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.”
Contact James DeHaven at email@example.com.