Mammoth acquired by new Aspen&KSL group

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Mammoth acquired by new Aspen&KSL group

Postby EMSC » Wed Apr 12, 2017 8:05 am

Totally didnt hear a peep about this one! And only two days later...

http://www.denverpost.com/2017/04/12/mammoth-resorts-aspen-skiing-co-ksl-capital-partners/
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Re: Mammoth acquired by new Aspen&KSL group

Postby Tony Crocker » Wed Apr 12, 2017 9:07 am

It's lucky FTO has EMSC around to keep on top of news in the ski industry these days. For personal reasons it's understandable why FTO's last News post was March 18. But surely this week's Aspen/KSL alliance and purchases are a YUUUGE story in the North American ski industry.

As for the Mammoth story I'm far from surprised and somewhat relieved. The Starwood private equity group has surely not been happy with the top of the market purchase of Mammoth in 2006 and the ensuing debt restructuring after the 2012 bad season. The Denver Post article comments that Rob Katz of Vail has had his eye on Mammoth for a long time. I'm sure Rusty Gregory told his Starwood partners in 2014 that Mammoth had to buy Big Bear to keep it out of Vail's hands, which could be damaging to Mammoth long term.

Despite KSL's negative reputation I'm hopeful Aspen will run a more decentralized model than Vail. We know Aspen believes in ski areas having distinct cultures.

What's really up in air is the fate of Mountain Collective and MAX Pass in 2018-19. Obviously we want to see Mammoth and AltaBird in the same pass family. But even if this breaks up it's probably better for Mammoth to be in this new group vs. part of Vail.
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Re: Mammoth acquired by new Aspen&KSL group

Postby jamesdeluxe » Wed Apr 12, 2017 10:43 am

Tony Crocker wrote:in 2014 that Mammoth had to buy Big Bear to keep it out of Vail's hands, which could be damaging to Mammoth long term.

I know nothing about the CA scene -- could you explain?
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Re: Mammoth acquired by new Aspen&KSL group

Postby Marc_C » Wed Apr 12, 2017 1:28 pm

Here's one take on it:
https://gonerparty.com/2017/04/12/and-now-theyve-got-mammoth/

"KSL/Aspen’s new Death Star conglomerate shoots down California’s signature mountain — and much of the dream dies with it."
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Re: Mammoth acquired by new Aspen&KSL group

Postby EMSC » Wed Apr 12, 2017 1:34 pm

jamesdeluxe wrote:
Tony Crocker wrote:in 2014 that Mammoth had to buy Big Bear to keep it out of Vail's hands, which could be damaging to Mammoth long term.

I know nothing about the CA scene -- could you explain?


If Vail bought Mtn Creek NJ (or maybe Hunter is a better example) and you could get in 5-10 local days and then use the same pass at any of the Vail resorts in the west... How many folks would take that and hit Vail/canyons/tahoe by flying instead of schlepping in cars for the 6 hrs each way to Mammoth for several weekends? Not everyone, but enough to matter for both Vail (positive) and Mammoth's (negative) bottom lines.

Big Bear being the best of the smallish Socal ski mtns for average folks (my understanding).
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Re: Mammoth acquired by new Aspen&KSL group

Postby EMSC » Wed Apr 12, 2017 1:48 pm

Marc_C wrote:Here's one take on it:
https://gonerparty.com/2017/04/12/and-now-theyve-got-mammoth/

"KSL/Aspen’s new Death Star conglomerate shoots down California’s signature mountain — and much of the dream dies with it."


Talk about hyperbole. That article is filled with it; along with tons of assumptions and bias right from the opening paragraph.
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Re: Mammoth acquired by new Aspen&KSL group

Postby Marc_C » Wed Apr 12, 2017 2:03 pm

EMSC wrote:
Marc_C wrote:Here's one take on it:
https://gonerparty.com/2017/04/12/and-now-theyve-got-mammoth/

"KSL/Aspen’s new Death Star conglomerate shoots down California’s signature mountain — and much of the dream dies with it."


