Is Vail group financially secure?

MarzNC

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March 14, 2022 (USA)
" . . .
The company made the announcement in a press release on Monday in advance of the company’s 2022 second quarter earnings call.

“The company will also be making a substantial investment in its human resource department to support a return to full staffing and deliver a better employee experience,” according to the release. “The increase in wages and the return to normal staffing levels will represent an approximately $175 million increase in expected labor expense in fiscal 2023 compared to fiscal 2022 expected labor expense.”"
 
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MarzNC

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Elsewhere in Colorado . . . Aspen Ski Co. raised the hourly rate from US$15 to $17 in Nov 2021. Then did another increase last month. Ski Cooper is a small independent mountain. They were beating VR on hourly rates for a while.

February 11, 2022 (USA)
"
The Aspen Skiing Co. announced that the company is investing about $12 million in across-the-board raises for all staff — at $3/hour per employee.

“It’s big news. That’s a major investment in our employees by our ownership and our leadership,” SkiCo Vice President of Communications Jeff Hanle said, adding that he, too, will benefit from the move. “It’s fantastic to see that type of forward-thinking leadership.”

In November, the company increased its minimum wage from $15 to $17 an hour, and increased its lowest salary amount to $50,000. Thursday’s announcement will impact the entire staff — roughly 4,000 people throughout the Roaring Fork Valley.
. . ."


September 22, 2022 (USA)
 

MarzNC

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The CEO's letter to employees is starting to make the rounds. I think that's the first major announcement by Kirsten Lynch since she got the job. The recognition that HR needs help was reflected in comments by the interim GM putting Stevens Pass back together. Probably won't be a quick fix though.

"
The following email was sent by Vail Resorts CEO, Kirsten Lynch, to employees on March 14, 2022.

Team,

I have been in my new role as CEO of Vail Resorts for just over 100 days, and the challenges we have faced together this season have given me an opportunity to reflect on what is important, and what our company must focus on as we move forward. Today, I want to share some of my thoughts, and important news for our company.

One of my biggest takeaways from these past 100 days is the importance of each of you - our team. We have a mission that we all know and love: Experience of a Lifetime. You are the core of this mission. We cannot create an Experience of a Lifetime for our guests without first creating an Experience of a Lifetime for you - unfortunately, we have fallen short on that.

Addressing this requires a pivotal shift in our company’s direction with a new strategic focus on all of you – year-round and seasonal, hourly and salaried, mountain resorts and corporate. We are focused on providing each of you the resources and support you need to have an Experience of a Lifetime, and staying out front by making the necessary investments in you.
. . .


  • New Seasonal Frontline Leadership Development
    Our company is passionate about leadership development. Starting next winter, we will be launching new Seasonal Frontline Leadership Development programming. If you come for a season, we want you to have the opportunity to build a career. One of the benefits of being a part of the Vail Resorts family is that our employees have the opportunity to grow within their mountain resort, or move across our mountain resorts and company for new opportunities. You might start in Lift Operations like Chris Sorensen, and grow to become the GM of Keystone Ski Resort, or you might be like Beth Howard, starting as an hourly intern in F&B and then growing to become the COO of Vail Mountain. In the past two years, over 600 employees have moved from one mountain resort to another for new career growth opportunities. My goal is to create many more of these opportunities for you. Leadership development is a passion of mine and I look forward to sharing more with you as we head into next season.
. . .
 

Kash

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That seems to be a huge investment in their people which is a great start. I wonder what they will do to lift the customer experience? It’s a tough one.
 
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Nidecker

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That seems to be a huge investment in their people which is a great start. I wonder what they will do to lift the customer experience? It’s a tough one.

