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Is Vail group financially secure?

Discussion in 'Snow Talk' started by coolair, Jul 11, 2020.

  1. telecrag

    telecrag Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Revenue decreased by 13.7%, profit decreased by 67.2% on 2019

    Slim margin.
     
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  2. DPS Driver

    DPS Driver A Local

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    I'll be interested to see what happens if any resorts have a Covid outbreak.

    You'd have to bet it's a fair chance considering the US' current state of play. Does that close the resort or is it just, bury it and play on.
     
  3. skiflat

    skiflat Old n' Crusty

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    I'm guessing vail almost wanted it to happen here as a tester....
     
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  4. MarzNC

    MarzNC One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Here's an example for an independent ski resort in the USA from August . . .

    Recently I got curious about what Timberline in Oregon was doing in terms of limiting capacity. They have been open most of the summer per usual, with adjustments of course. Check out below what I found for the Timberline Lodge. The Lodge is a historic building built during the Great Depression in the 1930s by local people paid by a program funded by the Federal government. Owned by the U.S. Forest Service and operated by the family who rescued it from oblivion a few decades ago (with their own money). The Lodge is right on the mountain. There are ski slopes above and below the Lodge.

    Apparently there were three situations in August when an employee of the Lodge tested positive. Clearly taken seriously but is not a cause for panic. My sense is that the Lodge remained open in terms of guests. It's been open at limited capacity since late May or early June.

    My guess is that the reaction would be very different in New England or NY State. Those are the states that have had travel restrictions for months, with no signs of changing that approach any time soon. New Mexico is the only state in the Rockies that has travel restrictions. Colorado is unlikely to shut down ski resorts again. I think it's even less likely that Utah would shut down ski resorts. Harder to say for Tahoe area since it spans Nevada and California. In April and May, the locals were definitely actively telling non-residents from the California coast to stay away. I haven't paid attention to that region since June. I have a friend who lives in southern California and has a Senior Epic Tahoe pass.

    VR is likely to handle a positive case differently than Alterra. Would also depend on whether it were an employee or a guest.

    My ski destinations for this season in the Rockies are in Utah (SLC), Wyoming (JH/GT), New Mexico (Taos), and Colorado based mostly on Ikon. So paying attention to Epic and VR is just for fun.

    https://www.timberlinelodge.com/coronavirus-updates

    Situation #1: August 7-13

    Situation #2: August 17

    Situation #3: August 28-30
     
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  5. DPS Driver

    DPS Driver A Local

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    Ok, so no follow up with guests, just monitoring staff. ie no resorts will be closing down in the US. Heavily reliant on staff to do the right thing.

    That's not an unreasonable approach and in line with the US stance on Covid. This will be interesting to watch.
     
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  6. MarzNC

    MarzNC One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    To be clear, that's just what was posted on the website. Presumably it was posted in a timely manner so any guest could've seen it as the situation was unfolding. What's harder to know is what was said to guests who were staying at Timberline Lodge at the time. Meaning those who weren't checking the website daily while on vacation. Given that anyone who is willing to stay overnight away from their home is likely to be either very aware of how to keep themselves safe from infection, or oblivious as to why universal face mask usage can stop community transmission, my guess is that a guest wouldn't consider these situations as a reason to pack up and leave early or to cancel a stay.

    I say that someone who is very aware of COVID-19. I have stayed in motels (exterior doors) a few times in the last few months. The lobby of the Timberline Lodge has very high ceiling, probably a full two stories. Assuming all staff are wearing masks 100% of the time at work, as well as guests when indoors, very little chance of transmission there. My experience at an urban timeshare resort (long story) in late June is that employees at that sort of location dependent on tourists are pretty careful when on the job indoors, even when on break. They certainly keep their distance from any guests when passing in the hallways.

    What happens in the PacNW is probably not applicable to the northeast, mid-Atlantic, or midwest. But may apply to the states in the Rockies. And the southeast where I live. :)
     
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  7. DPS Driver

    DPS Driver A Local

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    Hopefully, they'll all take appropriate measures and you'll get a decent season in.

    It will be interesting from a afar, looking at what measures might be taken by the bigger concerns and how well they are managed and what, if anything, will happen if an outbreak occurs.
     
