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Bear Valley’s fans remain on edge

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Posted: Friday, October 5, 2012 9:11 am

With only weeks left before the traditional start of ski season, and with just days left to file an operating plan detailing ski patrol operations and lift inspection reports, tensions remain high at Bear Valley Mountain Resort.

Owners of the resort remain mostly mum.

One of the partners, Chuck Toeniskoetter, reached Tues-day, said, “In these situations you have to be very careful. We all want this to turn out well, so all I would tell people is just to wait a little bit longer.”

“There’s really nothing to say right now,” he added. “Call me back in a week.”

Resort management has yet to comment on the layoff of 19 resort staffers in June and, with many remaining staffers on furlough through Nov. 16, news from the mountain is ever-harder to come by.

That’s bringing the crowds back to the ski area’s Facebook page, where area business owners and concerned season passholders have sustained the social media equivalent of a town hall meeting for the better part of five months.

“Seems really unlikely that they are going to be open this year. So here’s my question. Can I get my stuff out of my locker?” asked one poster who could not be reached for comment as of press time Thursday.

“(Eight) million potential customers want to know; as well as those 75,000 who showed up last year to support the area,” added another.

Still others pointed to the fact that normal ski lift and equipment maintenance operations, dormant since summer’s layoffs, must be completed within 60 days of the Forest Service’s Oct. 15 deadline for turning in a completed operating plan.

Reached for comment Wednesday, Bear Valley spokeswoman Rosie Sundell wasn’t too concerned.

“We don’t plan to miss any deadlines,” Sundell said, explaining that the mountain’s operational plan, while still incomplete, is very much in the works.

“Things like the event schedules that include partners and third party vendors don’t always come together this early and get amended as needed,” she said. “Basic operation details are not as difficult.”

Paul Petersen was equally upbeat. The Bear Valley Adventure Co. owner has decades-old business ties to Toeniskoetter, though he said he hadn’t gleaned much from a conversation with Toeniskoetter earlier this week.

“(Management) are not showing their cards,” Petersen said. “Even for me, and I’ve known Chuck for 24 years; he’s real poker-faced. That’s how he chooses to do business.”

“They have a logjam they’re going to unjam,” Petersen added. “Whether that’s a positive or a negative, I don’t know; but reading the tea leaves, sitting where I sit, I think it’s going to be a positive.”

© 2015 Calaveras Enterprise. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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  • Anonso Quijano posted at 12:39 am on Tue, Oct 9, 2012.

    Anonso Quijano Posts: 309

    Perhaps our elected representatives should concentrate on bringing in jobs that do not rely upon tourism.

  • MN posted at 7:59 pm on Mon, Oct 8, 2012.

    MN Posts: 1

    They were going to have an answer on the first also. Oops...

  • Charles Dudley Jr posted at 7:32 pm on Mon, Oct 8, 2012.

    Charles Dudley Jr Posts: 1281

    Thank you for showing us all the real effects this is having on the people who are effect by this.

  • LN posted at 11:30 am on Mon, Oct 8, 2012.

    LN Posts: 3

    Thank you Maryanne for pointing out that real live people are affected by this. I am one of them, as is my five-year-old son who is crying at night because his daddy is no longer at home - he had to move to another state to maintain a position as a lift mechanic after being laid off by Bear Valley in June. After many, many phone calls to Rosie and other staff members lucky enough to have kept their positions at Bear, and of course, given no answers at all - we were forced to make this decision to keep a roof over our heads. And, he was not the first lift mechanic to find employment elsewhere. So, however Rosie sees BV being able to get the lifts up and running within 60 days of 10/15, with half of their mechanic staff gone - well, she must be quite the optimist. The rest of us aren't - because the rest of us have had to live with no income. Here's another great BV fact - how about the fact that they didn't uphold the legal terms of the severage agreements they had the employees sign when laid off - we were supposed to receive two weeks worth of pay within 7 days of signing the severage agreement - well close to a month and a half later - we finally received that check - and that was after drawing attention to BV staff that they hadn't upheld their legal obligation to do so. I am so disappointed in the way this has been handled. So, Chuck, tonight when I go home to my little boy and he again cries and asks me why his daddy isn't home, I will tell him - just ask me again in a week!

  • ecoalex posted at 7:29 pm on Sun, Oct 7, 2012.

    ecoalex Posts: 140

    Hope Ya'll are enjoying the corporate experience.Compare this to the past ,when families that cared about the community did all they could to make Bear Valley a gem for the Hwy 4 corridor,
    It's so Romney,and Bainesque.The "little people' beneath them,and the community as a whole is expendable.

  • Mike Bullard posted at 4:56 pm on Sun, Oct 7, 2012.

    Mike Bullard Posts: 569

    It's been my experience when stuff gets like that there's somethin' big-time dirty in Denmark.

  • Charles Dudley Jr posted at 6:04 pm on Sat, Oct 6, 2012.

    Charles Dudley Jr Posts: 1281

    Yup good going but bad for the HW 4 corridor businesses. I wonder if BV does not open how many empty store fronts will be on the market this time next year? 5? 10?

  • Mike Bullard posted at 4:49 pm on Sat, Oct 6, 2012.

    Mike Bullard Posts: 569

    Now that's what I'm talkin' 'bout.

