That is not true regarding the Airport. I just terminated there after one year. Could not work for the leadership up in town. No support and total ignorance prevails.
I can safely say that over 50% of the people deplaning every aircraft during the ski season (this past) were not from CA and many were visiting from around the world. I know, I saw them first hand. I spoke to many of them as they were awaiting to depart. I was the primary Ramp Security Officer and ARFF Operator. I had to greet every aircraft.
The principal concept of the Airport was working. Alaska Air is in the works of incorporating and scheduling a daily flight during the winter season, from Las Vegas. They did their research via surveys and found that the enplanements from that hub would be more international passengers than national. They found out that more international passengers would book a flight from LAS (Las Vegas) to MMH, than would nationals during that time frame.
As far as keeping it local, doing so would never allow it to support itself. A population of 7200 (over half of those do not even ski or board either) could never monetarily support the third largest Ski Resort in North America with an annual operating cost of well over 3.5 million dollars. That is on the short end as well. That concept went away when Dave expanded the hill back in the late 80's and into the early 90's.