  8. sly_karma

    sly_karma Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    We are just coming off a busy summer tourism season in BC. Obviously no overseas visitors and almost no Americans (except the occasional group that talked their way in claiming they were en route to or from Alaska), but Canadians decided en masse to visit BC. Some hotels and restaurants reported as much as 40% increase in volume. Cases remained low with most of the growth coming during September as school, university and work in general returned to something like normal. Most of the cases have been linked to bars and nightclubs and specific closures and adjustments to operating conditions have been applied there. Cases appear to have leveled off at a hundred a day with hospitalization and death rates remaining very low.

    Feels like we've found a level at which we can live, some new infections are occurring but contact tracing capacity remains robust and unknown source transmission is rare. Mask use continues to be only recommended when physical distancing is not practical. Most people are wearing them when shopping at supermarkets or other stores, but outdoor use is uncommon.
     
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  9. climberman

    climberman CloudRide1000 Legend Ski Pass: Gold

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    My +1 was talking to a local shop-owner - apparently local retail up 60% on this time last year, for the suburb.
     
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  10. MarzNC

    MarzNC One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    What makes VR interesting to watch even though I don't have Epic is the variety of ski areas and resorts that are included. Mount Sunapee in New Hampshire has no slopeside. I think that's true of most of the Ohio ski areas as well. But they will be using the same reservation system and policies as Whistler-Blackcomb and Park City, as well as the core VR ski resorts in Colorado. Fair to say that the local restrictions and guidelines related to COVID-19 vary a lot.

    VR is publicly traded and Epic is used in Australia and Europe. Alterra, Boyne Resorts, and Powdr are privately held, as are the well known independent destination resorts on Ikon. As a result VR is in news headlines in far more news outlets.
     
  11. DPS Driver

    DPS Driver A Local

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    Hi @MarzNC you might find this interesting. https://skiing.substack.com/p/if-youre-looking-for-your-missing

    I'm across most of the ownership and goings on with many of the US resorts via my day job, not DPS. It's all very interesting.
     
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  12. MarzNC

    MarzNC One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    The comments aren't surprising since they are from someone who is focused on the northeast, and more in New England than NY or PA.

    " . . .
    In 2016, combined season passes for Stowe ($2,313), Okemo ($1,619), and Mount Sunapee ($1,269) would have cost you $5,201. Now you can get them all, plus Mount Snow, Wildcat, Attitash, Crotched, Hunter, and oh yeah everything Out West for $749 or $999, depending on where and whether you like to ski on holidays.

    That kind of value is hard to comprehend when placed in the historical context of what skiing has traditionally cost in the Northeast. Many large ski areas are still in denial that this is something they have to be concerned with. Medium-to-large-ish Waterville Valley, a fine mountain but also one of the least-interesting in the Northeast owing largely to its almost non-existent glade network, still charges $998 for a season pass. True, skiers can buy up to a White Mountain Super Pass for $1,159, which adds Cannon, Bretton Woods, and Cranmore, but that pass does not include any sort of pass protection and is still more expensive than an Epic Pass. For anyone planning a trip West, the choice here is fairly clear.
    . . ."

    I remember talking to the owner of an independent motel near Stowe soon after the buyout by VR was announced. He was very exited about buying Epic passes for his family of three the following season. He planned to take a family ski vacation to a VR resort out west after the Stowe season was winding down in March. For the adult passes, he was going to save about US$1000 per pass. $2000 is a pretty nice start for a vacation budget that starts with buying plane tickets.

    Fair to say that the ski industry in the northeast is continuing to feel the impact the integration of VR's initial acquisitions in the region with the former Peak Resorts locations. Peak had bought and upgraded those just a few years before. When Stowe was the only northeast resort on Epic, not that much changed. But now the list is Stowe, Okemo, Sunapee, Mount Snow, Hunter, Attitash, Wildcat. Since the northeast is the region that was hit hardest by COVID-19 early on, there are a lot of people very skittish about the idea of flying. The Epic reservation system is very appealing because it is much more of a guarantee of fewer people at the base, as well as on the lifts and slopes. That means a lot of people from New York City to Boston, as well a lot of people in New Jersey and Connecticut may be opting for Epic over Ikon this season.

    Alterra owns Stratton and Sugarbush in Vermont. Ikon is unlimited at those two resorts plus covers Loon, Sunday River, and Sugarbush. Pretty good for Boston, but I think there are people who had Ikon last season in NJ/NYC who may give Epic a shot this season. They can defer Ikon to 2021-22 though. So it might be a temporary bump for VR.
     
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  13. Bato

    Bato One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    From Moodys.
     
