Ski Resort Ownership in North America

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Ski Resort Ownership in North America

Postby soulskier » Fri Jul 22, 2011 4:48 pm

Hello fellow snow enthuiasts. We put together a Tony-like list of who owns what ski resort.

Let the conversations begin.

http://www.mrablog.com/ski-resort-owner ... at-part-1/
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Re: Ski Resort Ownership in North America

Postby Patrick » Fri Jul 22, 2011 7:02 pm

I've been a bit out of touch for the last 2 years, especially that they was some shuffles. Here are some Canadian ones not mentioned in SoulSkier piece or have a ski area in Quebec.

Mont St-Sauveur International (MSSI): all in the Laurentians, exceot Edelweiss (Outaouais)

Mont St-Sauveur QC
Mont Avila QC
Mont Olympia QC
Mont Gabriel QC
Morin Heights QC
Edelweiss QC

Resorts of the Canadian Rockies (RCR): 5 within 1-4 hours from Calgary and 2 within 30-45 minutes from Quebec City

Lake Louise AB
Fernie BC
Kimberly BC
Nakiska AB
Wintergreen AB
Mont Ste-Anne QC
Stoneham QC

Fortune Resorts: 2 in the Outaouais and part of one in Banff National Park. Tried to buy Mont Orford this year.
Camp Fortune QC
Mont Ste-Marie QC
Banff-Norquay AB (part ownership)

Intrawest: much smaller than it used to be...
Tremblant QC
Blue Mtn ON
Showshoe WV
Steamboat CO
Sttraton VT
Winter Park CO
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Re: Ski Resort Ownership in North America

Postby soulskier » Tue Jul 26, 2011 3:57 pm

Here's round 2, the Local Players. Patrick, thanks for the feedback, we may need to make some revisions.

http://www.mrablog.com/ski-resort-owner ... at-part-2/
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Re: Ski Resort Ownership in North America

Postby berkshireskier » Wed Jul 27, 2011 8:32 am

Thanks for posting the list. Interesting reading. I'd also be interested to see how many ski areas (and what areas) are still owned by one individual or one family.
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Re: Ski Resort Ownership in North America

Postby soulskier » Wed Jul 27, 2011 10:16 am

berkshireskier wrote:Thanks for posting the list. Interesting reading. I'd also be interested to see how many ski areas (and what areas) are still owned by one individual or one family.


Great idea. We will have to put one of those together in the future.
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Re: Ski Resort Ownership in North America

Postby Geoff » Wed Jul 27, 2011 11:21 am

Some minor corrections:

Sunapee is owned by the State of New Hampshire. It's leased to the Mullers. Their might be some land in the area that is owned by the Florida REIT but the ski area sits on state land and is owned by New Hampshire.

Killington's ski business is 20% owned by the H.L. Hunt Texas oil money that was originally the Eiger Fund and later became E2M Ventures. The local holding company is called SP Land. The developable land at the base of Killington is 80% owned by the Texans and 20% owned by POWDR.
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Re: Ski Resort Ownership in North America

Postby soulskier » Wed Jul 27, 2011 7:29 pm

Geoff wrote:Some minor corrections:

Sunapee is owned by the State of New Hampshire. It's leased to the Mullers. Their might be some land in the area that is owned by the Florida REIT but the ski area sits on state land and is owned by New Hampshire.

Killington's ski business is 20% owned by the H.L. Hunt Texas oil money that was originally the Eiger Fund and later became E2M Ventures. The local holding company is called SP Land. The developable land at the base of Killington is 80% owned by the Texans and 20% owned by POWDR.


Thanks so much for the corrections.
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Re: Ski Resort Ownership in North America

Postby Mike Bernstein » Thu Jul 28, 2011 11:30 am

Jamie -

I guess what I'm missing here is the "so what". All you've done at this point is gather data. What should people think of this? How does this level of resort concentration compare to the level of concentration in other industries? Does it matter that CNL owns so many resorts when they don't appear to have any day-to-day influence on operations and act solely as landlords? This is a nice list, but it's just a starting point if you want to generate useful insights for your audience.
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Re: Ski Resort Ownership in North America

Postby EMSC » Thu Jul 28, 2011 12:00 pm

Mike Bernstein wrote:Jamie -

I guess what I'm missing here is the "so what". All you've done at this point is gather data. What should people think of this? How does this level of resort concentration compare to the level of concentration in other industries? Does it matter that CNL owns so many resorts when they don't appear to have any day-to-day influence on operations and act solely as landlords? This is a nice list, but it's just a starting point if you want to generate useful insights for your audience.


