Is the ski resort model dead?

Topics of a general nature regarding snowsports, which don't easily fit into one of our other Liftlines categories. This is also the place to post Letters to the Editor.

Re: Is the ski resort model dead?

Postby rfarren » Wed Oct 20, 2010 10:35 pm

soulskier wrote:
I do not think the entire ski industry has it wrong and that big resorts can't survive. What I do believe is that skiing has become mostly a rich man's sport and in many cases, has lost touch with it's clients. Furthermore, many locals have been driven out of their ski areas due to prices, leaving behind a sterile village that lacks soul. And most importantly, ski areas haven't exactly been treating the environment with the respect it deserves.


I disagree with you on this point. I would argue that skiing is about as affordable as it has ever been. Look at the epic pass in colorado. Locals can ski numerous mountains unlimited for less than $700 a year. How is that prohibitively expensive? Vacationers subsidize those cheap season passes, and if it weren't for those villages that lack soul many vacationers wouldn't come, and those season passes might jump up in price.
soulskier wrote:Furthermore, many locals have been driven out of their ski areas due to prices, leaving behind a sterile village that lacks soul. And most importantly, ski areas haven't exactly been treating the environment with the respect it deserves.


Give me an example of a town where the prices jumped up and left a sterile village lacking in soul. I can't really think of one on the top of my head as that town would have to predate the resort. Places like Breck, Telluride, Aspen, and Lake Placid come to mind, but they are anything but soulless. I can't really imagine that the locals are complaining about high real estate prices. In fact, I'm sure there are quite a few locals that bought real estate 20 or 30 years ago that extremely happy.

If you think about real estate in this way: Most towns in the mountains are in valleys. Valleys restrict the amount of developable land, thereby increasing the value of the land. If the mountain is a big mountain with favorable snow and terrain, that encourages vacationers, which therefore encourages more development. Prices rise, and so on... of course in recessions prices will fall, as second homes become harder to hold on to, however, markets do recover.... eventually. The trick is to be either a home owner before the resort gets developed, or to get in early.

soulskier wrote:And most importantly, ski areas haven't exactly been treating the environment with the respect it deserves.

:rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl:
Seriously.... :brick:
Skiing is bad for the environment... period! That is unless you don't fly or drive to the mountains (carbon), don't ski trails (which clear acres of forest and cause runoff issues), refuse to take lifts (carbon), ski places with no snowmaking whatsoever (water and carbon), and ski only with wood skis and leather boots (large scale industry... that can't be good for the environment).

We're talking about skiing here, unless you're earning your turns, it's pretty much bad for the environment.

I just simply love how everyone gets on their high horse when it comes to the environment. :roll:
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Re: Is the ski resort model dead?

Postby Marc_C » Wed Oct 20, 2010 11:54 pm

soulskier wrote:What I do believe is that skiing has become mostly a rich man's sport...

Become? Skiing has *always* been a rich man's sport. The unique thing that your idealistic blinders prevent you from seeing is that it's actually far cheaper now than 30, 40, or 50 years ago.


soulskier wrote:...leaving behind a sterile village that lacks soul.

Frankly, I have no idea what this means. I've heard it many times before and I've yet to hear it adequately defined or understandably explained. To me it always sounded like an indictment with little weight leveled as a groovy charge against "the man" by sprout eaters with week old granola in their unkempt beards. Give me something concrete so I know what the hell you're talking about.

soulskier wrote:I understand Mammoth had to expand to keep up with the client demand. As a result, that's one less cool ski area available for my generation and type of skiing style.

One of the more difficult exercises any business goes through is deciding which customers aren't worth the cost of keeping.
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Re: Is the ski resort model dead?

Postby soulskier » Thu Oct 21, 2010 11:02 pm

Marc_C wrote:
soulskier wrote:What I do believe is that skiing has become mostly a rich man's sport...

Become? Skiing has *always* been a rich man's sport. The unique thing that your idealistic blinders prevent you from seeing is that it's actually far cheaper now than 30, 40, or 50 years ago.

