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Vail Resorts acquires more
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Updated 9 days ago
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4 months ago
http://www.realvail.com/vail-resorts-to-acquire-crested-butte-okemo-sunapee-stevens-pass/a5260 Add Okemo, Sunapee, Crested Butte and Stevens Pass to the mix. Do think they will forced to sell something in Colorado? They seem to have develop a monopoly there.
marzNC - DCSki Supporter
4 months ago

padjaski68 wrote:

http://www.realvail.com/vail-resorts-to-acquire-crested-butte-okemo-sunapee-stevens-pass/a5260 Add Okemo, Sunapee, Crested Butte and Stevens Pass to the mix. Do think they will forced to sell something in Colorado? They seem to have develop a monopoly there.

With Alterra owning a few resorts in Colorado that were Intrawest so that those are now on Ikon, plus Aspen/Snowmass as a major competitor that is on Ikon and MCP, adding CB to the Vail collection doesn’t seem like it would make that much difference.  Be interesting to watch though.

lbotta - DCSki Supporter
4 months ago

Many of us are ecstatic in the Mt Sunapee area.  First of all, the Epic Pass will be valid at three Eastern locations, two of them major destination locations.  Mt Sunapee’s expansion was recently approved by the State of New Hampshire but Three Peaks was holding the expansion in abeyance.  With their pledge to put $35M into the three new acquisitions, it is a major step forward.  Despite Sunapee being a medium sized mountain with no housing development, it is nonetheless one of the top rated places for grooming, snow quality and customer service.  As to Okemo, it has been repeatedly been voted a top family place.  And Stowe is, well… Stowe.  

It wouldn’t surprise me to see Vail acquire more Eastern resorts.

4 months ago
I agree it will be interesting to see how the 35 million is spread out. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a bulk of it go to Steven’s Pass and Crested Butte since their master plans were approved. Sunapee may see their North Peak project but see a delay on the terrain expansion until they can figure out a way they can benefit from it more. Okemo may see South Mtn Village lift and trails completed. As for more acquisitions mid Atlantic has to be in their future…question becomes where? Glad I bought I the Local Epic definitely worth it. Of course I look forward to skiing Park City in March!
marzNC - DCSki Supporter
4 months ago

From the articles I can find that are from local news for Okemo and Sunapee, pretty clear that the Mueller family wasn’t looking to sell but the opportunity to sell to Vail was too good to pass up.  Apparently the negotiations started in November 2017.  The idea of adding Triple Peak mountains to the Epic Pass as a perk was announced in the spring.  Vail also gets the two golf courses owned by Triple Peaks.

This sale feels more like the purchases made by Vail in the midwest than those around Tahoe or SLC or even Stowe.  How fast things change depends more on when Tim and Diane Mueller are no longer in charge of operations then what company is the owner on paper.  That was going to happen sooner or later, although their adult children are also active members of the Triple Peaks senior management team.  As grandparents who bought Okemo in 1982, Tim and Diane must be over 60, if not 65.

https://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/2018/06/04/okemo-and-mount-sunapee-ski-areas-sold-vail-resorts/ZplSqkkLF6YZV5G6io7gKN/story.html

https://vtdigger.org/2018/06/04/vail-resorts-buys-okemo-82-million-deal/

http://www.concordmonitor.com/Vail-Buying-Sunapee-Okemo-Ski-Resorts-17955058

 

Found a little history of Triple Peaks.  Ethan Mueller opted to move his family back east in 2016 while remaining the President of CB.  His younger sister stayed at Crested Butte.

http://www.snocountry.com/news/entry/all-in-the-family-mueller-mantra-thrives-east-and-west

http://mountaintimes.info/all-in-the-family-part-ii-triple-peaks-ethan-mueller-moves-east/

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
4 months ago

lbotta wrote:

Many of us are ecstatic in the Mt Sunapee area.  First of all, the Epic Pass will be valid at three Eastern locations, two of them major destination locations.  Mt Sunapee’s expansion was recently approved by the State of New Hampshire but Three Peaks was holding the expansion in abeyance.  With their pledge to put $35M into the three new acquisitions, it is a major step forward.  Despite Sunapee being a medium sized mountain with no housing development, it is nonetheless one of the top rated places for grooming, snow quality and customer service.  As to Okemo, it has been repeatedly been voted a top family place.  And Stowe is, well… Stowe.  

It wouldn’t surprise me to see Vail acquire more Eastern resorts.

As was mentioned, the $35 million is for all four ski resorts not just the three developed and operated by Triple Peaks.

Stevens Pass had an improvement planned approved by the Forest Service in 2007 and then another in 2015.  My quick reading implies that the issue was lack of funding while CNL was the owner was related to why major approved projects were not implemented.  There was hope that the sale to OZ would change the situation.  But clearly Vail is much more likely to spend millions relatively soon at Stevens.  Vail spent $13 million at Wilmot over one summer to build lifts and renovate the main lodge.  The target market for Wilmot is Chicago.  The target market for Stevens Pass is Seattle/Tacoma, one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas on the west coast.  With W-B and Stevens, presumably that provides both a local mountain and a major destination resort within driving distance for folks who live in southern Washington State.

https://www.adventuresportsnetwork.com/transworld-business/cnl-properties-acquires-washingtons-stevens-pass-for-20-5-million/

https://liftblog.com/2017/09/15/in-a-booming-region-stevens-pass-looks-to-expand

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
4 months ago

lbotta wrote:

It wouldn’t surprise me to see Vail acquire more Eastern resorts.

What other resorts would Vail want to get for a greater share of the Philly, NYC/NJ, Boston, and CT/RI markets?  Okemo, Sunapee, Stowe pull a lot of people from those cities and the heavily populated areas that border VT.  Assuming Powdr won’t sell Killington and Peak Resorts won’t sell Mount Snow.

I’m watching what the Fairbanks do with Jiminy Peak.  Only operators there and Bromley.  The Fairbank Group owns and operates Cranmore.  Jiminy Peak is leased from OZ but is the Fairbank family home mountain.  Having spent time at Jiminy both during the ski season and at other times as a Wyndham timeshare owner (ski in/out), I know far more about Jiminy than Okemo or Sunapee.  It’s been a 4-season resort for decades.  Reminds me of Massanutten in some ways.

4 months ago

lbotta wrote:

Many of us are ecstatic in the Mt Sunapee area.  First of all, the Epic Pass will be valid at three Eastern locations, two of them major destination locations.  Mt Sunapee’s expansion was recently approved by the State of New Hampshire but Three Peaks was holding the expansion in abeyance.  With their pledge to put $35M into the three new acquisitions, it is a major step forward.  Despite Sunapee being a medium sized mountain with no housing development, it is nonetheless one of the top rated places for grooming, snow quality and customer service.  As to Okemo, it has been repeatedly been voted a top family place.  And Stowe is, well… Stowe.  

It wouldn’t surprise me to see Vail acquire more Eastern resorts.

I was wondering what you would think of this.  Many observers lament the loss of small ski operations, but for those invested in struggling small areas it is not always a bad thing when deep pockets come to the rescue.  I think Sunapee and Okemo are perfect feeder mtns for gateways to bring easterners to Vail Resorts out west.

