Myself and the rest of the crew at The Ski Monster love writing about some of the sickest stuff to do on the planet: skiing, boarding, biking, boating etc. etc. There is so much fun to be had and so much positivity surrounding what we do it’s hard to believe there could ever be such a thing as a down day or a shred of negativity to run through our bones, but sometimes we take diggers and the pain is real.
On June 21st, 2012 The CEO of Mammoth Mountain Ski Area announced the closure of June Mountain through at least the 2013 season, read the official document here. It seems ironic to announce something like this in the month of June. Nonetheless, the news has come as a huge surprise to the employees of June Mountain and is predicted to be a huge blow to the surrounding community.
Mammoth has owned and managed June Mountain since its acquisition in 1986. There have been long standing plans to make developments linking Mammoth and June together, but none such efforts have ever taken place, leaving June Mountain lurking in the shadows of its “Mammoth” of a sister for the past 25 years. I consider myself a seasoned, well-rounded skier but had not heard of June Mountain until this past season when it popped up in some issue of Skiing or Powder, or whatever, in a countdown of the top powder stashes or something like that. I read further into June Mountain and as any lifer ski bum would do, I put it on my to-do list, jokes on me.
Hearing about a west coast mountain shutting down sends chills down my spine and makes me think about my home hill, West Mountain, in Glens Falls, N.Y. and the ones surrounding it. I can remember growing up and hearing rumors of the mountain being in a state of financial crisis and fearing my social epicenter from December through April was at risk of becoming extinct. I have since seen the mountain go through a number of changes including the pass off to a new owner, who has been endlessly ridiculed for the decisions he has made. I will not criticize due to my lack of knowledge in running a ski resort, but I do agree a few things could have been gone about differently.
I have seen neighboring ski area Hickory Hill go through a series of openings, closures, re-openings, co-ops and purchases. The 2010-11 season proved to be one of the most successful seasons the hill has seen in years thanks to a wealthy Texan and a ton of natural snowfall and had many local lovers of the hill with hopes held sky high only for Hickory to fall short of nearly all expectations for the 2011-12 season, due to the lack of snowmaking infrastructure.
The Case of June Mountain is slightly more dramatic. If a few little hills in upstate N.Y. failed to open their doors for a season or two, life would still go on due to a surrounding economy sustained by other forms of business. Skiing isn’t the soul focus and draw to the area and it’s certainly not the way most people in the area make their living. June Mountain is an epicenter for the surrounding economy; it brings customers to the local businesses and provides a number of full time jobs. Without the operation of June Mountain the ripple effects could be devastating to the local area.
Luckily, I still have my home hill, and I can’t imagine losing it. My thoughts go out to those who called June Mountain their own.