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

Part One: Summit

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

What about Frisco and Copper Mountain Resort?

Comparing lifestyle changes over the next five year period, what happened?

Shouldn’t you expect a similar abrupt change in community neighborhoods?

Source: Google Maps

First of all the Dillon Reservoir separates Dillon and Frisco by 6 miles and the route takes under 15 minutes to drive.

But the distance between Breckenridge and Copper Mountain resorts, 21 miles by car on 1-70 and CO 9, may take 30 to 40 minutes depending on traffic and road conditions.

Getting there takes time, but if you could travel as a crow flies, you’d soon discover their ski runs share opposite sides of mountain peaks  fairly close together.

I-70 delivers you within minutes of Copper’s entrance.

Will that fact make a difference over the ensuing five years?

Location At-A-Glance

Region: Western United States

Google Maps

State: Colorado

Travel Region: Northwestern Colorado

County: Summit County

Patchwork County: Monied Burbs

Town: Frisco — Copper Mountain, Copper Mountain Resort

Population Density: Town and Country

Real Estate Phase: Early-Maturity

Zip Codes: 80443

Profile At-A-Glance (Summer 2008)

Life Stages: Singles, Couples, Families, BabyBoomers, EmptyNests, Midlife,

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

Community Neighbors:

Wireless Resorters

Premier Resorts – WRPR

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

05F1T1, Country Squires, 45+, Family, Accumulated Wealth, Landed Gentry (Lake Arrowhead, 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)

You’ll find out a little later that Frisco and Copper Mountain “lost” their only Distant Exurban lifestyle.

Those 20-29 year old singles used to rustic living – 48Y3T4 “flew” to Breckenridge and Durango in Colorado,  Incline Village in Nevada, Truckee, South Lake Tahoe, Bishop in California and to Whitefish in Montana.

Not only that, unlike Breckenridge, two community neighbors with four core lifestyles did not change.

Why?

Or why not?

Did the Great Recession treat the mountain communities differently?

Highlights and Headlines.

Winter 2007 – 2008

Arresting Development Copper Style

Photo: Visual Hunt

Snowball Trial

SNOWBALL. FIGHT. ARREST. Colorado. Copper Mountain. A seasonal worker from Australia is scheduled to go on trial Thursday for allegedly injuring an acquaintance when he launched a snowball at her last season at Copper Mountain.

High Alpine Bowls, Not Enough?

Backside Of The Mountain Preserved For Wildlife

MOUNTAINS.WILDLIFE. Colorado.  Copper Mountain Resort has begun to open portions of their high alpine bowls on the backside of the mountain preserved for wildlife.

Environmental Report Card vs. Development

Photo: Pixabay

Copper and Breck on Bottom of Environmental Report

Top 10 ski resort scores, by score 1. Aspen Mountain Ski Resort – Colo. A 88.9 2. Buttermilk Mountain Ski Resort – Colo.

IntraWest owns Whistler, Copper and Steamboat.

MOUNTAINS. VAIL RESORTS. INTRAWEST. Colorado. Vail.  Bill Jensen, the top executive at Vail Mountain and president of its mountain division, is leaving Vail Resorts to work for rival ski company Intrawest that owns Whistler, Copper and Steamboat.

Base Area Redevelopment Plan

Density, parking and transportation will be some of the key topics as the Board of County Commissioners starts to scrutinize Copper Mountain Resort’s latest base area redevelopment plan at a 1:30 p.m. work …

10-Story Hotel

Copper Mountain’s proposal to concentrate density in the core of the resort includes preliminary plans for a 10-story hotel on the site of the existing Chapel parking …

Leadville to Minturn

Photo: Visual Hunt

Interstate 70 Is Closed At MM 195

Westbound Interstate 70 is closed at MM 195 due to multiple accidents. An alternate route is to use Highway 91 from Copper Mountain to Leadville and then take Highway 24 to Minturn.

Leapers and Super Pipes

Photo: Visual Hunt

Main Vein Super Pipe

Copper Mountain’s Main Vein Super pipe will be closed Monday, Feb. 25, re-opening Friday, Feb.

