June Mountain Closed Indefinitely; Owners Look To 'Sustainable Future'
Last season, June Mountain entered its second 50 years of operation, but it appears that Year 52 won’t happen for the Sierra Nevada resort – at least for the near future.
Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, which purchased nearby June Mountain in 1986, announced in a June 21 press release that operations would be suspended for both summer and 2012-2013 ski and snowboard seasons. Mammoth CEO Rusty Gregory said that “a substantial financial subsidy from Mammoth” has been annually to keep June Mountain operating. Both Mammoth and June are currently owned by Starwood Capital and Intrawest.
“June has operated at an annual deficit each year since its purchase in 1986,” said Gregory. “It is time to invest some of this subsidy into the analysis and planning required to position the resort for a sustainable future, then secure the approvals and financing required to create it.” June and Mammoth in the High Sierra are separated by about a 30-minute drive along U.S. Highway 395.
Bob Newland, owner of Lake Front Cabins in June Lake, told SnoCountry.com that the impact of June Mountain's closing would be "dramatic" in the winter season. During the summer, June Lake is a fishing town, he said, but most of the winter business is hinged to skiing and snowboarding at June Mountain.
"It's devastating," Newland said. "You're talking about five months of the year. We are lucky because we don't have any employees, but the other motels won't be able to keep theirs. It's a new nut to crack that's been put in front of us,and we're working on ways to do it. We have to look that Mammoth Mountain is 15 miles away."
Mammoth owners had hoped to connect June Mountain with Mammoth Mountain with several new ski areas along the San Joaquin Ridge, which connects the two resorts. However, these plans never materialized, Gregory said, forcing Mammoth to subsidize operations at 500-acre June Mountain for several decades.
The area had ski runs cut as early as the 1940s. June Mountain opened in 1961 with two lifts and 12 miles of runs. Over the years, owners Bud and Lois Hayward, of Santa Ana, Calif., added lifts, runs, and facilities to the 2,590 vertical feet on June Mountain before selling to Dave McCoy, of Mammoth, after 26 years of operations.
June Mountain hosted one of the first snowboard competitions in the United States in 1989.
Photo: June Mountain