I have many fond memories of riding the slopes at June Mountain Ski Area in the Eastern Sierra, far removed from the bustle and within a spectacular alpine setting.
So it saddened me to read in the Mammoth Times on Thursday that June Mountain, about 30 miles to the north of Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, has closed for the summer and will not open for 2012-13 winter season.
Undoubtedly, the news deeply saddens dozens of employees, only some of which may find work next winter at Mammoth, which owns June and itself is struggling financially.
"June has operated at an annual deficit each year since its purchase in 1986,” Mammoth CEO Rusty Gregory said a news release. "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 has been heavily subsidized by Mammoth, which this past spring laid off 75 permanent employees, thanks largely to a sharp decline in skier visits.
Mammoth is the far larger and more popular of the two resorts, but June was perceived by many to be a more remote gem for skiers and snowboarders who liked the smaller crowds and a change of scenery and terrain after skiing and riding at Mammoth.
With 2,590 feet of vertical drop and about 500 acres of terrain for all levels, though, it was not a particularly small resort.
After Mammoth purchased June it planned significant expansion, but for various reasons that goal was never realized.
Whether June will reopen at a future date remains to be seen.
-- Pete Thomas