Charge more until its lifted. That seems to be the Thredbo model. I know this may sound a bit sarcastic, but for some people its probably not unthinkable. I mean I'm pretty sure I am paying today the same or similar to what a season pass was 20 years ago at Perisher.

eg: screengrab from the year 2000 - excellent bit of graphic design

1647320156319.png

1647317478543.png
 
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nezumi

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Charge more until its lifted. That seems to be the Thredbo model. I know this may sound a bit sarcastic, but for some people its probably not unthinkable. I mean I'm pretty sure I am paying today the same or similar to what a season pass was 20 years ago at Perisher.

eg: screengrab from the year 2000 - excellent bit of graphic design

1647320156319.png

1647317478543.png

The bit that stands out to me there, is that for a season pass the rate is *roughly* the same - but to add on the skitube has gotten a lot cheaper!
 
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CarveMan

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1.2mil views interesting take on mountain safety. Kinda makes you wonder about Keystone as a destination hey.


FFS. From being an instructor and now teaching my daughter I get triggered by people hooning through beginner areas. Those dudes were not hooning. I would have absolutely no problem with being on the same slope as them while teaching my kid or a ski school class.
 

Lady Penelope

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The CEO's letter to employees is starting to make the rounds. I think that's the first major announcement by Kirsten Lynch since she got the job. The recognition that HR needs help was reflected in comments by the interim GM putting Stevens Pass back together. Probably won't be a quick fix though.

"
The following email was sent by Vail Resorts CEO, Kirsten Lynch, to employees on March 14, 2022.

Team,

I have been in my new role as CEO of Vail Resorts for just over 100 days, and the challenges we have faced together this season have given me an opportunity to reflect on what is important, and what our company must focus on as we move forward. Today, I want to share some of my thoughts, and important news for our company.

One of my biggest takeaways from these past 100 days is the importance of each of you - our team. We have a mission that we all know and love: Experience of a Lifetime. You are the core of this mission. We cannot create an Experience of a Lifetime for our guests without first creating an Experience of a Lifetime for you - unfortunately, we have fallen short on that.

Addressing this requires a pivotal shift in our company’s direction with a new strategic focus on all of you – year-round and seasonal, hourly and salaried, mountain resorts and corporate. We are focused on providing each of you the resources and support you need to have an Experience of a Lifetime, and staying out front by making the necessary investments in you.
. . .


  • New Seasonal Frontline Leadership Development
    Our company is passionate about leadership development. Starting next winter, we will be launching new Seasonal Frontline Leadership Development programming. If you come for a season, we want you to have the opportunity to build a career. One of the benefits of being a part of the Vail Resorts family is that our employees have the opportunity to grow within their mountain resort, or move across our mountain resorts and company for new opportunities. You might start in Lift Operations like Chris Sorensen, and grow to become the GM of Keystone Ski Resort, or you might be like Beth Howard, starting as an hourly intern in F&B and then growing to become the COO of Vail Mountain. In the past two years, over 600 employees have moved from one mountain resort to another for new career growth opportunities. My goal is to create many more of these opportunities for you. Leadership development is a passion of mine and I look forward to sharing more with you as we head into next season.
. . .
This is good news for employees and a pretty clear admission from the Vail CEO that they have fallen short in looking after their employees in the past. Let’s hope this applies to the Australian Vail resorts too.
 
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dawooduck

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With the exception of the rider in red (a little unaware) I cannot see any issue with their riding. Stopped a few times, no close passing, stuck to the side, slowed at intersections.

I do note "the trouble" was instigated by the blonde yellow jacket .... this one time, way back when, at DaBo, I have a similarly experience of her doppelganger in red claiming I "swore" at her after she followed us down the super trail.

Followed us all the way up Sponars and down to the VT but we knew she was our shadow. Never said a word until we where greated by her boss and then he did all the claiming while she stood off and nodded.

There where a couple of antsy "locals" in the Sponars line so perhaps they set her onto us. We where having a ball up there.

She lied big time but her boss knew us and nothing followed on.

We where skiing at our pace which given the three in the crew are quite quick I think she was pissed she couldn't keep up.

We experience a lot worse riding daily than those guys where at on a lot tighter terrain here in Oz and no-one does anything about it.
 

MarzNC

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Well, VR is continuing the approach of moving people from the Rockies to be in charge of resorts in the east. Mount Snow draws from New York City, Connecticut, and Boston.