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
4 months ago

For a different perspective, check out the 6/4/2018 blog entry from MRG.  I stopped by Magic yesterday.  My guess is that the owners of Magic feel exactly the same way.  The contrast between MRG and Sugarbush is exactly the same as Magic and Stratton.

https://www.madriverglen.com/epic/

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
4 months ago

Didn’t realize how much of a struggle Crested Butte had before the Muellers came into the picture around 2003.  It was not the first place that Tim Mueller tried to develop in Colorado after getting Okemo on solid footing.  The archived article I found by Jason Blevins was originally published in the Denver Post in Oct 2003.  A local community group had tried to raise $52 million to buy out CB but Mueller got the prize, beating out a Texas real estate company.  The article ends with a quote from Mueller: “One thing we’ve learned out (East) is to work with the local community to create a vision for the resort and not jam things down people’s throats; moderate growth in a slow-growth manner.”

https://www.hotel-online.com/archive/archive-8235

” …

Skier visits at Crested Butte have plunged from a high of 550,000 in 1997-98 — the first year of the discount season-pass war among Interstate 70 resorts — to 342,000 last season. Sales-tax revenue in nearby Crested Butte has fallen 25 percent in that time. 

Edward Callaway, son of Bo and the remaining remnant of the scattered ownership team, struggled to make ends meet. He sold his family’s 261-room Marriott to Club Med in 2001. Last spring, he handed over his 242-room Sheraton hotel to creditors, five years after he spent $10 million on a renovation. 

“The last three years have been extraordinarily difficult for us, and we are glad to be putting it into Tim’s hands,” Edward Callaway said. “We are ready to move on and do other things in this family.”

…”

Denis - DCSki Supporter
4 months ago

I hope that their newly acquired operating and improvement costs will cause them to leave Kirkwood alone.

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
4 months ago

Interesting quotes from a member of the Crested Butte town council in an article in Steamboat Today.

https://www.steamboattoday.com/news/vail-buys-crested-butte-mountain-resort/ - June 4, 2018

“Our town is very reactionary,” Mitchell said. “People freak out about things … Everybody has a big mouth in this town.

“The bottom line is we need cash,” Mitchell continued. “The ski area is falling apart. We haven’t had a new lift since 2005.”

4 months ago

I’ll be curious to see how this affects the SnowTime season pass.  SnowTime’s still listing reciprocity with Okemo and CB for next year’s passes.

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
4 months ago

superguy wrote:

I’ll be curious to see how this affects the SnowTime season pass.  SnowTime’s still listing reciprocity with Okemo and CB for next year’s passes.

Hmm … wonder if SnowTime is on a list in a Vail office somewhere?  The missing region for the Epic pass is the mid-Atlantic.  With Snowshoe on the Ikon and owned by Alterra, perhaps the Pittsburgh, DC/Baltimore, and/or Charlotte/Raleigh/Altanta markets will get another look.  Telluride as a perk to the Epic pass covers Texas.

With the purchases in recent years, my impression is that existing pass or reciprocal discount agreements have been honored for the first season after a sale is final.  Nothing can officially change until a sale is final.

Have heard that anyone who bought an Okemo pass will be able to trade it in somehow for whatever Epic passes are offered after the sale is final.  The passholder talked to someone on the phone.  Sounds like Vail Resorts. doesn’t want to wait another year to gain Epic passholders from their investment in Triple Peaks.  I read that Vail approached Triple Peaks in November 2017 but initially they weren’t interested.

4 months ago

Funny you say that. I reached out to Vail’s Director of Strategy & Acquistions on that exact topic last year. I even mentioned a hidden gem of a resort, they may want to keep an eye on.  After going back and forth with some small talk for a bit, he did at least let it out that Vail is keeping a keen eye on the DMV, but couldn’t say more. 

marzNC wrote:

superguy wrote:

I’ll be curious to see how this affects the SnowTime season pass.  SnowTime’s still listing reciprocity with Okemo and CB for next year’s passes.

Hmm … wonder if SnowTime is on a list in a Vail office somewhere?  The missing region for the Epic pass is the mid-Atlantic.  With Snowshoe on the Ikon and owned by Alterra, perhaps the Pittsburgh, DC/Baltimore, and/or Charlotte/Raleigh/Altanta markets will get another look.  Telluride as a perk to the Epic pass covers Texas.

With the purchases in recent years, my impression is that existing pass or reciprocal discount agreements have been honored for the first season after a sale is final.  Nothing can officially change until a sale is final.

Have heard that anyone who bought an Okemo pass will be able to trade it in somehow for whatever Epic passes are offered after the sale is final.  The passholder talked to someone on the phone.  Sounds like Vail Corp. doesn’t want to wait another year to gain Epic passholders from their investment in Triple Peaks.  I read that Vail approached Triple Peaks in November 2017 but initially they weren’t interested.

 

4 months ago

marzNC wrote:

“The bottom line is we need cash,” Mitchell continued. “The ski area is falling apart. We haven’t had a new lift since 2005.”

What a travesty! 

Denis - DCSki Supporter
4 months ago

DMV?  Pretty sure it’s not dept. of motor vehicles.

4 months ago

D.C - MD - Northern VA

 

Denis wrote:

DMV?  Pretty sure it’s not dept. of motor vehicles.

 

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
4 months ago

A few comments from Crested Butte businessmen in this article in the Aspen Times about the impending Vail purchase.

https://www.aspentimes.com/news/local/vail-resorts-buys-crested-butte-sunapee-stevens-pass-in-two-transactions/

Gary Huresky is a Realtor and member of the Crested Butte/Mount Crested Butte Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. Huresky said he’s looking forward to Vail Resorts’ presence in the area.

“There’s mixed emotions around town,” Huresky said. “But in my opinion, it’s a welcome endeavor.”

Huresky said the Crested Butte ski area has needed on-mountain improvements for some time. He added that Vail Resorts’ marketing muscle also could help bring more people to the area.

“We’ll see what happens with the transition … but we’re a ski town; let’s get folks in here with experience and capital,” he said.

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
4 months ago

Based on the comments in a June 6 Powder article, sounds like the Mueller family is not going to be around after the sale to Vail is complete.  Be interesting to see what Ethan and Erica do next.  Can’t quite imagine them leaving the ski industry completely.  Ethan is around 40 and his sister Erica a few years younger.  Ethan is Pres. of CB and Erica is a VP.  Ethan was GM from 2011-14 but the current GM is Michael Kraatz, who was at one time responsible for Real Estate and Development.  

https://www.powder.com/stories/why-did-crested-butte-and-stevens-pass-sell-out-to-vail/

” …

On Monday, Erica was at her CBMR office at 5 a.m. after a restless night of sleep. She and Ethan called a meeting for all of CBMR’s managers first thing in the morning. They told them the news that quickly spread nationwide—the Muellers had sold all three of their ski areas to Vail for $82 million, with another $155 million to pay off leases owed, and they would be leaving the company… .”

 

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
4 months ago

marzNC wrote:

Be interesting to see what Ethan and Erica do next.  Can’t quite imagine them leaving the ski industry completely.  Ethan is around 40 and his sister Erica a few years younger.  Ethan is Pres. of CB and Erica is a VP.  Ethan was GM from 2011-14 but the current GM is Michael Kraatz, who was at one time responsible for Real Estate and Development.  

https://www.powder.com/stories/why-did-crested-butte-and-stevens-pass-sell-out-to-vail/

” …

On Monday, Erica was at her CBMR office at 5 a.m. after a restless night of sleep. She and Ethan called a meeting for all of CBMR’s managers first thing in the morning. They told them the news that quickly spread nationwide—the Muellers had sold all three of their ski areas to Vail for $82 million, with another $155 million to pay off leases owed, and they would be leaving the company… .”