+1... You beat me to it. Especially the part about CNL having little influence in the operations, expansions, etc... The various operators have very long term lease back arrangements.

Also, in suggestion to the family owned request above, it might be worth digging up all the non-profit and government owned as well (You did do the NYS ones, but there are a number of city and municipality owned ones as well).
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Re: Ski Resort Ownership in North America

Postby Tony Crocker » Thu Jul 28, 2011 1:03 pm

Mike Bernstein wrote:Does it matter that CNL owns so many resorts when they don't appear to have any day-to-day influence on operations and act solely as landlords?

This is the topic where I have questions. What is in all of this for CNL? Presumably the long term lease income is a projected reasonable rate of return on what they paid for each property. Who is in trouble if the resort doesn't meet revenue projections? At Mammoth it is prevailing opinion that the mountain ops are as successful as ever, though they have to cover an onerous debt load that Starwood assumed to buy it from Dave McCoy in 2006. But the now CNL-owned (also since 2006) village has underperformed from the time it started a decade ago due to lack of parking and high prices that the SoCal weekenders (90+% of business) are unwilling to pay. I have heard that the ski area/Starwood would like to buy the village at a cheaper price reflecting the current economy/real estate market.
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Re: Ski Resort Ownership in North America

Postby Mike Bernstein » Thu Jul 28, 2011 1:37 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:
Mike Bernstein wrote:Does it matter that CNL owns so many resorts when they don't appear to have any day-to-day influence on operations and act solely as landlords?

This is the topic where I have questions. What is in all of this for CNL? Presumably the long term lease income is a projected reasonable rate of return on what they paid for each property. Who is in trouble if the resort doesn't meet revenue projections? At Mammoth it is prevailing opinion that the mountain ops are as successful as ever, though they have to cover an onerous debt load that Starwood assumed to buy it from Dave McCoy in 2006. But the now CNL-owned (also since 2006) village has underperformed from the time it started a decade ago due to lack of parking and high prices that the SoCal weekenders (90+% of business) are unwilling to pay. I have heard that the ski area/Starwood would like to buy the village at a cheaper price reflecting the current economy/real estate market.

I don't know how it plays in out in specific situations, but since CNL is a REIT, I suspect they are happy to simply have the long-term lease income and that there may be (pure speculation) tax/structural benefits that make it attractive. I guess the key is buying in at the right price so your lease income can support your targert rate of return. That's where the rubber hits the road for the Mammoth village. A quick glance at their other properties indicates that they haven't generally been buying at the top of the market outside of that example. Moreover, they have likely been able to strike good deals due to the motivation on the part of the resort operator not to have their capital tied up. Pretty smart, actually. Let the guys with the real estate capital own the real estate. Let the guys who know how to run resorts run the resort, and nary the twain shall meet.
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Re: Ski Resort Ownership in North America

Postby soulskier » Thu Jul 28, 2011 1:50 pm

Mike Bernstein wrote:Jamie -

I guess what I'm missing here is the "so what". All you've done at this point is gather data. What should people think of this? How does this level of resort concentration compare to the level of concentration in other industries? Does it matter that CNL owns so many resorts when they don't appear to have any day-to-day influence on operations and act solely as landlords? This is a nice list, but it's just a starting point if you want to generate useful insights for your audience.


We just wanted to share with everyone some of our findings. We think it's important for people to know that equity firms and large, powerful corporations own many of our mountain playgrounds. Take from it what you will.
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Re: Ski Resort Ownership in North America

Postby EMSC » Thu Jul 28, 2011 1:52 pm

Mike Bernstein wrote:..... since CNL is a REIT, I suspect they are happy to simply have the long-term lease income and that there may be (pure speculation) tax/structural benefits that make it attractive. I guess the key is buying in at the right price so your lease income can support your targert rate of return. That's where the rubber hits the road for the Mammoth village.....


