Worse Season Ever for Local Resorts?
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snowsmith - DCSki Supporter 
5 months ago
Member since 03/15/2004 🔗
1,440 posts
Folks - I have owned my Laurels house for 15 years. There have been some terrible seasons and I cannot identify the years now, but I cannot remember a season that had a bad beginning and a bad end. Basically, we've had less than a 2 month season. What remains on the slopes at this point is barely skiable. I am an optimist and believe that this season is not a predictor for the future. However, it hard to be an optimist when it rains constantly and the temperature hovers around 60, even west of the Alleghany Front for weeks at a time. Hopefully, 2022/2023 will be a far different weather pattern. I'll note that back around the Beltways, I have not had to use my tractor plow for 4 years. Looks like going west may be the only option. Someone cheer us up please!
Leo
5 months ago
Member since 11/15/2005 🔗
301 posts

Well snowsmith, I will try to be honest...not that I think it will cheer you up much.

I can remember winters in the 90s that were terrible.  That was back when when HV had the old guns, fairly limited "in season" spending from the Kettlers (who from the little I knew them, liked them, but that was just the reality of it).  There were winters where the entirety of January was on a shoestring, and they barely limped through to Spring carnival.

So do I think this is new?  Not necessarily.  Do I think it is concerning?  Yes, if you like skiing.

Somehow this year we'll probably have a cold April and May once it's truly too late to salvage any part of the season.  Though based on my glimpse at the HV webcams this morning I fear we are already at that point.

Laurel Hill Crazie - DCSki Supporter 
5 months ago
Member since 08/16/2004 🔗
1,941 posts
The 2016/17 winter Laurel opened they shut down right after Presidents Monday. I think that was the same year Laurel had to shut down for a week in January because of a huge rain/thaw and 7S was hauling snow from the halfpipe to keep a few runs open. That was in recent years and just a bit more erratic than we've seen this year. not a good sign. I thought this season was good for the middle part. I was skiing natural snow terrain for several weeks at Laurel. The beginning and now the ending sucks. I'm glad I'm in New England now. Even here, the weather is just plain nuts. Late last week, it was below zero. At Jay, It was 50 degrees and raining today and yesterday at Waterville Valley.
camp
5 months ago
Member since 01/30/2005 🔗
630 posts

Laurel Hill Crazie wrote:

 skiing natural snow terrain for several weeks at Laurel.

Wow, I thought Dream etc. was only open for a couple days this season - similar to last.

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imp - DCSki Supporter 
5 months ago
Member since 01/11/2007 🔗
262 posts

dream was open 4 weekends last year, this year 3 weeks,and some dirt poaching

Crush
5 months ago (edited 5 months ago)
Member since 03/21/2004 🔗
1,087 posts

You folks know what is going to transpire over the next 5 to 20 years; why do you think the "big guys" now are buying up everything in the mid-Atlantic. They grab up the little guys for a fair amount of money knowing they will fail soonish but this acts as a buffer to have greater holdings and that looks better on paper - margins are puny at best due to inevitable climate change. Eventually ditch these little resorts, take a write-off on corporate P/L  - you don't need to hear it from me. Lucky for me i'll probably not be skiing and move on most likely to our Sonoma retirement home. Sell now and get some money in the bank or invest in the NASDAQ QQQE. There is a beginning, middle and end to everything just like each turn you make.

$368 per share on October, and now $224 at this moment:

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pagamony - DCSki Supporter 
5 months ago
Member since 02/23/2005 🔗
865 posts

I don't know that buying to write off is the intended strategy, but the overall trend is indeed poor.  I suspect Vail et al are trying to lock in customers to the high elevation resorts out west.  You join Epic in DC and then keep going Epic in Breckenridge and Vail.  Rich people will keep the dream alive.  Vail's short term stock dive is due to grosss mismanagement and unhappy everthing.  I know what I am talking about -- I am a cynical hypocrite leaving for Steamboat in a few days.  

