slope.

With two trees in the foreground and a dilapidated building almost sliding down a hill from right to left  you view the “Mammoth Mining Company.”

Decaying wood rubbish piles nearer to the viewer and a wooden wagon wheel lean against a tall pine tree.

Almost all of the wood siding has been salvaged or fell off over time to expose the structural bones.

Maybe the most arresting photo shows four wooden store front buildings with a long wooden walkway or porch connecting all of them.

Similar to the one at Tom’s Place with the less than true sign proclaiming, “Tom’s Place Since 1917.”

In these photos, you can only take an educated guess — at the end of the 1880s – possibly 1888?

Posed in front standing on the dirt street you can count ten males and two dogs – one spotted and the other with dark fur.

Zooming in on the right side of the panoramic shot you capture six males and dog one.

One guy sports a white hat and dark pants, vest and over coat.

A gold watch chain dangles just below his left hand that grasps the lapel of his coat.

Like several others he has grown a long mustache.

He’s the only one standing on an irregular white stone step in front of the porch.

Next to him on our left and standing in the street you see another citizen sporting a long beard in a rumpled lighter-shade three-piece suit

He poses with both hands clasped behind his back.

The next citizen on display poses in a black western hat, dark coat and white working pants with dirty knees.

He’s wearing dark black gloves, the color of his hat.

Look, the photo’s in black and white, so go with me on this detail, okay?

A trio stand in the opposite corner to the right of the gold chained dandy.

Just above them hangs a sign, “Clocks Cleaned. Repaired”

All three lean against a posts or each other with legs crossed.

They’ve pulled their hats back on their heads to better reveal their faces.

They’re younger with dark mustaches.

They’re not in their “Sunday Best.”

They’ve made no attempt at matching their clothes.

The one in the middle wears his jeans tucked into his boots.

The spotted dog one sits at the feet of the third man in dark hat and dark coat with his hand resting on the shoulder of one in the middle.

Dog one stares alertly down the street to the remaining two males and a dark fur dog laying in the street looking back.

The largest sign in the picture says, “Temple of Folly.”

  • A saloon?
  • A community gathering hole?
  • A general store extending credit to miners down on their luck?
  • Or, on close inspection a barber shop with two striped poles near the door with six glass panes?

Directly in front of possibly a second establishment set back a few feet stands a smallish, younger man dressed in a vest, tie and more stylish hat.

  • Was he the barber?
  • Or the bartender?
  • Or, the shop keeper prospering while the older, punchy, white-bearded customer near by stood loosely  at parade rest?

In contrast, with his top button fastened (maybe the only one left) on his dark coat revealed  paunchy’s pot belly hanging over rumpled jeans.

Where can I find remains of the ghost town?

With a good wireless connection and a coffee table piled high with Mammoth magazines, brochures, fliers, local directories and books bits and pieces of the story about the photos emerged.

There’s an enduring quality and allure to the Eastern Sierra mountain range, Mammoth Mountain and Mammoth Lakes area that attracted people throughout the ages.

Who were they and when did they populate Mammoth Lakes?

Courtesy Mammoth Lakes Foundation

In fact the history of Mammoth Lakes didn’t start with Dave McCoy in 1941.

According to our condo’s coffee table and wireless connection, if you consider the Native American heritage it starts hundreds of years before European’s arrived in 1877.

Four prospectors wanting to strike it rich ignited a frenzy.

They staked a claim south of the current town of Mammoth Lakes on Mineral Hill by Old Mammoth Road.

The gold rush was on.

Near Lake Mary those early miners organized the “Lakes Mining District.”

Rumors about a strike – the largest outside of Virginia City, known for the Comstock Lode and made famous years later by Mark Twain in “Roughing It” – drew a stampede of miners in 1877.

Photo – Geni

In 1878 the famous Union Pacific Railroad tycoon and Civil War General George Dodge bought the group of claims.

He organized the Mammoth Mining Company to, well, mine Mineral Hill.

Roughly 1500 wannabe miners flooded the Mammoth Area by the end of 1878 alone.

Aurora Ghost Town

According to “Mammoth Properties Guest Services Directory” for two decades gold and silver fever fueled get rich dreams.

As silver discoveries at Aurora and Bodie led to ever more prospecting.

The hype of working the “largest bonanza outside of Virginia City” sparked a two-year long gold rush stampede of roughly 2500 miners to Mammoth.

Photo – cityconcierge.com

The burgeoning mining camp changed its name to Mammoth City and was poised to produce wealth all around.

But, the dream died in 1880, just three years later when reality failed to live up to the propaganda.

The company ceased operations.

Eight years later the population severely declined from a peak of around 2500 to less than 10.

So, was that photo documenting the only remaining survivors?

According to Wikipedia:

“By the early 1900s, the town of Mammoth was informally established near Mammoth Creek.”

And, the Mammoth Properties Directory tells the official story — two decades later Old Mammoth Village formed to accommodate the pioneers drawn to the area to enjoy fishing, hunting, photography, camping, hiking, and horseback riding.

That’s the story that repeated itself across the West.

Most miners remained flat broke while the real money flowed to the merchants, tools and transportation providers.

Even Twain gave up to write and soak up the scenic wonders on vacations in his spare time.

Times had  been tough at Mammoth more recently, as we already knew.

Part Seven:

Steps:

25) Compare what “life” was like in those communities before the Great Recession, how resilient each was during the economic downturn, and to what degree did each bounce back after with any “economic hangover.” 

28) Which lifestyles profiled in the western resort towns during 2008 – 2009 remained five years later in 2013-2014?  Which disappeared entirely? Why? Which new lifestyles emerged, grew or moved in to shift the neighborhood mix? Have longtime locals been forced out by escalating property 

30) Review headlines and relevant news as far back as you can find online to surface each community’s unique pulse and identify information necessary to make your decision. Is there a “ticking time bomb” issue you may uncover that eliminates the resort from your bucket list? Search on topix.com.

Breathtaking Mountain Panoramas and Bullet Holes

Up close you could see its wounds. Torn limb from limb and dented and twisted. For some reason there weren’t two of anything.

Photo by Stephen G. Howard
We snapped photos. How could we not with such a panoramic view looking off in a distance from our gray dirt and blond foliage-lined plateau?

