Author Archives: Dennis Cox

Obsidian Amenities

Obsidian HomeResidences | Ownership

5-Star Services
  • Concierge Services
  • Obsidian Staff
  • Obsidian Shuttle
  • Exterior & Interior Home Maintenance
  • Snow Removal
  • Landscaping
  • Utilities
  • Front Desk Reservation Services
  • Full Housekeeping Services
  • In house spa treatments
  • Ski and Snowboard overnight tuning
  • Ski and snowboard equipment in-house fittings for rentals
  • Private suburban service
  • In-house chef services for meals and events
  • Prepared meal delivery service
  • Pre-arrival shopping
  • Corporate events and retreats
  • Reservations and event booking
  • Residence services
  • Discounted charter plane service
  • Private Around town shuttle service
  • Housekeeping and linen service
  • On site storage of personal belongings and equipment
  • Snow removal and snow shoveling
  • Members only interactive web site
  • Members only ski and golf privileges
  • Complete home and furnishings cleaning and maintenance
  • ClubHouse
    • Heated Indoor Pool & Spa
    • Fully Equipped Exercise Center
    • Expansive Deck
    • Outdoor Fireplace
    • Game room with Video Games, Pool & Ping Pong


    Mammoth Mountain Black Pass
    • 10 All-Access Season Passes
    • Premier Parking Pass
    • First in Line Lift Access
    • VIP Passes to Mountain Special Events
    • Early Ups Before the Mountain Opens
    • VIP Passes to Mountain Special Events
    • Private Gourmet On-Mountain Dining Room Access
    • Personal Mammoth Mountain Black Pass Concierge
    • [Features of the Obsidian black pass are different from the pass issued directly from MMSA]


  •  Sierra Star Golf Course
    • 2 Sierra Star Golf Memberships
    • Golf Guests Half Price Green Fees
    • Mountain Views & Tree-Lined Fairways


  • Black Tie Ski Rentals
    • Complimentary Delivery and Pick-Up of All Ski & Snowboard Equipment
    • Custom Fittings of State-of-the-Art Ski & Snowboard Rental Equipment
    • Slope-Side Assistance for any Emergency Equipment needs while on the Mountain


    Note: Amenities May Change Over Time and this list is not guaranteed. Check with listing agent to verify.


The Perfect Storm: KSL + Snow + Airbnb

The Perfect Real Estate Storm: KSL + Snow + AirBnB

While we wait for the perfect winter storm to kick-start our ‘17/’18 ski season, the Mammoth real estate condo market is in the midst of a wild rise in prices.  The average $/sqft for non-Intrawest 1-bedroom condos has shot up 44.1% from Q2 to Q4 (thru Dec 3).  (Intrawest condos like The Village, Westin, and JSL were excluded because they tend to skew the data higher and not enough were sold to make it relevant).

One stark example comes from The Summit condos near Eagle Lodge.  See the chart below for sale prices of 1-bedroom condos in 2017.  There was some variance in the condition and location of each condo, but the variances were not enough to explain the overall 64% jump $200k to $328k.

Chart - Summit 1beds 2017

Why is this happening?

It started back in mid-April 2017 when KSL Capital, a partnership related to Aspen Resort, announced its purchase of Mammoth Mountain Resorts (which includes June, Big Bear and Snow Summit).  Being brought in with other resorts like Squaw and Deer Valley created speculation that maybe our ‘temporary’ white tent at Eagle Lodge will finally be developed into a proper lodge, along with other investment.

This, after Mammoth was emerging out of an Epic Winter that dropped over 20 feet of snow in the month of January alone.  (We just sold a condo that still has damage from that perfect storm; contractors have been in very short supply to repair all the damage.)  Folks around town are hoping for a more ‘normal’ winter this year; was it a case of too much of a good thing?  A quick drive around town revealed collapsed decks, lopped-off chimneys, and scrunched cars.  Despite the snow’s effect on structures and our shoveling muscles, Mammoth Mountain had great visitation and condo rentals were very strong.  Transient Occupancy Tax (the town tax that is collected on all nightly rentals) had 6 consecutive record-breaking months from Dec-May!

