News Roundup: Settling Up

33 thoughts on “News Roundup: Settling Up

  1. Myles Svec January 15, 2021 / 6:51 am

    Since Les Otten’s company now have 100% ownership of The Balsams can they start building the master plan?


    • Calvin January 15, 2021 / 7:58 am

      I think this will pave the way for it. Still a lot of money to raise. But perhaps LBO can do it himself. The partners were clearly over their head (IIRC one was a chef and the other a car dealership owner).


      • Tom January 15, 2021 / 2:01 pm

        Rebirth of the balsams is a pipe dream, otten is a one hit wonder from 80s , Sunday River, nothing since, soon you can add balsams to that pile of wreckage


  2. ne_skier January 15, 2021 / 7:24 am

    Anyone know where the triple is coming from? My first guess was leftover parts from Barnstormer, but they’d have to really stretch it out to make it work. If there’s pics of chairs anywhere, the presence of vertical metal backrests would give it away.

    Liked by 1 person

    • ne_skier January 31, 2021 / 9:14 pm

      Looked a bit more, and all of the sudden the used Barnstormer parts on Resort Boneyard are sold. Either Catamount is somehow stretching it out enough to make it work, or they’re also using leftover parts from Promenade.


  3. Utah Powder Skier January 15, 2021 / 8:01 am

    I’m pretty sure Cuchara only has 3 chairlifts left, unless Lift 2 wasn’t scrapped or relocated.


    • Tom January 15, 2021 / 11:13 am

      Vail financial update paints a pretty ugly picture of the ski industry this winter, will the big four survive? Will the major independents think of selling out? Who sells first? Who buys? How many mom and pop ski areas close shop this year? Major changes coming I guess with bankruptcy, closures, mergers, etc.


      • Mr Incredible January 15, 2021 / 2:13 pm

        I don’t know about that. The impacts will probably be like a drought year

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thomas Jett January 15, 2021 / 3:17 pm

          Funny enough, it’s also a drought year.


      • pbropetech January 18, 2021 / 9:14 am

        Those numbers aren’t great, but if visits are only down 16% from last season that’s nothing to panic about. Our neighbours over the pass did very well the last couple of seasons so this isn’t the end of the world for them. We’ve been fairly decent as well- I couldn’t give you numbers but it seems we’ve managed to keep business in spite of county and state restrictions.


  4. skibumbarnes January 15, 2021 / 12:41 pm

    Ski visits down 15% percent but lift lines still be 15 min+ every time I go skiing still lmafo


    • Tom January 15, 2021 / 12:48 pm

      Because chairs aren’t going up full, singles by themselves, doubles by themselves, etc


  5. Carleton January 15, 2021 / 6:12 pm

    I took the pictures at Catamount, but didn’t see chairs, but they could be elsewhere on the property. The lift towers were in the parking lot.


    • Tom January 15, 2021 / 6:48 pm

      What kind of a lift will it be, is it a new lift or a used one?


      • Carleton January 15, 2021 / 7:12 pm

        Looks to be used. But freshly painted….


  6. skitheeast January 15, 2021 / 8:46 pm

    Vail news is unfortunate but not surprising. They specifically cited Whistler, Tahoe, and Vermont as weaknesses. From my friends at Alterra, they are in a similar position. Tremblant’s revenue is down over 50% and California is below their goals as well (which was to breakeven given the restrictions). I did hear Vermont was above expectations, although that does not really mean much since their expectations for Vermont were extraordinarily low. Not to even mention Blue Mountain is in Ontario… Colorado, Utah, and PNW are really carrying the company at the moment.

    For both conglomerates: While the day ticket sale decrease is problematic, they are really well equipped to deal with this due to the immense number of season passes sold. What is really killing them is the F&B and lessons decline. Their margins here are huge, and they cannot be offset by preseason revenue like season pass sales.


    • chasehausman January 15, 2021 / 9:39 pm

      Interestingly, at a local resort in the PNW, we can’t keep up with the demand for our lesson programs and have practically run out of space in our learning area because of it.


    • Tom January 16, 2021 / 8:14 pm

      Sounds like alterra may be in worse shape than vail, blue Mtn closed in Canada has to be a real killer, it will be five years before the resorts are back to where they were last year. My guess alterra was set up to be a public stock option and the owners could cash out with big bucks, not sure that is an option for a couple of years now. Feel bad for all the managers and owners in the ski business.


      • skitheeast January 16, 2021 / 8:49 pm

        While Alterra’s current financial situation is shaky, they are lucky in that their owners have expressed a willingness to invest additional capital if needed. They are more focused on where the company will be in ~5 years than today. Vail, as a public company, is always under pressure to boost its stock price, which can be extra burdensome during this time.