And the brass ring goes to...

I would think that only the first few years of the annual lease payments have been negotiated and CNL will be looking to raise rates materially over time. So the initial Cap Rate is met by the initial payment rates and you can hopefully increase the cap rate somewhat over the time horizon as well. Being a REIT, there is no Corp Tax on CNL's profitability, but they also have to pay out 90% of CNL's taxable net income to investors each year. That way the Gov't still gets a slice of taxes annually, but only at the individual level...

The structure avoids double taxation of profits... Such that businesses that are somewhat unrelated to real estate but that hold lots of real estate anyway (such as cell phone tower companies for one example) are choosing to become Reits to streamline tax efficiencies.
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Re: Ski Resort Ownership in North America

Postby Mike Bernstein » Thu Jul 28, 2011 2:13 pm

soulskier wrote:
Mike Bernstein wrote:Jamie -

I guess what I'm missing here is the "so what". All you've done at this point is gather data. What should people think of this? How does this level of resort concentration compare to the level of concentration in other industries? Does it matter that CNL owns so many resorts when they don't appear to have any day-to-day influence on operations and act solely as landlords? This is a nice list, but it's just a starting point if you want to generate useful insights for your audience.


We just wanted to share with everyone some of our findings. We think it's important for people to know that equity firms and large, powerful corporations own many of our mountain playgrounds. Take from it what you will.

I guess this is where I think your analysis sort of falls down. Just putting it out there doesn't tell me anything. If I go into this with the base assumptions that corporations = bad and ski bums/private operators = good, well then I guess this is good enough - confirmatory bias.

However, if I were a fair minded individual who believes context matters, then I might not find this as useful. You don't have any findings - you have a list. "Findings" implies some sort of analysis bas been carried out whereas this is just a compilation of corporate resorts. "Findings" would consist of answers for any of the following questions:

1) What % of skier visits (or acreage or ski areas) are controlled by multi-resort ski resort operators?

2) What is the level of concentration of the Top 5 or Top 10 and how does that % compare to similar industries?

3) Are the corporately operated ski resorts pursuing a generally monolothic development path fueled by real estate or are there different models out there?


Just "putting it out there" based on the list you've compiled is next to worthless. It will serve simply to confirm the pre-existing notions/biases that your audience had before they started reading. Presumably you'd like to engage them a little more and make them think, or maybe you just want to pander to the lowest common denominator. For an organization that prides itself on looking at the ski industry through a different lens, I would hope it would be the former.
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Re: Ski Resort Ownership in North America

Postby soulskier » Thu Jul 28, 2011 3:24 pm

Mike Bernstein wrote:I guess this is where I think your analysis sort of falls down. Just putting it out there doesn't tell me anything. If I go into this with the base assumptions that corporations = bad and ski bums/private operators = good, well then I guess this is good enough - confirmatory bias.

However, if I were a fair minded individual who believes context matters, then I might not find this as useful. You don't have any findings - you have a list. "Findings" implies some sort of analysis bas been carried out whereas this is just a compilation of corporate resorts. "Findings" would consist of answers for any of the following questions:

1) What % of skier visits (or acreage or ski areas) are controlled by multi-resort ski resort operators?

2) What is the level of concentration of the Top 5 or Top 10 and how does that % compare to similar industries?

3) Are the corporately operated ski resorts pursuing a generally monolothic development path fueled by real estate or are there different models out there?


Just "putting it out there" based on the list you've compiled is next to worthless. It will serve simply to confirm the pre-existing notions/biases that your audience had before they started reading. Presumably you'd like to engage them a little more and make them think, or maybe you just want to pander to the lowest common denominator. For an organization that prides itself on looking at the ski industry through a different lens, I would hope it would be the former.


This is all information, along with other findings not included in the post, that is included in our Business Plan. Thanks as always for your feedback.
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