Leap Day Take The Day Off And Ski And Ride Day

Today, leap day, Copper Mountain Resort is holding their first annual National take the day off and ski and ride day or N.T.T.D.O.A.S.A.R.D. Leapers get to ski for free, while everyone else just gets to play

Summit County Community

Summit High School Alpine Team

Coach Tory Hauser was pleased with the Summit High School alpine team’s performance in Friday’s giant slalom at Copper Mountain, even though the Tigers were unable to top the podium.

Fundraising For Summit Community Care Clinic

Summit Community Care Clinic will be holding its first ever major fundraising event on March 8 from 6:30-9 p.m. at the Copper Mountain Conference Center.

Spring 2008

Season Passes Lowest Possible Prices

Season passes for three of Colorado’s favorite resorts –

” Winter Park, Copper Mountain and Steamboat, all of which have enjoyed incredible snow this season – ” are available for the lowest possible prices …

Which is Worse?

Photo: Visual Hunt

Bicycling Accidents, Snowboarding Emergency-Room Visits

Not counting bicycling accidents, snowboarding injuries accounted for a quarter of all emergency-room visits related to outdoor sports injuries in 2005-2005, according to a new federal report.

What’s Right Around the Corner?

Summer Music Acts, Cycling, And Running Events

Copper’s Summer schedule features national music acts, cycling, and running events.

Summer 2008

Run the Rockies

Colorado. Copper Mountain.  Frisco.

Photo: Visual Hunt

Johannes Rudolph celebrated his 43rd anniversary of being alive by winning Run the Rockies Saturday in Frisco with a time of 1 …

Half-Marathon Is 75 Percent Downhill

COLORADO. MOUNTAINS. SKI-TOWNS.  Colorado. Copper Mountain. The half-marathon is 75 percent downhill and the Tenmile Creek is 100 percent downhill.

Just Like That

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.

Cross Promotion Beery Good

Promotional Use Of The Resorts’ Logos By MillerCoors

MillerCoors LLC has reached a joint marketing deal with Colorado’s Copper Mountain and Winter Park ski resorts that includes event sponsorship and promotional use of the resorts’ logos by the brewer.

Master Plan Development

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Copper Mountain’s Development Proposal

Tenmile Planning Commission hearings on Copper Mountain’s development proposal When: Wednesday and Thursday, 5:30 p.m. Where: Ptarmigan Room, Copper Mountain Conference Center.

Master Plan With 600 New Residential Units

The Tenmile Planning Commission gave Copper Mountain Resort the green light to build nearly 600 new residential units under a reconfigured master plan.

Fall 2008

What About Jobs?

Local Job Fair

The Frisco Workforce Center and the Town of Silverthorne will host a free job fair this Thursday from noon to 5 p.m. ‘We had a steady group of …

Reduce and Realign

Photo: Visual Hunt

Intrawest Will ‘Reduce And Realign’ Its Workforce

MOUNTAINS. Colorado. Copper Mountain. Intrawest announced Wednesday that it will ‘reduce and realign’ its workforce, but the Canadian-based resort company did not specify if any of the cuts would be felt at Copper Mountain.

Intrawest – Think Global, Act Local

10 Ski Resorts In Canada And The United States

Intrawest owns or manages 10 ski resorts in Canada and the United States, 16 resorts and “villages” in Canada, the United States and France and both Canadian Mountain Holidays Heli Skiing and Whistler Heli Skiing.

Solitude, Squaw Valley, Mammoth Keystone, Copper and Winter Park

Intrawest is best known as the developer of mountain villages in Whistler BC, Panorama BC, Blue Mountain ON, Mt. Tremblant QC, Stratton VT, Mountain Creek NJ, Snowshoe WV, Solitude UT, Squaw Valley CA, Mammoth Lakes CA, Keystone CO, Copper Mountain CO, Winter Park CO and Arc 1950 France.

Developing Or Re-Developing “Villages” June Lake And Steamboat Springs

Intrawest is also currently developing or re-developing “villages” at June Lake CA, Steamboat Springs CO

Mountain Resorts By The Numbers

The Ski Area Citizens’ Coalition Rates 53 Of The 83 Resorts

MOUNTAINS. SUSTAINABILITY SCORECARD. Colorado. Utah. The Ski Area Citizens’ Coalition says that region-wide, 53 of the 83 resorts it reviewed this year boosted their scores, but seven received failing grades.

