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Let Mammoth Remain a Low-Key Place to Ski

November 02, 2002

Bravo and thank you for your Oct. 26 editorial, "Look Closely, Mammoth." I have skied at Mammoth for more than 40 years, and I love the mountain. In the winter of 1960-61, Mammoth Mountain boasted one day lodge, the inn, three double chairlifts, a T-bar lift and a rope tow. The town of Mammoth Lakes was an informal collection of ordinary motels, a few eating places, a couple of gas stations, a liquor store, a small market, a couple of ski shops and a motley assortment of cabins.

Winter visitors came to ski. They cared more about the fit of their boots than the fashion of their Bogners. No one -- and I mean no one -- sashayed around town in mink at night.

In the last four decades the mountain facilities have expanded to include four day lodges, more than two dozen chairlifts and a two-stage gondola lift. Earth-moving and tree removal have improved access and expanded trails over much of the sprawling ski area. The town has grown as well, with the addition of retail shops, a Vons supermarket, a movie theater, upscale restaurants, fast-food outlets, more motels and an assortment of condominium complexes and single-family residences.

I would not call Mammoth an unravished bride. She's been ravished aplenty. However, that is no excuse for transforming her into a bloated dowager expanding her squat in the fragile wilderness and spreading environmental havoc all around her.

I believe I speak for many old Mammoth hands who love her for the skiing, who are willing to make the long, scenic drive to visit Mammoth and who neither need nor want easy airline access to a see-and-be-seen forum for the display of fashion, jewels and selves.

Susan Klenner

Woodland Hills

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Why spend my ski vacation money in a third-rate local resort like Mammoth when I can spend it in world-class facilities in Vail and Aspen in Colorado?

You NIMBYs will never get the point.

John E. Sims

Pacific Palisades

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