Days before the deadline for public comments, Sunshine Village CEO Ralph Scurfield pens an op-ed criticizing Parks Canada’s proposed site guidelines that would eliminate three future lifts from consideration.
In the end, the haul rope sealed the deal. Turoa, one of the two ski resorts on Mt. Ruapehu, announced today that its summit lift will not reopen this season following damage from a large avalanche last week. The top terminal of the High Noon Express is located inside a building and was spared, however snow caused the tube of tower 15 to give way. Communication from the resort, particularly chief executive Ross Copland, has been stellar from beginning to end. Here’s a recap.
Mr. Copland posted a Facebook update from the site within hours and an entertaining selfie video soon after. “It’s a pretty sorry state as you can see behind me. Tower 15 has taken the brunt of a massive snow loading. The shape of the building for the return of the High Noon Express has actually protected it really nicely. The snow has come down right over the roof and basically launched right into the top tower.” He exclaimed at the end “It’s not the first time we’ve had to replace a tower on the High Noon Express!”
Snow King Mountain’s expansion officially enters the National Environmental Policy Act pipeline. Proposed lifts are a 1,500 pph gondola with cabin storage, a 3,015′ backside fixed-grip quad, one 679′ T-Bar or platter and two new carpets.
Denver Post alum Jason Blevins, now writing for the Colorado Sun, traces the remarkable ski industry journey of the Mueller family from Vermont to Colorado. Insights from his must read piece: Tim and Diane Mueller took out a second mortgage on their home to buy Okemo, invested in Catamount before it failed, nearly bought Steamboat and once bid to operate Winter Park.
Utah ski resorts will debut three new chairlifts for the 2018-19 season and although none of them service new terrain, each will make lives better for skiers and snowboarders. One of my stops this weekend was Park City Mountain, where Vail Resorts announced the creation of a reimagined High Meadow Family Fun Zone back in December. A new Doppelmayr detachable quad, opened up runs, upgraded snowmaking and candy cabin are coming together above the Red Pine Gondola. The new lift will have 8 towers, down from 11 on the old CTEC quad, which is sitting under the Cabriolet for now.
Across old town Park City at Deer Valley, another Doppelmayr detachable quad is replacing another CTEC fixed-grip quad. Highlander Lift Services & Construction is assembling Homestake Express in the existing alignment but again with fewer towers. I think the new number is eight, down from a dozen in this high traffic area above Silver Lake Lodge. For its second winter under Alterra, Deer Valley will operate an impressive 13 high speed quads this season. The 1999 version of Homestake is bound for Utah Olympic Park.
In a decision the Durango Herald calls a “bombshell,” the Forest Service proposes granting road access to the controversial Village at Wolf Creek, which would include two new lifts near Wolf Creek Ski Area’s new Meadow quad.
A live streaming webcam shows New Hampshire’s largest and fastest gondola going in at Bretton Woods. Some tidbits on the lift from the New Hampshire Tramway Board: line speed will be 6 m/s with 36 cabins and a design capacity of 2,600 using 62 cabins. SkyTrans is taking the retired B double and the gondola’s load test is slated for December 20th.
As it works to finalize its lease of Mt. Sunapee, Vail Resorts assures New Hampshire residents the company is in for the long haul and doesn’t plan any real estate development at the state-owned mountain.
A stack up of at least nine cabins on the White urban gondola line in La Paz last Monday is deemed the result of human error. No passengers were on the lift at the time.
The widow of Loveland mechanic Adam Lee, who died underneath a carpet lift last winter, goes on CBS This Morning to talk about his workers compensation claim being reduced due to a positive marijuana test.
Restructuring could resolve what is currently the nation’s largest ski resort foreclosure case, according to a report from the Brattleboro Reformer. Jim Barnes, founder of the financially-troubled Hermitage Club, sent an email last night informing members of two important developments. First, the Club has secured a bridge loan to maintain key staff working toward a restructuring with Berkshire Bank and other creditors. Secondly, a nonbinding term sheet has been signed with Oz Real Estate to provide new capital to the ski and golf resort. “The potential transaction with Oz Real Estate contemplates the club’s debt with Berkshire Bank to be restructured or bought out,” Barnes wrote. The bank is owed more than $17 million while a foodservice distributor is out more than $1.5 million and a hotelier $1.2 million along with others owed smaller amounts.
Oz is the parent company of Ski Resort Holdings LLC, which bought 14 major ski resorts from CNL Lifestyle Properties in 2017. Most of them were sold to Boyne Resorts, Vail Resorts and other operators over the past year. “Oz Real Estate invests in both opportunistic real estate private equity and real estate credit in the U.S. and Europe,” the firm says on its website. “Founded in 2003, Oz Real Estate has raised approximately $3.8 billion of dedicated real estate capital and completed more than 107 transactions across 19 diverse real estate asset classes.” Mr. Barnes also named a new Club President, Harper Sibley.
The Hermitage is currently closed under a court-ordered receivership with FTI Consulting on site maintaining assets. “The primary goal of the Hermitage Club is to close this restructuring and prepare for a successful 2018/2019 fall and winter season,” Barnes stated in his email. “The proceeds from the restructuring will provide the means to settle claims and disputes that have arisen due to the lack of cash flow from closed club operations.” Nonbinding is a key word and the Club made a similar announcement about $26 million in possible funding from an unidentified financial company on April 30th. It’s unclear whether that deal was to be with Oz or a different outfit altogether. Berkshire Bank assistant vice president and marketing officer Heidi Higgins told the Reformer the lender is “not in a position to talk about this specific instance due to privacy and legal concerns.” Nonetheless, the news is a sign Mr. Barnes and his staff continue to work hard toward a resolution four months from ski season.