An excerpt from Book Five in “The Knowledge Path Series” dedicated to helping you find the place of your dreams in the Sierra Mountain resorts.

Part One:  Mammoth

Part Two: What Was Mammoth Like Before the Great Recession?

Part Three: Chains that Bind – Bankruptcy, Foreclosures and No Snow

Part Four: Stuck in the Middle with You

It worked.

On a more level terrain with more room and no hidden rocks, logs or deep trenches, we were able to take about a dozen small, tight back and forth turns to flip around and trace our path back.

Photo by Stephen G. Howard

To the very same turnouts we had originally declined for lack of snow on the way up.

We parked.

We hiked.

We snapped photos.

Photo by Stephen G. Howard

How could we not with such a panoramic view looking off in a distance from our gray dirt and blond foliage-lined plateau?

Across the tops of dark green pine trees on our side to the Mammoth mountain range covered in white gleaming snow.

Photo by Stephen G. Howard

Out in the open with darker whites and light blues reflecting the deep, high altitude blue sky, and black sprinkles in the canyons and shoots cascading from the crest.

Another overlooking the Mammoth power plant.

It looks like a rectangle box with two sets of three or four rows of power generating units bordering the length reflecting sunlight glare so they look round at their tops.

Photo by Stephen G. Howard

And metal roofed structures with pipes and tubes and other equipment connecting the two sets.

Finally, and the least expected – what’s left of a rusted brown, reddish Ford Model-T?

From a distance it looked like as if the tires and under carriage were buried up to the running board.

Photo by Stephen G. Howard

Only it sat on dirt, not deep piles of snow.

Up close you could see its wounds.

Torn limb from limb and dented and twisted.

For some reason there weren’t two of anything.

One door, the passenger.

One head lamp.

But, no engine block, hood or any sign of them.

Rusted steel violently fell close by.

How did it get there?

How long has it been there?

Was it pushed off some cliff?

Wait we’re not anywhere near a cliff.

And who shot it full of bullet holes?

Two years later during our next winter reunion a second mystery consumed me.

Part Six: Temple of Folly, Clocks Cleaned and Repaired

Steps:

25) Compare what “life” was like in those communities before the Great Recession, how resilient each was during the economic downturn, and to what degree did each bounce back after with any “economic hangover.” 

28) Which lifestyles profiled in the western resort towns during 2008 – 2009 remained five years later in 2013-2014?  Which disappeared entirely? Why? Which new lifestyles emerged, grew or moved in to shift the neighborhood mix? Have longtime locals been forced out by escalating property 

30) Review headlines and relevant news as far back as you can find online to surface each community’s unique pulse and identify information necessary to make your decision. Is there a “ticking time bomb” issue you may uncover that eliminates the resort from your bucket list? Search on topix.com.

What Was Mammoth Like Before the Great Recession?

We began coverage of Mammoth Lakes during the Summer of 2008.

Across mountain towns in California (Mammoth), Montana (Whitefish) and Colorado (Pagosa Springs, Durango and Silverton) the younger Distant Exurbans those 56Y3T4 Millennials disappeared.

 

An excerpt from Book Five in “The Knowledge Path Series” dedicated to helping you find the place of your dreams in the Sierra Mountain resorts.

Part One:  Mammoth

We began coverage of Mammoth Lakes during the Summer of 2008.

Location At-A-Glance

Region: Western United States,

State: California

Travel Region: Sierra Nevada Region; Eastern Sierra

County: Mono County

Patchwork County: Immigration Nation

Town: Mammoth Lakes, Mammoth Mountain Ski Area

Population Density: Town and Country

Real Estate Phase: Early Maturity

Zip Codes: 93546

Ski Area Citizens Scorecards:

(B) Mammoth Mountain Ski Area 69.1% (Fall 2008)

(B) Mammoth Mountain Ski Area 71.8% (Fall 2012)

City Data filled in a more complete picture.

Nearest zip codes: 93634, 93529, 93512, 93514, 93541, 93605.

Nearest cities:

  • June Lake, CA 3.3 miles,
  • McGee Creek, CA 3.3 miles,
  • Crowley Lake, CA 3.7 miles,
  • Aspen Springs, CA 4.0 miles,
  • Sunny Slopes, CA 4.2 miles,
  • Swall Meadows, CA 4.5 miles,
  • Lee Vining, CA 4.8 miles, and
  • Round Valley, CA 5.1 miles.

Many tourists playing in the Eastern Sierra adventure communities may believe that Mammoth Lakes would be similar to Bishop.

Bishop’s Patchwork County (Inyo County) description after all is “Service Worker Centers.”

“Midsize and small towns with economies fueled by hotels, stores and restaurants and lower-than-average median household income by county.”

The more in-depth description provides clues.

“Some of the Service Worker Centers are small-town vacation communities along the coasts or near inland lakes that get a boost through tourism.

Residents make their money working at cafés, restaurants and curio shops, while the local governments draw revenue from hotel taxes.

Others are simply local commerce hubs for the scattered populations around them, places to buy necessities or do business with local government.

These are not places you go to do high-end shopping.

Bishop, California

The Service Worker Centers generally holds places with one main street or main intersection that is more designed around needs than wants – diners more than four-star restaurants.

There is a strain conservatism that runs through these counties, largely arising out of distrust of big city wealth and big government, but those conservative leanings do not have the same social conservative undertones to them.”

However, for Mono County, the Patchwork Nation Profile is “Immigration Nation”

“Communities with large Latino populations and lower-than-average incomes, typically clustered in the South and Southwest.”

The more in-depth description doesn’t seem to ring true, may be emerging or overlooked by  vacationers like us.

“These places are not necessarily overwhelmingly or even majority Hispanic, rather they are places with large Hispanic populations where there tends to be a strong divide in the community between Hispanics and Anglos.

Immigration Nation counties often hold communities within communities – one where almost all business and conversation is done in English and one where Spanish dominates.

Walk or drive a few blocks and you might find not only different kinds of grocery stores and different languages are the registers, but different products on the shelves.

The different ethnicities and backgrounds of the people in these counties can cause increased tensions from both sides.

