Satisfying a Mammoth Demand
At Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, the signs, banners and even labels are produced on site at the small but busy sign shop.April 2014
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," she proclaims. "In summer, the mountain is almost as busy with mountain bikers, hikers, golfers, fishermen and sightseers as it is with skiers and snowboarders in winter."
Kirkeby has been working at Mammoth Mountain for 27 years and has seen the area transition from a winter ski resort to a year-round destination. Mammoth Mountain, located on the eastern side of California's Sierra Nevada mountain range, near Yosemite National Park, is consistently ranked among the top 10 ski resorts worldwide. It receives an average of nearly 400˝ of snow during its long season.
With Mammoth's growth has come an increased need for signage. Kirkeby's shop produces signs for Mammoth Mountain Ski Area and its affiliated base lodges, Eagle, Canyon Village Mountain Center and the Main Lodge, as well as for June Mountain and the Ski Schools. The shop also creates signage for Mammoth Mountain retail stores and provides signs, banners and other items for weddings, conferences, special events and concerts.
In early 2008, Kirkeby upgraded from a vinyl cutter to a 30˝ Roland VersaCAMM VP 300 digital printer/cutter. She chose the Roland for its versatility and reliability.
"We can do jobs that used to take a day in a matter of hours," she remarks. "We've been able to reduce our outsourcing."
Kirkeby enjoys the many features of the VersaCAMM. "We used to cut most of our designs out of vinyl on our plotter. Now the Roland takes care of all of those steps," she says. "We have cut production time by eliminating the need for weeding and applying multiple layers of vinyl; we now have one application with multiple colors and effects."
A Workhorse Printer
With the expanded capabilities the VersaCAMM offers, Kirkeby is finding her sign shop can handle the increasing workload without adding personnel. The shop now produces everything from the labels for the rental bike fleet to the huge signs on the ski lift terminals. It also creates the rate boards, liability signs, directional signs, advertising banners and signage for special events such as the Mammoth Motocross, Mammoth Mud Run and others. For the annual wine festival, the shop designs advertising, wine tasting menu boards, entrance signs, way-finding signs and food menus.
In summer, when the area becomes a mountain bike park, the shop prints trail crossing signs, signage for the rock climbing wall, reflective materials for hiking trails, name tags for area personnel and more. The shop even helps decorate the MMSA float for the town's annual 4th of July parade.
Kirkeby 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," says Kirkeby. "With the Roland, we can just load and go."IPG