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.

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