In some communities these tensions can lead to dysfunctional relationships and governance.”

With so much change at hand, we take three glances at the Mammoth Lakes profiles.

  • One during the summer of 2008 which serves as a baseline.
  • The second during one of our winter ski and snowboarding holiday trips at the end of 2013 and the beginning of 2014.
  • And the third eight years after Mammoth’s baseline during the summer of 2016.

Let’s start with the beginning baseline.

Profile At-A-Glance (Summer 2008)

Life Stages: Singles, Couples, Families, Baby Boomers, Empty Nests

Ages: 20-29, 25-54, 55+

Community Neighbors:

Wireless Resorters

Maturing Resorts — WRMR

23Y2T2, Greenbelt Sports, 25-54, Mainstream Singles, Country Comfort

28M2T2,Traditional Times, Empty Nests, 55+ Baby Boomers, Country Comfort

32F3T2, New Homesteaders, 55+Boomer, Mainstream Families, Country Comfort

Resort Suburbans — WRRS

42Y3T3, Red White Blues, 20-29, Striving Singles, Middle America

Distant Exurbans — WRDE

56Y3T4, Crossroads Villagers, 20-29, Striving Singles, Rustic Living

Over the following five years the 20-29 Singles leave by the winter of 2013 – 2014 eliminating two segments of Wireless Resorter lifestyles – Resort Suburbans and Distant Exurbans.

The WRRS Resort Suburbans vacated rentals on the edge of town, while the WRDE Distant Exurbans moved away from their more rustic living digs.

Three long time neighborhood lifestyles commonly associated with Maturing Resort communities remained.

Older Mainstream Singles, Empty Nesters, and Mainstream Families.

Most likely those who could wait out the worst that 2009 to 2014 would bring.

While Mammoth, like Whitefish, Montana, said goodbye to the 42Y3T3, Striving Single, 20-29 year olds, the zip code surrounding Tahoe City and Sunnyside bordering Lake Tahoe said hello .

Such wasn’t the case for the second lifestyle.

The goodbyes to the 20-29 striving singles used to rustic living and lower incomes felt more permanent.

Winter Fun

Across mountain towns in California (Mammoth), Montana (Whitefish) and Colorado (Pagosa Springs, Durango and Silverton) the younger Distant Exurbans those 56Y3T4 Millennials disappeared.

They probably returned home as so many other Millennials did during the Great Recession.

NOTE: Don’t feel too bad for them. According to our 2016 update, they may be flocking back to Telluride, Colorado.

Part Three: Chains that Bind – Bankruptcy, Foreclosures and No Snow

Steps:

20) Pivot. Maybe the lists of best places don’t appeal to you. Where can you go to make a fresh, new start? Don’t limit your imagination. Think anywhere — across the globe. Where do you really, really want to live, work and play?  Why not live where it’s a vacation all year round?

26) If you know the zip code you can discover the lifestyles living in the community. You can compare your profile with theirs to estimate your degree of fit.

27) Estimate how well suited you are for the resorts. Refer to “Profiles-at-a-Glance” comparing 2008-2009 and 2013-2014 for changes in Life Stages – Singles, Couples, Families, Midlife, Empty Nests, Baby Boomers and Seniors; Ages – 20-29, 25-54, 30-44, 45+ 45-65, 55+ and 65+; and mix of Lifestyles in neighborhoods. Does the resort still offer the age, life stage and lifestyle profiles you prefer?

28) Which lifestyles profiled in the western resort towns during 2008 – 2009 remained five years later in 2013-2014?  Which disappeared entirely? Why? Which new lifestyles emerged, grew or moved in to shift the neighborhood mix? Have longtime locals been forced out by escalating property valuations and sky-high property taxes?

Mammoth

To top it all off for the winter 1976 – 1977 ski season Mother Nature decided to dump only 94 inches making the disaster the worst in Mammoth’s history.

Mammoth Mountain Ski Area was sold to Starwood Capital Group in a deal that valued Mammoth at $365 million- a far cry from the $135,000 he borrowed in 1953 to build the first lift.

 

An excerpt from Book Five in “The Knowledge Path Series” dedicated to helping you find the place of your dreams in the Sierra Mountain resorts.

If the Swall Valley family needed to relocate, either temporarily or permanently, after the Round Valley Fire, and they chose Mammoth then their commute to the school district would be closer and less expensive.

Like the Swall Valley community the Mammoth Mountain Ski area and town of Mammoth Lakes, since the 1940s, suffered their share of economic, prolonged climate and seasonal weather-related setbacks too.

From Mammoth Mountain Resort – History

Establishing Mammoth Mountain as a growing ski area wasn’t easy for Dave McCoy when he switched from McGee Mountain in 1941.

At the end of the 1950s his entrepreneurial burning desire was almost snuffed out by a drought.  

Roughly a dozen years later the Southern California economy almost collapsed with a spike in gas prices triggered by the 1973 oil crisis.

Drivers who had to fill up at much higher fuel prices, but only on odd or even days of the week, weren’t about to risk getting stuck somewhere along US 395.

To top it all off for the winter 1976 – 1977 ski season Mother Nature decided to dump only 94 inches making the disaster the worst in Mammoth’s history.

Mammoth Yosemite Airport from Wikipedia

But, in the ‘90s Alpha Airlines flew resorters from LA to the small Mammoth Airport you drive past on US 395.

In the mid- to late- ‘90s investors wanted a piece of McCoy’s dream.  

Here’s how Wikipedia described the time

In January 1996, Intrawest Corporation and Mammoth Mountain Ski area announced that Intrawest Corporation had purchased 33% of Mammoth and June Mountain ski operations, as well as all of the developable real estate owned by Mammoth Mountain Ski Area. 

In 1998, Intrawest increased their partnership interest to 58%. 

5-Year Time Frame 2003-2008

When the new millennium began in the Eastern Sierra’s times were better.  

Horizon Airlines offered service round trip between Mammoth and Los Angeles and the Bay Area and Reno.  

Not just for winter holidays, but for all four seasons too.

Straw-Bale House Construction

The Swall family completed their sustainable, forever home and hadn’t volunteered for a financial make over yet. 