The AirBnB Effect: Because of the higher rental income noted above, more buyers want to get in on the AirBnB phenomenon.  They first hear about the commission rates that large rental companies in Mammoth charge (40-45% for most, up to 60% at The Westin) and realize, hey I can cut out this huge middleman and manage rentals myself from my phone. It is not quite as easy as that, but many buyers already have experience with AirBnB elsewhere and want to expand their portfolio.  Many are trying for their first time and therefore want something small that is manageable, thus the run on 1-bedroom condos mentioned earlier.

Perfect Storm: This trifecta of factors, in our opinion, have drastically increased interest in small condos in Mammoth.  Through Dec 4th of 2017, there have been 378 condo sales compared to 303 sales in all of last year.  Condos started selling more quickly last spring, creating a dearth of inventory (we are at our lowest inventory level in 14 years!), leading to multiple offers and a rise in prices.

Labor Day often marks the start of a mini buying spree as buyers want to get their rental set up before Thanksgiving.  This year was tougher because of limited options on the market, so many agents took to trying to find off-market listings and buyers were willing to pay over the asking price.  While low interest rates also helped some, it is still hard to beat an all-cash offer with no appraisal or loan contingencies.

Lately, however, we are feeling some resistance to some of the higher list prices that sellers are throwing out there to see what sticks.  A standard 2-bedroom condo at Sunstone was just listed for $575,000 when the last sale was for $425,000 last April.  This 36% jump hearkens back to the days leading up to the last market peak (i.e. 2004-ish), but our prices are still below the last peak (i.e. when someone paid $710,000 for a 2-bd Sunstone!).

Rising prices typically convince would-be sellers to wait a bit longer before selling, which further contributes to our low inventory and exacerbates the supply/demand balance.  If you are considering selling or buying soon, keep in close contact with us for updates and new listings.  -Dennis, Tara & Eric

New Businesses to Keep Eye Out For

New Mammoth Lakes Businesses to keep an eye out for:

* Shelter Distillery – Locals and visitors alike are anxiously anticipating the opening of this first distillery in Mammoth!  Shelter Distillery is located in The Village at Mammoth, adjacent to Gomez’s restaurant.  The distilling began a couple of months ago and the grand opening is slated some time in December (hopefully mid December!).  They will be offering food as well and we’re looking forward to seeing what kind of tasty offerings they will have!  Owners Matt and Gracie Hammer also own Black Velvet Coffee (located in the outlet mall on Main Street) and we’ve already seen the quality of what they offer in the way of coffee so are super excited to see what they are going to offer in the way of spirits!

* The new Bleu – You may have already partaken in the goodies at Bleu (charcuterie, cheeses, freshly baked breads, wine, beer, etc.), currently located right next door to Base Camp Cafe on Main Street.  However, the owners, Theresa and Brandon Brocia, are opening an expanded version of their existing shop in a new location off of Old Mammoth Road in the old ChartHouse building (across from Good Life Cafe and Nik N Willies).  Their expanded offerings will include meals to go (Lunch and Dinner boxes and “Event-Ready” platters) and a lounge that will seat up to 50 people.  Keep an eye out for the opening of the new Bleu hopefully in February sometime!

* Grocery Outlet – You may have already noticed the construction along Old Mammoth Road (across from Rite Aid and the DIY center) and wondered what is coming.  This is the location of what will essentially be Mammoth’s 4th grocery store.  Currently, we have Vons, Sierra Sundance Whole Foods, and Busy Beez General Store.  The new Grocery Outlet is proposed to be approximately 20,000 square feet in size.  No dates set yet for a tentative opening.