Talk about hyperbole. That article is filled with it; along with tons of assumptions and bias right from the opening paragraph.

Seems like every article on that site is bemoaning the death of Western Civilization.
I'll admit, I was unable to read the entire article. And I think the author should seek professional help.
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Re: Mammoth acquired by new Aspen&KSL group

Postby berkshireskier » Wed Apr 12, 2017 2:07 pm

Marc_C wrote:Here's one take on it:
https://gonerparty.com/2017/04/12/and-now-theyve-got-mammoth/

"KSL/Aspen’s new Death Star conglomerate shoots down California’s signature mountain — and much of the dream dies with it."


Thanks for the link. That writer is very funny. I read a few of his "columns" or blog posts about what's happening in the ski business (nothing good, in his opinion!). His post on how Vail stole Park City is hilarious. I was laughing so hard at work, I had tears in my eyes.
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Re: Mammoth acquired by new Aspen&KSL group

Postby Tony Crocker » Wed Apr 12, 2017 10:57 pm

The writer Andrew Pridgen seems to forget that Mammoth's majority owner since 2006, Starwood Capital, is a private equity firm not so different from KSL.
Barry Sternlicht, Starwood’s chairman and CEO wrote:“We had greater plans for Mammoth but the Great Recession and then some less favorable weather, interfered with our strategic aspirations in a finite life investment vehicle

This, from the horse's mouth, confirms that Starwood was not into running Mammoth long term, and by implication the alternative to this deal was acquisition by Vail.

No question Rusty Gregory is far more competent running a ski area than Andy Wirth. Today's press release says Rusty will remain in charge at Mammoth.

But yes it's curious what KSL's strategy is considering how controversial their operation is at the one ski resort they own now, Squaw/Alpine. Pridgen has written a few disparaging articles about KSL and Squaw, including advocating a boycott. Amusingly he speculated that KSL's exit strategy for Squaw was to sell out to Vail.

EMSC wrote:If Vail bought Mtn Creek NJ (or maybe Hunter is a better example) and you could get in 5-10 local days and then use the same pass at any of the Vail resorts in the west... How many folks would take that and hit Vail/canyons/tahoe by flying instead of schlepping in cars for the 6 hrs each way to Mammoth for several weekends? Not everyone, but enough to matter for both Vail (positive) and Mammoth's (negative) bottom lines.

Even more extreme than that. Presumably Hunter is the biggest NYC metro daytrip area, but what percent of that market does it represent? Big Bear does 800K skier visits and is easily 75% of the SoCal daytrip market. And SoCal residents are still close to 90% of Mammoth's average 1.2 million skier visits.

FYI Liz, one of the few people who has skied both Hunter and Big Bear, sees a lot in common there.
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Re: Mammoth acquired by new Aspen&KSL group

Postby jamesdeluxe » Thu Apr 13, 2017 11:47 am

Tony Crocker wrote:Presumably Hunter is the biggest NYC metro daytrip area, but what percent of that market does it represent?

I'll ask around and post whatever I find; however, don't forget that the Poconos hills are very popular among NYC/NJ skiing families. We often default to thinking that people who post on ski forums represent the majority of revenue, when that isn't necessarily the case.
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Re: Mammoth acquired by new Aspen&KSL group

Postby Tony Crocker » Thu Apr 13, 2017 1:24 pm

That was my point. When you consider the Poconos, Mountain Creek, Belleayre, Plattekill, I'll bet Hunter has no more than half as much market share as Big Bear does in SoCal.

Nonetheless I'm sure Vail would be plenty interested in Hunter if it were for sale.
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Re: Mammoth acquired by new Aspen&KSL group

Postby jamesdeluxe » Thu Apr 13, 2017 3:13 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:I'm sure Vail would be plenty interested in Hunter if it were for sale.