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  14. MarzNC

    MarzNC One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Here's the northeast viewpoint about the VR press release about the consolidation of marketing staff. Apparently the completion of a process already done for HR and finance after a few years of acquisitions and integration of both independent resorts and small multi-location companies (Triple Peaks, Peak Resorts). While there might have been adjustments because of COVID-19, the core idea wasn't new in 2020.

    October 1, VT Ski and Ride (USA)
    Vail Resorts Eliminates 60 Resort-Based Marketing Positions
    https://vtskiandride.com/vail-resorts-eliminates-60-resort-based-marketing-positions/

    For Whistler-Blackcomb, the shift means 5 old marketing positions no longer exist but a new job exists that is "in resort." People in eliminated positions can apply for open positions that have been created under the new marketing organizational structure.

    October 1, Pique News Magazine (Canada)
    Vail Resorts centralizing marketing roles as part of restructuring
    Roughly 60 marketing roles eliminated across company’s resorts—including five at WB

    https://www.piquenewsmagazine.com/w...keting-roles-as-part-of-restructuring-2760110
     
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  15. Bato

    Bato One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Id like to see their same resort or same district pass sales, taking out the newly acquired resorts. I think they are going to take a large hit this year, and if US property prices go down with the rest of the economy they may find their selfs in a pickle! Putting a freeze on investment gives you a idea of where they are at.
     
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  16. MarzNC

    MarzNC One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    At the moment, prices for seasonal rentals and houses/condos near ski resorts are higher and continuing to go up. People who can work from home are planning on either moving permanently or at least spending a month or two close enough to a ski resort that they can get to the slopes for a half day here or there on a regular basis. Have heard of unprecedented prices in the northeast as well as in the Tahoe area. I expect the same is happening in Utah and Colorado.

    VR moved away from the resort real estate business when Katz took over as CEO. Even the previous CEO was shifting away from VR building new lodging. When Katz came up with the Epic pass concept in 2008, it proved a lot more useful and less volatile. Although the VR Board thought he was crazy to reduce pass prices by such a large amount in Colorado.
     
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  17. MarzNC

    MarzNC One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Why take out the relatively new locations? Those are the locations that draw from the large metropolitan areas east of the Mississippi. Which resorts are you more interested in?
     
  18. MarzNC

    MarzNC One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Why should someone who already has stock not exercise and cash out options? I worked for 15 years at the same company in the pharma industry. I began right after grad school when it was a start up with 40 people. I was lucky to join at just the right time because six years later was publicly held with 17,000 people in N. America and Europe. The CEO/founder created an ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan) from the beginning. I was a middle manager. My immediate boss was a Director who was one of the original employees. Every employee was given stock annually even when the company was privately held. Middle managers and higher also got stock options after the company went public. The only sensible thing to do with options was to exercise them when possible and cash out. Then use the money to diversify an investment portfolio. There was no reason to buy more of the company's stock.

    I have never had an Epic pass. I don't really care to ski at VR locations because I prefer MCP/Ikon resorts as well as other independent ski areas. But I don't understand some of the anti-Vail sentiment by people who don't ski in Colorado on a regular basis.
     
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  19. Bato

    Bato One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Organic growth is an important measure. Growth through acquisition, while loading up on debt is fine, but you still want to see organic growth. Thats why I'd like to see the figures excluding the newly acquired resorts.
    In regards to stock sales, I get that they load up on options and dump to diversify their portfolio, but on market purchases by directors are seen as confidence in their own company. Directors sell for many reasons, but only buy for one!
    Look at their debt rating, its one level above being classed as speculative and high credit risk.
     
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  20. MarzNC

    MarzNC One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Oddly enough, in that case I'd be more interested in the opposite numbers. Meaning I'd like to see the number of Epic passes being bought by the newly acquired locations. Especially interesting for 2020-21 for the new Northeast passes. Those are the people who have many other choices in their home region besides VR resorts, including Ikon/Alterra resorts. That's the market that VR was counting on to increase Epic sales after 2019. The entire point was to entice people in the northeast to consider going for Full Epic or Epic Local in order to take a trip out west for 4+ days.

    Rambling . . .

    Ikon is still relatively new. MCP covers the same resorts in terms of Ikon partners. Those companies are all privately held, so even total number of purchases are hard to guess.

