Mountain High: Saving $ or Drought Survival Mode?

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Mountain High: Saving $ or Drought Survival Mode?

Postby snowave » Sun Jan 23, 2011 1:22 am

I hear ya on the local ski days.. I'm 5 min from the lifts at MH, but have 3 times as many days at Mammoth so far this year, 5 hrs away, then I do here in Wrightwood. Now, MH is pulling their closing East crap again midweek, right when I usually kick it into high gear locally. :roll: Can't wait to get out of socal permanently. ](*,)
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Re: Mammoth, Jan. 5-6, 2010, Hole-in-the-Wall

Postby Tony Crocker » Mon Jan 24, 2011 7:19 am

snowave wrote:Now, MH is pulling their closing East crap again midweek

I've always assumed MH doesn't have enough water to sustain everything on snowmaking once SoCal goes into drought mode. So they use what they have to preserve the core runs and park at West, and let East take its natural course. I would assume that daily skier traffic on East would be bringing up the rocks by now, so maybe they squeeze an extra weekend or two by not running midweek. You live there, so feel free to correct my impression.
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Re: Mammoth, Jan. 5-6, 2010, Hole-in-the-Wall

Postby snowave » Wed Jan 26, 2011 12:22 pm

To some degree, you're right, Tony. But most of the time, this isn't about snow conditions alone.

MH has been pulling this crap off an on for a few years. They close East midweek, even with solid coverage, and cram everyone into West and save a few bills. They only did this for a couple weeks last year, so I thought it was getting better. They still have decent water supply at East, for Late January, and honestly, the coverage is still very good to excellent. It's been relatively cool the last week with low RH, so melting has been minimal for the dry warmer conditions we've had, and they have made snow a few nights at East.

As a midweek only season pass rider, the emphasis on "saving it for weekends", or claiming low business levels like they did the last 2 yrs infuriates me. MH, to my knowlegde, is a usually pretty close to, or in- the top 25 resort in skier visits in NA. (and last year was their biggest grossing winter on record) However, they have a huge complacent customer base. I have no desire this time of year to go to West. I'd rather stay home and drink beer.

p.s. MH also abruptly stopped the long tradition of night riding 7 nights a week last month. They are now closed on Mon and Tues nights.
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Re: Mammoth, Jan. 5-6, 2010, Hole-in-the-Wall

Postby Tony Crocker » Wed Jan 26, 2011 6:30 pm

Thanks for the update. In past years it seems that East goes into weekend only mode, then closes completely after 2 or 3 weeks of that. Seeing Waterman close, Baldy chair 4 close, MH East is usually the next to fold up when SoCal goes into a sustained dry spell. I would be surprised if the water sources for MH East and West are independent.

It seems likely that Big Bear will be the only worthwhile SoCal skiing in February.
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Re: Mammoth, Jan. 5-6, 2010, Hole-in-the-Wall

Postby snowave » Wed Jan 26, 2011 9:58 pm

actually, both east and west do have separate reservoirs


West
Image

East
Image

(images taken from the net)
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Re: Mammoth, Jan. 5-6, 2010, Hole-in-the-Wall

Postby Tony Crocker » Thu Jan 27, 2011 1:24 am

I've seen the reservoirs, but from where is that water pumped? I've heard wells, or even that it's trucked in. In survival mode MH will give snowmaking and other maintenance priority to West.
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Re: Mountain High: Saving $ or Drought Survival Mode?

Postby snowave » Thu Jan 27, 2011 11:23 am

There are wells they are pumped from.

I realize they always prioritize west, but what they have often done in the past is close East, midweek in Jan-March, even with a good snowbase, and cram everyone into west. Last year, there were 10-15 min liftlines at West on a Tuesday in February when they closed down East to "low business levels", even though it sat there with a solid base.

While of course, the base right now is getting thinner, if it's OK enough to re-open it tomorrow for the weekend, it irks me that they don't keep it open while they can.. so I guess they are preserving it for their weekend crowd. :roll: They could be making more snow these nights, but I think they stopped altogether at East now in hopes of natural snow again to reboost the base.

I just think it's poor business etiquette, and from a season pass holder again, who can only ride Tuesday-Thursday, I don't think it's fair. I understand it's a business, but I think they cut too many corners for their profit, which affects people like me who again, dish out their money expecting a product they pay for, within reason of course.

There has been talk from alot of people about the wish for them to sell it, so someone could focus on it exclusively, instead of it being MH's bastard child, but that opens up a whole thought of possibilities, good and bad.
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Postby ShiftyRider » Thu Jan 27, 2011 12:32 pm

USFS should deny their operating permit/plan, then make it available to a company more willing to embrace the USFS goal of providing outdoor recreation to the public.
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Re:

Postby snowave » Thu Jan 27, 2011 1:31 pm

ShiftyRider wrote:USFS should deny their operating permit/plan, then make it available to a company more willing to embrace the USFS goal of providing outdoor recreation to the public.