House-Hunting the Virtual Reality Way

What if you could start your Mammoth house hunting from anywhere in the world?  Well, now you can with our new Virtual Reality / 360° video house-hunting program.

Before you arrive in Mammoth, we can set up your own personal portal for viewing VR/360 videos of the properties you and your agent have preselected from the MLS.

The videos are organic and are narrated by one of us who is on site telling you about all the features (and sometimes, smells!) of the property. This video experience is a full immersion into the property from top to bottom.

You will be able to decide if the property is one you would like to see in person on your next visit to Mammoth.  This will allow you to enjoy more of your vacation time with family and friends on the slopes and not waste time on properties that are not what you are looking for.

In addition, on busy weekends when many properties are rented and unavailable to see, you still can view them on your private portal on your phone or computer while you are enjoying your stay in Mammoth.

Email our team member, Eric, to learn more or get set up with a free portal.

Prices in Mammoth over last 13 Years

When we get the inevitable question of “how’s the market up here?”, we have been telling our clients that we are still below the peak from ten years ago, unlike the rest of California!  Most of southern California is well above the the peak from ten years ago.  So is it a good deal to buy in Mammoth right now?  Since Mammoth’s real estate market has typically followed SoCal’s market, then possibly it is.

Just how much below our peak are we?  Here is the price per square foot data from 4,398 condo sales from 2004 to late July 2017 (there were more sales, but a few did not have $/sqft data):

Pricepersqft Condos graph Jul 2017


There was some frothiness in our market ten years ago when financing was easy and when buyers believed that condos built by Intrawest (i.e. Village, Westin, Juniper Springs Lodge, etc.) would be a great investment (in terms of appreciation) and generate good rental income.  The latter was true, especially in the good snow years, but then the bottom fell out of our market, like everyone else’s during the Great Recession.

The drop in the red line of the graph went from $915/sqft to $369/sqft in 2012, a 60% drop.  The current level of $494/sqft is still 46% below the peak.  Not that we are expect to hit that same peak soon, mainly because financing got really tough for these ‘condo-hotels’ (where a lot of foreclosures happened in 2009).

The blue line for the Non-Intrawest condos (i.e. Snowcreek, SeasonsIV, Summit, and everything else), shows the drop going from $520/sqft to $231/sqft, a 56% drop.  These condos are generally older than Intrawest condos and located further away from the slopes, which explains the consistent value gap below Intrawest condos.  These are still 41% below their peak.

So basically, the story from the last ten years is that we peaked (like the rest of the state) in 2007, then dropped like a bomb to 2009, kept going down until hitting rock bottom in 2012, jumped up a bit in 2013, then flattened out during our drought years, and now are going up again in 2017.

We had a great snow year (too great? asks some locals with chimneys that were chopped off by snow sheds), which always helps.  And the announcement in mid April that Aspen Resorts is attempting to purchase Mammoth Resort helped boost things recently and we are having a strong summer selling season.

How much further will we go?  Will SoCal reaching new heights, some buyers are looking for bargains elsewhere.  We recently sold a townhome to a couple buying their first home; they could only afford to rent in Manhattan Beach so they bought their first ‘home’ in Mammoth!  And those folks who have made great gains over the last 5 years are selling their investment properties in L.A. and deferring their capital gains taxes by buying a like-kind property in Mammoth with 1031 Exchanges.  So the demand is still strong and our inventory is lower than average, so this should lead to more price gains.

Aspen partnership to acquire Mammoth Resorts

Big news in Mammoth today!

Word just came out this morning that Aspen Skiing Company and KSL Capital Partners, LLC, are purchasing Mammoth Resorts for an undisclosed amount.  Click Here to view an article from the Denver Post.  This has definitely created a buzz here in Mammoth (and outside of Mammoth).