Colorado Copper Mountain’s “F,” Expansion And Real Estate Development

The resort with the lowest score was Colorado’s Copper Mountain, which ranked at 31.9 points for an “F,” the coalition said. Copper Mountain’s score was almost entirely due to an expansion of terrain and real estate development, coalition research director Hunter Sykes said.

Colorado’s “A” Aspen Mountain to “F” Copper Mountain

# Name Grade

1 (A) Aspen Mountain Ski Resort 85.7%

20 (F) Copper Mountain Ski Resort 31.9%

The Ski Area Citizens’ Coalition. Intrawest Ski Areas

# Criteria Maximum Points Awarded Points

10 ski areas totaling 21,913 acres of skiable terrain.

# Name Grade

1 Copper Mountain Ski Resort 31.9% (F)

2 Steamboat Ski & Resort 61.1% (C)

3 Winter Park Resort 48.9% (D)

Winter 2008 – 2009

Just the Tip of the Iceberg

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Business Could Drop Between 5 And 15% This Season

The leadership of the Aspen Skiing Co. anticipates business could drop between 5 and 15 percent this season.

Practice, Practice, Practice

U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix

MOUNTAINS. SNOWBOARDING GRAND PRIX. Colorado. Copper Mountain. Halfpipe superstars from across the globe have descended upon Copper Mountain this week in preparation for the season’s first U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix coming up …

Part Three:

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.

 

 

Mammoth Lakes: From Hardships to Hope

Then in June, management at Mammoth Mountain, the resort that dominates the town, trimmed staff, cut salaries and announced the shuttering of its June Mountain ski operation.

 

Photo: Visual Hunt
By the Winter of 2013 -2014 the first Premier Resort lifestyle segment flew into the scene –  midlife families on the fast-track taking advantage of the real estate deals.

 

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.

Final Installment in a Seven Part Series:

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

Part Six: Temple of Folly, Clocks Cleaned and Repaired

Highlights and Headlines

5-Year Time Frames  2009 – 2014

Winter 2012 – 2013

Hoping for a better future

How Bad Things Have Been This Year

Before we get to the early snow, the new businesses, the zipping skiers and beaming boarders at Mammoth Lakes, let’s remember how bad things have been this year for this corner of the Eastern Sierra.

Photo: Stephen G. Howard

How bad was it?

Scant Snow In The 2011-12 Season Shuttering Of Its June Mountain

First, Mother Nature delivered scant snow in the 2011-12 season, driving tourism down just as the larger economy seemed to be recovering. Then in June, management at Mammoth Mountain, the resort that dominates the town, trimmed staff, cut salaries and announced the shuttering of its June Mountain ski operation — a painful blow to the tiny mountain community of June Lake, 20 miles north of Mammoth.

Photo: Visual Hunt

Financial Hardships

Mammoth Lakes Declared Bankruptcy

Oh, and in July the town of Mammoth Lakes declared bankruptcy after it lost a breach-of-contract lawsuit. Recovery, town officials said, would depend on layoffs, pay cuts and a plan to make debt payments of $2 million a year for 23 years.

June Lake Local Businesses Are Doing Without

These have been hard times, especially in June Lake, where local businesses are doing without their own ski mountain for the first time in decades.

Deals to bring skiers and boarders back for new season

Westin Monache Resort Mammoth

Westin Monache Resort Mammoth, 50 Hillside Drive, Mammoth Lakes; (760) 934-0400, http://www.westinmammoth.com. Some 230 rooms (all with kitchenettes) in contemporary style, with Whitebark restaurant downstairs. Winter rates $299-$599 for most rooms, more during peak time.

Photo: Visual Hunt

Village Lodge

Village Lodge, 1111 Forest Trail, Mammoth Lakes; (800) 626-6684, http://www.thevillagelodgemammoth.com. Vacation condos. Winter rates $289-$669 for a one-bedroom condo, plus $20-a-night resort fee.

Swiss Chalet Bed & Breakfast Inn

Swiss Chalet Bed & Breakfast Inn, 101 Hill Street, Mammoth Lakes; (760) 914-3452, http://www.swisschalet-mammoth.com. Opened this summer, the inn has two rooms with private baths in a modern log home with a spacious great room, picture windows and a deck with whirlpool. Winter rates typically $200-$275.

