Thredbo bouquets and brickbats

Annabuzzy

That's 'ma Lord Buzzy to you
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Jul 31, 2012
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Yesterday I was insensitive enough to post a praise/criticism thread for Thredbo. True enough there's no necessary connection between resort observations/feedback and that tragic event 20 years ago, but I also appreciate some may well have been offended, so asked for it to be pulled.

I had originally been inspired by a similarly named FallsCreek thread. It seemed to me Thredbo deserved its own. It would allow people to sing to the treetops in praise of the good, and allow them to vent their frustration at the bad. Resort visitors could take that on board in terms of places they visit, or don't visit. You never know, the resort may also take on board criticisms, and improve the place.

My list of positives was something like;
  • Snowmaking. Good. On. You. Thredbo. Marginal conditions can now be quite good on trails with snowmaking.
  • Al Fresco pizza still rocks.
  • I had some great food at Cascades.
  • The Bistro atCrackenback is much improved with quality food, friendly service and when I was there a table to sit at.
  • The restaurant at Crackenback remains reliably good, with good food and service.
Negatives included;
  • Overcrowding of runs, dangerously so, in peak periods. At its worst there's a real safety issue. Thredbo either needs to limit ticket sales in peak periods where there is limited open terrain, or look to open new terrain. The long awaited new lift is now sadly overdue. Time to hit the "go" button. Snowmaking on runs like Dream Run should proceed ASAP.
  • I love Candlelight but the food quality dropped off this year, I assume due to a new chef. Hopefully they can lift that for the balance of the year, or next year.
  • Thredbo needs to stop acquiring all the businesses in the village. You're killing the "village" atmosphere. Surely you can exercise some quality control without owning all the businesses?
I was borderline on River Inn. I personally hate it, but recognise lots of people have a different view. But given the choices at FF are a (much improved) overcrowded Cafeteria, or an ear splitting venue with stodge food, surely Thredbo can look at another outlet? Crazy talk here, but how about an independent operator?

Yes, you can go elsewhere on the mountain but for beginner adults and children (and those tied to them) this is the only reasonably feasible location (noting Merrits is an overcrowded sh%% fight).
 

iagreewithhim

Blessed are the bignoses
Ski Pass
Sep 3, 2001
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A very long way from everybody
Two brickbats, both relating to traffic:
1. The pedestrian routes, particularly along Diggings Tce, are inadequate and dangerous. There are ped-only paths in some places, but they have a habit of disappearing leaving you to duel with the traffic. I'd hate to be trying to walk around there with little kids in tow.
2. People drive too fast, particularly given the above. KT needs to put up some bloody great big "Slow down for pedestrians" signs or, better still, impose a blanket 20 km/h (or less) speed limit throughout the village.
 

climberman

CloudRide1000 Legend
Ski Pass
Jul 24, 2000
48,691
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the sunny illawarra
365 pass: a true value driver and a massive reason for bringing me into the resort, in all four seasons. I honestly don’t think I’d be there 20% as much without it. It may have reduced my costs, but is sure has shit has increased my overall spend within the village and on KT services and products, shops, etc. It brings in 6 people in my family / grouping. Love the add-ons like a reduced rates for friends on some days, and the movie tickets. Not particularly interested in the overseas pass stuff (as in, not at all). Spreads my spend across the season also. Great being able to add cash to my kids’ cards (yes I know they are tracking my spend and coercing me to spend with the mountain outlets… convenience is king!)

Staff and customer service: this as such an improvement from my memories as a kid. An actual customer focus, from the food and beverage services to the ski school desk, lifties, bus drivers, mountain staff, patrol, to the ski school instructors (I’ve a kid in St Moritz), friendly, helpful, I like it. It actually adds to the pleasure of my day dealing with people who are being nice, especially when I can see they are under the pump (and probably doing the same thing for the 700th time, but still being nice). Lift queue management has been pretty good.

F+B: Merrits–love the food and coffee, however it’s getting sooooooooooo crowded for a coffee……. Maybe two three group machines is what they need. And some changes to the space because it takes a long time and there’s no space….. and if it keeps up I’ll have to go to Black Sallees more often. Which is great, I love Sallees but it’s a long way to avoid a coffee queue!