Roundtop is a small hill in central Pennsylvania that is a farther day trip from Washington DC. Used to be the first to open and the last to close when it was part of a trio that was locally owned by the man who developed Roundtop from scratch. The man who was in charge of Roundtop as of 2020 was moved over recently to deal with the trio of small hills in day trip distance of Pittsburgh in western Pennsylvania. He is actually from the area and worked for the original owner/founder before Peak bought Showtime, and then VR bought Peak. VR bought those three from the owner in early 2022 for over US$100 million.

March 16, 2022
 
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MarzNC

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Fair to say that VR has a lot of work to do in New Hampshire to win back some Epic pass holders.. Wildcat is a relatively small, but steep mountain that had been quite popular with locals and advanced skiers driving from Boston for day trips on a pretty regular basis. It used to be known for early snowmaking.

March 16, 2022 (USA)
 

DPS Driver

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1.2mil views interesting take on mountain safety. Kinda makes you wonder about Keystone as a destination hey.


Yikes. I'm usually not a supporter of a bunch of snowboarders bombing down a run and 10 of of 10 times I see it, I'm on the money because they are bombing down out of control or on the edge of control whereby they could not take the necessary measures to avoid an accident if things turned south.
BUT this isn't an out of control bunch of over egoed riders. These guys can clearly ride, were clearly in control and clearly staying off to the side despite the opinion of the mountain safety crew. TBH it didn't look that hectic there either, plenty of wide open spaces.
This is a case of inexperienced mountain safety combined with over zealous mountain safety. You could argue that their speed at times may have been a bit higher than expected but that is usually a judgement based on their ability to control their speed, which was obvious.
 

Sentinel

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Yikes. I'm usually not a supporter of a bunch of snowboarders bombing down a run and 10 of of 10 times I see it, I'm on the money because they are bombing down out of control or on the edge of control whereby they could not take the necessary measures to avoid an accident if things turned south.
BUT this isn't an out of control bunch of over egoed riders. These guys can clearly ride, were clearly in control and clearly staying off to the side despite the opinion of the mountain safety crew. TBH it didn't look that hectic there either, plenty of wide open spaces.
This is a case of inexperienced mountain safety combined with over zealous mountain safety. You could argue that their speed at times may have been a bit higher than expected but that is usually a judgement based on their ability to control their speed, which was obvious.

Yep. It looks like the resort staff went well overboard in this instance.
 

MarzNC

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Epic passes for folks based in N. America went on sale on March 21. Not much difference except the loss of Sun Valley and Snowbasin for folks flying to ski in the Rockies and/or along the Pacific coast. Prices went up for 2022-23 but not the full 20% than prices went down for 2021-22. There are lower price points possible if buying Epic Day Passes based on only having access to a subject of Epic locations.
 

Telemark Phat

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No increase in wages for the Australian Resorts????
I don't know about the rest of the resort, but instructor pay has been a couple of dollars above award for a while at Perisher.

Falls and Hotham instructors are under an EBA with scaling pay. If you are senior enough and work enough hours you can earn ~$75 an hour. I hear Vail is working to tear up that EBA.
 

Billy_Buttons

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I don't know about the rest of the resort, but instructor pay has been a couple of dollars above award for a while at Perisher.

Falls and Hotham instructors are under an EBA with scaling pay. If you are senior enough and work enough hours you can earn ~$75 an hour. I hear Vail is working to tear up that EBA.
What about Fair Work and Australian regulations? Surely they can't do that? o_O
 
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Chaeron

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I don't know about the rest of the resort, but instructor pay has been a couple of dollars above award for a while at Perisher.

Falls and Hotham instructors are under an EBA with scaling pay. If you are senior enough and work enough hours you can earn ~$75 an hour. I hear Vail is working to tear up that EBA.
They’d probably prefer similar arrangements across all their Australian resorts, not only to lift their profit margins, but to gain cost savings by centralising, standardising and automating more of their management processes.

I’m sure at least some of the Falls/Hotham buy was predicated on ‘management synergies’, beyond increasing their capture of Aussie skiers into their American resorts.