Mammoth Mountain Inn

Mammoth Mountain Inn, 10001 Minaret Road, Mammoth Lakes; (800) 626-6684, http://www.themammothmountaininn.com. A short walk from the lift lines, but gets mixed marks on TripAdvisor. Some 217 rooms. Winter rates $129-$398

Our second profile glance picked up some of changes to Mammoth’s community.

Profile At-A-Glance (Winter 2013-2014)

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

Ages: 25-54, 35-54, 55+

Community Neighbors:

Wireless Resorters

Premier Resorts – WRPR

20F2T1, Fast-Track Families, 35-54, Families, Young Accumulators, Landed Gentry, WRPR Premier Resorts, Wireless Resorters

Maturing Resorts — WRMR


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

28M2T2, Traditional Times, Empty Nests, 55+, Couples, Conservative Classics, WRMR Maturing Resorts, Wireless Resorters

32F3T2, New Homesteaders, 25-54, Mainstream Families, Country Comfort, WRMR Maturing Resorts, Wireless Resorters

33F3T2, Big Sky Families, 25-54, Mainstream Families, Country Comfort, WRMR Maturing Resorts, Wireless Resorters

By Winter of 2013 -2014 the first Premier Resort lifestyle segment flew into the scene –  midlife families on the fast-track taking advantage of the real estate deals.

Two of the WRMR – Maturing Resort – lifestyles, 55+ age Empty Nests and Mainstream Families depart.

But, another Mainstream Family, age 25-54, moves in.

In 2008 Mammoth said goodbye to the younger 20-29 Millennials.

Now, two Baby Boomer lifestyles fly away.

The first, 32F3T2 families, like in South Lake Tahoe, disappear from all the California, Nevada and Colorado mountain towns we visited.

Photo: Visual Hunt

But, the second, 28M2T2 Empty Nesters, show up in almost all of the those towns surrounding Lake Tahoe.

As well as in these Colorado towns:

And, then in California:

Like snow flurries that fall and don’t stick, at the end of the season in spring, Mammoth said hello and then goodbye to its only Premier Resort, Fast Track family lifestyle.

They, the 35-54 year old Young Accumulators (20F2T1), moved on to Olympic Valley – Squaw Valley.

Reading some of the 2013 headlines, in hindsight, you can notice some new opportunities and something positive was in the air.

Were things returning to normal?

Three seasons of highlights and headlines provide some clues.

Highlights and Headlines

5-Year Time Frames  2009 — 2014

Spring 2013

Extending Spring Snow Conditions

Tons Of Snow And Will Be Open Through Memorial Day

Photo: Visual Hunt

But not to worry, the resort has tons of snow and will be open through Memorial Day; In the meantime, it’s using those balmy temperatures as part of this quirky lodging deal:

Thriving in Lifestyle Businesses

Howard Sheckter, The Weather Sage Of The Eastern Sierra

A hailstorm ignited Howard Sheckter’s obsession with the elements. For three decades, the real estate agent has doubled as the weather sage of the eastern Sierra.

Range in Temperatures

Daily High Temperature At Main Lodge

Officials said the daily high temperature is based on the high temperature at Main Lodge recorded on the ski patrol website. To book, go to mammothmountain.com/VacationPlanning/Deals/.

Deals and Incentives

Discounts For Two Or More Nights

If you stay two or more nights at Mammoth from Saturday to May 23, you will receive a nightly discount based on the high temperature for the previous day. That means if it’s 50 degrees, you’ll get a $100 discount upon checkout for your two-day stay.

Summer 2013

June Mountain Season Passes https://www.junemountain.com/winter/plan-a-vacation/plan-a-vacation/deals-packages

Open for Family Fun

Reopening Of June Mountain In Winter

This coming season also marks the reopening of June Mountain, the family friendly neighbor that closed last season. At Mammoth, meanwhile, Unbound Playgrounds and Adventure Zones, which offer a go-slow introduction to terrain parks for beginners and children, will have some additional interactive elements this winter.

Water Rights Settlement

LADWP Drops Two Lawsuits For $5.8 Million

In return for $5.8 million, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power drops two lawsuits. Each agrees not to challenge the other’s water rights.