I wouldn't call $90 lift tickets, $12 cheeseburgers, $15 for parking cheap. As I recall, the first time I skied at Alta the lift ticket was in the low 20's. Now it's more than 3 times that.


soulskier wrote:...leaving behind a sterile village that lacks soul.

Frankly, I have no idea what this means. I've heard it many times before and I've yet to hear it adequately defined or understandably explained. To me it always sounded like an indictment with little weight leveled as a groovy charge against "the man" by sprout eaters with week old granola in their unkempt beards. Give me something concrete so I know what the hell you're talking about.

I think it is well explained beginning at 34 seconds in.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x0k_3ws7 ... r_embedded

For a case study, let's talk about Squaw Valley USA so I can speak from first hand experience. During the 90's and until Intrawest sold out the first phase of the Village at Squaw Valley in record time, the base was compromised of some older buildings and a huge parking lot. There were some funky bars and fun places to hang out. (Chamois, which is next to the original Olympic House is still their and mainstays the old school vibe.) The nineties were fun times at Squaw as shape and fat skis started appearing. We had several epic winters and the mountain was not very crowded (at least compared to today).

In 1999, when Intrawest phase 1 sold out, property values in Squaw (and all of North Lake Tahoe/Truckee) sky rocketed overnight. Those of us that were lucky enough to already own property were stoked. At the time I bought my condo in Squaw, I was 20. But most of my friends we still eating top ramen, and were not in the real estate market yet. Within a few years, to compensate for the now expensive real estate, rents rose significantly and forced many out of the Valley, towards Truckee or Kings Beach. The local character and flair, the essence of what made Squaw a happening place to be, was disappearing from the Valley.

The Village at Squaw Valley is a typical Intrawest Village, which looks and feels similar to Mammoth and Whistler (and likely others that I have not visited). The shops are on the ground floor with hotel rooms and suites on the second and above levels. (In a truly sustainable village, both the shop owners and patrons live in the village. In the Intrawest model, the guests and the employees all have to commute to the mountain playground).

In my opinion, the vibe around Squaw has changed a lot, and not for the better. Now there is a Starbucks, a few other chain stores and lots of expensive dining and drinking options. They even removed the infamous "extreme bench", which was a place were people gathered and talked about their day skiing. The village feels fake to me, like a glorified strip mall with nice views.


soulskier wrote:I understand Mammoth had to expand to keep up with the client demand. As a result, that's one less cool ski area available for my generation and type of skiing style.

One of the more difficult exercises any business goes through is deciding which customers aren't worth the cost of keeping.


Total agree. I guess that's a good problem for a business to have.
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Re: Is the ski resort model dead?

Postby soulskier » Thu Oct 21, 2010 11:20 pm

rfarren wrote:
soulskier wrote:
I do not think the entire ski industry has it wrong and that big resorts can't survive. What I do believe is that skiing has become mostly a rich man's sport and in many cases, has lost touch with it's clients. Furthermore, many locals have been driven out of their ski areas due to prices, leaving behind a sterile village that lacks soul. And most importantly, ski areas haven't exactly been treating the environment with the respect it deserves.


I disagree with you on this point. I would argue that skiing is about as affordable as it has ever been. Look at the epic pass in colorado. Locals can ski numerous mountains unlimited for less than $700 a year. How is that prohibitively expensive? Vacationers subsidize those cheap season passes, and if it weren't for those villages that lack soul many vacationers wouldn't come, and those season passes might jump up in price.

I was more referring to a family that wants to take a ski vacation. Do the math, it's a small fortune with rentals, lessons, lodging, flights/gas money and full priced lift tickets. It's true season pass prices has come down in some areas, but most everything else at ski resorts has increased significantly.

IMO, reduced season passes are not necessarily a good thing, because now many more people are passholders, thus decreasing the overall ski experience. (When Squaw dropped their pass prices, they were rumored to have sold 8 times as many passes as the year before). Personally,I'd rather pay $500 more per season and have way less skier traffic on the mountain. Better yet, with the MRA, I would rather be a ski area owner and give my hard earned dollars to support my own investment.


soulskier wrote:Furthermore, many locals have been driven out of their ski areas due to prices, leaving behind a sterile village that lacks soul. And most importantly, ski areas haven't exactly been treating the environment with the respect it deserves.