The use of Aussie resorts as a way to increase their exposure to the Chinese market, especially in the context of the Winter Olympics hasn’t exactly played out either.

I wonder what Vail’s capital spend in Oz is going to look like over the next few years or whether all we’ll see is price increases and a push in marketing spend to increase visitor numbers given pent up tourism demand.

I also wonder what the medium-term impact is of the loss of goodwill with local on-mountain businesses who got the raw end of some of Vail’s Covid management decisions on Vail’s prospects.

I’d also be interested to know whether they’ll increase their push into getting a larger slice of the retail, hospitality and accommodation action at the Aussie resorts.

No doubt time will tell.
 

Telemark Phat

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They’d probably prefer similar arrangements across all their Australian resorts, not only to lift their profit margins, but to gain cost savings by centralising, standardising and automating more of their management processes.

I’m sure at least some of the Falls/Hotham buy was predicated on ‘management synergies’, beyond increasing their capture of Aussie skiers into their American resorts.

The use of Aussie resorts as a way to increase their exposure to the Chinese market, especially in the context of the Winter Olympics hasn’t exactly played out either.

I wonder what Vail’s capital spend in Oz is going to look like over the next few years or whether all we’ll see is price increases and a push in marketing spend to increase visitor numbers given pent up tourism demand.

I also wonder what the medium-term impact is of the loss of goodwill with local on-mountain businesses who got the raw end of some of Vail’s Covid management decisions on Vail’s prospects.

I’d also be interested to know whether they’ll increase their push into getting a larger slice of the retail, hospitality and accommodation action at the Aussie resorts.

No doubt time will tell.
I'm not evil enough to know that much about HR. I just know a couple of senior straight shooters.The opinion of Falls and Hotham is Vail Resorts Australia is actually Vail Resorts Perisher.
 

Chaeron

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I'm not evil enough to know that much about HR. I just know a couple of straight shooters.The opinion of Falls ad Hotham is Vail Resorts Australia is actually Vail Resorts Perisher.
I rate the locals keeping Perisher, Hotham and Falls going - and for what it’s worth Falls and Hotham have much to gain by learning from Perisher - and that’s coming from a Victorian!

Vail Corporate have to do their thing, but Perisher has so much going for it I reckon Falls and Hotham can only win from the tie-up.

Even last year junior instructors at Falls were benefiting from being able to access training and certification at Hotham and vice-versa - more so than previously. (Not that I really know much about these things tbh.)
 

DPS Driver

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Many of the synergies and operational cost savings between the three have already been realised.

There's definitely value for the three resorts being connected and there has been, is being considerable capital being invested in all three resorts.

Hopefully we'll have a normal season ie no covid shutdowns and Vail can support the local businesses depending on their resorts for a living and all win.
 

Nidecker

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Many of the synergies and operational cost savings between the three have already been realised.

There's definitely value for the three resorts being connected and there has been, is being considerable capital being invested in all three resorts.

Hopefully we'll have a normal season ie no covid shutdowns and Vail can support the local businesses depending on their resorts for a living and all win.

eg: All those snow guns from falls that came to Perisher during covid.... luv you victorians :)

As for resort wages, you have to think staff are in a slightly better position than in past years to get together and negotiate with the resorts? Between accom and the general employment environment, I would have though staffing for many roles would be challenging?
 
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MarzNC

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this article popped up on fb
not new but relevant - apols if already posted
Actually a relatively new article. The info about what's been happening in New England is a good description. Not really an objective view of everything that happened in the Rockies or Pacific Northwest.

However, if someone knows nothing about the history of Vail Resorts before Katz and his tenure as CEO, that part of the article is poorly researched. In particular, the implication is that the "Max Pass" inspired the Epic pass. That's not true. Epic was created in 2008 while the "M.A.X. Pass" didn't start until the 2015-16 season. It went away because Intrawest was purchased and Alterra change the N. American ski industry before the 2018-19 season with Ikon. Ikon was Alterra resorts plus Boyne and Powdr resorts. Boyne and Powdr has joined with Intrawest for the M.A.X. Pass for the few years it existed.

