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Will Bear Valley open?

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Posted: Friday, September 21, 2012 9:02 am | Updated: 9:21 am, Fri Sep 28, 2012.

September has long been a quiet month for Bear Valley Mountain Ski Resort, with most of those who remain on the mountain either fixing up ski lifts, wrapping up season pass sales or sprucing-up condos in the run up to ski season.

This month’s been even quieter, though, with unmaintained ski lifts, unsold season passes and unreserved vacation rentals fueling whispers the resort may not open at all.

“I’m asked that question three times a day,” said Bear Valley Real Estate’s Eric Jung. “My answer is, ‘Yes: The mountain will open.’”

“We rely on people to be here on the mountain. It’s something that affects our business,” Jung added. “I don’t know a single Realtor who says their winter sales aren’t directly proportionate to ski days. So it makes sense people are worried, but it looks to me like they’ll open.”

Nearly a year removed from one of the driest winters on record – and just months after laying off much of the mountain ski area’s staff – Arnold real estate broker Don Shinn isn’t so sure.

Shinn said he is most frustrated by Dundee Resort Development, the Colorado-based partnership group that manages the ski area.

Dundee is yet to provide a statement on the upcoming Bear Valley ski season. Members of the mountain’s three-person ownership group could not be reached for comment and did not return calls.

For Shinn and other business owners along the Highway 4 corridor, the silence from Bear Valley’s top brass has proven deafening.

“Being an integral part of the business environment it would seem they would recognize a duty to tell the community what’s going on,” Shinn said Wednesday. “It’s too bad the partners don’t seem to agree, because now when people ask ‘Is Bear Valley going to open?’ we have to tell them we don’t know.”

Sierra Nevada Adventure Co. co-owner Jill Seale agrees. As one of Bear Valley’s lift-ticket sales partners, she’s hoping management can quiet the Ebbetts Pass rumor mill in time to reassure ski season visitors.

“It’s going to affect all of us, the whole corridor and the whole county, if they don’t open,” Seale said. “There’s so much rumor, so much hearsay and conjecture, it’s really put the community on pins and needles. So if we could just get some communication then my hope is that the community could come together again.”

In the meantime, Sierra Nevada Adventure Co. is still renting kayaks, though it will be cutting back on inventory and changing-up hard goods orders. In that much, Seale said, she’s far from alone.

“That’s what you have to do if you’re in it for the long haul,” she explained. “I mean, everyone got a half-priced turtleneck last year. After a year like that, all I would say is you don’t want to be quite as exposed.”

Stanislaus National Forest Ranger Patti Clarey confirmed Thursday that some news is on its way for Seale and other Highway 4 business owners.

That’s thanks to an upcoming deadline on Bear Valley’s ski area operations plan, which is submitted annually as part of the resort’s decades-old permit agreement with the forest service.

The plan detailing ski patrol operations, lift inspection reports, and organizational charts is due on Clarey’s desk Oct. 15.

“They’ll turn in a plan,” Clarey said when asked if she was worried about the due date. “If they have changes in personnel, they will send me a new plan.”

“It’s a requirement under their permit,” she added. “And then once they accomplish all the things outlined in the plan they’ll be ready to open.”

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

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  • Dodge Ridge posted at 3:52 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

  • ecoalex posted at 6:16 pm on Thu, Sep 27, 2012.

    ecoalex Posts: 138

    Dundee could care less about the community unlike the past operators.This is the cold reality of large corporations.Dundee is a real estate based corporation that wanted to remake the village,but they didn't do their homework,they ignored what Bear Valley and the village is;a day trip resort,and Bay Area/Valley residents get away.Dundee misjudged,so now the Hwy 4 corridor community suffers .What to do now? My hope is that a new owner will take over,with a dedication to the community like the Rasmussen and Bottomley families had.Perhaps the Green Bay Packers model would work.A community/users consortium could make Dundee a offer? I'm sure we have the talent and desire to do the work needed to bring Bear back from the malaise that has turned a great family recreation area into a corporate nightmare.

  • Cleareye posted at 3:13 pm on Wed, Sep 26, 2012.

    Cleareye Posts: 643

    All of the local media, including the bay area should be demanding answers.

  • Charles Dudley Jr posted at 2:38 pm on Tue, Sep 25, 2012.

    Charles Dudley Jr Posts: 1281

    Bear Valley not opening will hurt every business up and down the HW 4 Corridor . [sad]

  • Carlygirl posted at 9:51 am on Tue, Sep 25, 2012.

    Carlygirl Posts: 1

    So what can we do to help!?

  • bizworldusa posted at 7:08 am on Tue, Sep 25, 2012.

    bizworldusa Posts: 1

    Is this real?The bear valley willl open?This is very good news. We enjoyed a very lot in this valley on the ski lift.
    Thank you

  • Mike Bullard posted at 9:54 pm on Mon, Sep 24, 2012.

    Mike Bullard Posts: 568

  • Thomas Perez posted at 7:50 pm on Mon, Sep 24, 2012.

    Thomas Perez Posts: 36

    Finally we agree 100% on an issue Mike! They don't treat their employees well either.

  • Mike Bullard posted at 1:20 pm on Mon, Sep 24, 2012.

    Mike Bullard Posts: 568

    The philosophy behind leaders like that's simple and rampant anymore: "if you won't eat my [expetive] somebody else will, chow down or beat feet." Petty management's so busy counting staples they can't see the value of a decency within. No wonder that place always seemed like just a commercial venture, nobody matters but money and management.
    Jeeze, these days.

  • LN posted at 11:41 am on Mon, Sep 24, 2012.

    LN Posts: 3

    There exists some concern when the GM, Lift Op Manager, Marketing Director, HR Director and others who were major BV decision makers, some of which who still remain on staff, tell laid-off BV employees that they have no idea what's going to happen and never any new news to share. BV employees who were laid off in June have found other positions and are moving on with their lives under the assumption that BV will not open. They can not just cross their fingers and "hope" that come winter they will have their jobs back and once again be able to provide for their families. They have not been given any information as to whether BV will open again. The fact that top ranking employees don't have any information to share with the families most affected by the closure and potential re-opening is scary! ANY INFORMATION would be nice - because even this article does not provide any real answers.