The Malibu fire hadn’t forced Scott Palamar from the mountains to Owens Valley yet.

The Great Recession hadn’t dashed the hopes of millions yet.

With Intrawest’s investment, McCoy realized a significant portion of his dream.

The development of three new village areas: The Village at Mammoth, Sierra Star, and Juniper Springs, has brought new developments to the resort.

The Village at Mammoth, a European-style and pedestrian-only complex, was built in a style similar to other Intrawest properties, such as Whistler or Keystone. 

The Village opened in 2003 with various stores, restaurants, galleries and 166 luxury condominiums. 

The 15-passenger Village Gondola, which departs from the Village, transports skiers and snowboarders directly to the Canyon Lodge base.

By 2005 McCoy had designed, build and run the ski area for almost 70 years.  

So, he decided to sell his stake in Mammoth Mountain Ski Area and announced it during the winter ski season in 2005.  

Maybe he just wanted to enjoy skiing for a few more years without all the headaches and responsibilities he had shouldered for 68 years.

Or maybe his knee began bothering him. 

Three years later he had a knee replacement.

Or maybe he wanted to take more time to enjoy his family.

As of 2008, he and Roma’s family numbered 6 children, 16 grandchildren, and 20 great-grandchildren according to Wikipedia.

At any rate, in the first week of October, 2005 Barry Sternlicht of the real estate private equity fund, Starwood Capital Group, bought McCoy’s ownership stake.  

Wikipedia reported the details

Mammoth Mountain Ski Area was sold to Starwood Capital Group in a deal that valued Mammoth at $365 million- a far cry from the $135,000 he borrowed in 1953 to build the first lift.

Timing is everything.

Because of a poor economy in California, beginning in 2007, many of the stores and restaurants in The Village closed.

As the recession hit, the Town of Mammoth Lakes owed tens of millions of dollars for a deal that fell through.

Wikipedia says

In 2008, after a jury trial, the Mono County Superior Court entered a $43 million judgment against the Town of Mammoth Lakes for breach of a development agreement. 

Part Two:

Steps:

24) Determine which maker or breaker community issues you will find across all resort communities vs. those unique only to the quality-of-life towns at the top of your best places list.

25) Compare what “life” was like in those communities before the Great Recession, how resilient each was during the economic downturn, and to what degree did each bounce back after with any “economic hangover.” 

30) Review headlines and relevant news as far back as you can find online to surface each community’s unique pulse and identify information necessary to make your decision. Is there a “ticking time bomb” issue you may uncover that eliminates the resort from your bucket list? Search on Topix.com.

Bishop’s History and Migrating Lifestyle

Who were the first non-Native Americans to roam the northern end of Owens Valley?

The one BOF lifestyle to say goodbye to Bishop, said hello to three Colorado and three California mountain resort towns.

 

An excerpt from Book Five in “The Knowledge Path Series” dedicated to helping you find the place of your dreams in the Sierra Mountain resorts.

Bishop: Part One

What do we already know about Bishop?

Having driven through Owens Valley on this trip we know it’s at the northern end of the valley.

And we know that the Sierra Nevada range is west while the White Mountains lie east of town.

Rock climbers gravitate to Bishop for the over 2,000 volcanic tuff and granite challenges.

Wikipedia fills in the main hiking and climbing attractions.

“Numerous peaks are within a short distance of Bishop, including Mount Humphreys (13,986 ft.), to the west, White Mountain Peak (14,242 ft.) in the northeast, and pyramidal Mount Tom (13,658 ft.) northwest of town.

Basin Mountain (13,187 ft.) is viewed to the west from Bishop as it rises above the Buttermilks.”

Bishop promotes itself “The Gateway to Eastern Sierras” and as the “Mule Capital of the World.”

For almost half a century Bishop Mule Days celebrate the contributions that pack mules made to settling the area every week leading up to Memorial Day.

“More than 700 mules compete in 181 events and the largest non-motorized parade in the United States.”

But, mules aren’t the only draw.

Tourists come for an arts and crafts show and a country and western concert.

And maybe, Bishop should celebrate cattle too.

First of all, the town’s named after a creek that’s named after Samuel Addison Bishop.

Was Sam the first to inhabit the northern Owens Valley location?

Of course not.

Maybe on maps.

But, not in fact.

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP) may control much of the upstream and surrounding area but, the Paiute-Shoshone Indians of the Bishop Community of the Bishop Colony control land just west of the town.

Bishop Paiute women’s Labor Day parade float, 1940

Here’s how Wikipedia sheds light on Bishop’s Native American heritage.

“The Bishop Paiute Tribe, formerly known as the Paiute-Shoshone Indians of the Bishop Community of the Bishop Colony is a federally recognized tribe of Mono and Timbisha Indians of the Owens Valley, in Inyo County of eastern California.”

As of the 2010 Census the population was 1,588.

More recently, the tribe counts 2000 enrolled tribal members making it the fifth largest in California.

Five elected members govern via a tribal council.

“The tribe has its own tribal court and many programs for its members.

For economic development, the Bishop Community created the Paiute Palace Casino and Tu-Kah Novie restaurant in Bishop.”

In the winter of 2013 the Los Angeles Times reported that stolen petroglyphs were recovered.

“Thieves stole from an Eastern Sierra site sacred to Native Americans about 15 miles north of Bishop. 

Vandals used ladders, chisels and power saws connected to electric generators to remove the panels from cliffs know as the volcanic tableland.” 

The sheered slabs measured 15 feet above ground and many were two feet high and wide.

“Native Americans had carved hundreds of lava boulders and cliffs with spiritual renderings: concentric circles, deer, rattlesnakes, bighorn sheep and hunters with bows and arrows”.

Covered by the Archaeological Resources Protection Act, the site supports sacred ceremonies local Paiute Native Americans, so …

“they are priceless to Native Americans, who regard the massive tableaux as a window into the souls of their ancestors.”

Who were the first non-Native Americans to roam the northern end of Owens Valley?

The Bishop visitor center named Kit Carson, Ed Kern and Richard Owens, as well as, Samuel Bishop as early explorers and settlers arriving in the middle 1800s.

Kit Carson had become a celebrated “Indian fighter” by then.