 

Ethan Mueller decided to move his family, including three kids, to NH in 2016.  In addition to being President of Crested Butte, he was and is Sr. VP of Triple Peaks.  His mother, Diane Mueller, was Exec. VP for CB.  Ethan became part of the management team at CB in 2004 and was GM 2011-14.  His younger sister, Erica, became a VP for CB when Ethan moved east before the 2016-17 season.  Erica was a professional snowboarder before joining the family business.  She trained at Steamboat for a while.  She chased the dream of being in the winter Olympics when she was racing at World Cup level but missed the cut for 2006 and 2010.  In 2016, it was clear the family was planning to run Triple Peaks for a while.  Erica was skiing more than snowboarding at CB.  But obviously the family felt that taking advantage of the opportunity to sell to Vail made more sense in the long run, especially given the amount money needed for improvements at CB.  Ethan’s father, Tim Mueller, is President of Triple Peaks.

http://mountaintimes.info/all-in-the-family-part-ii-triple-peaks-ethan-mueller-moves-east/ - July 2016

http://gazette.com/former-pro-snowboarder-becomes-face-of-family-owned-crested-butte-mountain-resort/article/1596097 - Feb 2017

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
4 months ago

Vail Resorts included the money elements of the pending purchase of Triple Peaks and Stevens Pass in the 2018 third quarter report.  Certainly a positive report in the June 7 press release.

http://investors.vailresorts.com/news-releases/news-release-details/vail-resorts-reports-fiscal-2018-third-quarter-results-and-early

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
4 months ago

If you have an hour (kidding), here is the brand new FAQ about season passes related to the purchase of Triple Peaks and Stevens Pass.  Clearly trying to make it easier for people to move to Epic even if they already bought a season pass during early season sales.

https://www.epicpass.com/info/new-epic-resorts-faqs.aspx

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
4 months ago

marzNC wrote:

Vail Resorts included the money elements of the pending purchase of Triple Peaks and Stevens Pass in the 2018 third quarter report.  Certainly a positive report in the June 7 press release.

http://investors.vailresorts.com/news-releases/news-release-details/vail-resorts-reports-fiscal-2018-third-quarter-results-and-early

A short article about the quarterly report from the Vail Daily, which is actually published weekly.

https://www.vaildaily.com/news/vail-resorts-third-quarter-shows-positive-results-from-ski-season-pass-sales/

” …

Katz said the company’s mountain revenue increased 7.1 percent from the same period in 2017. Lift revenue grew 7.9 percent for the quarter. Total visitation grew 6.4 percent.

Much of that gain came from resorts in places other than Colorado. But, Katz said, late-season snow in Colorado brought more visitors, showing that demand for ski vacations exists among “high-end consumers.”

Acknowledging the “challenging” weather at Colorado resorts, Katz said the company’s third-quarter results show the “resilience” of the company’s business model, which includes both geographic diversity and season-pass sales. 

Information provided by the company shows that pass sales for the 2018-19 ski season are running ahead of the same period in 2017.

Through May 31, pass sales are running 12 percent ahead of 2017. Revenue is up 19 percent over the third quarter of 2017.

Responding to a question from Bank of America analyst Shaun Kelley about the prospects for further acquisitions, Katz said he believes there are still “select opportunities” in North America. But, Katz added, any future acquisitions must provide Vail Resorts with something unique for the firm. 

“We have to be even more selective,” Katz said, adding that the company is also looking for opportunities outside North America.

…”

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
4 months ago

ChmxJoe74 wrote:

Funny you say that. I reached out to Vail’s Director of Strategy & Acquistions on that exact topic last year. I even mentioned a hidden gem of a resort, they may want to keep an eye on.  After going back and forth with some small talk for a bit, he did at least let it out that Vail is keeping a keen eye on the DMV, but couldn’t say more. 

What comes to mind is Wisp and Wintergreen, both are owned by EPR at this point but operated by different companies.  Both are clearly fairly well developed 4-season resorts drawing from the DMV, plus Wisp must pull from PA during the summer.  The driving distance from the metropolitan populations seems similar to the driving needed for three Vail resorts in the midwest that draw from Chicago, Detroit, and Minn/St. Paul.

From what I know of the history for Snowtime and 7Springs/HV/Laurel, I would guess that the owners would want a lot of money to sell out to Vail Resorts.

http://www.newsadvance.com/nelson_county_times/news/a-closer-look-at-wintergreen-s-sale-to-epr-properties/article_96fc39ae-b7af-11e4-9350-8ff5494f560f.html - 2015 article about EPR and Wintergreen

4 months ago

marzNC wrote:

ChmxJoe74 wrote:

Funny you say that. I reached out to Vail’s Director of Strategy & Acquistions on that exact topic last year. I even mentioned a hidden gem of a resort, they may want to keep an eye on.  After going back and forth with some small talk for a bit, he did at least let it out that Vail is keeping a keen eye on the DMV, but couldn’t say more. 

What comes to mind is Wisp and Wintergreen, both are owned by EPR at this point but operated by different companies.  Both are clearly fairly well developed 4-season resorts drawing from the DMV, plus Wisp must pull from PA during the summer.  The driving distance from the metropolitan populations seems similar to the driving needed for three Vail resorts in the midwest that draw from Chicago, Detroit, and Minn/St. Paul.

From what I know of the history for Snowtime and 7Springs/HV/Laurel, I would guess that the owners would want a lot of money to sell out to Vail Resorts.

http://www.newsadvance.com/nelson_county_times/news/a-closer-look-at-wintergreen-s-sale-to-epr-properties/article_96fc39ae-b7af-11e4-9350-8ff5494f560f.html - 2015 article about EPR and Wintergreen

Laurel Mountain was ripe for the picking for years, as was Blue Knob.  I’m glad BK’s owners are trying to keep the original feel while improving the resort.  Still, imagine what Vail could have done with BK - so much untapped potential.  Cut some new trails, upgrade some lifts and overhaul the snowmaking, and it could be a real powerhouse.

Laurel still has a lot of potential with the same improvements, and 7S could make that happen as well.  The issue I see there is 7S doesn’t want to make it TOO competitive.  Yeah, they want it to turn a profit, but not at the expense of 7S.  While I’m glad Laurel’s back, I see 7S stifling that.  A different company like Vail would have much more interest in developing and tapping that potential.

I agree with what ChmxJoe74 said about Wisp being a potential acquisition target.  It’s still easily reachable from the Baltimore/Washington area, but also has the advantage that it could pull from Pittsburgh as well.

4 months ago

superguy wrote:

 

Laurel Mountain was ripe for the picking for years, as was Blue Knob.  I’m glad BK’s owners are trying to keep the original feel while improving the resort.  Still, imagine what Vail could have done with BK - so much untapped potential.  Cut some new trails, upgrade some lifts and overhaul the snowmaking, and it could be a real powerhouse.

Laurel still has a lot of potential with the same improvements, and 7S could make that happen as well.  The issue I see there is 7S doesn’t want to make it TOO competitive.  Yeah, they want it to turn a profit, but not at the expense of 7S.  While I’m glad Laurel’s back, I see 7S stifling that.  A different company like Vail would have much more interest in developing and tapping that potential.

I agree with what ChmxJoe74 said about Wisp being a potential acquisition target.  It’s still easily reachable from the Baltimore/Washington area, but also has the advantage that it could pull from Pittsburgh as well.

Off topic here but when you mention Laurel, a Crazie thought must follow. If I were Bob Nutting I would be lobbying PA to pony up another $6 million for infrastructure improvements to match the money PA is set to spend on Denton Hill. Remember, Laurel is a state park and the state is only awarding 10 year leases. Kinda makes little sense for private investment on land not owned with a limited time to recover capital investments. The Denton Hill rehab is now estimated to be around $18 million, $12 million is earmarked, with over $7 million in snowmaking alone, 100% coverage. PA covered the cost for only 50% snowmaking for Laurel, a fact that has trouble me since details first emerged for Laurel’s rehab.

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
4 months ago

superguy wrote:

 

Laurel Mountain was ripe for the picking for years, as was Blue Knob.  I’m glad BK’s owners are trying to keep the original feel while improving the resort.  Still, imagine what Vail could have done with BK - so much untapped potential.  Cut some new trails, upgrade some lifts and overhaul the snowmaking, and it could be a real powerhouse.

