June Mountain in 2012

A victim of a dismal snow year

In June Lake, the repercussions from the crummy snow season continued well into spring.

Partly due to the poor winter, Rusty Gregory, Mammoth Mountain Ski Area CEO, announced in late June that June Mountain Ski Area would not open for the 2012-13 season, pending reorganization and remodeling.

June Lake asked for and got about $100,000 of “bridge money” from Mono County coffers to help tide them over through the winter and the little town sprang into action, creating a brand new marketing system, organizing festivals and activities, trying to re-brand the community as an iconic mountain town with plenty to do in the winter, even with no ski area.

Gregory announced he would reopen the ski area for the 2012-13 season, and by the end of December, the returns for June Lake’s efforts were impressive—but no one in June was saying it was going to be an easy winter, even so.

“I’m booked for the week before Christmas, but only with deep discounts and the week after does not look good,” said June Lake business owner and Mono County Supervisor Vikki Bauer.

But at least one official thought that the work done by June Lake residents would not be lost in the long run.

“I’d like to think this was a blessing in disguise, five years from now,” said Mono County Supervisor Elect Tim Alpers.

“This town has had to rebrand itself, it’s had to market itself like it probably should have all along and its created so many new opportunities (cross country skiing trails, snowmobile trails, snow man making parks, festivals, music events, athletic competitions, snowmobiling races) that I think it will bounce back better than ever.”

As the year drew to a close, winter returned with gusto. Mammoth Mountain boasted some of the best snow in the country, week after week. By the end of December, Mammoth Pass was far above normal for the date—at about 90 percent of normal for Feb. 1.

The snow came in waves, week after week, storm after storm, foot after foot, dry and light and dreamy. Christmas and New Year’s visitors packed the town, giving Mammoth and June Lake the best Christmas present possible: redemption.