Usually regarded as a local ski area for ski buffs in Northern and Southern California, to which it is readily accessible by car, Mammoth Mountain Ski Area (“MMSA”) is preparing to come into the 21st Century with a new lodge, updated lifts, and, perhaps most important to proponents of the development, an expanded airport. The expected transformation will be accomplished by the December 12, 2014 passage of the National Defense Authorization Act to which was attached an amendment specifically targeted at the MMSA. The amendment provides for a land trade of over 1,500 acres of public and private property in proximate counties, for approximately 21 acres of United States Forest Service (“USFS”) land surrounding Mammoth Mountain Inn, which is currently leasing that property as the center of ski operations of the MMSA. In addition, the Bill allows for a “cash equalization option” to facilitate the exchange, by which MMSA can make up any deficiency in the value of the property conveyed to the USFS with a cash equivalent.
Most important in MMSA’s view is the expansion of the airport.