Give me an example of a town where the prices jumped up and left a sterile village lacking in soul. I can't really think of one on the top of my head as that town would have to predate the resort. Places like Breck, Telluride, Aspen, and Lake Placid come to mind, but they are anything but soulless. I can't really imagine that the locals are complaining about high real estate prices. In fact, I'm sure there are quite a few locals that bought real estate 20 or 30 years ago that extremely happy.

Please see my example of Squaw Valley, posted above.

If you think about real estate in this way: Most towns in the mountains are in valleys. Valleys restrict the amount of developable land, thereby increasing the value of the land. If the mountain is a big mountain with favorable snow and terrain, that encourages vacationers, which therefore encourages more development. Prices rise, and so on... of course in recessions prices will fall, as second homes become harder to hold on to, however, markets do recover.... eventually. The trick is to be either a home owner before the resort gets developed, or to get in early.

soulskier wrote:And most importantly, ski areas haven't exactly been treating the environment with the respect it deserves.

:rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl:
Seriously.... :brick:
Skiing is bad for the environment... period! That is unless you don't fly or drive to the mountains (carbon), don't ski trails (which clear acres of forest and cause runoff issues), refuse to take lifts (carbon), ski places with no snowmaking whatsoever (water and carbon), and ski only with wood skis and leather boots (large scale industry... that can't be good for the environment).

We're talking about skiing here, unless you're earning your turns, it's pretty much bad for the environment.

I just simply love how everyone gets on their high horse when it comes to the environment. :roll:


Agreed skiing isn't great on the environment. And for that reason, ski areas should be doing everything they can to be as minimal impact as possible. Look at cars. We all know they are bad on the environment, but at least now they have to be smogged.

Check out Ski Area Citizens Group. http://www.skiareacitizens.com/ They are calling out ski areas that aren't being environmentally kind. Kirkwood recieved some D's and F's and it was reported in the media. Now they are trying to change their tune.
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Re: Is the ski resort model dead?

Postby soulskier » Thu Oct 21, 2010 11:39 pm

longshanks wrote:
soulskier wrote:I (and many others) main focus is the skiing, specifically untracked snow and uncrowded slopes....


and that Sir puts you firmly into a very small minority, kinda the lunatic fringe of Snow Sports. Sure very cool and the envy of many mortals but any "Ski business model" will have trouble surviving on those slim pickings - the numbers just don't support it. Oh, and you forgot to add Cheap Lift Tickets in the mix, it gives you a nice trifecta. Servicing a small elitist group vs. looking after the needs of the generic masses...that sounds like a private club and you will need a bunch of rich folk for that. And that crowd has no problem with $12 Burgers and $8 Lattes anyway...

While we are in the small minority as you accurately point out, remember that there are tens of millions of skiers worldwide. Thanks to the far reaching power of the internet, we only have to capture a small percentage of the millions. The MRA will offer affordable investment shares to the global ski community. So yes, it will be a private club of sorts, kinda like Yellowstone Club, only for normal folk.



soulskier wrote:As a result, that's one less cool ski area available for my generation and type of skiing style
Somebody better call Mammoth and let them know...come on, do you think they really care much about such a small fragment of the market?


Of course they don't care, that's not in dispute. But us passionate riders do care, and that's why we are gonna "grow our own".
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Re: Is the ski resort model dead?

Postby Marc_C » Fri Oct 22, 2010 12:22 am

soulskier wrote:
Marc_C wrote:
soulskier wrote:What I do believe is that skiing has become mostly a rich man's sport...

Become? Skiing has *always* been a rich man's sport. The unique thing that your idealistic blinders prevent you from seeing is that it's actually far cheaper now than 30, 40, or 50 years ago.

I wouldn't call $90 lift tickets, $12 cheeseburgers, $15 for parking cheap. As I recall, the first time I skied at Alta the lift ticket was in the low 20's. Now it's more than 3 times that.

