- Sandia Peak won’t open for skiing this season due to weather and staffing challenges.
- A snowboarder falls from Vail Mountain’s Avanti Express.
- The mall where Big Snow American Dream operates faces mounting financial problems.
- Kimberley offers a CA$100,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of the Northstar Express arsonist.
- Castle Mountain loans Kimberley another passenger snow cat and Leitner-Poma prioritizes repairs in its production schedule.
- The Bode Miller Ski Academy at Granby Ranch will include a high speed surface lift for race training.
- Elk Mountain rope evacuates for the second time in a week, this time the C double.
- The same day, nearby Montage Mountain rope evacuates the Long Haul triple.
- Also last Sunday: 150 people evac’d from the double chair at Song Mountain.
- A Colorado mountain will join the Indy Pass for the first time next week.
- Tamarack removes a North Bowl lift from its expansion proposal, hopes to begin the NEPA process soon for its proposed gondola, south expansion lifts and Wildwood Express extension.
- The reincarnated Big Squaw would include a six person chairlift and new T-Bar.
- Outside Magazine talks with numerous Vail Resorts employees about operational challenges.
- Town of Vail leaders discuss the situation at the namesake company.
- A Sea to Sky-style gondola is planned for interior British Columbia.
- Sunshine Village posts some fascinating stats about its very unique gondola.
- Four men plead not guilty to felony vandalism charges following last month’s incident at the San Diego Zoo.
- Soldier Mountain closes for the weekend due to unspecified lift issues.
- Alaska’s first gondola system is complete and will open to the public in April.
- Cannonsburg laments contractor and supply chain delays which have kept its triple chair from operating this season.
- Aspen Skiing Company raises its minimum wage to $20 per hour, effective the day after tomorrow.
- Argentinian actress Vero Lozano breaks an ankle falling from height off an Aspen chairlift.
- The South Korean resort where a detachable quad rolled back on January 22nd won’t reopen any of its lifts this winter.
- Multiple parties file objections to Purgatory’s Ice Creek expansion approval.
- The State of New Hampshire will host a public meeting next week regarding the future of the Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway.
That Outside online story on Vail Resorts is certainy interesting. And the contrast of Aspen’s boost in their minimum wage is also quite telling.
For anyone who missed The Storm Podcast’s interview with Rob Katz (former Vail CEO and current chairperson), I thought these snippets were incredibly telling, despite what was overall, in my view, quite a softball interview:
*** On opening eastern resorts aggressively in November:
” … we certainly will look at resorts and say: ‘listen, does it make sense for this resort to open at a time, especially for resorts that may have to rebuild their entire terrain [after rain/thaw]? And how many skiers are gonna go on those days?’ And is there a financial piece to that? Sure. but there’s also a sustainability piece to that, which is yeah, does it really make sense to do that? …”
[ Going on to mention how Keystone (early) and Breck (late) season seems to contradict that sustainability statement]:
“We’re gonna continue to do that in the markets where it makes sense.”
*** On curtailed hours across regional resorts, closed weekdays, no night skiing:
“I can’t speak to each resort, especially in my current role, I’m not really as close to it anymore… but when I look across the whole company I see Vail resorts span the gamut … Heavenly/Northstar at 100%, Vail very close to 100%, Beaver Creek over 90%, Crested Butte close to 100%, Keystone has all its lifts open [doesn’t mention any resort East of the Mississippi or Stevens Pass]”.
*** He went on to cast the 20% drop in pass prices as an attempt at boosting the diversity/equity/inclusion in the ski industry … which I was a bit skeptical of considering their food, parking, lessons, lodging, and rental fees have not enjoyed similar discounts (hello, $9 hotdog). But then again, this didn’t stop the NYTimes Style section from amplifying this kind of spin.
Full podcast here:
This is the definition of “shareholders first”. If the marginal cost of operating for an extra day or an extra hour dips below zero, it’s time to close. If spinning that auxiliary lift doesn’t generate extra pass sales, it shouldn’t run. If we can’t sell enough $20 grilled cheeses, the restaurant should be closed.