Laurel still has a lot of potential with the same improvements, and 7S could make that happen as well.  The issue I see there is 7S doesn’t want to make it TOO competitive.  Yeah, they want it to turn a profit, but not at the expense of 7S.  While I’m glad Laurel’s back, I see 7S stifling that.  A different company like Vail would have much more interest in developing and tapping that potential.

I agree with what ChmxJoe74 said about Wisp being a potential acquisition target.  It’s still easily reachable from the Baltimore/Washington area, but also has the advantage that it could pull from Pittsburgh as well.

BK being in a state park adds paperwork and  complications when it comes to making improvements.  I don’t think that’s the type of effort of interest to Vail based on which ski resorts they chose to buy in the midwest.  They spent $10-13 million on each one after the purchases in 2012, with a lot happening in the first 6-12 months.

I’ll be watching what happens in New Hampshire as Vail takes over ownership of the mountains operated by Triple Peaks.  Even when CNL sold to OZ, and nothing was changing about operations, there was tension from locals.  Apparently the NH Governor and Attorney General were surprised by the announcement of the pending sale.  The Gov. got a call from Tim Mueller 15 min before the public announcement was made.  The state got out of operations at Sunapee when the lease with the Mueller’s was signed in 1998.

http://www.concordmonitor.com/New-Hampshire-residents-speak-out-about-new-ski-resort-owner-12024191 - Aug 2017

http://www.unionleader.com/business/Sunapee-sale-plan-surprised-NH-leaders-06082018 - June 2018

4 months ago

Makes sense.  It’s a shame to see some good places hobble by bureaucracy.

I wonder what it would take for the state to let go of control over those lands?  Aside from money, I’m guessing it’d probably take some legislative action to change their status from state parks.

Speaking of LM, some guy was claiming on Facebook that Nutting’s lease on Laurel is up and he may not renew it?  It was under the user Laurel Mountain Ski Resort I believe.  Anyone hear anything about that?

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
4 months ago

Wasn’t paying that much attention to Vail Resorts in the fall when this article was published in Powder.  Didn’t realize that at one point in the 1990s, the owners of Vail and Beaver Creek needed to file Chapter 11 to get finances sorted out.  Vail Resorts was created in 1996 and went public in January 1997.  The IPO price was $22.  The price was around $280 in early June 2018.

https://www.powder.com/stories/features/epic-world/

The Chapter 11 process took a while to sort out.  The job Rob Katz had at the time with a NY equity firm is how he got connected to Vail initially.  He was on the first Vail Resorts Board of Directors.  He and his wife moved the family to Colorado in 2002 when their sons were quite young.  He became CEO in 2006.

https://journaltimes.com/news/national/gillett-emerges-from-chapter/article_f6debfc4-183c-554b-bd0c-654399e25b4c.html

https://www.5280.com/2016/12/rob-katz-is-the-most-powerful-man-in-the-ski-industry/

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
4 months ago

Denis wrote:

I hope that their newly acquired operating and improvement costs will cause them to leave Kirkwood alone.

The senior management changes that impact Kirkwood in the long run is the move by Peter Sonntag to W-B.  He moved from being COO of Heavenly and the VP responsible for Tahoe in general, meaning decisions for Northstar and Kirkwood.  The new VP/COO is Mike Goar, who was VP/COO at Keystone.  Goar was GM at Canyons for a while and was there during the transition to Vail manangement.  Before that, he worked at Solitude for 27 years.

https://www.tahoedailytribune.com/news/sports/getting-goaring/

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
4 months ago

Ultimately, companies are run by people.  Found a few articles about Rob Katz that I hadn’t seen before.  I find corporate history interesting.  Perhaps because I joined a start up after grad school that went from 7 people to a publicly traded company with 17,000 people worldwide in about ten years.  I joined when there were 40 people, about six years before the first successful IPO.  Worked there for 15 years before retiring early, going through several significant transition periods.

One factor I noticed is that Katz was in the process of trying to figure out life in the first years he was associated with Vail Resorts.  Started out as a Board Director back in 1996 but didn’t become CEO until 2006.  Once he and his wife decided to move to Boulder in 2002, he had time to go skiing more.  He was consulting but didn’t have a full-time corporate job.  Their two boys were young when the family moved, not even in school yet.  Katz is a good skier.  He started skiing at Hunter at age 10.  The places he skied with school friends included Stratton, Mt. Snow, Stowe, and Sugarbush.  He was 39 when he became CEO.

https://www.vaildaily.com/news/the-soul-is-what-happens-on-the-mountain-vail-resorts-new-ceo-rob-katz/ - April 2006

https://www.vaildaily.com/news/katz-leads-vail-into-the-future/ - Jan 2013

https://chiefexecutive.net/candor-moves-mountains-vail-resorts/ - Feb 2018

A story in the 2013 article “Katz Leads Vail Into The Future” caught my eye.  George Gillett was the owner of Vail and Beaver Creek when he had to use Chapter 11 in the early 1990s to get the finances sorted out.  That’s when the company Katz was working for got involved with the ski industry.  First time he skied at Vail was during the 1990-91 season when he was in his 20s.  He stayed with the father of a colleague.  The father was one of the first Vail shareholders.

“…

Passion for the business

One of Katz’s favorite memories of his early involvement with Vail was a day in 1992 when he skied with Gillett. They were in the Back Bowls and it was a powder day, Katz remembers, and Gillett was showing Katz around.

Katz was impressed with Gillett’s skiing ability and aggressive style, and next thing he knew Gillett did a full-on face plant right in front of him.

“Here I am with the CEO at the time, and I was like, ‘Wow, do I help him? What do I do now,?” Katz said. “Meanwhile, George popped right up, smile on his face, grabbed his skis, put everything back on and went right back down.”

That memory has stayed with Katz because it reminds him that the leadership of the company has to have a real passion for the business, he said.

“It doesn’t mean that everybody has to be a great skier, I wouldn’t say that … but boy it helps when you can really get out there and experience kind of that thrill and excitement and joy that everybody has, and do it at all levels,” Katz said. “It was a great lesson to me, watching George, in terms of the enthusiasm he brought to the business. You can be official in your title and your role and you’ve got a lot of responsibility, but don’t forget to have fun.”

…”

In the 2006 article just after Rob Katz became CEO, the fact that he is a skier was noted by Bill Jensen.  Jensen was COO of Vail for a while.  He went off in 2008 to lead Intrawest.  Recently Jensen became the CEO and part-owner of Telluride, which is part of the Epic Pass for 2018-19.  Adam Aaron (mentioned below) is currently CEO of AMC Entertainment and was an an executive for a cruise line and a hotel chain before becoming CEO at Vail Resorts in 1996.  Yet it was Katz who had a vision for Vail Resorts that led him to move corporate headquarters to Denver because it was better for a public company in the long run.  That decision was announced the same day Katz became CEO and made a lot of people pretty unhappy.

“…

Jensen: “(Skiing with Katz, Vice President of Mountain Operations Brian McCartney and Ski School Director Dee Byrne) we got on Chair 5 and we were riding up 5, and Rob rode up with (Byrne). I just looked and said, for Dee as a ski school director, she got 12 minutes with Rob, not in a meeting, not in an office, not via e-mail. She got 12 minutes of face time with the CEO of the company. I enjoyed working for Adam. There was no problem there, and Adam did a lot of great things for our resorts and for us individually. But the one thing my people never got was the chance to ride a chairlift with Adam. … I know Rob loves to ski and Rob will be up, and Rob will get a perspective of those people out on the mountain in their element.”