What? You're actually making that comparison without taking median annual income into account and adjusting for inflation and cost of living? Seriously?? That's what I mean about the absolute naivete of your statements.
And implying that Alta has a $90 lift ticket is blatantly dishonest.

When Alta's lift ticket was in the low $20's, a typical home was well under $50K and a good salary was $12K. And people *still* couldn't afford to go skiing.

I've got nothing against the concept of the MRA, but the arguments you're using for the basis just don't have any rational grounding in economic reality. I think the crap that you're getting here is due to the numeric paucity of your position, perhaps the result of a granola based ideology.

BTW, I once had a $50 cheeseburger - combo of ground veal and ground braised short ribs, with a center of seared foie gras and a goodly bit of shaved black truffles with a port reduction sauce. It was served with a ragout of wild mushrooms and a pea & leek risotto with a drizzle of 75 year old balsamic vinegar. It was spectacular! Too bad it wasn't at a ski area.

When I go to Deer Valley, I budget an hour and a half and $30 for the spectacular lunch - definitely part of the attraction. That and the untouched powder in the off-trail woods. And I just loved the base village at Whistler - nice shops to browse in while trying to decide among the plethora of excellent restaurants for the evening. Kinda reminded me of Zermatt. Good people watching too. Crusty dirtbag locals providing "soul" and spraying about what they skied that day??? F-that!!!

Oh yeah, in case you didn't know - I live 20 minutes from Alta, buy an AltaBird pass each year, typically get in about 60-70 days or so, and often hike for stuff (despite having a 'LIFT" pass). When Alta put in the Collins HSDQ, I was really hoping they'd put the old Germania chair to good use - like up the center of Devil's Castle or to the top of East Castle.
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Re: Is the ski resort model dead?

Postby Tony Crocker » Fri Oct 22, 2010 2:08 am

soulskier wrote:Going back to the Mammoth case study, I started skiing there in the early 80's. 30 years later, with the exception of chair 22 (without it would be a 5 minute hike), there has been no terrain expansion, only many more lifts to bring the people to the same slopes. IMO, the overall ski experience has actually diminished due to skier traffic on the slopes. Again, I am not interested in fancy mid mountain lodges and $12 cheeseburgers, perfectly manicured groomers and 5 star lodging experiences. I (and many others) main focus is the skiing, specifically untracked snow and uncrowded slopes. I understand Mammoth had to expand to keep up with the client demand. As a result, that's one less cool ski area available for my generation and type of skiing style.

I've been skiing Mammoth regularly since 1978 and I take issue with much of this. Mammoth had 1.4 million skier days in 1982 and 1986, and barely surpassed that peak in 2005 and 2006. Has the skier experience diminished? Not IMHO. The face of chair 3 is the only place I've seen a negative impact from higher skier density, and that only in late season. When it was a double the liftline was unacceptable on weekends after ~10AM. I think a fixed quad might have been a better move there, but the other lift upgrades have had no downside IMHO. Yeah the powder gets tracked faster now, but a lot of that is equipment. Good luck skiing many runs in the Sierra Cement or windblown on 1980's gear for most of us.

With regard to cost my son Adam has a share in a ski house and the MVP; I calculated his lift/lodging/transportation cost at $37/day in 2009-10. Staley even undercuts that, so no question the young financially challenged skiers and riders in SoCal are far better off today than when I was their age. As soulskier probably knows, Mammoth's village has not been a success. It's still a weekend commuter market, and most of those people are content in the older and cheaper 1970's vintage condos.

MarcC wrote:What? You're actually making that comparison without taking median annual income into account and adjusting for inflation and cost of living?

