Brian Head, UT changes hands

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Brian Head, UT changes hands

Postby EMSC » Tue Nov 05, 2019 2:57 pm

Mountain Capital Partners doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, but is the group that owns a collection of SW US resorts like Purgatory, Arizona Snowbowl, Pajarito, and Sipapu.

Something to be said about knowing the market in the SW US, but also seems like a big gamble given the likelihood of all of your resorts getting slammed by a drought all in the same year (or multiple years in a row).

https://www.brianhead.com/mcp/
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Re: Brian Head, UT changes hands

Postby Tony Crocker » Tue Nov 05, 2019 10:58 pm

My impression is that Mountain Capital Partners is viewed favorably by its local skier clientele. I did hear a comment that they haven't invested anything in Pajarito yet.

No question there's a lot of weather volatility in the SW and quite a few recent bad years, 2017-18 being one of the worst. Liz had been wanting to do a Southwest ski road trip ever since she moved out here, and last year was the first time it looked worthwhile and fit our schedule.
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Re: Brian Head, UT changes hands

Postby jamesdeluxe » Wed Nov 06, 2019 5:19 am

Tony Crocker wrote:My impression is that Mountain Capital Partners is viewed favorably by its local skier clientele.

I've also heard positive local feedback about MCP. Here's the post from five years ago with a bio press release. I like this graphic on their website and they get points in my book for reverting back to the old-school logos.

MCP.png


I've skied three of their properties (Brian Head, Pajarito, Sipapu). Along with Purgatory and AZ Snowbowl, they're all small/medium sized, mostly intermediate terrain, family-centric, and surrounded by requisite southwest scenery (Pajarito's beautiful desert scape outside Los Alamos is especially noteworthy). Red River would be an interesting addition to their quiver as I don't see Santa Fe or Apache changing hands soon, and a nationally renowned mountain like Taos isn't in their sweet spot.


Tony Crocker wrote:Liz had been wanting to do a Southwest ski road trip ever since she moved out here.

My 2009 NM road trip (Santa Fe, Red River, Pajarito, Sipapu, Taos, Angel Fire) was varied and worthwhile on a number of levels and a unique package for North America. I'm always surprised that more long-distance ski tourists, especially families, don't give it a try for a destination visit instead of CO or UT. Obviously, the primary concern is a low-tide winter.
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Re: Brian Head, UT changes hands

Postby Tony Crocker » Wed Nov 06, 2019 3:39 pm

EMSC wrote:My 2009 NM road trip (Santa Fe, Red River, Pajarito, Sipapu, Taos, Angel Fire) was varied and worthwhile on a number of levels and a unique package for North America. I'm always surprised that more long-distance ski tourists, especially families, don't give it a try for a destination visit instead of CO or UT. Obviously, the primary concern is a low-tide winter.

The Southwest ski areas have significant drive-up clientele from both Texas and Arizona. You always hear how mobbed these places are at Texas spring break. Wolf Creek was hopping when we were there on a bad weather day and nearly half the license plates were from Oklahoma's spring break

But I'm sure the primary reason for fly-in destination visitors is that most of them eschew road trips in favor of staying put in one place for a week. Taos is the only place on that itinerary that attracts week-long visitors, and its expert skewed terrain mix is probably a deterrent to some. Since the rest of NM skews the other way, mixing it up would make sense for many people.

Despite demonstrated success, I'm sure the road trip method both James and I have used with much success in the Alps is quite rare there. In the Alps the "go to one place" mentality is probably even stronger than here due to the convenient rail service to many places.

Most destination visitors do not prioritize snow reliability all that much. To the extent they do, it's totally short term based upon the prior season. When last season was good, advance booking for the ensuing season tend to be stronger and vice versa. I don't know whether there is a more permanent effect from multiple bad seasons at Tahoe or in the Southwest.
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Re: Brian Head, UT changes hands

Postby Sbooker » Wed Nov 06, 2019 5:07 pm

This overseas visitor would love to do a road trip of the southwest hills mentioned above but to get reasonably priced airfares and lift ticket deals we have to buy in advance. From a snow reliability standpoint it makes more sense for us to buy a Mountain Collective Pass or Ikon Base Pass (I suppose Epic too for that matter) and fly into SLC.
We average 13 days on snow each trip so even visiting the second tier hills would work out more expensive.
13 days at an average of $80US?? per day (about $115 AUD) = $1495.
We can buy a Mountain Collective Pass for $400 Australian if buying early. Of course we do quite a few 'half price' days on top of that.
Interestingly Europe resorts are about 55 Euro a day (about $88 AUD) = $1144.
Canada would work out at about $100 Canadian a day ($110AUD) = $1430.
Japan would be about 5000 yen or $67AUD on average = $870.

Multiply those numbers by 4 for my crew. Other factors come into play of course. Accommodation costs (Euro and Japan more expensive in my experience). Anyone care to offer an observation on accommodation costs in the southwest? Surely it can't be cheaper than SLC, Jackson Hole and the like?
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Re: Brian Head, UT changes hands

Postby jamesdeluxe » Thu Nov 07, 2019 5:57 am

Sbooker wrote:Anyone care to offer an observation on accommodation costs in the southwest? Surely it can't be cheaper than SLC, Jackson Hole and the like?