…”

This 2018 article gives some insight into what Katz’s leadership style became after he was CEO.  In 2013, he was one of the guest speakers in Voices of Experience for a series by the Daniels College of Business, part of the Univ. of Denver.  The hour long video of his comments is available online.

https://daniels.du.edu/robert-katz-ceo-and-chairman-of-vail-resorts-inc-shares-leadership-lessons/

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
4 months ago

A little more insight into how people in Crested Butte feel about the impending sale to Vail Resorts that was announced on June 4.

http://mountaintownnews.net/2018/06/10/6081/ - June 10, 2018

” …

In Crested Butte, a community that takes its non-conformity seriously, the announcement of the sale was met with a shrug by many but, at least in a few cases, displeasure. If the community has always had to maintain a business relationship with mainstream America, it has assertively remained aloof in that relationship. Vail Resorts is the epitome of mainstream America, a public company with stock traded on Wall Street. It’s exactly what many people fled.

Others see Vail as a deep-pocketed operator with an obvious track of success. The hope in this camp of optimists is that Vail will buff a good but sometimes frayed skiing product into exactly the sort of ski area appealing to the mainstream.

…”

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
4 months ago

While looking around at the history of Vail Resorts, I learned where the name “KSL” came from.  The men who created KSL have strong connections to Vail.

There was a time after Apollo took control in the 1990s that there were rumors of a possible sale of everything owned by Vail Resorts in 2004, which included Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, plus Heavenly, and a few resorts that had nothing to do with snowsports.  That was two years before Adam Aron left Vail and Rob Katz took over as CEO.  The possible buyers included Mike Shannon and Henry Kravis, who were vying against a Texas company.

https://www.hotelbusiness.com/shannon-kravis-in-running-for-vail-resorts-deal/ - August 2004

KSL has become a company name known by people who only read headlines about major ski industry changes.  It was created in the early 1990s by Kravis, Shannon, and Larry Lichliter.  Shannon was Pres/CEO of Vail Associates in 1986-1992, when Gillett was the owner.  Lichliter was Exec. VP and COO at Vail Associates working with Shannon, after having been at Beaver Creek since 1976 and being promoted to Vail COO in 1984.  KSL eventually bought Squaw in 2010 and added Alpine Meadows afterwards.  KSL and the Crown family (HCC, owners of Aspen/Snowmass) combined to create Alterra in 2017.

Rob Katz has been on the Vail Board of Directors since the 1990s.  His association with Vail Resorts spans over two decades, most of his professional life.  Lichliter worked in the ski industry (Vail, KSL) for about 30 years before he retired in 2005 (died in 2011).  In contrast, Adam Aron spent 10 years as CEO of Vail before leaving in 2006 and was involved in a variety of industries before and after working at Vail Resorts.  Aron is a Harvard MBA who has held executive positions at an airline, a cruise line, a hotel company, an NBA team (still an owner), and is currently CEO of AMC Entertainment.

https://www.onthesnow.com/news/a/16481/-industry-icon-larry-lichliter-dies-led-vail-to-premier-status - Feb 2011

https://www.vaildaily.com/news/former-vail-executive-dies - Feb 2011

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
4 months ago

Totally off-topic, but I got a better sense of Adam Aron reading about the home opener for the 76er’s published in 2012.  He grew up in Philly.  He was only CEO for a short time, but remains an owner.  When he stepped down as Vail CEO, he sold his house at Beaver Creek and but kept a condo that cost $4.6 million that he used stock options to buy.  Not sure Aron skis, but I bet his twin sons do.  They were teenagers when Aron and his family left Colorado in 2006.

http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/sixers/20120108_For_Adam_Aron__a_dream_job_came_true.html - Jan 2012

https://www.denverpost.com/2006/01/30/vail-resorts-chief-quitting/ - Jan 2006

Aron was new as the CEO of Vail Resorts when Breckenridge and Keystone were added to Vail and Beaver Creek in 1996.  The acquisition strategy back then was a bit different than what Katz did 10-20 years later.  In addition to buying ski resorts, Vail Resorts was buying other types of properties related to leisure travel as well.

https://www.nytimes.com/1996/09/09/us/planned-merger-of-big-colorado-ski-resorts-reflects-tougher-competition.html - Sep 1996

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
4 months ago

Denis wrote:

I hope that their newly acquired operating and improvement costs will cause them to leave Kirkwood alone.

Found a few articles about who has been in charge at Kirkwood in recent years.  The current GM is Doug Pierini, who took over from Casey Bland in 2016.  Bland became VP & GM after the purchase by Vail Resorts in 2012.  He’d been at Heavenly for 10 years but not at the top.  By 2014, while some improvements had been made, the idea was to avoid changing the vibe.  Pierini has worked all over, including a stint at Plattekill.  He’s from upstate NY and his parents were part-time ski instructors.  Pierini was on the PSIA Dev Team for a while.  One of the issue he inherited was a wetlands contamination case based on actions in April 2016 related to a parking lot used for cross country skiing.  Enough cleanup was done by the fall of 2017 that the potential fines of up to $4 million were reduced to $750,000.

https://www.laketahoenews.net/2014/12/vail-has-no-desire-to-change-kirkwoods-vibe/ - Dec 2014

http://blog.breckenridge.com/2014/10/16/employee-spotlight-doug-pierini-vice-president-skier-services/ - Oct 2014

https://www.laketahoenews.net/2017/09/state-fines-kirkwood-750k-in-contamination-case/ - Sep 2017

And guess where Bland went?  He went to Alpine Meadows.  Became Sr. VP for Mountain Operations for Squaw/Alpine in 2017.  I wonder how he feels about Alterra and the departure of Andy Wirth?  But that’s another thread. ;-)

http://squawalpine.com/explore/blog/casey-blann-promoted-senior-vice-president - Oct 2017

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
4 months ago

I’ve noticed that several of the current VR COOs were instructors, a few were ski school directors at one point in their careers.  Pete Sonntag who is at W-B was a PSIA-RM Examiner.  The current President of the Mountain Division, Pat Campbell, was SSD at Grand Targhee in the 1990s.  Doug Pierini, COO at Kirkwood, was on the PSIA Dev Team for a while.  Many of the people who are promoted to COO or GM have worked as a head of skier services at some point, which generally includes the ski/board school.

Very clear that VR promotes from within whenever practical when looking for a new GM or COO.  They have an internal leadership training program.

Remember Bill Rock?  He was in charge of Snowshoe under Intrawest from 2005-10 before taking the COO job at Northstar.  He was also VP for Tahoe so had responsibilities for Heavenly and Kirkwood.  Moved to Park City in 2014, just before Canyons was joined to form the combined Park City Resort.  He was a Sr. VP and COO at that point.  Wasn’t an easy transition process.

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
4 months ago

Well, one of VR’s bright stars decided to leave rather abruptly.  Taylor Ogilvie was sent to the midwest from Vail as the GM to oversee the transition at Mount Brighton in 2013.  Then he moved to Wilmot after that purchase in 2016.  He grew up in Chicago skiing Wilmot.  In 2017 he was promoted to VP of the Urban Division while staying GM of Wilmot.  The GMs of Mount Brighton and Afrton Alps reported to him.  Don’t know what happened but in March 2018, Purgatory announced that Ogilvie was the new Senior Director of Mountain Operations.

VR moved over Peter Disch from Keystone to be GM of Wilmot.  He was a senior manager and had been at Keystone for seven years.  Disch is from the midwest and grew up skiing at Afton Alps, the other Vail location in region.

 

4 months ago

marzNC wrote:

 Don’t know what happened but in March 2018, Purgatory announced that Olgilvie was the new Senior Director of Mountain Operations.

