You could have knocked us over with a feather.
The rumor machine was all about possible layoffs on Mammoth Mountain. People whispered about possible closures of Canyon and Eagle lodges.
Runs were going to close. This winter was a dud. A megaflop – bomb, a dead loss.
Then arrived a memorandum from Rusty Gregory, the CEO of Mammoth Mountain. It was addressed to his skittish employees.
Comparing this thin season (so far) to other dry/drought seasons, Gregory wrote:
“The company has completed its most successful Christmas and New Year holiday period in my 34 years on the mountain,” he wrote. (Story, P. 1).
He went on, for about 750 carefully couched words. Among the highlights:
“We operate the best mountain in the country and we run it better than our friends at other resorts run theirs.”
“We are going to do the opposite of what other resorts are doing. We are not going to cut services or service to save money … We are going to keep our seasonal employees and year-round employees.”
We’ve never known Gregory to whistle past the graveyard. He can spin a story this way and that, but he’s dead serious in this instance, and we have a lot to learn from him.
Probably the biggest thing that comes out of this is the notion of resiliency.
Resiliency is neither accidental nor serendipitous. It requires advance work to prepare for the worst, face it head-on when it comes, then triumph in the end.
To achieve resiliency as an individual is daunting enough. Going up against the odds is a risky business. It takes practice. Most people never learn it.
To practice resiliency as a company is even more daunting.
It’s about durability and strength. It’s about becoming irrepressible.
To practice this as a Town is even more difficult. A town must learn to achieve consensus, however that may be expressed.
The Town of Mammoth is facing a tough year. There is the settlement of the $42 million judgment in the so-called Hot Creek litigation. However that turns out—it will turn out badly, no matter what—the Town and its people will have to practice years of resiliency.
We think we have a good start.
Our history is filled with people who knew how to do it and they passed it on—people like Tex Cushion, Harold and Lillian Guseman, and the McGee Family, to name a few.
Then along came Dave McCoy, who took what resiliency Mammoth already had and elevated it to a higher level.
We are a resilient people.
In years like this one, we will have to be.
Otherwise, we can’t live here.