What will this mean for the MVP season pass and for overall pricing for resort products?  what will it do for the Mammoth Mountain Ski Area brand?  We remember the disappointing feeling that Mammoth was getting ‘corporatized’ when Starwood Capital bought MMSA from Intrawest and Dave McCoy in 2005.  But they seemed to be able to keep the boutique feel of an independent ski resort (mainly by keeping key people in place, the veteran employees who have been here over 30 years), but also innovate and improve operations and marketing.  And when Mammoth (with June) bought Big Bear and Snow Summit, it seemed like a logical next move.  Does this now seem like the next logical move, to be acquired by Aspen?  Rusty Gregory, CEO of MMSA seems to think so, according to his resort’s press release this morning.  But he also states that Mammoth will “continue to operate on a standalone basis but coordinate closely with our new partner resorts.”  Rusty also disclosed that he will continue to own part of thew new company.

We have experienced (and are continuing to experience) an amazing winter here in Mammoth and, given this news, it should be an interesting spring for our real estate market.  With an already low inventory and healthy demand, there may be more confidence among buyers that a name like Aspen will just add more stability to operating a world class ski resort, restaurants, mountain bike park and partnerships with our local airport.  We would also anticipate that with new ownership we may see new capital improvements on Mammoth Mountain that have been put on hold for years.  Stay tuned.  Your comments are welcome!

-Tara P. & Dennis C.

Chateau Blanc

The Chateau Blanc complex was built in 1970 and is located at 3199 Chateau Rd., Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546.  There are 30 total units that are all 3 bedroom/ 2 bath floorplans with HOA dues at approximately $530 per month (as of 2017). Amenities include a pool, spa, and sauna and each unit features an attached single car garage. HOA dues include earthquake insurance, which not all complexes carry. 104483

Sales Extremes:
Low: $264,900 in 2009 (foreclosure)
High: $560,000 in 2006

Click here to view all available Chateau Blanc listings.
Click here to view a map of the Chateau Blanc complex.

Chateau Sierra

107754Chateau Sierra is a complex of 31 units located at 3170 Chateau Rd. All units are 3 bedroom/ 2 bath with an attached single car garage. Amenities of this complex include a pool, spa, and sauna, as well as being on the red line shuttle route for easy access to skiing. The in-town location offers a short walk to shopping, restaurants, and Vons grocery store.  HOA Dues are approx. $400/mo. in 2017.

Sales Extremes:
Low: $277,500 in 2012
High: $635,000 in 2006

Click here to view all active listings in the Chateau Sierra complex

Click here to view a map of the Chateau Sierra complex.

Chateau de Montagne

Chateau de Montagne (French for “Mountain”) is a condo complex located at 3251 Chateau Rd in Mammoth Lakes, CA. The complex was built in 1971 and consists of 48 units. There are two floorplans to choose from; a 4 bedroom 3 bath unit, or a 3 bedroom 2 bath + single car garage unit. Amenities include a pool, spa, and sauna, as well as easy access to skiing on the red line shuttle route. Monthly HOA dues also include water and cable television.

Sales Extremes:
High: $725,000 in 2006 for a 4 bedroom unit
Low: $295,000 in 2011 for a 3 bedroom unit

Click here for a map of the Chateau de Montagne complex.
Click here for any units for sale in the Chateau de Montagne complex.

Krystal Villa West

The Krystal Villa West complex is located at 134 Laurel Mountain Road in Mammoth Lakes, a short walk to a red line bus stop, restaurants, and shopping. There are 34 total units built in 1967 with one bedroom or one bedroom + loft floor plans.  Most 1+Lofts have 2 full bathrooms.  Amenities for the complex include a pool, spa, and on-site laundry facilities.  The complex tends to have more full time owners and tenants than vacation rentals.

HOA dues for the 1+Loft floorplans are approx. $383/mo in 2017.

Sales Extremes:
Low: $84,000 for 1 bedroom in 2010 (foreclosure)
High: $310,00 for a 1+Loft in 2006

Click here for all available units (if any) in the Krystal Villa West complex.
Click here for a map of the the Krystal Villa West.