I’m from the Chicago area. I’ve skied Wilmot. If I was working in the ski industry and was based in Chicago, I might be looking to get out west as well.

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
4 months ago

wgo wrote:

marzNC wrote:

 Don’t know what happened but in March 2018, Purgatory announced that Olgilvie was the new Senior Director of Mountain Operations.

I’m from the Chicago area. I’ve skied Wilmot. If I was working in the ski industry and was based in Chicago, I might be looking to get out west as well.

Yes, but Taylor Ogilvie was on his way up the corporate ladder at Vail Resorts.  To suddenly jump back to GM of a second or third tier mountain less than a year after a promotion seems a bit odd.  He joined VR right after college in Colorado.  Moved back to the midwest in 2013 when he was made GM of Mt. Brighton in 2013.  With a wife and two kids so probably not in his 20s five years ago.  I could understand more if he got the job of GM for Purgatory.  But the current GM was hired in early 2017.

As I noted earlier, Casey Bland left VR from a top job.  He went from Kirkwood to Alpine Meadows and became the VP for SquawAlpine after a few years.  That seems like a step up.  I’ll be watching both Bland and Ogilvie to see what they are doing in a few years.

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
3 months ago

Going to be interesting to see what happens with the current operator of Stevens Pass.  Karl Kapuscinski owns and operates Mountain High in southern CA, having bought it from Oz Real Estate in 2017. He took control of the company operating Mountain High under the CNL lease in 2010. The news about changes in Mountain High ownership don’t make headlines across the U.S. like a purchase of multiple resorts by Vail Resorts or Boyne Resorts.

Pretty sure Mountain High was a key player in the creation of the Powder Alliance in 2013.  Kapuscinski has been in charge at Mountain High since 1995.  Mountain High is 3 hours from LA.  Alterra bought Mammoth.  Is Mountain High of interest to Alterra?  By getting Stevens Pass from Oz, does VR want to talk to Kapuscinski about selling Mountain High to gain access to the LA market?

http://articles.latimes.com/1997/dec/26/sports/sp-2409

https://www.adventuresportsnetwork.com/transworld-business/mountain-high-resort-ceo-gains-full-control-as-majority-owner/

https://www.dailybulletin.com/2017/10/06/why-wrightwoods-mountain-high-ski-resort-will-keep-its-current-management-team/

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
3 months ago

Been reading about Afton Alps in MN, which was bought in 2012 from the founding family.  Paul Augustine, his brother, and a friend opened Afton Alps in 1963.  The management team at the time of the VR purchase from the Augustine family included all three of Paul’s children, as well as his daughter’s husband.  Amy Augustine Reents and her husband, John Reents are in charge of marketing.  The GM in 2012, Joe Yasis, stayed on as GM.  Other than $10 million in improvements, the vibe around Afton Alps in 2013-14 really hadn’t changed.  By the 2014-15 season, the children’s learning center had been renovated and enlarged.  In April 2015, Minnesota-born Lindsey Vonn visited: ”This past April, she visited Afton Alps for a private meet-and-greet with the 2014-15 season graduates of Ski Girls Rock, a three-day premium lesson program that she inspired and designed specifically for girls. It is open to girls ages 7 to teen, intermediate level and above, and is led by female instructors.”  Apparently Vonn helped create the concept of the girls’ program at VR resorts in Colorado.

 

http://www.lillienews.com/articles/2014/01/09/afton-alps-celebrates-50-years - 2014

http://stcroixvalleymag.com/afton-alps-makes-its-“epic”-transformation-after-vail-resorts-acquisition - 2015

 

Afton Alps 2.0 is an article written in March 2014 that includes comments from Amy Reents.  Sounded like the transition was pretty successful.

http://static1.squarespace.com/static/58d06dfc59cc68c2d09308d4/t/5a4eaf47419202bdaadfcefc/1515106122173/Afton+Alps.+2.0.pdf - 2014

Winding down the steep, narrow road that leads to Afton Alps, it’s easy to forget that you’re a 30-minute drive from Minnesota’s bustling capital city, St. Paul. Nestled between bluffs in the picturesque St. Croix River Valley, the urban ski area is both intimate and impressive, offering all the charms of a quintessential ski mountain experience—that is, enough terrain to appease both bunny hill hopefuls and more experienced downhill racers. “We used to joke for years that this was our own mini-Vail,” says Afton Alps’ marketing manager Amy Reents, “which is funny, because now it’s part of Vail.”

As the ski season draws to a close in the Midwest, here’s a look at the Minnesota mountain’s inaugural season with Vail Resorts.  The Colorado-based company purchased the ski area in Hastings, Minnesota from Reents and her family in late 2012, welcoming the family-run business —along with Mt. Brighton in Michigan—into a world-renowned group of Western resorts that, by comparison, dwarf the Midwest mountain. The first order of business: $10 million worth of upgrades—the largest one-time capital infusion in Afton Alps’ history.

Founded by Reents’ father Paul Augustine, his brother Bob Augustine, and their friend Tom Furlong, Afton Alps opened for its inaugural season in 1963, an era when skiing was a booming sport in the Twin Cities. The three farmers, who started with next to nothing, steadily expanded the terrain, increased the number of lifts, and strengthened the ski school to meet the demands of a growing number of guests year after year. “I look at this and I think, ‘Yeah, they built this,’” Reents says. “But it got to the point where, even though we loved it so much as a family, it seemed like we wouldn’t be giving it its opportunity to be all it could be.”

The revamped Afton Alps opened its doors—or rather, its slopes—for the 2013–2014 season in November, greeting locals with a host of newly minted amenities. A new guest services facility is home to the ski school and ticket office, while season pass holders can go directly to the lift with a new scanning system. Seventy-two energy-efficient snow machines coat the mountain’s 300 acres with powder, and daredevils can tackle obstacles in the redesigned terrain park, courtesy of X Games course builder Snow Park Technologies. When skiers and riders are ready to hang up their poles and boots for a warm meal by the fire, a new food and beverage director, updated menus, and renovated dining facilities—don’t miss the food truck that doles out hand-wrapped burritos at the “Landing Zone” terrain park village—are there to satisfy.

But perhaps the biggest change has been the introduction of Vail Resorts’ Epic Pass to the Midwest market. The company’s industry-changing season pass (on sale now for the 2014-2015 season) offers its users unlimited access to any Vail Resorts mountain, spanning Colorado, California, Nevada, and Utah—and, as of this season, Minnesota and Michigan—as well as limited days in France, Switzerland, Austria, and next season, Japan. Opening the program to Afton guests makes big-mountain resorts across the country, and now, the world, more accessible. “We prepare people to handle steeps, moguls, ice, and soft snow,” says Dianne Engen, a Level III-certified ski instructor who has taught at Afton Alps for 28 years. “So by the time they get out West, they can really enjoy themselves.”

Once an advocate for keeping skiers in Minnesota, Reents says that she and the rest of her staff have embraced Vail’s “Where Epic Begins” campaign by fostering a love for the sport at Afton Alps, then encouraging their customers to conquer the big mountains out West. “And if they don’t ever go,” she says, “then maybe we’re not really doing our job, because we’re supposed to instill in them that passion to continue to explore and continue to love the outdoors.”

Having just surpassed its milestone golden anniversary after a half-century in business, Afton Alps has hosted a season of historic shifts and improvements —but also one of reflection on the mountain’s legacy to the community. “The changes are fantastic,” says local Gary Ritner, who has been skiing at Afton since 1984. “But this 30-year customer says the family feeling hasn’t changed a bit.”

