Mammoth Mountain Ski Area
Rita Kirkeby | Mammoth, CA
Mammoth Mountain Uses VersaCAMM to Supply Signs for Year-Round Fun
Rita Kirkeby, head of the sign shop for Mammoth Mountain Ski Area (MMSA), smiles when people assume she takes the summer off. “We work year-round here! In summer, the mountain is almost as busy with mountain bikers, hikers, and sightseers as it is with skiers and snowboarders in winter.”
"We can do jobs that used to take a day in a matter of hours. In the few months we’ve owned a VersaCAMM, we’ve been able to reduce our outsourcing to almost zero."
Rita has been working on Mammoth Mountain for almost 20 years, and has seen the area transition from a small, local ski valley to a major ski and mountain biking destination. Mammoth Mountain, located on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in California, is consistently ranked among the top 10 ski resorts worldwide and receives an average of nearly 400 inches of snow during its long season.
With the ski area’s growth has come an increased need for signage. Rita’s shop produces signs for Mammoth Mountain Ski Area and its affiliated base lodges, Eagle, Canyon, and the Main Lodge as well as for June Mountain and the Panorama Station and Canyon Kids Childrens’ Ski Schools. They also create signage for the Village Mountain Center and the Mammoth Mountain Golf Course and provide signs, banners and other advertising as needed for weddings, conferences, special events and concerts.
In early 2008, Rita upgraded her production platform from a vinyl cutter to a Roland VersaCAMM VP 300 30” digital printer/cutter. She had thoroughly researched the market and chose Roland for its versatility and reliability. “The production time we save now that we have the VersaCAMM is amazing” said Rita. We can do jobs that used to take a day in a matter of hours. In the few months we’ve owned a VersaCAMM, we’ve been able to reduce our outsourcing to almost zero.”
Rita enjoys the many features of the VersaCAMM. “I used to have to hand paint gradient fills, and now not only is the job done faster, but I can use a much wider range of effects and colors,” said Rita. “We also used to hand cut our designs -- now the Roland takes care of all of those steps.”
With the expanded capabilities the VersaCAMM offers, Rita is finding her sign shop can handle an increasing workload without adding personnel. Her shop now produces everything from the labels for the rental bike fleet to the huge signs on the ski lift towers. They also create the rate boards, liability signs, directional signs, advertising banners, and signage for special events such as motocross races. In the summer, they transform the ski area with signs advertising the summer wine fest, as well as designing wine tasting menu boards and entrance signs, way finding signs, and food menus. They mark hiking trails with reflective materials, make name tags for area personnel, and design advertising for season passes. Her shop even helps decorate the MMSA float for the town’s annual 4th of July parade.
Rita counts on the VersaCAMM when the weather causes sudden changes in ski conditions and ski runs close or open, or when dignitaries arrive unexpectedly and require privacy, or even when the bride decides to have an outdoor ceremony after all. “We need to be responsive when conditions change, which they do here all the time,” said Rita. “With the Roland, we can just load and go!”
The Mammoth Mountain Ski Area opens for the season in mid-November, and Rita anticipates another active year. “I’m busy year-round,” she said. “With the outstanding performance and reliability of our Roland, we can keep up with the increased demand for our work. It’s my extra employee!”