News Roundup: Four Too Many

Advertisements

Snow King Outlines Gondola & More

There aren’t many ski resorts that lose $200,000 in a good winter. That’s the loss Snow King Mountain projects for the next four months as it struggles to find a sustainable operating model in downtown Jackson, Wyoming.  The ski area opened in 1939, decades before its more famous neighbors even existed.  Snow King’s alpine slide, opened in 1978, sees many times more riders in the summer than the entire mountain attracts each winter.  Beginner and intermediate destination visitors simply don’t choose to ski the rugged, north-facing mountain with a 12-minute double chair ride to the top.

IMG_8831
Snow King managing partner Max Chapman, Jr. outlines his group’s investments to date and vision for the future at a community open house December 11, 2015.

Last year, an investment banker with local ties named Max Chapman, Jr. led a group of investors in purchasing Snow King Holdings from the ownership group that struggled with the ski area since 1992.  This past summer, Chapman and company spent a crazy $14 million to build an alpine coaster, base lodge, retail store, ski school building, quad chair and fully-automated TechnoAlpin snowmaking system.  General Manager Ryan Stanley overhauled ticketing systems, bought new uniforms and even commissioned a brand new trail map and website.  This week, the King held a community open house at Snow King Hotel to outline a vision for phase 2 expansion and begin a multi-year public process in hopes of pushing Snow King to consistent profitability.  SKMR operates on a mix of private, federal and town land so Chapman knows he needs the community’s support.

IMG_8820
The Panorama House will be re-imagined with a modern facility and integrated gondola (apparently with 1960s Riblet towers!)

The anchor of the project is a base-to-summit gondola to an all-new complex that will serve a variety of visitors year-round.  The facility up top would include a movie theatre, planetarium, cafeteria and fine dining overlooking the town of Jackson and Teton Range.  As of now the building would also include gondola cabin storage/maintenance and takeoff for a quad zipline plunging into town below at speeds up to 75 mph.  Chapman noted, “we want everything we build to be the best.”

Continue reading