Ritner’s sentiments echo the thoughts of lifelong employees and guests alike.  One can simply look at the chalet walls of Afton’s buildings—many adorned with historic black-and-white photographs of the ski area and its founders— to see that the past is still there, blending with the future as Vail Resorts continues to elevate the ski culture of a family-run mountain in Minnesota. “All of the ski areas in the Twin Cities are in this together to get people into the sport,” Reents says. “Vail is going to reinvest and take Afton to the next level, but it’s also going to help inspire the neighboring ski hills to be creative and drive their markets as well, which I think will benefit all customers.”

3 months ago

I hope Vail Resorts looks toward Timberline as  diamond waiting to be buffed.  Arguably one of the best ski fall lines in the mid atlantic.  If they had the addition of two new lifts, an actual snow maikng plan, and a new lodge, it would quickly become a destination that could funnel thousands of skiers out west.

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
3 months ago

pfolski wrote:

I hope Vail Resorts looks toward Timberline as  diamond waiting to be buffed.  Arguably one of the best ski fall lines in the mid atlantic.  If they had the addition of two new lifts, an actual snow maikng plan, and a new lodge, it would quickly become a destination that could funnel thousands of skiers out west.

I think Wisp or Wintergreen would fit in with the type of “urban resorts” that Vail bought in the midwest.  Relatively close to major metropolitan areas so have plenty of families as well as singles who make the drive on at least a semi-regular basis to stay in on-mountain lodging.  Even day trip folks are likely to have the interest and money for an annual ski vacation out west, perhaps with a non-skiing SO.

Wilmot is an hour or so from Chicago, with 230 ft vertical.  It stays plenty busy, has night skiing until quite late (midnight?), and was run by the same family quite successfully for decades.  Made it pretty easy for VR to simply provide $13 million for improvements in the first year that made obvious differences while maintaining the vibe of the place.  These two articles from 2016 and 2017 give a pretty idea for how long time locals feel about Wilmot after the from being family owned and operated for 80 years to being part of VR’s Urban Division.

https://www.jsonline.com/story/travel/wisconsin/weekend-getaway/2016/12/23/wilmot-mountain-has-undergone-epic-transformation/95658168/

http://www.chicagotribune.com/lifestyles/travel/ct-trav-best-skiing-close-to-chicago-1105-story.html - Nov 2017

 

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
3 months ago

Old news, but interesting.  I found an article written a few years before VR bought W-B with the title ”No Business Like Snow Business: The Economics of Big Ski Resorts.”  At the time, VR and W-B were examples of business success during a low snow winter.  VR owned six resorts in Feb 2012, just before they bought two ski areas in the midwest to significantly increase the number of skiers that fall into “Strategy One: Own the skiers.”  There are pie charts with the breakdown of revenue sources for VR and W-B that show how much came from lift tickets/passes and how much from other snow-related revenue like ski school or resort lodging.

https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/02/no-business-like-snow-business-the-economics-of-big-ski-resorts/252180/

” … 

What Vail and Whistler have discovered is that lift-tickets — that is, passes to ride the chairs up the mountain — will always provide the foundation of ski-nomics. But a resort that offers only skiing is a terribly risky business model — like a snow farmer whose yearly harvest is only as good as the snow crop.


Instead, both Vail and Whistler have devised and refined a business that keeps income as constant as the weather is variable. It comes down to two smart hedging strategies. Strategy One: Own the skiers. Strategy Two: Own the mountain.

Vail and Whistler hedge against bad snow by turning skiers into members. “Just under 40 percent of our lift tickets come from season passes sold before the ski season begins,” Katz told me.

…”

 

One idea missing from the article is the concept of summer guests and turning large destination resorts focused on snowsports into 4-season recreation meccas based on using ski lifts and slopes after the snow melts.  But the change in the law governing the use of U.S. Forest land in the summer had just passed in 2011 and the details weren’t worked out until 2014.  Installation of expensive mega ziplines, mountain coasters, and other summer activities that bring in revenue happened well after 2012.

https://www.usda.gov/media/press-releases/2014/04/15/us-forest-service-finalizes-policy-promote-year-round-recreation

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
2 months ago

Marketing graphics and text says a lot about the target audience.  In a recent email from Epic, the map included is of the world with the following numbers.  The note on the map lists the 20 new mountains for 2018-19 in the U.S., Canada, and Japan.

U.S. 18, Canada 7

France 13, Italy 8, Austria 5, Switzerland 4

Japan 9 (all in Hakuba Valley)

Australia 1 (Perisher)

Thredbo in Austrlia was added to the Ikon in late June.  No surprise since Thredbo is on the MCP and all the N. American MCP destinations have limited days for Ikon passholders.

Pushing the Epic Pass in July may seem odd to folks in North America, but it’s mid-season in Australia.  Given that their summer vacation falls in Jan and Feb, there are families who fly from Australia and New Zealand for ski trips that last 3-4 weeks in the U.S. and/or Canada.  More stay for 2-3 weeks at Canadian resorts because of less crowds and lower cost.  Vail Resorts was well aware of that fact when they bought W-B.

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
2 months ago

The info session held in NH about the pending sale of Sunapee was attended by about 100 people.  Another public hearing is planned after the official review is complete, expected by Oct. 1.  Hard to imagine the sale of Triple Peaks will get derailed by NH government agency concerns about Sunapee.

Pat Campbell, the President of VR Mountain Division and long time VR exec, was the spokesperson for VR. She joined VR in 1999 as the Ski School Director at Breckenridge and became COO for Breck in 2009 after three years as COO at Keystone. Tim and Diane Mueller were at the meeting.

https://www.concordmonitor.com/Resi…sed-Sunapee-takeover-by-Vail-Resorts-19060136

” …
Even though the deal is not done, the state has limited ability to turn it down. Attorney General Gordon MacDonald promised a “robust and thorough process” in vetting whether the proposal meets the lease’s standards. And he said a separate public hearing would be made once the review was complete and the department or resources made its decision, likely by Oct. 1.

Addressing residents’ anxiety, Campbell, president of the mountain division for Vail Resorts, said the company would do what it had done at its other resorts: make the skiing and community a higher priority than the land and real estate. And she said there were no plans to initiate development on the recently acquired West Bowl area, a longtime worry of the surrounding community.

“That is not our focus and interest at this time,” Campbell said. “We’re really excited to get in, understand the resort, operate the best that we can today, and down the road, if we consider doing an expansion, we will have a very robust dialogue at that time.”

More than anything, Vail wants to be a good neighbor, Campbell said.

“This is our first experience in New Hampshire, we’re new here, but already we’ve had a lot of conversations and want to acknowledge that we really recognize this is a very special place,” she said.

Many in the room appeared supportive.

“Candidly, Vail is a dream partner, positioned to continue the excellence that the Muellers have so reliably provided over the past 20 years,” said Hess Gates of Sunapee. “Decision makers: This should be an easy decision.”
…”

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
2 months ago

Somewhat different slant about the public meeting held about the sale of Sunapee to VR.  More negative about the potential for real estate development by VR around Sunapee.  Based on my reading about the history of VR, the shift away from real estate as a core business happened after Katz became CEO.  The creation of the Epic Pass in 2008 made the shift that much clearer.  The early history of Vail and Breck was based on real estate development, which ultimately didn’t work out for the founders.