That idea was brought up to the agency winter sports use permit admin last year (USFS), and they largely agreed that might be the best situation for the consumer, but whether or not the legalities of making it happen are realistic (on several fronts), lead me to believe it's too complicated or not worth the effort by those that would/could make it happen. :?
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Re: Mountain High: Saving $ or Drought Survival Mode?

Postby Tom Moriarty » Thu Jan 27, 2011 5:10 pm

Karl has taken over sole ownership of the MH operating company which has resulted in some cost cutting it looks like. CNL still owns the resort and it would be more likely for CNL to bring in a new operator for East than sell it. They could take it back to Holiday Hill (Tim Cohee bought Sierra Summit and took it back to China Peak and is having a great season). I don't see Karl giving it up though.

I don't see the USFS pulling a permit though as they seem to let Waterman operate weekends only, no Rentals, and no Food Service permit (a caterer?), and nothing being done at all to bring Kratka back up. How is the FS making any money with that deal.
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Re: Mountain High: Saving $ or Drought Survival Mode?

Postby Tony Crocker » Thu Jan 27, 2011 6:16 pm

It is not realistic for for Mt. Waterman to operate more than 3 days a week with the business it gets. Nor does it make sense to invest the $ it would take to get Kratka up and running again.

With regard to Mountain High I realize I'm picky, but my criterion for going there is that both mountains be fully open. It would be less attractive to me if they were split up again. However, I'm a very occasional patron of Mt. High in any case. With SoCal's feast or famine seasons I use Baldy for the feast and Big Bear for the famine. There's very little in-between time when Mt. High makes sense for me.
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Re: Mountain High: Saving $ or Drought Survival Mode?

Postby Tom Moriarty » Thu Jan 27, 2011 7:06 pm

Mt. Waterman and Kratka operated everyday for nearly 50 years and created nice livings for the Newcomb and Hensley families. Sure there were some lean years. They really need someone with a good investment to make it happen again and complete the snowmaking plans that both original owners were working on.
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Re: Mountain High: Saving $ or Drought Survival Mode?

Postby Mike Bernstein » Thu Jan 27, 2011 7:17 pm

Tom Moriarty wrote:Mt. Waterman and Kratka operated everyday for nearly 50 years and created nice livings for the Newcomb and Hensley families. Sure there were some lean years. They really need someone with a good investment to make it happen again and complete the snowmaking plans that both original owners were working on.

But for the vast majority of those 50 years, neither MH nor the Big Bear resorts had the snowmaking firepower they do now. Unfortunately, that seems to be where the market has shifted towards.
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Re: Mountain High: Saving $ or Drought Survival Mode?

Postby snowave » Thu Jan 27, 2011 7:40 pm

fwiw, I took a stroll with my pups on Table Mtn, adjacent to the East Resort today, and had a great view of about 90% of the Resort. Although I realize the packed base is probably no more than 1-2+ ft, I saw no brown/bare spots on the primary runs of Goldrush and Wildcard. The base area is dirty and thinner, but I have it seen it look that way on the bottom with a 4 ft base. Sorry, had my camera, but not battery!
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Re: Mountain High: Saving $ or Drought Survival Mode?

Postby Tony Crocker » Fri Jan 28, 2011 1:23 am

Mike Bernstein wrote:
Tom Moriarty wrote:Mt. Waterman and Kratka operated everyday for nearly 50 years and created nice livings for the Newcomb and Hensley families. Sure there were some lean years. They really need someone with a good investment to make it happen again and complete the snowmaking plans that both original owners were working on.

But for the vast majority of those 50 years, neither MH nor the Big Bear resorts had the snowmaking firepower they do now. Unfortunately, that seems to be where the market has shifted towards.

+1

30 years ago when snowmaking was not as advanced, Waterman/Kratka often could have the best SoCal conditions due to the most natural snow.

But the real reason is the huge shift in the SoCal skier/rider market. 30 years ago it was cool for the young athletic types to bash moguls on Emile's at Baldy or the face of Waterman. Now the younger SoCal generation is 75+% snowboarders and they want to hit the terrain parks. Terrain parks = big time snowmaking and other capital investments. I don't believe Waterman/Kratka has a water source to compete in that market. In weather like SoCal is currently having, Mt. High's water shortfall vs. Big Bear is glaringly evident.
http://bestsnow.net
Ski Records
Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
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