Crush
5 months ago
Member since 03/21/2004 🔗
1,087 posts

pagamony wrote:

I don't know that buying to write off is the intended strategy, but the overall trend is indeed poor.  I suspect Vail et al are trying to lock in customers to the high elevation resorts out west.  You join Epic in DC and then keep going Epic in Breckenridge and Vail.  Rich people will keep the dream alive.  Vail's short term stock dive is due to grosss mismanagement and unhappy everthing.  I know what I am talking about -- I am a cynical hypocrite leaving for Steamboat in a few days.  

 ... I am a cynical hypocrite ..." meee tooooooo!!!

JRunPatterson74
5 months ago
Member since 02/27/2019 🔗
25 posts

pagamony wrote:

I don't know that buying to write off is the intended strategy, but the overall trend is indeed poor.  I suspect Vail et al are trying to lock in customers to the high elevation resorts out west.  You join Epic in DC and then keep going Epic in Breckenridge and Vail.  Rich people will keep the dream alive.  Vail's short term stock dive is due to grosss mismanagement and unhappy everthing.  I know what I am talking about -- I am a cynical hypocrite leaving for Steamboat in a few days.  

 This is why the bought the three "DC/Baltimore" mountains IMHO. Get the rich people in the area to get their kids on these small mountains before they aren't viable anymore and get them hooked. Multiple generations of customers gotten in the next decade. Ten years from now, not sure if Whitetail, Liberty, and Roundtop will even have ski seasons.

camp
5 months ago
Member since 01/30/2005 🔗
630 posts

JRunPatterson74 wrote:

 This is why the bought the three "DC/Baltimore" mountains IMHO.

My thought has been that VR didn't necessarily want the SnowTime 3, but since they were in a package of 17 Peak Resorts, that they couldn't let Alterra or Boyne or anyone else buy, they had no choice.

I wonder if the season lengths at the 3 shrink far down from the 100-day good seasons, to 65-75 days/season, if anyone will change their minds about the unmentionable thing? And if people change their minds, will they change their _______s?

 

ksampson3
5 months ago
Member since 01/9/2012 🔗
79 posts

You can say global warming. Go ahead. We all know where this is going.

Ok, some of us that don't have our heads stuck in the sand know where this is going. 

camp
5 months ago
Member since 01/30/2005 🔗
630 posts

ksampson3 wrote:

You can say global warming. Go ahead. We all know where this is going.

Yea, I could've just stuck w/ my first paragraph and been happy.  I'm not trying to dredge up old posters and arguments 

JRunPatterson74
5 months ago
Member since 02/27/2019 🔗
25 posts
Hoping Timberline and Wisp get some snow today and Saturday for the final stretch of the season. Timberline in particular has been a silver lining this season, albeit with help from the higher elevation.
marzNC - DCSki Supporter 
5 months ago (edited 5 months ago)
Member since 12/10/2008 🔗
2,812 posts

Did the significant operational changes start after Peak Resorts made the deal with Showtime, or after VR bought Peak?  Given that VR has since made a deal for the three ski areas that serve the Pittsburgh area, I would guess that the DC/NoVA market was of interest.  As it was for Peak when it was actively expanding outside of the midwest as a public company.

I'm paying more attention to Indy Pass locations lately.  When I saw this season at Massanutten, West Mountain, Berkshire East, and Catamount bodes well for their locals and those who make the effort to travel using Indy.  That's where I skied in the last few weeks.  I've also checked out Bryce and Cataloochee using Indy.  These are mountains that have owners who are building snowmaking and lift infrastructure to handle an appropriate number of guests.  They used reservations or day ticket limits for busy weekends as needed.  They have added terrain in recent years.

There are also "sleeper" ski areas/resorts like Windham, Jiminy Peak, Waterville Valley that remain independent and sustainable 4-season resorts. Timberline has company.

Evans Dad - DCSki Supporter 
5 months ago (edited 5 months ago)
Member since 01/27/2021 🔗
39 posts

JRunPatterson74 wrote:

...Timberline in particular has been a silver lining this season, albeit with help from the higher elevation.