I'll take a stab at that.
Lift tickets: Now segmented to nail price insensitive weekend/holiday skiers but season pass, coupon books etc. keep costs similar or in some cases like Mammoth and I-70 Colorado cheaper for locals who can take advantage.
Equipment: My guess is similar, but most "gear sluts" these days are actively ferreting out deals/swapping slightly used gear online, probably getting more bang for the buck than in the less efficient marketplace 30 years ago.
Clothing, accessories: Much cheaper, look at the tags where they are made, even the high end stuff.
Lodging: Probably up more than inflation in resorts. There are still options like SLC to go cheap if that's important to you.
Air transport: Much cheaper than before deregulation in the late 1970's.
Gas: the 2008 price spike barely exceeded the 1981 peak inflation adjusted. Gas was much cheaper only pre-1973.

One area that is significantly inflated is childrens' day care and ski school. In terms of long range planning I think resorts would be smart to subsidize these operations.

At any rate, we have the strong skier visit numbers from 2009-10, and I think we baby boomers are old enough now that the growth is coming from the younger generation.

EMSC wrote:I think Skip Kings discussion essentially in defense of the large resorts is pretty well stated.

However, way back in soulskiers initial MRA post I stated my general sense that he can survive as a small guy built mostly (not entirely) on the supposed wish list of items. It doesn't have to be only one way and one model for every ski sliding experience IMO. But there are a lot of complications going the way MRA is and soulskier will have to make very diligent choices to survive and will even have to be willing to compromise on some of the wish list (which pieces are somewhat specific to the location, etc... while others not so much).

That said, I think the hard reaction on these boards are related mostly to the MRA 'dictum' that the entire ski industry has it all wrong and none of the big resorts can or will ever survive, etc... Sorry not buying it. There is a place for several versions of business model in the industry, predicated on different sub markets, geographies and other particulars. Vail and Whistler aren't going away. I'm not quite sure why several posters seem to be only for the big resort model and poo-poo the entirety of soulskiers ideas; and also not sure why soulskier thinks that the big resort model is 100% dead and will never survive in any similar form. I suspect to some degree that both models will survive for some time to come. But with the vast majority of skiers going to the big resorts with many amenities and the small MRA types scratching out an OK living; I highly doubt the MRA model will suddenly proliferate into dozens of new ski areas nor in de-constructing the big resorts back to the 'olden days' either.

Why exactly does it have to be only one or the other model?

An excellent summation on all points IMHO. =D>

I have always been an advocate of diversity in ski experiences. There are quite a few of these minimalist but interesting ski areas in the West, as noted before (add Bridger Bowl and Sundance to the list). That's why I've urged soulskier to study them closely. I suspect he'll find, as rfarren noted, that they are still businesses that have to make economic decisions to survive on a sustainable basis.

soulskier wrote:...Big on mountain
can mean considerable patrol/avy control expense. When I was at Pomerelle, the manager giving me the tour noted some enticing bowls behind the area and commented on both the development and maintenance cost if they were to expand. "Our niche is ski instruction for local families and the schoolkids. If we developed that we wouldn't have $35 lift tickets anymore." It was noted here at ISSW that if you're a small area with big mountain terrain like Mt. Rose or Bridger Bowl you have to meet the same standards of avy control as the big places like Whistler/Mammoth/AltaBird.

Geoff wrote:soulskier is treading awfully close to pinko commie fag territory.

It doesn't really matter whether it's left-wing or right-wing. The ski business is not easy. It you try to run it on the basis of ideology you are likely to fail. The energy issue is Exhibit A. Talk to the ski area owners and I'll bet you find that conservation/energy efficiency is real important, but that energy production is uneconomic except for some rare situations.
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Re: Is the ski resort model dead?

Postby rfarren » Fri Oct 22, 2010 7:58 am

soulskier wrote:
The Village at Squaw Valley is a typical Intrawest Village, which looks and feels similar to Mammoth and Whistler (and likely others that I have not visited). The shops are on the ground floor with hotel rooms and suites on the second and above levels. (In a truly sustainable village, both the shop owners and patrons live in the village. In the Intrawest model, the guests and the employees all have to commute to the mountain playground).