    VR has decided to go with a well organized reservation system. Presumably based on the experience in Australia. Alterra is avoiding lift access reservations. Ikon partners are a mix, with Powdr choosing to use parking reservations more than lift access reservations. The distinction is pretty clear.
     
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  21. MarzNC

    MarzNC One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Now that more people have learned that ski resorts in N. America will be open, but that day tickets will be very, very scarce on weekends and discounted day tickets are unlikely even for small local areas, the interest in the Epic pass and it's reservation system is very high. The fact that this is the first season for the Northeast Epic pass is a factor. Lots of people in the northeast have no plans to get on an airplane until 2022. If they want assurance they can get on the slopes at a resort with high speed lifts, sticking with Epic seems like a good idea.

    Many small mountains are cutting off season pass sales early in order to allow passholders to ski with out reservations. They will required advanced purchase of online ticket sales to keep the numbers down to satisfy local and state capacity limit guidelines.

    Californians are looking to Epic passes for ski days in Tahoe. Alterra is promising no reservations for who use Ikon as an unlimited pass for their home mountain. But it's harder for a casual skier in northern CA to know how that will work out.

    Bottom line is that as of late Sept, Epic pass sales were up almost 20% over the year before. 850,000 times the average cost of an Epic pass is a lot of money in the bank a month before snowmaking could hope to start up in Colorado.
     
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  22. MarzNC

    MarzNC One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    The Epic Reservation system opens up for all 7-Day Priority reservations later this week. Emails have gone out to Epic passholders as a reminder, complete with a link to a video introducing the process on a cell phone. Also includes a warning that demand is likely to be high the first few days and there "waiting room" software will be used. The video notes the process for grouping together members of the same "family" so that a group ends with reservations for everyone for days of interest. Only about 10,000 views the first day after the reminder emails went out.

    Only Epic holders can make Priority reservations in November. Day tickets won't be sold until Dec. 8. That also means that only Epic holders can ski at VR resorts that open before Dec. 8 for early season turns.

    I assume there will be plenty of local articles in the next few weeks as the snow making starts in all regions. Dates for when Week Of reservations open up have been posted for the Rockies but were mostly TBD for other regions as of Nov. 1.

    First test of the reservation software starts on Nov. 4. That's when Week Of reservations can be made for the first week at Keystone, which opens Nov. 6.

     
  23. oreo

    oreo One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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  24. MarzNC

    MarzNC One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Interesting that for a Washington DC ski club with a long history of popular trips to destination resorts out west, the only trip that seems to be of serious interest is to Vail in Colorado. Normally most trips are fully booked by mid-September, if not August. The Vail trip has been almost full for at least a month, if not a bit longer. Several trips were cancelled completely in the last few weeks. The last time I looked I think only W-B and Alyeska had been cancelled for 2021. My guess is that the Epic Reservation system is a factor.

     
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  25. MarzNC

    MarzNC One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    What some of the Epic holders who live in the northeast are doing is shifting their holiday plans to resorts closer to home. Normally there are plenty of families who live in NYC or Boston or Philadelphia or Connecticut don't think twice about paying for multiple expensive plane tickets for a ski vacation during the winter school break. But given the travel restrictions in the northeastern states that require self-quarantine after returning from a state like Utah, that changes the situation significantly.

    Be interesting if any Texans are considering doing the longer drive past their usual resorts in NM to ski in CO or UT instead during the holidays. NM is the only state in the Mountain West with travel restrictions.
     
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  26. Xwing

    Xwing One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Vail = real estate company and not a ski company. This book makes sense, but it is all too late as skiing with this generation has lost its atmosphere and is instead about money only and stupid vertical statistics.

     
  27. MarzNC

    MarzNC One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    That book was published in 2003. Long before Katz became CEO and the Epic pass came on the scene in 2008. Vail Resorts changed tactics under Katz in fundamental ways.

    More relevant book also needs to be updated because of the pandemic, but is more relevant to the current status of the ski industry in N. America. The value of VR as a company doesn't depend on real estate that much any more.



    By the way, I don't ski at VR resorts. I happen to like Ikon destination resorts better when I fly to the Rockies. So my interest in VR and Epic has nothing to do with stats related to ski days, which I don't track in any case.
     
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  28. DPS Driver

    DPS Driver A Local

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    If they manage to stumble through the season then all should be fine.

    If the sh!t hits the fan and resorts are shut down early in the season then it will be interesting to see what refunds are in place.

    @MarzNC what refunds are VR offering if they shut resorts early?
     