Carson, Kern and Owens mapped the Eastern Sierra territory.

Kern County and Owens Lake and Valley drew their names from Ed and Richard.

But, what about the core founding story of Bishop?

Ghost Town of Aurora, Nevada

Bishop came into being due to the need for beef in a booming mining camp some eighty miles to the north, Aurora, Nevada, (Aurora was believed to be on the California side of the border at that time and was the county seat of Mono County, California).

“In 1861 cattlemen drove herds of cattle some three hundred miles from the great San Joaquin Valley of California, through the southern Sierra at Walker Pass, up the Owens Valley, and then through Adobe Meadows to Aurora.”

When Bishop and his wife, and a few trail hands drove 600 cattle and 50 horses on that long journey from Fort Tejon in the Tehachapi Mountains into the valley they experience an epiphany.

Why not just settle there instead, raise the cattle and sell their beef to the miners and businesses selling to miners in Aurora?

The McGee brothers joined them as the first white settlers in the valley.

“Remnants of these early settler’s stone corrals and fences can still be seen north of Bishop along Highway 395 in Round Valley (barbed wire fencing was not invented until 1873).”

Enough of that.

What about present day?

What happened to the lifestyle that took flight?

The one BOF lifestyle to say goodbye to Bishop, said hello to three Colorado and three California mountain resort towns.

The 11Y1T1 30-44, Midlife Couples, ditched Bishop’s Wireless Resort, Maturing Resort community and possibly migrated to:

  • Mammoth Lakes, California
  • Truckee, California
  • Tahoe City – Sunnyside, California
  • Durango, Colorado
  • Telluride, Colorado or
  • Frisco – Copper Mountain, Colorado.

So keeping things local, let’s now turn to Mammoth.

Steps:

20) Pivot. Maybe the lists of best places don’t appeal to you. Where can you go to make a fresh, new start? Don’t limit your imagination. Think anywhere — across the globe. Where do you really, really want to live, work and play?  Why not live where it’s a vacation all year round?

26) If you know the zip code you can discover the lifestyles living in the community. You can compare your profile with theirs to estimate your degree of fit.

27) Estimate how well suited you are for the resorts. Refer to “Profiles-at-a-Glance” comparing 2008-2009 and 2013-2014 for changes in Life Stages – Singles, Couples, Families, Midlife, Empty Nests, Baby Boomers and Seniors; Ages – 20-29, 25-54, 30-44, 45+ 45-65, 55+ and 65+; and mix of Lifestyles in neighborhoods. Does the resort still offer the age, life stage and lifestyle profiles you prefer?

28) Which lifestyles profiled in the western resort towns during 2008 – 2009 remained five years later in 2013-2014?  Which disappeared entirely? Why? Which new lifestyles emerged, grew or moved in to shift the neighborhood mix? Have longtime locals been forced out by escalating property valuations and sky high property taxes?

Bishop

Bishop is a welcomed retreat with much (much) warmer weather than Mammoth.

We put together a “Birds-of-a-Feather” lifestyle list of possible communities across western states.

 

An excerpt from Book Five in “The Knowledge Path Series” dedicated to helping you find the place of your dreams in the Sierra Mountain resorts.

Montana Regional Areas

We introduced this section with a story about building a life on your own terms with Whitefish, Montana residents figuring it was time to move on because of their property tax burden.

We put together a “Birds-of-a-Feather” lifestyle list of possible communities across western states. 

Rocky Mountain Region

And we narrowed the choices to the Rocky Mountain states, specifically Colorado, before visiting and sizing up towns in the Sierra Nevada mountain range.

For our Swall Meadows family, we honestly don’t know how the next chapter of their story unfolds.  

Each neighbor faced gut wrenching choices.

Start over.

Fight.

Or flight.

But, to where?

Their lifestyle profile opens up their relocation options to the same communities we already profiled.

So we can speculate.

Swall Meadows falls within the broad Bishop zip code, unlike Tom’s Place, Rock Creek Lodge, McGee Creek and Crawley Lake which claim Mammoth Lake’s zip code.

If they planned to rebuild (hopefully their financial planner made certain their fire insurance coverage was current) and needed to find a temporary home in the area, they probably chose either Bishop or Mammoth Lakes.

In both places they will find neighbors who fit their lifestyle and share their values.

Mammoth School District employed the husband as a math teacher.  

Choosing Mammoth would certainly cut their commuting expenses, while like their other neighbors, they rebuild.

But, first the “from” before the “to”.

Choosing Bishop.

Location At-A-Glance  

Region: Western United States

State: California 

Travel Region: Sierra Nevada Region; Eastern Sierra

County: Inyo County,

Patchwork County:  Service Worker Center 

Town: Bishop, Swall Meadows 

Population Density: Town and Country

Zip Codes: 93514

Profile At-A-Glance (Summer 2010) 

Life Stages: Singles, Couples, Empty Nests, Baby Boomers

Ages: 20-29, 30-44, 45-65, 55+

Community Neighbors: 

Wireless Resorters

Premier Resorts – WRPR 

09M1T1, Big Fish Small Pond, 45-65, Empty Nests, Accumulated Wealth, Landed Gentry

Maturing Resorts — WRMR

11Y1T1 God’s Country, 30-44, Couples, Midlife, Midlife Success, Landed Gentry

28M2T2, Traditional Times, Empty Nests, 55+ Baby Boomers, Country Comfort

Distant Exurbans — WRDE

48Y3T4,Young Rustic, 20-29, Striving Singles, Rustic Living

Bishop, California Zip Code 93514 — Nearby Zip Codes: 93513, 93512, 93526, 89010, 93546, 93628

At the time of the 2010 financial check up, Bishop counted four Wireless Resorter lifestyle profiles in its zip code.  

But, six years later one of the two Maturing Resort lifestyles, 11Y1T1 — 45+ Affluent Empty Nesters disappeared.