Most towns in the world are not like this, let's not be unrealistically idealistic. Most towns aren't pedestrianized either. I'm sorry the vibe and town (a couple rickety buildings) at Squaw were ruined. :lol:
Listen, my wife loves whistler. You know why? The skiing is good, but she loves the town, the nightlife, and restaurants and the shops. I think it's great that these resorts are giving options for people other than just skiing. It allows me to go on a ski vacation with loved ones, even if they aren't big skiers. I'm sorry but her idea of ski vacation isn't staying at an econolodge outside a village with "some older buildings and a huge parking lot." It's certainly not going to some "funky bars" and avoiding three day old corn in some hippy's dirty beard.
soulskier wrote:
I was more referring to a family that wants to take a ski vacation. Do the math, it's a small fortune with rentals, lessons, lodging, flights/gas money and full priced lift tickets. It's true season pass prices has come down in some areas, but most everything else at ski resorts has increased significantly.


It's not much more expensive when you consider inflation. Furthermore, airline tickets are about as cheap as they've ever been. Flying used to be the most expensive part of the vacation, in fact prohibitively expensive. I would argue when you look at the ski vacation as a whole (airfare+ the rest), it's nowadays as cheap as it's ever been. Also, those villages you so despise mean families needn't rent cars, which also saves money.
soulskier wrote:
IMO, reduced season passes are not necessarily a good thing, because now many more people are passholders, thus decreasing the overall ski experience. (When Squaw dropped their pass prices, they were rumored to have sold 8 times as many passes as the year before). Personally,I'd rather pay $500 more per season and have way less skier traffic on the mountain.


Isn't that the pot calling the kettle black? =D> First it's too expensive, now it's too cheap, so there are too many people skiing!!! You come off as quite the elitist in this.

It sounds as if your business model is: dirty hippies get a mountain in the MRA model. There is no village at the base, so tourist don't come. Locals don't come because the season lift tix are too expensive and the few owners want to control crowds... MRA goes under. Hippies complain that the price of living in a van is too expensive since the corporate company that took over the mountain started charging for parking....

Seriously though, if you want empty mountains it's time for you to get AT bindings and do what Icelantic does.
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Re: Is the ski resort model dead?

Postby Marc_C » Fri Oct 22, 2010 8:50 am

rfarren wrote:Seriously though, if you want empty mountains it's time for you to get AT bindings and do what Icelantic does.

+10
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Re: Is the ski resort model dead?

Postby J.Spin » Fri Oct 22, 2010 4:16 pm

rfarren wrote:Seriously though, if you want empty mountains it's time for you to get AT bindings and do what Icelantic does.

I’ve been waiting for this comment since around page 2 of the discussion, but haven’t really had the time to do more than simply read along, so I’m glad that rfarren brought it up. Going with a lift-served model seems to be one of the big problems here because the economics don’t make sense in delivering what the typical MRA skier would want. Based on the specialized/elite ski crowd that seems to be targeted with this venture anyway, the participants should really just suck it up and earn their turns – at least in the short to medium range if not indefinitely. This clearly seems to be working for Lodge Theory – they don’t need snowmaking, lifts, tickets, etc. It’s potentially another model that MRA could follow. Why not simply buy/lease some land and do the Lodge Theory thing for a decade or so, and if things go well then think about a lift. Of course lift access is only going to cost more money and ruin the untracked snow that everyone is looking for anyway. Just go with some nice efficient, reliable skin tracks that make the process of human-powered ascent easier for everyone. Sticking to terrain that doesn’t need to be controlled for avalanches is probably a good thing to do at first as well, unless there is access to free control. Once there are any substantial bills to pay, it’s just going to mean increased pressure to turn the ski area into what MRA is trying to avoid. Earning turns is also attractive if MRA really wants to minimize ecological/environmental impact. Not that I’m any less guilty than the next guy in terms of using lifts or other mechanical ascent aids, but let’s face it, aren’t these aids really just a function of our own greed for more turns than we probably deserve? If MRA wants to get closer to the purity of the ski experience, and also minimize ecological/environmental impact, earned turns might be the way to go.
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Re: Is the ski resort model dead?

Postby Patrick » Fri Oct 22, 2010 4:48 pm

Marc_C wrote:
rfarren wrote:Seriously though, if you want empty mountains it's time for you to get AT bindings and do what Icelantic does.