        Alterra is practically entirely owned by the Crown Family and KSL. It is designed so an owner can cash out in 2023ish+ (do not remember the exact year) with either a buy-out from another owner or an IPO. When Alterra was founded, the Crown Family expressed an interest in keeping its stake indefinitely, while KSL expressed an interest in eventually selling (as it is a private equity fund), hence the cash out is presumably going to be used at some point by KSL.


    • Peter Landsman January 18, 2021 / 5:57 am

      I’ve visited lots of different types of resorts this season. My sense is the Vail numbers tell us some things but not everything. Vail is very focused on risk mitigation (limiting capacity) and controlling costs. Many resorts in the southeast, midwest and northwest are doing quite well, particularly in states where there are no restrictions on outdoor capacity. Covid seems to have helped push people to ski on weekdays, which the the industry has been trying to do forever. I know this season has a lot of challenges but I’ve also seen a lot of good out there. The Kottke survey results will be fascinating this spring.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Chris January 18, 2021 / 7:19 am

        Not sure if anyone cares about the view from the other side of the Pond, but here in Austria the destination resorts are really screwed up due to the various restrictions. A few like Ischgl did not open up at all. The ones near the the bigger cities seem to be doing ok to pretty good, and at least the ones around Innsbruck seems to be busier than usual during weekdays in the otherwise slow January. Note that food and beverage is entirely closed down here except for take away from restaurants that are reachable by public roads. But a lot of F&B is not operated by the companies that own the ski lifts either, just like ski schools (which are not allowed to have classes for more than one household at a time) and rental shops tend to be separate business with all of them not doing well. Hotels are closed except for business travel as well. As a skier living right in the mountains I had one of the best winters ever so far, though.


      • skitheeast January 19, 2021 / 4:35 pm

        I will second the increase in weekday skiers. I have been to a good number of resorts so far as well (but definitely a lot less than Peter) and there are unquestionably more people during the week than in previous years. I think this could be due in part to the surge in seasonal rentals for people who can work/school remotely and have decided to temporarily move to the mountains.


  7. Tom January 16, 2021 / 9:30 pm

    2023 is only two years away, don’t know how you do an Ipo in this environment, but my guess the top guys of alterra and vail aren’t sleeping well. Vail needs alterra as much as alterra needs vail, especially with these passes, if one falls the remaining one will have way too many pass holders.


    • Ryan January 17, 2021 / 12:20 am

      They are sleeping just fine. They’ll be ok.


    • skitheeast January 17, 2021 / 5:52 am

      2023 (or whatever year) is merely a benchmark. At the moment, Alterra’s owners are quite content with their shares for the foreseeable future. Neither Alterra or Vail is likely to fail from this economic crisis.


      • Tom January 17, 2021 / 7:57 am

        Wish I was as confident as you are about vail and alterra surviving, the big four are in a tight spot along with the other 400 plus ski areas, tough times tough times.


    • Coloski January 17, 2021 / 12:35 pm

      That’s a good point, never thought about that


  8. Myles Svec January 18, 2021 / 10:04 pm

    Looks like it the Mission Ridge video the new lift has a tire return. At least maintenance will be easier than last lift.


    • chasehausman January 19, 2021 / 12:54 am

      Nope. No tire return. Still the chain at both ends. The tires you can see are actually part of the carrier parking structure.


      • Nahms January 19, 2021 / 5:48 am

        When Mission Ridge buys a chair like that, does it include the all of the parking rails and the system for parking chairs? Or does that need to be fabricated? In general, what is included in the sale? What do they scrap due to age? And what components have to be brought in new?


        • chasehausman January 19, 2021 / 2:08 pm

          It includes pretty much all of the lift components and whatever kind of supports they needed to reach the super structure of the building they were in originally (in terms of the parking garage). Everything is NDTd as if it were a new lift, and anything that doesn’t pass inspection is replaced.

          If the resort wants to change or upgrade anything, then this is when a lot of that would happen. Like the new SkyTrac controls and drive, that sort of thing.

          If the parking structure has a different layout, or the structure of the new building doesn’t match the old building, then any supports/etc that don’t fit would have to be fabricated to fit the new building.


  9. Snowmaster January 19, 2021 / 8:43 am

    Strange that they’d build such a long access lift for a relatively small ski area. It appears there’s a small town ski hill 740 east of the gondola base. Nearby is the monument to executed partisans, remindning you which side of the iron curtain you’re on.


  10. Paul January 19, 2021 / 1:06 pm

    Centennial was the lift that shut down due to staffing concerns. It is used on weekends and holidays and it is seen as a reliever for the Blue Bird Express. Because of that, it is not surprising that they decided that one would get the axe on that day. It’s pretty useless and needlessly slow and long.


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