  29. oreo

    oreo One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Like everything Vail 2020/21 things are convoluted. I think the situation is:

    If you select a 'primary resort' that resort closes for more than 7+ consecutive days and you skied less than 7 days you get to have a partial refund or credit.

    If you keep it on the default 'all resorts' option, then ALL of the following need to be simultaneously closed for 7+ consecutive days - Vail, Whistler Blackcomb, Breckenridge, Beaver Creek, Crested Butte, Keystone, Park City, Heavenly, Northstar, and Kirkwood - and you need to have skied for less than 7 days to qualify for any refund / credit on a pro-rata sum.

    You can imagine vail fighting tooth and nail to keep at least one resort open at any one time to keep them from closing all for 7 days consecutively together. If things get real bad in the USA, they have Whistler as the ace in the hole in another country to save the day.
     
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  30. MarzNC

    MarzNC One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Too much to read. :)

    https://www.epicpass.com/info/epic-coverage.aspx

    The only reason someone would choose to base a refund due to closure on one resort is if they are using Epic mainly as their season pass for a home mountain. That is more common in Vermont, Colorado, and Tahoe, as well as W-B. But also possible for the people close to the "urban" resorts in the midwest or mid-Atlantic. Someone who gets the Northeast Epic is more likely to be using it mainly as a 1-location season pass. Only a few small mountains also offer a much less expensive 1-location pass.

    Ikon has exactly the same choice between a refund based on one resort or all of them.
     
  31. MarzNC

    MarzNC One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    VR is in the driver's seat for Vermont with Okemo, Stowe, and Mt. Snow as true destination resorts that have quite a bit of slopeside lodging. The Vermont Guidelines for Ski Resorts was just released on Nov. 3. The requirements include having to keep electronic records for all guests every day for potential contact tracing. That's pretty easy with Epic, especially since reservations will always be required and using an Epic pass means RFID.

    The question is whether enough people from the metropolitan areas (NYC, Boston, etc.) will be willing to deal with Vermont travel restrictions for a ski vacation. People in NYC/NJ can ski in NY at reasonably big mountains or in MA at a few nice little hills. People in MA are probably going to pass on VT in favor of NH or Maine.

    NY just changed the travel restrictions so that they are test-based, as opposed to a required 14-day self-quarantine. More importantly, people who live in PA, NJ, CT, and probably MA too, aren't subject to travel restrictions at all. Simply too many people cross those borders on a regular basis.
     
  32. MarzNC

    MarzNC One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Since this thread is about VR as a company, thought it's worth mentioning that they are going ahead with major lift upgrades and terrain expansion at Mt. Sunapee in New Hampshire. VR ended up with Sunapee when they bought Triple Peaks in order to get Okemo and Crested Butte. It draws mostly from Boston and CT. What's unusual for VR is that the land is owned by the state of NH. A lot of the locals were very nervous when they heard about the proposed purchase in 2018.

    Some of the improvements were in the works before VR took ownership. But there are some additions to the plan as well.

    Nov. 2, 2020, Liftblog
    Mt. Sunapee Master Plan Includes Lift System Overhaul
    https://liftblog.com/2020/11/02/mt-sunapee-master-plan-includes-lift-system-overhaul/
     
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  33. Legs Akimbo

    Legs Akimbo Grumblebum Ski Pass: Gold

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    The answer to the OP is whether Vail retains the support of its bankers. I wouldn't be surprised if they have breached some of their loan covenants. It's just a question of whether banks decide to take any action. My guess is no.
     
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  34. coolair

    coolair One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Well 300+ replies to my OP ,I hopeVail keep going, I only made the post as they where stuffing around
    With my Daughters refund on a season pass. Now refunded. Just delt with too many businesses over the last
    35 years to not see issues.
     
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  35. dawooduck

    dawooduck relaxed and comfortable Ski Pass: Gold

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    The Vail Mountain Bank, too big to fail. So many resorts under the same entity they can trade them like shares
     
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  36. MarzNC

    MarzNC One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Keystone's next lift project passed a milestone in the approval process. It's a new high speed lift that would open new terrain. Assuming the next step goes as expected, in theory construction could start in 2021. But approval to build on national forest land is never connected to any construction timeline. That's up to the resort owner.

    https://liftblog.com/2020/11/06/bergman-bowl-project-moves-forward-at-keystone/
     
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  37. zac150

    zac150 A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Any updates on the US? We are starting to read about the government encouraging no travel, I also know some companies are placing strict requirements on staff who do choose to travel.

    this would have to be Vail’s worst nightmare at this stage, I think the only thing that could make it worse, would be a slow start to the season.
     