 I think Timberline this year was a master-class on how to run snowmaking operations in the mid-Atlantic these days.  Judging by CV and their problems, I think that many higher-elevation resorts are revealing their lack of effort, resources or management skills.  Or am I off-base here?  Does the lower elevation of 7S, HV, LM and BK make the comparison apples to oranges? 

snapdragon
5 months ago
Member since 01/27/2015 🔗
178 posts
A Zen Master Class...thank you Timberline for an excellent season...the hills may send us home with a final Potomac Highland dumping as well...yew!
dclivejazz
5 months ago (edited 5 months ago)
Member since 03/5/2017 🔗
39 posts

I was at Liberty yesterday afternoon (Tues 3/8/22). On the frontside where I spent all my time there was much less snow left than a week and a half or so. Although there seems to be a lot still stockpiled on Lower Bluestreak, it's much narrower than it had been, part of it was roped off and bare and the other side narrowed at one point to about 12 feet or so. Other trails like Adventure Alley and the bottom of White Lightening were also closed. 

None of that is updated on their website, btw. It still lists all trails as open. 

Meanwhile, in the men's room, the water faucets of 5 of 6 sinks did not work at all and the one that did work just offered a trickle. Most hand soap dispensers were either missing entirely or also not working. A couple urinals would not flush either automatically or manually. 

At least it was still possible to ski, wasn't crowded and the lifts were staffed with friendly attendants and operating. 

But the wrong info on the web site and the extremely poor maintenance of the men's room doesn't reflect well on the national conglomerate running this operation. I wonder if they even have a manager there now. 

 

Crush
5 months ago
Member since 03/21/2004 🔗
1,087 posts
Ha -  "... the extremely poor maintenance of the men's room... " yep I've done a 180 more than a few times and had to take a wee-wee in the tree-tree ;-)
SCWVA
5 months ago (edited 5 months ago)
Member since 07/13/2004 🔗
1,052 posts


 

snowsmith wrote:

Folks - .......Someone cheer us up please!

Snowsmith,

The skiing has been pretty good at Timberline since Thanksgiving. You need to head to the Valley after the next snow.  Plus, I ran into Chaga recently and he mentioned you still owe him a beer.  :)

marzNC - DCSki Supporter 
5 months ago
Member since 12/10/2008 🔗
2,812 posts

Evans Dad wrote:

JRunPatterson74 wrote:

...Timberline in particular has been a silver lining this season, albeit with help from the higher elevation.

 I think Timberline this year was a master-class on how to run snowmaking operations in the mid-Atlantic these days.  Judging by CV and their problems, I think that many higher-elevation resorts are revealing their lack of effort, resources or management skills.  Or am I off-base here?  Does the lower elevation of 7S, HV, LM and BK make the comparison apples to oranges? 

 It's more than elevation differences between 7S, HV, LM in western PA and CV, Timberline in WV.  The weather patterns seem quite different.

Every ski area in the southeast and mid-Atlantic has special weather and geology situations.  For instance, there are times that Bryce can make snow because of the cold temps at the base when Massanutten can't because of a temperature inversion that had temps warmer at the peak than in the Shenandoah Valley.  The same is true in the Rockies but not always as obvious.  Lack of customers is not the only reason Park City and Deer Valley typically close a few weeks earlier than the ski resorts in LCC/BCC.

snowsmith - DCSki Supporter 
5 months ago
Member since 03/15/2004 🔗
1,440 posts

I owe Chaga a lot more than a beer :-). I had hope to make it to the new TL this year, but this has been a bad year for family health issues. I did ski yesterday and today at HV. The 2" of wet snow we receive yesterday really improved conditions. This year has been a disappointment for my first year of retirement in relation to my ambitions for skiing. But family comes first. I don't think I'll make it to TL this year. I hope to ski Laurel one more time. My Utah plans have been put on hold. Maybe next year.

 

SCWVA wrote:


 

snowsmith wrote:

Folks - .......Someone cheer us up please!

Snowsmith,

The skiing has been pretty good at Timberline since Thanksgiving. You need to head to the Valley after the next snow.  Plus, I ran into Chaga recently and he mentioned you still owe him a beer.  :)

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