+10

I never meet soulskier, but I'm pretty sure that he owns AT bindings and I would prefer having his skiing experiences versus Marc_C and rfarren. :lol:

J, don't you see a minimal approach/compromise between pure earn-your-turns approach to a ski area like Shames were there is minimal lifts that access bigger terrain (mentioned the place as I've been there before)?

I see it.
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Re: Is the ski resort model dead?

Postby Marc_C » Fri Oct 22, 2010 5:26 pm

Patrick wrote:I never meet soulskier, but I'm pretty sure that he owns AT bindings and I would prefer having his skiing experiences versus Marc_C and rfarren. :lol:

Good. Means you're not competing with us for powder or a seat at a good restaurant.
I'm certain my ski experiences are far poorer quality ....

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Re: Is the ski resort model dead?

Postby Admin » Fri Oct 22, 2010 5:41 pm

Hey, I resemble that guy!
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Re: Is the ski resort model dead?

Postby J.Spin » Fri Oct 22, 2010 11:01 pm

Patrick wrote:J, don't you see a minimal approach/compromise between pure earn-your-turns approach to a ski area like Shames where there is minimal lifts that access bigger terrain (mentioned the place as I've been there before)? I see it.

I think places like Shames are awesome, and I want to go to them. I just continue to get the impression in these threads that there are already questions of economic viability at that level, and the MRA model seems even more extreme. Something without the cost of lifts might make for an easier starting point.
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Re: Is the ski resort model dead?

Postby soulskier » Sat Oct 23, 2010 11:20 am

Marc_C wrote:
I wouldn't call $90 lift tickets, $12 cheeseburgers, $15 for parking cheap. As I recall, the first time I skied at Alta the lift ticket was in the low 20's. Now it's more than 3 times that.
What? You're actually making that comparison without taking median annual income into account and adjusting for inflation and cost of living? Seriously?? That's what I mean about the absolute naivete of your statements.
And implying that Alta has a $90 lift ticket is blatantly dishonest.

I was referencing Alta's $69 ticket, if I included the bird, it would be closer to 4.5 to 1.

When Alta's lift ticket was in the low $20's, a typical home was well under $50K and a good salary was $12K. And people *still* couldn't afford to go skiing.

I've got nothing against the concept of the MRA, but the arguments you're using for the basis just don't have any rational grounding in economic reality. I think the crap that you're getting here is due to the numeric paucity of your position, perhaps the result of a granola based ideology.

We have many examples of ways we will greatly reduce operating costs from a normal ski area. When I have more time, I will be happy to share our granola economy with you.

BTW, I once had a $50 cheeseburger - combo of ground veal and ground braised short ribs, with a center of seared foie gras and a goodly bit of shaved black truffles with a port reduction sauce. It was served with a ragout of wild mushrooms and a pea & leek risotto with a drizzle of 75 year old balsamic vinegar. It was spectacular! Too bad it wasn't at a ski area.

That's great, I lived in Argentina for the last 5 years, home to the best meat on the planet. So what's your point?

When I go to Deer Valley, I budget an hour and a half and $30 for the spectacular lunch - definitely part of the attraction. That and the untouched powder in the off-trail woods. And I just loved the base village at Whistler - nice shops to browse in while trying to decide among the plethora of excellent restaurants for the evening. Kinda reminded me of Zermatt. Good people watching too. Crusty dirtbag locals providing "soul" and spraying about what they skied that day??? F-that!!!

Between scheduling 90 minutes during your ski day for lunch and sharing an office with 75% of people that want heated chairlifts, you clearly aren't the demographic MRA will be targeting.


Oh yeah, in case you didn't know - I live 20 minutes from Alta, buy an AltaBird pass each year, typically get in about 60-70 days or so, and often hike for stuff (despite having a 'LIFT" pass). When Alta put in the Collins HSDQ, I was really hoping they'd put the old Germania chair to good use - like up the center of Devil's Castle or to the top of East Castle.

Do you know what did they do with the old chair?
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