Anecdotally, you can easily find lodging costs that are similar to SLC and JH in winter, everything from very expensive to quite reasonable. We spent four nights based in Taos (the town, not Taos Ski Valley resort) from which we drove to Sipapu, Angel Fire, Red River, and Taos (none more than a 40-minute drive away) followed by two nights in Santa Fe from which we skied nearby Pajarito and Santa Fe. I included links to all of my reports so they're in one place and here's my long FTO article about the entire trip. Wow, it's already more than a decade in the rearview mirror.

It's interesting to read about Sbooker's considerations in bringing a family on a ski trip to the northern hemisphere -- those are some serious financial issues to weigh. I hope that he can figure out a way to do the southwest US road trip some day and if not, he can armchair travel via my pix and descriptions. I'm tempted to do a repeat visit and perhaps include Purgatory and Wolf Creek in southwest Colorado and Arizona Snowbowl.
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Re: Brian Head, UT changes hands

Postby Tony Crocker » Thu Nov 07, 2019 12:22 pm

sbooker wrote:Surely it can't be cheaper than SLC, Jackson Hole and the like?
Every place we skied on that road trip was in the ballpark with SLC and JH in lodging cost, with the glaring exception of Telluride. Telluride is one of the most expensive destinations in North America; there's no town just down the road as at Taos. For the other places, one of the reasons they are cheap is that lodging is generally not on the mountain, which is something that some skiers demand.

Another attraction of the Southwest road trip is the numerous non-ski attractions of the region. Our 2019 trip was ski centric, only two non-ski days, one in Santa Fe and one in Canyon de Chelly when moving from NM to AZ. The Meisner family from NJ also drove through the Southwest after Iron Blosam week, doing no skiing at all and flew home from Phoenix.

My trip during Adam's spring break in 1993 started with 3 days at the St. Bernard in Taos but spent the second half of the week in southern NM, visiting Trinity Site, White Sands, Carlsbad Caverns and Ski Apache.

In 2011 Richard and I skied the first week in April in Colorado and returned home via Arches, Canyonlands, Monument Valley and the Grand Canyon.
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Re: Brian Head, UT changes hands

Postby Sbooker » Thu Nov 07, 2019 4:42 pm

jamesdeluxe wrote:
Sbooker wrote:Anyone care to offer an observation on accommodation costs in the southwest? Surely it can't be cheaper than SLC, Jackson Hole and the like?

Anecdotally, you can easily find lodging costs that are similar to SLC and JH in winter, everything from very expensive to quite reasonable. We spent four nights based in Taos (the town, not Taos Ski Valley resort) from which we drove to Sipapu, Angel Fire, Red River, and Taos (none more than a 40-minute drive away) followed by two nights in Santa Fe from which we skied nearby Pajarito and Santa Fe. I included links to all of my reports so they're in one place and here's my long FTO article about the entire trip. Wow, it's already more than a decade in the rearview mirror.

It's interesting to read about Sbooker's considerations in bringing a family on a ski trip to the northern hemisphere -- those are some serious financial issues to weigh. I hope that he can figure out a way to do the southwest US road trip some day and if not, he can armchair travel via my pix and descriptions. I'm tempted to do a repeat visit and perhaps include Purgatory and Wolf Creek in southwest Colorado and Arizona Snowbowl.


Hey James. That's an interesting article and nicely written too. I suspect the best time for me to check out that area may be once the kids are off our hands as their schooling is coming into the important years.Their school holidays are up to the end of January (may be a deficient base) or April (may be getting too warm). I would imagine mid Feb to mid March would be prime time?
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Re: Brian Head, UT changes hands

Postby jamesdeluxe » Fri Nov 08, 2019 9:31 am

Thanks for the kind words. I agree that a road trip like that is easier when the kids aren't coming along. The daily 25 to 40 minutes drive between our hotels in Taos and Santa Fe to the respective ski areas didn't feel onerous and allows you to check out the beautiful landscapes. I suspect that Tony will suggest early-February to early-March as the best window with Taos Ski Valley's sweet spot a bit later.
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Re: Brian Head, UT changes hands

Postby Tony Crocker » Fri Nov 08, 2019 7:29 pm

sbooker wrote:I would imagine mid Feb to mid March would be prime time?

That is my opinion. The recent addition of the Kachina chair at Taos and its 5 -year track record of opening dates reinforces that view.

My own trips have been more like late March. If you're mixing in non-ski sightseeing, later in the season is better. But remember most of the Southwest ski areas close first weekend of April.
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Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
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Re: Brian Head, UT changes hands

Postby EMSC » Sat Nov 09, 2019 10:59 am

Tony Crocker wrote:But remember most of the Southwest ski areas close first weekend of April.


Earlier frankly. I was shocked last year to find my choices for non-Taos days over spring break were so limited. All the places near Taos closed on March 24th last spring. And that was during a decent snow season where every trail was still open. So not even to the last weekend in March!
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Re: Brian Head, UT changes hands

Postby jamesdeluxe » Sun Nov 10, 2019 6:17 am

On New York Ski Blog forum, a native New Jerseyite who lives in Sedona just posted POV footage of lift-served and sidecountry at Arizona Snowbowl from last season, including Humphrey's Peak, the highest point in Arizona at 12,633 feet. Impressive!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7XeYAgQdE5Y
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