  • Dodge Ridge posted at 4:11 pm on Sat, Oct 6, 2012.

    Dodge Ridge Posts: 3

    If you are a Bear Valley Pass Holder interested in purchasing a season pass at Dodge Ridge, please give us a call, we have an exclusive offer for you. We're open 7 days a week, 8am - 5pm. (209) 965-3474

  • Charles Dudley Jr posted at 5:39 am on Sat, Oct 6, 2012.

    Charles Dudley Jr Posts: 1281

    Holding the entire highway 4 corridor hostage so to say over BV being able to open or not is not good economics at all. The entire corridor depends upon that resort opening and travelers stopping into their places on the way up and down the mountain. One horribly bad season could make or break a small business and put another empty store from on the real estate market. How many are there now on that market up and down the highway 4 corridor?

  • Miles Rhoads posted at 5:28 am on Sat, Oct 6, 2012.

    Miles Rhoads Posts: 10

    "Reached for comment Wednesday, Bear Valley spokeswoman Rosie Sundell wasn’t too concerned."

    That just shows one how out of touch she is.

  • Miles Rhoads posted at 5:25 am on Sat, Oct 6, 2012.

    Miles Rhoads Posts: 10

    Well said. If this gal Rosie is the spokesperson, Why isn't she speaking? Here she has a quote in the newpaper, yet there is no response from her on the company website or facebook? This quote in the newspaper could have been said a month ago. Maryanne's suggested quote is all one needs to do.

    The whole PR & marketing team have failed in an epic way, not only this year but for many years leading up to this point. How can one have a marketing person that has no enthusiasm for the product or service?

    The statement put up on the website Sept 12, "There is still time! Looking for some Bear Valley Summer Fun? Click here to see all the details!"

    I will be glad if the whole lot of them were gone, gone, gone. They sure haven't proved to be effective.

  • Mike Bullard posted at 12:36 am on Sat, Oct 6, 2012.

    Mike Bullard Posts: 569

    If we were still skiing I'd send BV admin my Heavenly receipt with a nastygram. Just for the insult, they don't care, it's a numbers thing, and "If you won't answer the phone somebody else will."
    I've said it repeatedly; somewhere--I think since Nam--it went from being the best you can to being the biggest and most profitable at the lowest expense. In suit talk, "Nothin' personal, it's just the way things're done." (Man, that stings.) Why not, weather's fine in their sauna.

  • Maryanne Schiffman posted at 10:06 pm on Fri, Oct 5, 2012.

    Maryanne Schiffman Posts: 1

    Regarding the quote from Mr. Toeniskoetter:
    “There’s really nothing to say right now,” he added. “Call me back in a week.”

    Well that must be very comforting to people all up and down the Hwy 4 corridor who depend on the ski resort to make a living. And I am sure it's also very reassuring for the residents of Bear Valley who have morgages to pay and families to feed as well.

    I understand that businesses have concerns, that they have to make a profit and that there are "lots of things to work out" among business partners. And the residents of Bear Valley know that too. But what the owners of the mountain and the town don’t seem to understand is that there are actual living breathing PEOPLE involved here. In other words Mr. Toeniskoetter and Friends, it's not just all about YOU.

    How about this kind of a response to the question posed to you: "We want to reassure everyone on Hwy 4 that we are doing everything we can to get the Mountain opened up this year. We understand how important the Mountain is to the economic survival of the Hwy 4 corridor and the families that live there, and we want to reiterate our commitment to being an active participant in that. We know that the current uncertainty makes people nervous and we want to assure everyone that we DO have the community in mind." I have more suggestions, Chuck: email me if need help with your PR.

    (Hint: you do.)

    Or how about this: "We are announcing a public meeting for the residents of Bear Valley and any other concerned locals to update them on the progress of negotiations and the future of the resort." Did that ever occur to you? Oh, guess not. Is that perhaps because the people of Bear Valley aren’t even ON YOUR RADAR?

    Mr. Toeniskoetter and Friends: the people who live in Bear Valley are not numbers on a spreadsheet, they are not "assets" of your corporations, they are not inputs in your production. They are human beings with lives. And your refusal, for months on end, to say ANYTHING to them, to give them ANY clue about whether "it’s going to work out for you" to open the mountain this winter-- about what is going to happen with the futures of their lives -- your refusal to show even the smallest modicum of respect, is nothing short of despicable.

    I sincerely hope that when you Rich People get done bickering with each other you will open the Mountain up this season to the huge sigh of relief of everyone up and down Highway 4. But whatever happens, be this understood: you have shown your true colors and the game is up. You will never again be able to masquerade as "job creators" who are "interested in the community." And don’t even start with your "love for the outdoors.” You are in this for profit.

    You people need to get into another business. Just go and sell yachts or something. Or move to China and exploit prison labor. But do everyone a favor and leave small town ski resorts alone.

    You have ruined Bear Valley. And what makes it worse, people like you don’t deserve Bear Valley.

    Signed, A former Bear Valley Resident who longs for the days of Bonnie and Dennis,

    (PS: They never would have treated people like this.)

    Maryanne Schiffman

    uch another brazen, rude, disrespectful and arrogant dispay of self-centeredness as has been on display in the