What’s confusing is that the decision date mentioned in the Union Leader article is Labor Day, which is a month earlier than reported by the other news article.

http://www.unionleader.com/outdoors/concerns-about-unrestrained-development-raised-at-hearing-on-vail-takeover-of-mount-sunapee-lease-20180726

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
2 months ago

The article by NH public radio makes the timeline for a decision by NH Dept. of Natural and Cultural Resources a bit clearer.  Could be done by Labor Day but more realistic target date is Oct. 1, 2018.

http://www.nhpr.org/post/vail-resorts-state-officials-answer-questions-future-sunapee-state-park#stream/0

” …

New Hampshire Attorney General Gordon MacDonald said he would like to keep the approval process as transparent as possible. “I personally would like to see a decision made by Labor Day, but at the very outside limit, October 1,” MacDonald said. “When a decision is made, we will have another public session.” “

lbotta - DCSki Supporter
2 months ago

On the New Hampshaah side, it looks like a yes, indeed.  Unlike recent meetings relating to Mt Sunapee’s future, at this meeting there was tremendous support for the Vail transfer.  Perhaps the presence of the local Mueller family, who enjoy almost undivided admiration and respect in this area, had something to do with it.  

lbotta - DCSki Supporter
2 months ago

On the New Hampshaah side, it looks like a yes, indeed, welcome Vail.  Unlike recent meetings relating to Mt Sunapee’s future, at this meeting there was tremendous support for the Vail transfer.  Perhaps the presence of the local Mueller family, who enjoy almost undivided admiration and respect in this area, had something to do with it.  

https://www.dropbox.com/s/c1jgb8okz7c3zba/Screenshot%202018-07-31%2013.26.53.png?dl=0

https://www.dropbox.com/s/wo3pb03epnwoh43/Screenshot%202018-07-31%2013.27.43.png?dl=0

 

SaveSave

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
2 months ago

lbotta wrote:

On the New Hampshaah side, it looks like a yes, indeed, welcome Vail.  Unlike recent meetings relating to Mt Sunapee’s future, at this meeting there was tremendous support for the Vail transfer.  Perhaps the presence of the local Mueller family, who enjoy almost undivided admiration and respect in this area, had something to do with it.  

I have the impression that the only reason the NH Attorney General and Governor are making such a big deal about the sale to Vail is because they felt slighted when the sale by CNL to OZ happened.  Probably also weren’t happy at not getting advanced notice from the Muellers or Vail about the pending sale of Triple Peaks.  Think I read that the Governor got a call a couple hours before the public announcement.  Plus NH is in the midst of a campaign for Governor.

lbotta - DCSki Supporter
2 months ago

What you mentioned is very much part of the drama.  The initial lease sale a year and a half ago to Och-Ziff happened with no input from the state (it wasn’t required) and they were really upset, even more so because the company’s business practices had run afoul of the law.  On top of that, every time there is a public meeting on Sunapee is a chance for the folks who have been clamoring to shut down the resort to have a voice.  There were a lot of people at the state level who felt miffed last year.  So they made it a point to make noise and bang political pots and pans this time. And this is Sununu’s first and only chance for reelection so he’s trying to be seen as effective….

The ski mountain supporters are much more organized this time after getting beat up three years ago with the expansion plans and last years’s lease debacle.  The mountain also has increasing and overwhelming support from the surrounding towns where skiing and winter sports are a way of life and it will improve the bottom line with local taxes and businesses.  It’s going to happen.  

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
2 months ago

lbotta wrote:

The ski mountain supporters are much more organized this time after getting beat up three years ago with the expansion plans and last years’s lease debacle.  The mountain also has increasing and overwhelming support from the surrounding towns where skiing and winter sports are a way of life and it will improve the bottom line with local taxes and businesses.  It’s going to happen.  

Good to get a local perspective.  I figured that VR has done it’s homework before making the offer to the Mueller family.  Have read enough about the transition at W-B to know how complicated things can get.

Seems clear that CB and Okemo are probably of greater interest for VR but Sunapee seems to draw a lot of people from Boston and CT/RI who would consider buying Epic passes in the future. Since all three mountains are already on Epic for 2018-19 as “partners”, there isn’t really a rush to complete the sale of Triple Peaks before the season starts.

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
one month ago

The sale of Stevens to VR was completed in August 2018.  The article in the Seattle Times includes a succinct history of VR and the ownership of Stevens.  But there is a glaring mistake that’s funny.  Looks like the writer read “CO” wrong as Connecticut instead of Colorado.

http://www.djc.com/news/re/12113788.html - 8/17/18

“…

The seller was CLP Stevens Pass LLC, an entity of Oz Real Estate (previously called Och-Ziff Real Estate), which acquired the property in late 2016 as part of a larger national portfolio sale worth $374 million. That sale also included The Summit at Snoqualmie, which sold again in May.

Connecticut-based Vail is one of the nation’s two largest ski resort operators and owners.

…”

 

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
18 days ago

Took a little longer, but the completion of the sale of Triple Peaks to Vail Resorts should move forward quickly in the next few weeks.  The Sunapee lease will be transferred to Sunapee Difference, LLC, a subsidiary of Vail Resorts.  The decision by the NH government was presented to the public at an open meeting on Sept. 26, 2018.  Expansion into West Bowl is expected to move forward, but will have to be approved again.

http://www.unionleader.com/article/20180927/NEWS02/180929595

“NEWBURY — Mount Sunapee ski area will be under new management this winter, as the state announced Wednesday night it is approving the lease transfer to Colorado-based Vail Resorts.

“We have come to the conclusion that New Hampshire can be confident that Vail is a great fit for our state,” said Department of Natural and Cultural Resources Commissioner Sarah Stewart.

The decision was announced to applause in the crowded Sunapee Lodge at the resort.
…”

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
17 days ago

The VR press release about the closing of the purchase of Triple Peaks to add Crested Butte, Okemo, and Sunapee to the Epic pass list is out.  Epic pass prices go up in about a week.

http://news.vailresorts.com/corporate/triplepeaksclosing.htm

” …

The 2018-19 Epic Pass, Epic Local Pass, and Military Epic Pass now include unlimited and unrestricted access to Okemo Mountain Resort, Mount Sunapee Resort and Crested Butte Mountain Resort; the Epic 7 Day and the Epic 4 Day now offer up to seven and four unrestricted days, respectively. All 2018-19 season passes are currently on sale, with prices increasing on Sunday, Oct. 7.

“We are thrilled to offer pass holders even more one-of-a-kind experiences in the northeast and in Colorado with the addition of Okemo, Mount Sunapee and Crested Butte to our network of world-class resorts,” said Kirsten Lynch, chief marketing officer of Vail Resorts. “Unlimited, unrestricted access to these resorts through the Epic Pass, Epic Local, and Military Epic Pass, as well as access on the Epic 4 Day and Epic 7 Day, will be a tremendous benefit to skiers and snowboarders.”

…”

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
17 days ago

Didn’t realize there is a Friends of Sunapee organization.  The official report dated 9/17/18 related to the transfer of the lease from Triple Peaks to Vail Resorts is on their website.

https://www.friendsofmountsunapee.org/wp-content/uploads/Mt-Sunapee-Vail-Public-Comment-Summary-Response-FINAL-091718.pdf

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
15 days ago

Came across a report from August 2018 about Crested Butte, meaning the town more than the ski resort.  It’s by Colorado Public Radio, so helps to put the history of the town and the ski resort in perspective. 

http://www.cpr.org/news/story/will-vail-preserve-the-last-great-ski-town-or-is-crested-butte-s-paradise-lost

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
9 days ago

How fast things can change these days.  Triple Peaks is already a footnote in the history of American skiing.  The subtitle for this entry was changed to ”New England Ski Presence: 2001-2018.”  The article ends with “While the Muellers initially considered financing a buy out of the assets of their three ski areas from Ski Resort Holdings, plans changed in the fall of 2017 when Vail Resorts inquired about buying Triple Peaks. On June 4, 2018, the Muellers announced they would be selling Crested Butte, Okemo, and Mt. Sunapee to Vail Resorts for $82 million (plus a $155 million buyout of the assets), ending their nearly four decade tenure in the ski industry.”

http://www.newenglandskihistory.com/skiareamanagement/triplepeaksllc.php

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