Profile At-A-Glance (Winter 2016)

Life Stages: Singles, Couples, Empty Nests, Baby Boomers, Seniors

Ages: 20-29, 45-65, 55+, 65+

Community Neighbors: 

Wireless Resorters

Premier Resorts – WRPR

09M1T1, Big Fish Small Pond, 45-65, Empty Nests, Accumulated Wealth, Landed Gentry

Maturing Resorts — WRMR

28M2T2, Traditional Times, Empty Nests, 55+ Baby Boomers, Country Comfort

Resort Suburbans — WRRS 

43M3T3, Heartlanders, 55+Boomer, Cautious Couples, Middle America

Distant Exurbans — WRDE

48Y3T4, Young and Rustic, 20-29, Striving Singles, Rustic Living

High Country Eagles

Rustic Eagles – HCERE

57M4T4, Old Milltowns, 65+, Sustaining Seniors, Rustic Living

Service Worker Centers 

Midsize and small towns with economies fueled by hotels, stores and restaurants and lower-than-average median household income by county.

By the winter of 2016 one High Country Eagle lifestyle, the Rustic Eagle 57M4T4 joined Bishop’s zip code.  

The rustic living, sustaining senior citizen lifestyle joined another newcomer, the 43Y3T3 55+ Baby Boomer, cautious couples. 

In 2016 Bishop included lifestyles from all four Wireless Resorter communities – Premier Resorts, Maturing Resorts, Resort Suburbans (with the 43M3T3 newcomers) and Distant Exurbans — and the first High Country Eagle lifestyle (57M4T40).

Taking off and saying goodbye to Bishop, the 11Y1T1 30-44 year old successful midlife couples, having also left Breckenridge may have landed in the Lake Tahoe Basin in Tahoe City or Sunnyside. 

Or in Southwestern Colorado Region along the Animas River in Durango . 

Or in Dillon, Colorado – like Finnmark did.

What else should we consider about Bishop, according to Wikipedia?

The population was 3,879 at the 2010 census, up from 3,575 at the 2000 census. (304 more over 10 years)

To that the Bishop visitor center adds

The “greater Bishop area,” which includes unincorporated nearby neighborhoods such as West Bishop, Meadow Creek-Dixon Lane, Wilkerson Ranch, Rocking K, Mustang Mesa and Round Valley includes an additional 11,000 residents.

Bishop is a welcomed retreat with much (much) warmer weather than Mammoth. 

With 5.18″ average yearly precipitation and only 6 inches of snow, Bishop makes the perfect combo vacation – ski, golf, fish and bike year-round.

Part Two: Bishop’s History and Migrating Lifestyle

Steps:

20) Pivot. Maybe the lists of best places don’t appeal to you. Where can you go to make a fresh, new start? Don’t limit your imagination. Think anywhere — across the globe. Where do you really, really want to live, work and play?  Why not live where it’s a vacation all year round?

26) If you know the zip code you can discover the lifestyles living in the community. You can compare your profile with theirs to estimate your degree of fit.

27) Estimate how well suited you are for the resorts. Refer to “Profiles-at-a-Glance” comparing 2008-2009 and 2013-2014 for changes in Life Stages – Singles, Couples, Families, Midlife, Empty Nests, Baby Boomers and Seniors; Ages – 20-29, 25-54, 30-44, 45+ 45-65, 55+ and 65+; and mix of Lifestyles in neighborhoods. Does the resort still offer the age, life stage and lifestyle profiles you prefer?

28) Which lifestyles profiled in the western resort towns during 2008 – 2009 remained five years later in 2013-2014?  Which disappeared entirely? Why? Which new lifestyles emerged, grew or moved in to shift the neighborhood mix? Have longtime locals been forced out by escalating property valuations and sky high property taxes?

Curiosities and Coincidental Connections

Still pining for Mary, I needed something else besides bites from my veggie omelet to distract me.

 

Mono Lake “Moonscape”
The Mammoth avalanche my son told me scattered future “Rustys” at the bottom of Chair 5’s lift.

 

Or, how an omelet cured my unrequited love for Mary.

Well, almost.

De j’ vu all over again?

Did we fall off the weather wagon again?

Is this the new drought-normal?

Or, did we not end the multiple years of no rain, no snow, and no snow pack melting on its way down slope into the Los Angeles Aqueduct courtesy of the Owens Valley, after all?

This was supposed to be Anette and Steve’s awesome, empty-nest and family reunion adventure.

C’mon. February!

Always snow.

WTF?

Anette’s Norwegian family had been skiing at Mammoth for decades.

It was in their blood, kinda.

We’d almost always receive a surprise dump of snow at Mammoth.

Even on vacation in the High Sierra’s during lean snow pack years over the President’s Day weekend.

Where’s the snow we’re used to in February?

But not this year.

Not on this first day.

So we went bowling.

Then it happened.

Overnight snow dusting.

Dusting.

Not dump.

Enough accumulating by 10:30 am to cover the ground.

Enough to excite the boarders and skiers in the family.

The Stove on Old Mammoth Road

They headed for the lifts, at least for half day runs.

I headed for “The Stove” on Old Mammoth Road for a veggie omelet, but without falling for Mary again.

Burned twice in the past,

I finally learned my lesson.

Oh, ok.

Still pining for Mary, I needed something else besides bites from my veggie omelet to distract me.

I noticed this free newspaper, “The Sheet”, on my way in,  next to the turquoise stove on the enclosed porch .

Absent minded (which is my natural state according to Anette), I began flipping through its pages between bites and sips of coffee.

Mono Lake “Moonscape”

I checked out announcements “every Saturday – South Tufa walks at Mono Lake.”

Hmm.  Mono Lake.

Settling for Clouds at Mono Lake

That could be fun if the snow continues to flakes out on us,

What else?

  • And, Mammoth Film Festival at Minaret Cinemas, Village.
  • Other issues – Mammoth Airport vs. Bishop.
  • Or, fewer than normal back country permits for packers.

But one headline caught my eye.

Ouch.

Rusty Gregory ran Mammoth Mountain operations.

Honoring Dave McCoy

All those decades after founder Dave McCoy started it from scratch.

Or from dirt.

Apparently Gregory had risen up the Mammoth Mountain ranks starting as a lift operator.

Now Gregory assumed a new CEO role for Alterra Mountain Company.

Who or what?

Reading the article between bites of green pepper, mushrooms and cheese, here’s what commanded my attention … KSL Capital Partners LLC.