Snowboarding Training and Contests

U.S. Olympians Training Ground

The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Assn. has chosen Mammoth Mountain as an official training ground for U.S. Olympians in freeskiing and snowboarding. Mammoth Mountain, celebrating its 60th season this year, will help them prepare for upcoming Winter games in Sochi, Russia, which start in early February.

Sprint U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix

Around since the late ’90s, freeskiing involves jumps and tricks on terrain park features usually reserved for snowboarders. Additionally, the 2014 snowboarding team for halfpipe will be announced at Mammoth during the final Sprint U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix Jan. 18 and 19.

Fall 2013

Fall Colors in Creeks and Canyons

Quick Trip To Mammoth For Brilliant Fall Colors

California: Near Mammoth, fall color starts to creep in. Don’t believe California has fall color? Neither did a Vermont friend, so I took her on a quick trip to Mammoth last year so she could see for herself. She was surprised.

Photo by Stephen G. Howard

Rock Creek May Be At Its Brilliant Best This Weekend

Timing and elevation are everything, of course, so if you’re planning a trip this year, know that colors are beginning to appear at higher elevations. In fact, Rock Creek may be at its brilliant best this weekend.

Lundy Canyon, Bishop Creek and Rock Creek Canyon

From our trip last year, here’s what we saw along with some early color reports from this month. Just north of Lee Vining is Lundy Canyon, identified by California’s Eastern Sierra Color Guide and Map as one of the best places to see color (we also chose Bishop Creek and Rock Creek Canyon).

Waterfalls And Trails, Vistas And Forests

None of the drives was more than about 40 minutes from Mammoth. Lundy Canyon and Lake is beautiful any time of year, with waterfalls and trails, vistas and forests, but fall is special.

Photo by Stephen G. Howard

Color Has Now Descended To The 7,000 Feet In Elevation

Color spotter Christie Osborne reports in CaliforniaFallColor.com that color has now descended to the 7,000 feet in elevation and is approaching full peak at Mammoth Lakes, five hours away from L.A.

60s Daytime Temps Nights In The 20s And 30s

Poimiroo says daytime temps have been in the 60s with no wind. Nights remain cool in the 20s and 30s, providing optimal conditions for fall colors to intensify. The canyon roads west of Mammoth are always aflame in October, and the June Lake Loop is a can’t-miss destination.

Deer Spotting

Feeding Deer at June Lake, Past Village, Down Along Silver Lake

Best June Lake stretch is just past the village and down along Silver Lake, where tunnels of aspen line the road and deer come out to feed just before dusk. Bring a book, a camera, a camp chair and something to sip. Leave the rest to Mother Nature.

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.

Stuck in the Middle with You

We wanted to take a sharp left turn around a substantial tree and climb a steep incline about 20 yards long in deep snow onto the next plateau.

Photo: Visual Hunt
Which is why as soon as my sons passed their drivers test I had them gun our SUV in the empty parking lot at the base of the mountain on the next Mammoth trip.

 

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

That was then, this was now.

Photo by Stephen G.Howard

Driving through the intersection on CA 203 we found Old Mammoth Road, running parallel to US 395 and took a right instead of driving on Substation Road to Mammoth’s power plant.

Then we looked for ways into patchy white wilderness foothills.

But, we had to drive a ways on dirt roads almost identical to those we explored at Rock Creek Lodge and Tom’s Place to find any more than patches of snow.

Photo by Stephen G. Howard

In areas where snow had just melted the color of the path was darker – slightly muddier.

With persistence we found fresh snow and we made the first tire tracks.

Not quite as epic as snowboarding through the trees on fresh powder, but fun anyway.

We had to guess how deep the fluffy white drifts were and where the dirt trail underneath actually was.

Leafless scrub brush broke through intermittently.

Photo by Stephen G. Howard

So did large rocks.

We kept vigilant for deep ruts.

The kind that could trap us.

Then it happened.

We wanted to take a sharp left turn around a substantial tree and climb a steep incline about 20 yards long in deep snow onto the next plateau.

We slipped.

We slid sideways.

We momentarily got hung up in a trench.

Full disclosure?

I experienced a flashback.

No, not that kind.

But further back to the winter in high school merely months after getting my driver’s license.

Photo: Visual Hunt

Having grown up in a suburb of Cincinnati when every season between December and January or February several storms would drop inches maybe a foot or more of snow.

