RAW: June Mountain winter operating permit finalized

The US Forest Service (USFS) and Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, (MMSA) have finalized an operating plan for the June Mountain Ski Area that guides management of the area for the remainder of the winter season while the resort is in a non-operational status, according to the Inyo National Forest.

"The plan considers many complicated factors regarding public access, administrative access to facilities and communication sites, avalanche control, ski patrol duties, and – most importantly –safety concerns," a recent press release states.

"While the lift-served ski area is not open, the underlying National Forest land will generally remain accessible to the public for backcountry skiing, snowboarding or snowshoeing. Under the plan, ski patrollers are authorized to prohibit access to the area during avalanche control activities. The ski area remains prohibited to entry by snowmobiles and other motorized use by an existing Forest Order, except by special use authorization," the press release states.

“It is important that anyone who travels in the June Mountain area treats this as the backcountry environment that it is,” Mammoth Lakes and Mono Basin District Ranger Jon Regelbrugge said. “Avalanche control activities will be very limited. Dangerous avalanches can and likely will happen in areas normally controlled were the mountain operating.”

"Other dangers include unmarked obstacles, JMSA snowmobiles and equipment, ungroomed slopes, and avalanche control work. Ski patrol will not be conducting normal patrols in the area."

"Public cooperation with restrictions and safety considerations is critical to ensuring the safety of the public and the employees involved in avalanche control efforts. Those failing to comply with posted avalanche control or other regulations are subject to citation," the press release states.

"Winter backcountry enthusiasts will be able to travel in and through the June Mountain area, and to access adjacent backcountry areas. If you plan on visiting the area, please be aware of and stay out of avalanche control closures, and carry proper backcountry avalanche safety gear. Stay informed of avalanche conditions by obtaining the most recent avalanche advisory at www.esavalanche.org or 760-924-5510. A phone number with recorded avalanche closure information for June Mountain will be made available soon."

More information on June Mountain Ski Area status is available at the Inyo National Forest website at www.fs.usda.gov/activity/inyo/recreation/wintersports. For additional information, please contact Winter Sports Specialist Carmen John at 760-924-5518.