This is from December, so who knows if a sales is in its future:
http://www.newenglandskiindustry.com/vi ... toryid=518
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Re: Mammoth acquired by new Aspen&KSL group

Postby berkshireskier » Fri Apr 14, 2017 8:14 am

Tony Crocker wrote:The writer Andrew Pridgen seems to forget that Mammoth's majority owner since 2006, Starwood Capital, is a private equity firm not so different from KSL.
Barry Sternlicht, Starwood’s chairman and CEO wrote:“We had greater plans for Mammoth but the Great Recession and then some less favorable weather, interfered with our strategic aspirations in a finite life investment vehicle

This, from the horse's mouth, confirms that Starwood was not into running Mammoth long term, and by implication the alternative to this deal was acquisition by Vail.

No question Rusty Gregory is far more competent running a ski area than Andy Wirth. Today's press release says Rusty will remain in charge at Mammoth.

But yes it's curious what KSL's strategy is considering how controversial their operation is at the one ski resort they own now, Squaw/Alpine. Pridgen has written a few disparaging articles about KSL and Squaw, including advocating a boycott. Amusingly he speculated that KSL's exit strategy for Squaw was to sell out to Vail.

EMSC wrote:If Vail bought Mtn Creek NJ (or maybe Hunter is a better example) and you could get in 5-10 local days and then use the same pass at any of the Vail resorts in the west... How many folks would take that and hit Vail/canyons/tahoe by flying instead of schlepping in cars for the 6 hrs each way to Mammoth for several weekends? Not everyone, but enough to matter for both Vail (positive) and Mammoth's (negative) bottom lines.

Even more extreme than that. Presumably Hunter is the biggest NYC metro daytrip area, but what percent of that market does it represent? Big Bear does 800K skier visits and is easily 75% of the SoCal daytrip market. And SoCal residents are still close to 90% of Mammoth's average 1.2 million skier visits.

FYI Liz, one of the few people who has skied both Hunter and Big Bear, sees a lot in common there.


I have no clue what the actual percent numbers might be for Metro NYC daytrip skiers, but I'd be amazed if Hunter has more than 20% or so of that number. There's a fair number of other options for New York skiers, including the Poconos, the Berkshires, other NY ski areas (Windham, etc.). Having said that, I do think it would make sense for Vail (or one of the other large ski area conglomerates) to buy an area like Hunter (if it were for sale?) to get access to all those skiers.
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Re: Mammoth acquired by new Aspen&KSL group

Postby Marc_C » Fri Apr 14, 2017 9:39 am

berkshireskier wrote:I have no clue what the actual percent numbers might be for Metro NYC daytrip skiers, but I'd be amazed if Hunter has more than 20% or so of that number. There's a fair number of other options for New York skiers, including the Poconos, the Berkshires, other NY ski areas (Windham, etc.).

The southern VT areas up to Killington are also highly popular NYC bus day trips.
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Re: Mammoth acquired by new Aspen&KSL group

Postby Tony Crocker » Fri Apr 14, 2017 1:34 pm

Liz used to do those bus trips. The bus to Hunter on Wednesdays was her favorite. The farthest she ever went on a day bus was Mt. Snow, and she thinks that's too far for a day bus. Even including the Berkshires, Liz believes Hunter has the best quality of day skiing from NYC and thinks its market share is in the 30% range. I do know that in big natural snow years in SoCal, Mt. High can have 500K visits. Even then Baldy only gets about 50K, Snow Valley maybe 100K, leaving Big Bear still at 50+% of the market. Big Bear has had at least 75% of the SoCal daytrip market for the past 6 seasons.

Back on topic, Mammoth Times' take...
http://mammothtimes.com/content/mammoth-mountain-sold
By:
Wendilyn Grasseschi
Times Reporter
wendilyn@mammothtimes.com
Thursday, April 13, 2017
MAMMOTH LAKES, CA
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Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
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