More than on the ground this trip in the Sierras, and probably with a layer of ice underneath.

My father had taken me out to the vacant church parking lot covered in about 6 inches of snow, told me to slide behind the wheel and gun it.

Do what?

That’s right, punch it he told me.

Twin emotions overcame me.

Sheer fear and sheer joy.

We slipped and slid all over the place.

Photo: Visual Hunt

I turned the wrong way and accelerated the sideways loss of control, fearing I’d bang into something solid.

But, soon enough I got the hang of it.

Turning into the direction of the skid.

Except for that one time.

It was my mother’s brand new station wagon.

Her new baby.

Still had that new car smell.

I had pleaded my case.

Dad certified I knew how to successfully tackle every challenge a winter snow storm could provide.

Photo: Visual Hunt

Except this one time.

Like all mom’s do.

She probably experienced an intuition that this wouldn’t turn out well.

But, she was my mom.

She let go.

She let me go.

Anxious about what would happen next.

Driving down the steep hill and making a hard right hand turn onto the street leading to my best friend’s house, tucked away in the woods, was a little sketchy.

But, I mastered it.

I smiled from ear to ear.

Until.

Photo: Visual Hunt

My best friend’s driveway unfolded on three different levels with three different turns.

Piece of cake I thought.

Until I tried to navigate the drop from the top-level to the middle with a left hand turn.

I could have sworn, and did later to my mother, that no one could have anticipated where the turn began.

Or, that slipping off the driveway and sliding towards the trees could have turned out worse.

No, I didn’t hit the biggest one head on.

I swerved out of it’s way.

Photo: Visual Hunt

But it creased her passenger side from just behind the front wheel all the way back to back seat door.

Which is why as soon as my sons passed their drivers test I had them gun our SUV in the empty parking lot at the base of the mountain on the next Mammoth trip.

But, snapping out of the flashback, we still were stuck.

We rocked forward and backward to get traction.

I got out and pushed.

Nothing worked.

No cell service.

No AAA road service.

Photo: Stephen G. Howard

If we could just free ourself and get a running start while I pushed maybe, just maybe we could take the incline to the top.

We really didn’t have much choice, since the path was too narrow and tree-lined to risk turning around on the lower level.

We tried another trick I learned from my Dad years earlier.

We let a little air out of the tires for more traction.

Kept our fingers crossed.

Part Five:

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.

Chains that Bind – Bankruptcy, Foreclosures and No Snow

It verified the drip, drip, of snow melting and sliding off brown wood shingles would not turn into ice cycles any time soon.

 

Winter Road Trip in the Easter Sierras
But one year, the highway patrol flagged you down at a blinking yellow light to check out your chains with one of those abnormally long flashlights they always carry.

 

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?

5-Year Time Frames

2009-2014

By the fall of 2010, with the help of local business owners, the Village had seen a resurgence of new restaurants and stores.

But, if you and the Swall Meadows family had Googled “Mammoth Real Estate Market” in 2011, you would have come across links to realtor blogs discussing foreclosures and distressed properties.

In August Jeff Warwick reported on the sales of bank-owned (REOs), foreclosures, pre-foreclosures and short sales.

  • Of all those closed 2011 sales, 89 of them were distressed (REO’s or Short Sale) transactions.
  • 43.4% of all 2011 fell into the distressed real estate category.
  • He pointed out that only 5% of the listings are distressed, but 43% of closed sales are distressed.
  • And nearly 1/3 of all closed sales were cash buyers — a market indicator that the investor-buyer accounted for a stronger component.

Wikipedia picks up the story thread:

The California Court of Appeal, Third District, affirmed the judgment in December 2010, and the California Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal on March 23, 2011.

On Monday July 2, 2012, Mammoth Lakes filed for bankruptcy in the face of the judgement.

Later the same year, the bankruptcy was dismissed as a result of a settlement between the town and their largest creditor.

Having guessed right all those years, maybe we were due for a Thanksgiving-like winter in February of 2012.

Bad news for the rest of the family, but not so bad for me because I hadn’t fully recovered from my skiing accident surgery.

Sure, I’m easy with solitude, but even I can catch cabin fever.

Upstairs there’s a loft between the third bedroom and second bathroom.