Vail is what happens when you start drinking only corporate kool aide and stop listening to critics and your customers or caring about your actual product just spreadsheets, marketing and profit. They are run by smug MBAs/Business types(Rob@Kirsten being the biggest offenders) at Borq HQ in Broomfield who rarely ski but are avid spreadsheeters and markers.
Luckily the free market tends to force change when companies stop caring about their product. Just slowly.
Look at Boeing. Twenty some years ago(right before rob took over vail) they stoped being run by engineers who wanted to make amazing planes and rockets and the MBAs took over and moved HQ to Chicago away from the product(Rob moved Borg HQ to the suburbs of Denver hours away from skiing/product). It was all spreadsheets, marketing, hyperbole and kool aide. Now their planes fall out of the sky and rockets don’t fly (and vails skiing/product sucks). Both happened after years of short term growth propped up fancy accounting, aggressive cost cutting and slick marketing.
Strive for an amazing product and the rest will follow.
In the words of Steve Jobs “If you keep your eye on the profit, you’re going to skimp on the product. But if you focus on making really great products, then the profits will follow.”
Or Elon Musk “Great companies are built on great products.”
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Jeeze. Title of this weeks’s news feed should be.. EVAC EVAC EVAC
I’m a little confused how the management of Mountain Capital Partners is listed as one of the objectors to the proposed terrain expansion of the ski resort that they own….
$100K reward at Kimberley…. shows how expensive that fix is gonna be on that lift… the lift shack would only be a few thousand to build, but the lift electronics must be a fortune, not to mention all the lost revenue all season.
I’m surprised nobody has started a bet on who in Colorado is joining the indy pass. It says “one located in the heart of the Colorado ski country”. I’ll start…I’m going with Sunlight. Right between Aspen and Vail areas. With their announcement on delaying building their new chairlift, I’m guessing they are aiming at bringing in more customers to help get the needed $$ to get this lift built and hopefully update the aging lifts in their inventory.
Good point on the need for revenue bump.
I was thinking more of either Granby or Echo because they are amongst the least known or populated.
I think Sunlight, Cooper, and Powderhorn each have numerous reciprocal arrangements
but you might have a point with sunlight needing a little more revenue to get that lift built.
I had mentioned Echo in a previous Indy Pass discussion and nobody agreed with me saying it was too small. Granby was my second choice but they are going after the ski racing crowd which will bring in more $$ their way. I’ve had a season pass to Cooper a few times and they have 30+ partnered resorts so their season pass is an Indy pass itself.
Hasn’t Ski Cooper floated the idea of building a HSQ to replace 10th Mountain?
Yes, it’s been mentioned once or twice. The last ‘state of the resort’-style press release did not mention it though. Our county owns the hill, and so far it’s been incremental improvements rather than big splashy ones (the Tennessee Creek Basin expansion being the notable exception). We’ll see. So far the demand hasn’t been there; Cooper’s main customer base is us Leadvillians and folks from OK and northern TX who can’t afford the big resorts and none of us are complaining about the Double (as it’s known here) being slow or old.
Looks like I’m a winner! lol! Indy Pass today added Sunlight, Colorado to its roster, giving the coalition its first member in the spiritual heart of American ski country. Current Indy Pass holders can access the ski area immediately, with no blackout dates through the end of the 2021-22 ski season and all of the 2022-23 season.
Does anyone know what BIg Sky’s announcement on Tuesday is all about? Haven’t heard any rumors like I usually do.
The rumor is that they will be announcing a tram replacement. The outline on the Twitter video is that of a tram from Doppelmayr/Garaventa. I believe the idea is that it is a two-year project and may include the two-stage gondola as well (as they will supposedly share the same building at the bottom of the bowl).
If it’s a tram replacement, it will be a 75 person Peak line running from bottom of Powder Seeker to top of existing tram with a tower near where the gullies are. And of course of gondola is included too, it will be a 10 person D Line gondola.
Yah tram, I am hearing that its a 5 year build overall from my contacts at Jackson construction. My understanding is there will be a large complex at the top so the tram may be done in two but the building may not be finished for 5 but we will see. They need to do the gondola soon even with the new Swifty capacity out of the base onto lone peak is almost maxed out.