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Linking of Ski Areas Has Highest Priority

February 21, 1988|LOU DESSER

MAMMOTH LAKES — One of the nation's largest ski areas will become much larger if the hopes of the management are realized.

"Our biggest hope and biggest push is toward development of San Joaquin Ridge, the area between Mammoth and June mountains," said Pam Murphy, spokeswoman for Mammoth/June Ski Resort.

"Everything we are doing at Mammoth and June today is geared toward connection of the two ski areas."

But Murphy emphasized in an interview that the aim is not to bring in more skiers, but rather to spread them over a wider area, providing a better skiing experience. Once public input is received and Forest Service approval is obtained, it will take an estimated five to 10 years to connect the two areas, she said.

Murphy said the connection could be made with eight lifts, each with skiable runs, rather than any single people mover. Plans are for three base facilities, at Mammoth, June and Hartley Springs.

"We want to develop San Joaquin Ridge as a year-round recreation area, with bicycle paths, camping facilities, hiking trails, hunting, fishing and cross-country skiing," she said. The ridge is currently high-use timber management land.

Future plans for Mammoth Mountain, while not immediate, include a base facility at the bottom of Chairs 15 and 24, a base facility at Chair 4 and a mid-chalet facility at the top of Chairs 10, 4 and 16. The emphasis will be on service facilities rather than lifts at Mammoth Mountain, Murphy said.

At June Mountain, a 20-car tram is nearly ready to operate. Each car will hold 15 passengers.

The mid-mountain chalet will be retained, but a base facility is planned for the bottom of the mountain. Various chair lifts will be replaced in the years ahead.

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