Where the bunk beds accommodate the younger and single family members

Usually you can look directly out through the top window across from the bunk beds to see snow laden fir trees giving way to streams of snow blowing off the mountain peak.

Only this year, not so much.

Yes, lots of snow packed the upper third of the mountain.

But in town not so much.

Even the black pavement, often treacherous at night with black ice patches, dried to gray.

There’s a huge round thermometer in the glassed in porch overlooking the hot tub where we dip into a winters supply of firewood,.

It verified the drip, drip, of snow melting and sliding off brown wood shingles would not turn into ice cycles any time soon.

You couldn’t grab the green disc or red plastic sled out of the closet to slide in the deep snow   on the two stage slope along the side of the condo complex.

Well you could, but you wouldn’t make much progress.

Unless you slid a foot, hopped up and ran to the next patch sat with your feet and knees pulled up for the next two feet, and so on and so on.

But the lack of deep snow meant one thing.

Another off road adventure exploring the area on the opposite side of the turnoff to Mammoth Lakes.

We backtracked on Meridian Blvd to where it dumped into CA 203 (or Main Street in town) turned right and drove to US 395 intersection.

Winter Road Trip in the Easter Sierras

In years past we collectively held our breath, arriving near or past midnight in our SUV at that intersection.

During a normal snow season roadside signs told you you needed to put on your chains before you could climb the final hill into the town and your condo.

We wanted to take our chances each time.

But one year, the highway patrol flagged you down at a blinking yellow light to check out your chains with one of those abnormally long flashlights they always carry.

Reluctantly I flipped open the hatchback.

Grabbed some gloves and a flashlight.

Pulled out the rear tire chains and fumbled for 45 minutes fastening them.

Not noticing that the blinking yellow check point closed.

Oh well.

Other years, having learned from my ordeal, we’d shell out the going rate to locals for installing our chains, while we stayed warm inside listening to the final songs on our road trip playlist.

But enough about that.

Part Four:  Stuck in the Middle with You

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.

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?

If Worse Comes to Worst

“People will lend you money to go to college, but not to retire.”

Securing Our Future
Oh, and if worse comes to worst … If they need further living expenses beyond that point, they can tap the equity in their home through a reverse mortgage.

 

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.

 

Can’t Get Back to Sleep

What keeps the couple up at night?

They can take care of what’s in front of them with their current lifestyle.

But, in less than a decade their son will be college bound and they’re afraid they’ll go broke shouldering his tuition and room and board.

And roughly seven years later dad will be retiring followed by mom a couple of years later.

What Are We Going To Do?

Have they squirreled enough away for those two rainy days?

They can manage their current nut, but …?

No more television for you my mom used to say when I misbehaved.

In their case the couple willingly cut that $40 a month cable package out of their budget and bought insurance policies with it instead.

On top of their expected pensions, they agreed to sock away $10,000 a year into two Roth IRAs.

“Few people realize they can also use Roth accounts to pay for their children’s college expenses, given a few restrictions,” the planner said.

It’s one of those good news, bad news things.

Leaving Home for a College Campus

Their son …

will probably need financial aid when he goes away to school and some colleges may provide less financial aid to families that have 529 accounts to cover higher-education expenses, the planner said.

 

Trade offs?

Certainly.

No easy choices for a couple used to carrying no debt except for their mortgage.

The planner got them to see their challenge from a different perspective.

“People will lend you money to go to college, but not to retire.”

Working out a diversified portfolio, giving standard planning returns and savings rates, and recommending Roth contributions of $10,000 a year, when the husband turns 65 the accumulated savings will reach $331,000 even after college expense.

The planner calculated the first year of college to run $16,000 and grow to $19,000 by his senior year.

What about retirement?

They can count on a pension for the husband of $77,000 a year and $7,300 in Social Security for his wife for a total of $84,300.

With reasonable withdrawals to make up for any short fall in retirement, the planner calculated their savings should last until both are in their mid-90s.

Oh, and if worse comes to worst …

If they need further living expenses beyond that point, they can tap the equity in their home through a reverse mortgage.

Completed in 2005, the house could be worth as much as $350,000 to $400,000 in 2010.

“This is our forever house,” the wife said. They even kept in mind the possibility of becoming infirm as they age. “We built it with one story so we can just roll in our wheelchairs,” she said. 

Steps

(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.