A name I associated with Highlights and Headlines during a 5-Year Time Frame some time between  2009 to 2014.

I looked it up later in the condo at Aspen Creek.

In the Squaw chapter described in Book Five, “California Mountain Resorts: Play and Invest in the Golden State.”

It was in the fall of 2011, but associated with the Lake Tahoe area, not Mammoth at all.

Alpine Valley.

Squaw Valley.

But, the first pieces of the connections didn’t materialize until when we had returned home a couple of weeks later.

And, a freak atmospheric river aka the “Pineapple Expressed” swiped tropical Hawaiian moisture and dumped so much snow it triggered avalanches at Mammoth and Lake Tahoe.

After our February President’s Holiday vacation!

The Mammoth avalanche my son told me scattered future “Rustys” at the bottom of Chair 5’s lift.

Tossed on my home office desk that paper copy of the 2/10/18 issue of “The Sheet: news, views and culture of the Eastern Sierra” –  laying in wait,  tempted me to Google for more information, almost as much as Mary had captured my imagination.

I dug into The Sheet’s archives, ahem, following my own recommended steps (see below) and discovered KSL-Aspen announced its new name: Alterra Mountain Company.

Winter 2018 (Jan 12)

Enter Alterra

On Thursday, January 11, Mammoth Resorts’ parent company, which had previously called itself the joint venture of affiliates KSL Capital Partners and Henry Crown and Company, announced its new name: Alterra Mountain Company.

Affiliates of KSL Capital Partners (owners of Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows), and Henry Crown and Company (owners of Aspen Skiing Company) purchased Intrawest, Mammoth Resorts, and Utah’s Deer Valley Resort in 2017.

KSL-Aspen’s acquisition of Intrawest and Mammoth Resorts was finalized on July 31, 2017.

Alterra Mountain Company is headquartered in Denver, Colorado, and is comprised of Mammoth and June Mountains, Big Bear, Snow Summit, Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, Steamboat and Winter Park in Colorado, Stratton Mountain in Vermont, Snowshoe in West Virginia, Mont Tremblant in Quebec, Blue Mountain in Ontario, and Deer Valley.

Alterra Mountain Company also owns CMH Heli-Skiing & Summer Adventures in British Columbia.”

Steps:

25) Compare what “life” was like in those communities before the Great Recession, how resilient each was during the economic downturn, and to what degree did each bounce back after with any “economic hangover.”

30) Review headlines and relevant news as far back as you can find online to surface each community’s unique pulse and identify information necessary to make your decision. Is there a “ticking time bomb” issue you may uncover that eliminates the resort from your bucket list? Search on topix.com.

31) Do your due diligence so you don’t regret your decision after it is too late. If you plan to move, invest in real estate, work, start a business or retire affordably, you are making a longer-term commitment. Drill down with city-data.com.

32) Plan extended seasonal vacations during summer and winter months. Group destination locations together in regional trips to explore what several bucket list towns have to offer in the general vicinity – with only a week or two vacation time to spend, we recommend organizing your itinerary by travel regions.

Round

We are coming up on the anniversary of this life changing event. Our home burned to ashes.

We have come a long way since the early days of deep shock and we no longer break into tears when someone says they’re sorry or utters a kind word. We are rebuilding.”

Part 3 In a Three Part Series

Part 2:  If Worse Comes to Worst

Part 1:  Swall

An excerpt from Book Five in “The Knowledge Path Series” dedicated to helping you find the place of your dreams in the Sierra Mountain resorts.

Round fire in Sierra Nevada destroyed 40 homes and structures and 250 residents from Small Meadows and Paradise were evacuated.

Worse did come to worst… 5 years later.

What Are We Going To Do?

For the vast majority of Swall Meadows residents in the winter of 2015.

Two lines in Wikipedia summed up the devastation succinctly.

On February 6, 2015, Swall Meadows and the neighboring community of Paradise were ravaged by the Round Fire, which burned 7,000 acres. 

Swall Meadows, California

The fire destroyed 40 homes: 39 homes in Swall Meadows and 1 home in Paradise.

Word got out.

Variations of the Associated Press account were picked up by the New York Daily News, US News & World Report, and the Los Angeles Times.

Ravaging Wildfire

Round fire in Sierra Nevada destroys 40 homes and structures, is 50% contained – Los Angeles Times

More than three dozen homes and buildings were destroyed Saturday by a wildfire in the Eastern Sierra that has forced the evacuations of two towns and burned more than 7,000 acres.

Cal Fire said the wildfire, dubbed the Round fire, was 50% contained as of late Saturday afternoon.

The blaze broke out just after 2 p.m. Friday, and was fueled by strong winds that had made containment difficult. 

But a strong storm system moving through the area Saturday brought rain that helped firefighters gain the upper hand, officials said.

An evacuation center has been established at the Crowley Lake Community Center in Mono County.

Devastating Aftermath

SWALL MEADOWS, Calif. — Associated Press

Ira Hanson milled around an evacuation center near tiny Swall Meadows on Sunday afternoon, not quite sure what to do after learning that the dream home he and his late wife had built 30 years earlier was damaged in a wildfire that consumed 40 homes and buildings.

“It’s unbelievable,” said Hanson, 79. 

“It’s like having a nightmare and you’re going to wake up any minute and it won’t be true.”

Fire crews increased containment of the wind-driven wildfire that ravaged communities along the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada, but they said Sunday that they still didn’t know when the roughly 250 residents evacuated from Swall Meadows and nearby Paradise would be able to return home.

It blew up when 50 to 75 mph winds whipped through wooded areas near the two communities for about three hours, turning the flames into a “freight train,” Brown said.

The relatively affluent community of Swall Meadows, which boasts sweeping views of the snow-covered Sierras and is home to retirees and outdoor enthusiasts, was hit hard by the blaze. 

Thirty-nine homes were destroyed there while one burned in the community of Paradise, Brown said.

A three-year drought across California has created extremely dry timber brush that fueled the flames and pushed them all the way up the Sierra slopes to the snow line around 8,000 feet, she said.

The cause of the fire was under investigation.

Meanwhile, officials running the evacuation center in Crowley Lake said they received an outpouring of support. 

