June 26, 2006
MAMMOTH LAKES, CA - (News Release) - The newest attraction at Mammoth Mountain for the 2006/07 winter season will be the state-of-the-art Top of the Sierra Interpretive Center designed to educate visitors about the surrounding area and the dynamic nature of the Eastern Sierra. The center will feature five interactive displays with facts about local geology, hydrology and the volcanic history of Mammoth Mountain, the Long Valley Caldera and more. Skiers and snowboarders have enjoyed rides to the top of Mammoth for years. With the addition of the Top of the Sierra Interpretive Center, Mammoth's summit will truly be a destination for all types of people in all seasons.
Over six years of research and project planning, plus more than $1 million, has been invested for the initial opening of the Top of the Sierra Interpretive Center. Content for the center was envisioned with input from a coalition of involved community members including representatives from U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), U.S. Forest Service, Paiute Tribal Council and local environmental organizations.
"I'm personally very excited to see this project come to life. We couldn't have done it without the help of many professionals who are experts in geology, hydrology and the history of the area," said Pam Murphy, Senior Vice President at Mammoth Mountain Ski Area. "We're not only creating a fun and interesting destination for our guests from out of town to visit, but we're also giving the community a place to learn about their surroundings."
The Top of the Sierra Interpretive Center will mainly be housed in an existing structure - the lower floor of Panorama Lookout Station, which is the top unloading point of the Panorama Gondola. Through window lined-walls, guests will get a bird's eye 180-degree view of peaks, valleys, rivers, volcanoes and rock formations left behind from glaciers, along with explanations of what they are looking at.
"The Top of the Sierra Interpretative Center will provide a spectacular platform for visitors to gain insight into the broad spectrum of natural processes that have shaped and continue to shape the majesty of the Eastern Sierra," said David Hill, Scientist in Charge of the Long Valley Observatory for the USGS. "I commend Mammoth Mountain Ski Area for its enlightened foresight in developing this facility."
A food court offering hot soups, sandwiches, soft drinks and snacks will be located at the Interpretive Center. Seating for 70 people will be available in the upstairs and downstairs areas of Panorama Lookout Station. The area will also be available for private receptions.
Mammoth awarded the project, including design and implementation of the center's interactive displays and hands-on learning tools to S2 Associates, Inc., based out of Napa, Ca. S2 specializes in the design of science, children's, history and corporate museum exhibitions. S2 has a proven track record in professional exhibit designs including the Innovation Gallery at the San Jose Tech Museum of Innovation, the "What's Going On?" exhibit at the Oakland Museum of California, and the Intel Museum in Santa Clara, CA.
The Top of the Sierra Interpretive Center is scheduled to open to the public in winter 2006/07 and will be open for visitors year-round.