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  38. rowdyflat

    rowdyflat One of Us Ski Pass: Gold Ski Pass: Silver

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    Agree too many cards would come tumbling down.
    It will be just domestic consumption.
    OTOH they will have difficulty efficiently running lifts esp gondolas w social distancing prior to general vaccine, when the Biden presidency takes a mature view of the Corona clusterfark going on in the USA.
    Trump' let it rip ' negligence has made most people prone to infection esp in cafes and indoors at ski areas.
     
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  39. MarzNC

    MarzNC One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Need to keep in mind that right now the USA is handling the pandemic on a state level. While there is cooperation in the northeast (from Washington DC north and east) and along the Pacific coast (California, Oregon, Washington), those are the exceptions.

    While I'm sure there are big companies with travel restrictions, it's a minority. That's true even in the northeast, which has the most comprehensive approach to travel restrictions for in-state residents who leave the region and or out-of-state residents who want to enter the region.

    Public health and most Governors are calling on people to gather less and travel less for the American Thanksgiving. That's actually happening. Of course that still leaves a lot of people who are traveling to visit family. How much of a spike that will cause is the question. Local community spread has been the primary problem in the Mountain West, not travelers.

    Vermont has had the most stringent travel restrictions. They are even posting signs on the major highways at all the borders alerting drivers that "quarantine requirements" exist. Fair to say that there are people in neighboring states with Epic passes who may opt to ask for a refund before Dec. 8 if they have no intention of getting on an airplane this winter.

    Colorado has a county-level alert system in place that was developed by September. Eagle County is Orange, where Vail and Beaver Creek are located. They just opened this week. Summit County is Red, which is where Keystone and Breck are located. Also Arapahoe Basin and Loveland. Capacity limits are being decreased but unless counties in that are go to Purple, ski resorts are unlikely to be forced to close.

    Nov. 25, Colorado Sun (USA)
    Masks up! Colorado ski resorts are moving ahead as state, counties and businesses restrict access
    Colorado requirement for isolation housing for ill guests challenged resort industry planning, but hotels and lodges will have rooms to quarantine people who fall ill on ski vacations

    https://coloradosun.com/2020/11/25/colorado-ski-resorts-vail-housing-pandemic-operating-plans/
     
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  40. MarzNC

    MarzNC One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Since this is a Vail Resorts thread . . . what VR had plans that took into account their experience with all state and county rules as they existed a month or two ago. Limiting capacity indoors was a given. When Keystone opened, a reservation was required to sit in the restaurant and tables were widely spaced, far more than 6 feet. Cutting down access indoors is straightforward when it's required by local public health rules.

    NSAA has general recommendations for gondolas that are being followed by all destination resorts. Essentially windows open and no sharing of cabins between people who aren't part of the same group already.

    My general ramblings about American skiing are here:
    https://www.ski.com.au/xf/threads/usa-2020-21-ramblings-reports.88606/
     
  41. dawooduck

    dawooduck relaxed and comfortable Ski Pass: Gold

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  42. sly_karma

    sly_karma Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    No orders yet, but BC residents are being told they can go skiing, but urged to ski their local hill and not drive to other communities to ski. How many WB pass holders from metro Vancouver will heed that advice remains to be seen, but no question already that WB will see skier visits down this year. US land border will stay closed all winter, so there goes the Seattle-Puget Sound market. It is still technically possible to fly in from the US but few will bother due to the two week quarantine. Travel between Canadian provinces is mostly open (the Atlantic provinces have closed theirs), but with cases surging all the way west from Quebec to BC, most will opt to stay home. I'm guessing with the various restrictions being applied currently by the various governments that some will feel safe enough to travel by February, right when the skiing is becoming premium anyway. But Christmas holidays will be a shadow of normal at the ski resorts in 2020 with health authorities' messaging very emphatic at the moment.

    The scenery has shifted very quickly for VR and other large multi resort owners. Theor business model is heavily dependent on destination skiers and now their entire market is being urged to stay home.
     