The M.A.X. Pass was great for people in New England, while the early Epic Pass only applied to people who skied west of Denver. So most people in New England didn't pay attention to Epic until VR bought Stowe in 2017.
 

Sentinel

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this article popped up on fb
not new but relevant - apols if already posted

The mountain saw subtle changes as well. Rolling, off-kilter sections of trails such as Stowe’s Tower 13 pitch on Liftline, trails that characterize Eastern skiing, were reconfigured in places to be straight-line bowling alleys.

We've seen that happen on Discovery Trails. It's way too open now, so much that it's not tree skiing anymore.
 

Nidecker

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The mountain saw subtle changes as well. Rolling, off-kilter sections of trails such as Stowe’s Tower 13 pitch on Liftline, trails that characterize Eastern skiing, were reconfigured in places to be straight-line bowling alleys.

We've seen that happen on Discovery Trails. It's way too open now, so much that it's not tree skiing anymore.

Nothing to do with bushfires??
 

Sentinel

Early Days
Mar 20, 2022
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Nothing to do with bushfires??

No, that area wasn't burnt, and it's not a fire break.

What I'm referring to is the spur between the valley that Interceptor is in and Pretty Valley. The whole spur used to be covered in snowgums, with Discovery Trails a meandering run through the middle. A couple of years ago, a number of trees were been cleared to widen and straighten the run, making it more bland and boring, as well as being less environmentally vibrant.

This appears like a local example of the same kind of slope impacts described in the article.
 

Sentinel

Early Days
Mar 20, 2022
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What I'm referring to is the spur between the valley that Interceptor is in and Pretty Valley. The whole spur used to be covered in snowgums, with Discovery Trails a meandering run through the middle. A couple of years ago, a number of trees were been cleared to widen and straighten the run, making it more bland and boring, as well as being less environmentally vibrant.

I checked back amongst my own photos that I have on-hand...

In 2010 the hill looked like this:

Discovery Trails Uncleared.jpg


Whereas in 2018 it looked like this, with the area marked in yellow having been cleared:

Discovery Trails Clearing.jpg
 

robbo mcs

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I checked back amongst my own photos that I have on-hand...

In 2010 the hill looked like this:

Discovery Trails Uncleared.jpg


Whereas in 2018 it looked like this, with the area marked in yellow having been cleared:

Discovery Trails Clearing.jpg

There are lots of areas at Perisher that have been opened up like that in recent years. Frontside of interceptor just above mid station has been massively cleared. Over at Blue cow Yarandoo tree area now is wide enough for a groomer to go through, used to be very nice trees. Outer limits now much more open. Even front valley had the last remaining tree removed. The list would be a very long one if I kept going. Changes the whole dynamic of the place. Also, in some areas, changes the way the snow falls and accumulates
 

Sentinel

Early Days
Mar 20, 2022
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There are lots of areas at Perisher that have been opened up like that in recent years. Frontside of interceptor just above mid station has been massively cleared. Over at Blue cow Yarandoo tree area now is wide enough for a groomer to go through, used to be very nice trees. Outer limits now much more open. Even front valley had the last remaining tree removed. The list would be a very long one if I kept going. Changes the whole dynamic of the place. Also, in some areas, changes the way the snow falls and accumulates

Yeah, I think it's sad. And I'm surprised they got permission from parks, to be honest... (If they did get permission??). None of that tree clearing could be considered essential. And it's bad all-round: less skiing interest, less snow build up, and less environmental intensity.

So if we're seeing the same kind of tree clearing happening here as in Stowe, is it because the clearing is a Vail thing? Do they want every slope to be wide and straight?
 

Jacko4650

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I checked back amongst my own photos that I have on-hand...

In 2010 the hill looked like this:

Discovery Trails Uncleared.jpg


Whereas in 2018 it looked like this, with the area marked in yellow having been cleared:

Discovery Trails Clearing.jpg
That last area is now super sweet after fresh snow; at least for an hour or so anyway. Just the right mix of trees and open areas wide enough to be safe. Would hate it if it was ever groomed; just wrong.
 
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