Pizzas, fresh fruit and a birthday cake collected on a folding table, while a white board filled up with the names and phone numbers of people who had volunteered their homes for displaced humans and pets.

So many had opened their homes that nobody stayed in the shelter overnight.

“This is one of the most resilient communities you’re ever going to find,” said Mono County Administrator Jim Leddy. “They know how to take care of themselves and take care of their neighbors.”

Drought, Wind and Fire

SWALL MEADOWS, Calif. (AP) — US News & World Report

An incoming storm caused the winds to constantly shift direction, making it tough for firefighters to contain the blaze, she said.

“We had to take defensive positions to protect as many structures as we could while protecting ourselves,” Brown said. “We did what we could.”

She said Swall Meadows was hit hard by the blaze — 39 homes were destroyed there while one burned in the community of Paradise.

Firefighters gained the upper hand when rain moved in, and have contained 50 percent of the blaze.

Brown said even rain wasn’t enough to put out the fire because a three-year drought across California created extremely dry timber brush that fueled the flames.

Captivating Photos, Conflicting Emotions

“ROUND FIRE” RAVAGES EASTERN SIERRA HOMES – February 7, 2015

http://wildernessexposures.com/round-fire-ravages-eastern-sierra-homes/ 

A relief fund has been set up to help victims of the fire who lost everything, including their homes. 

If you would like to help please visit the gofundme page and make a donation: http://www.gofundme.com/roundfirerelief

Too Much Too Soon?

Thanks for your comment, Bill. 

Please know that it is not my intent to romanticize the event or as you say, congratulate the fire. 

Its true that I viewed the fire with the conflicted perspectives of an artist, journalist, former wild land fire-fighter, and personal friend to several of the families whose homes were both lost, and directly threatened. 

I am deeply saddened by the tremendous loss the fire has caused the members of this tight-night community of climbers, skiers, and fellow mountain lovers. 

It is not my intent to focus on the misfortune they have experienced, or exploit the “human wreckage” as you so sensitively wrote. 

I do apologize if any of my words have offended those who were actually affected by this tragedy.

Evacuation of Horses Through Wall of Flames

Carol says

February 13, 2015 at 8:51 am

I live in Swall Meadows. 

I had to walk my horse out of that fire down through Paridise (sic) to get out. 

This photographs are exactly what I walked past. 

We made it out around 2:00 am. 

We started at 2:00 pm. 

We are all ok. 

I saw many emergency trucks pass us along the way. 

The firefighters always rolled down a window to see if we needed anything. 

In hindsight, a bottle of water would have been nice. 

I wouldn’t wish my experience on anyone. 

And hope we can set a protocol, like they have in so many other parts of California to have an evacuation for horses and large animals in place when this happens again. 

Walk 10 miles in my shoes before you judge me.

Life Changing Anniversary, Hope and Resilience

Jennifer says

January 18, 2016 at 8:22 pm

We are coming up on the anniversary of this life changing event. 

Our home burned to ashes. 

We have come a long way since the early days of deep shock and we no longer break into tears when someone says they’re sorry or utters a kind word. 

We are rebuilding. 

Our community and especially the people at my church have encouraged us a great deal. 

We are affected every day by our loss, continually having to “let it go.” 

I think that we will feel much better when we again have a home of our own…looking forward with hope.

Each winter for five years as we chugged our way up Sherwin Grade, after the LA Times published the fiscal checkup article but, before the Round Fire, I’d squint to see if I could catch a glimpse of Swall Meadows.

In much the same way as we drove through Owens Valley past the signs to Cartego near the Crystal Geyser bottling plant, I’d keep my eyes peeled for any sign of Scott Palamar’s award-winning home and sustainable desert community.

U.S. Highway 395 in California’s Eastern Sierras

About a year before the Round Fire in the Malibu Mountains, he too lost everything and chose not to rebuild.

“All I managed to do was get the cat and clothes, and grab computers and important papers and that’s it,” Palamar said. 

One neighbor did stay for another hour, and watched as the vegetation around Palamar’s home caught fire. Palamar’s home, which he’s lived in for nine years, burnt to the ground, with nothing left standing practically, except a mailbox.

Each attempt to pick out Swall Meadows failed.

It’s especially difficult – nearly impossible climbing up US 395, because the downhill lanes block your view.

Sadly, it wasn’t until a week after the 2015 fire, on our way to our yearly ski and snow boarding trip to Mammoth.

We could see the blackened devastation covering the entire Mule Deer migration trail from mouth of the Round Valley canyon up into the narrowing canyon slopes.

Each resident faced gut wrenching choices.

Start over.

Fight or flight.

But, to where?

We introduced this section with a story about building a life on your own terms with Whitefish, Montana residents figuring it was time to move on because of their property tax burden.

We put together a “Birds-of-a-Feather” lifestyle list of possible communities across western states.

And we narrowed the choices to the Rocky Mountain states, specifically Colorado, before visiting and sizing up towns in the Sierra Nevada mountain range.

For our Swall Meadows family we honestly don’t know how the next chapter of their story unfolds.

But their lifestyle profile opens up their relocation options to the same communities we profiled.

We can speculate.

Meanwhile, officials running the evacuation center in Crowley Lake said they received an outpouring of support. 

Zip Code 93514

Swall Meadows falls within the broad Bishop zip code, unlike Tom’s Place, Rock Creek Lodge, McGee Creek and Crawley Lake which claim Mammoth Lake’s zip code.

If they planned to rebuild (hopefully their financial planner made certain their fire insurance coverage was current) and needed to find a temporary home in the area, they probably chose either Bishop or Mammoth Lakes.

In both places they will find neighbors who fit their lifestyle and share their values.

Mammoth School District employed the husband as a math teacher.

Choosing Mammoth would certainly cut their commuting expenses, while like their other neighbors, they rebuild.

But, first the “from” before the “to”.

Choosing Bishop.

Steps:

(33) When you move, will your established neighbors share your same values? Does your new home have potential over the long-term to develop into a high appreciation real estate investment while being affordable for mid-life or empty nesters? Do the weather patterns in winter or summer make you want to live there year round, or only on a seasonal basis. Does  your new community offer a variety of outdoor recreational opportunities?