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  43. MarzNC

    MarzNC One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    My sense is that in the northeast, VR is may fill reservation slots relatively easily. A lot of people live in driving distance of the VR resorts in that region who normally fly for ski vacations. Hunter in NY is an easy 2-3 hour drive from New York City. However, the travel restrictions in Vermont where Stowe and Mt. Snow are located could put a major damper on the numbers in the next month or so. How much is hard to tell. On the other hand, there are a fair number of families and others who have decided to move to Vermont for the winter because WFH and online school is their reality right now.

    What VR is going to lose at all locations is the revenue from Food & Beverage, and perhaps gear rental too.

    The small feeder hills in the mid-Atlantic and midwest that VR bought from Peak Resorts should end up with full reservations on weekends. Probably more midweek folks too. Those people have less reason to ask for a refund before Dec. 8, unless they really don't want to ski locally at all and only bought Epic for a ski vacation to a big mountain.

    Harder to know if capacity limits of 25-50% are enough when there are so little other revenue sources besides Epic passes. How many people will pay for day tickets at a VR feeder hill? Will more of them buy a Epic Day Pass in order be able to make reservations for a few weekends? Will people at a destination resort pay day ticket prices well over US$150?
     
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  44. zac150

    zac150 A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    what is driving the increase in cases? Is this coming from across the border
     
  45. oreo

    oreo One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Zero, I'd guess.
     
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  46. sly_karma

    sly_karma Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    1. Winter. People are spending far more time indoors. Canadians are fanatical about being outside whenever weather permits. Unfortunate timing - people were fairly diligent over summer when risk was inherently lower, now fatigue has set in right when risk in increasing.

    2. Loosened restrictions. Most provinces ran wide open all summer, about the only restrictions left in place were bans on large assemblies like music festivals.

    3. Private gatherings. Contact tracing shows a lot of infections coming from family and friends events in October - Thanksgiving and then Halloween. The latter fell on a Saturday night this year and the muppets couldn't help themselves, hosting and attending big bashes like things were normal. Some super spreader events in there with 40-50 infections from a single event.

    Border issues would be minor at best. Truck drivers with commercial loads is the only sizeable group crossing regularly. We all need to put aside the notion that the risk is coming in from "outside". It's in every community in some form, but human nature seems predisposed to othering.
     
  47. MarzNC

    MarzNC One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Here's some news after Vail and Beaver Creek started up their lifts. First time I've seen that Epic pass sales end Dec. 6. EpicMix is used for dining reservations as well as for just going inside to warm up. That may only apply to Beaver Creek though. Can book for that day after 7am.

    Nov. 27, Vail Daily
    The slopes are open at both Vail and Beaver Creek with new reservation systems in place for lift access and on-mountain dining
    Ready, Set, Ski! Beaver Creek drop the ropes on the Centennial lift this morning for a socially-distanced group of snowsports enthusiasts.

    https://www.vaildaily.com/entertain...place-for-lift-access-and-on-mountain-dining/
    " . . .
    Have you booked your Time to Dine reservation?

    Many quick service restaurants require advance planning this year. Guests can book their Time to Dine through the EpicMix app. This is important: Even if you aren’t planning on purchasing food or drinks, you’ll need to book your time to warm-up as capacity will be limited. Dining facilities will be configured differently, so please check out the Winter Experience page to get the latest information. Guests can log on to book at 7 a.m. for their ski day.
    . . ."
     
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  48. zac150

    zac150 A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Time to dine is an awesome initiative, we used a similar system last year at Disney, Book a table and order a pre pay your meals.

    Makes so much sense to be adopted at the snow.

    that said I think we have transitioned to carpark meals now and really enjoy wandering back to the car so this won’t change.
     
  49. MarzNC

    MarzNC One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Funny you should mention Disney. The complaint among some long time skiers is that Vail Resorts has been turning ski resorts into the equivalent of Disney parks. Of course, they also tend to be people ski bum types or wanna be ski bums who wouldn't ever consider going to a theme park of any kind. They tend to believe that people should just make the effort to skin up a mountain than pay more than US$50 for a lift ticket. Or they don't travel for leisure in general.

    The decision VR made to invest heavily in internal IT development back around 2007 is paying off in 2020. I doubt any other ski resort company has as many of their own IT staff. Alterra is adding functions to the Ikon app, but not even all the Alterra resorts have RFID. Ikon includes independent Partners that probably have slightly different priorities than Alterra when it comes to IT support.
     
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  50. zac150

    zac150 A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yeah I’ve heard similar complaints but seriously, anything that means less time in queue’s and more skiing has to be a good thing.
     
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