LATE BREAKING STORY FROM THE SHEET NEWSPAPER: Mammoth Mountain Ski Area has made sweeping layoffs – approximately 60-75 year-round employees were terminated today.
Perhaps to have foreseen any other fate was to have been living in denial. Live in a remote ski/snowboard destination town that thrives and dies with the success of the number one regional employer, the Ski Area, and it’s not long before you understand that white = $$$ = jobs. Sure, a sluggish national economy doesn’t help, yet nothing impacts the financial well being of a company such as Mammoth Mountain Ski Area like a low-snow year. Today this reality was as apparent as ever.
Mammoth Lakes news outlet The Sheet lets the Cat out of the proverbial bag:
“As the winds howled on the morning of Feb. 29, between 60 and 75 permanent, year-round employees of Mammoth Mountain Ski Area were laid off.
While Mammoth Mountain had yet to issue a statement at the time of this post, The Sheet had already received calls from now-former MMSA employees confirming this mass layoff.
Talk of a layoff had been looming around the Town of Mammoth Lakes for a few weeks, and last week, MMSA CEO Rusty Gregory told The Sheet that MMSA’s revenue for the fiscal year was 24% below what was budgeted. Skier visits are off 35%.
Budgeted numbers for FY ‘11-’12 were slightly above FY ‘10-’11 actuals.
“I am watching the trend closely this week, and I will be doing a lot of thinking over the weekend,” Gregory stated in the Feb. 25 issue of The Sheet.
Prior to the layoffs on Feb. 29, MMSA had cut wages for salaried employees 10% across the board. Gregory took a 15% cut.
Seasonals had already been cranked down to few/no hours. Year-round hourlies had been fortunate to get 20-22 hours/week.
More to come as this story develops.”
Under the diligent guidance of MMSA CEO Rusty Gregory, the Mountain refrained from “officially” laying off employees for as long as it could. Hours, expenses, and pay were cut. Employee meals, free ski-days, and snowmaking were served intently. In the meantime MMSA and the town held its collective breath, holding out hope that snow would begin to pile up and the snow-sliders would flock in.
Skiers and snowboarders have come yet apparently not near enough to satisfy previously set projections. Why didn’t more “guests” come to Mammoth this winter? Because there’s no snow? That can’t be why because that’s just not the case. Perhaps potential visitors are holding out for a better deal (MMSA just dropped ticket prices to $69); perhaps they’ve already spent their expendable income on other luxuries.
Now we are faced with a new question: Will Mountain Operations and Guest Services suffer as a result of the cut-backs? We shall see…
On a related note, Local weather “Guru” Howard Sheckter has some good news:
“Strong Winds Continue In The High Country…..Expected Amounts Still Look Like 6 to 12 Inches Over the Upper Elevations Through Thursday….The MJO Continues In Its Active Phase….
The next system on Tuesday is another NW slider so it may bring a few showers along with wind and cooling…….
The following system down the road to keep an eye out for is the March 9th storm….then another on the 11th….
Another may follow around mid month….”
Oddly enough, my Gut seems to agree.