What else would I love? I do think we need to subly shift the imprvements back to "it's a skiers' hill" vibe, so... (from another thread):
  • Groom (to grass) Dream Run and Schuss, and put in snowmaking on them (and then have them open!!)
  • Replace Merrits Chair, FFS, it's horrid. How this would translate to more bums on seats I dunno but maybe it’d increase tourist use of the lift, which seems to be on the up, judging by the increasing number of folks in Merrits with street shoes on.
  • A ‘leaderboard’ – surely this isn’t too hard given the RFID technology? PB gets great mileage out of theirs and FFS surely a dedicated Thredbo skier would get in some solid vertical over the year?
  • Consider increasing capacity on the FF lift. Fk knows how, the current lift goes through the pylons for GB. But somehow!
  • Better grooming and snowmaking for World Cup et al. to the skiers right of the hill. Spread the crowd, spread the love
  • Veg management in the 'rare runs' so that if we get a good fall they can be skied a few times each year, not each decade
  • Find a way to fill some of the MTB tracks (woodchips?) - I love the MTB approach for summer but in a lean start to winter they do impact groomer run quality
  • Revamp VT - it's looking very tired and hardly offers a modern approach this sort of location. Toilets are tired, it's ineffective in transporting people from the Village to the lifts, has SFA seating, blah, blah. A revamped cafe / retail / ticket / etc could look great. Must be 'interesting' to work in as an office. Can’t be great for accessibility requirements either as an office or as a public venue. It'd look old and crappy even on the main drag of Port Kembla
  • An 'up track' for randonee / skinning to Merrits Cafe from the village (I would sooooo love this)
  • Dunnies at Frostbite. Even just a portaloo!


Unlike Buzz I rarely eat on the hill at night, a few bistro meals and the odd one elsewhere. No major comments on the shift to KT owned outlets, it comes down to having a management approach which keeps them separate enough from each other.
 

crackson

Part of the Furniture
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New cafes at top of cruiser and old ramsheads top station and maybe gunbarrel.

FF carpark underground multilevel.

4billion more wind fences above the tree line.
 
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Annabuzzy

That's 'ma Lord Buzzy to you
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Jul 31, 2012
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I forgot Black Sallees. I love it. I literally (ok not literally) start drooling at the thought of my first burger of the season there. Yum.
 

RogerTheDog

First Runs
Jul 25, 2017
7
6
3
1. I've only been to Thredbo once (until next week :)) but I remember being struck by how big it is. Needing to get back to kids at the end of ski school meant I missed out on exploring some of the resort. This time I'm leaving the rug-rats so will be able to appreciate it more.
2. Last time I was at the River Inn (not a fan sorry) and parking was not an issue. This time we'll be driving in daily from Jindabyne. The parking looks to be all around FF. I don't know if possible but it looks like it would make more sense to increase it nearer Valley Terminal
 

Townsend

One of Us
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Couple of things:

School holidays are impossible for the resort. Thredbo did everything they could to make snow before hand but a two week inversion made it impossible. What should they do? Stop selling tickets during school holidays? How they would know the numbers for the day when they have no idea how many people with passes will arrive that day? I think that would really upsets me people.Annabuzzy I think you were there during Sydney Interschools. I am afraid that if I was a visitor to any resort I would go out of my way to avoid that week.

I do not agree with the comments on Candlelight. We usually have one cheese fondue a year but this year, we thought that the fondue was so good that we have already had two!

An absolutely bouquet for Thredbo for the last week and weekend. The grooming was amazing, the lifts ran during 100kms wind and the events commemorating the anniversary of the slide were very we'll done.

My biggest brickbat is for the lack of investment in the resort in the last 20 years. They take so much money out of the resort to invest elsewhere. Despite the hassles they say they are having with the NSW government, I am sure that they could get a return on investments in the next 42 years.
 

Olgreg

One of Us
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May 21, 2011
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My 2cents worth:
Black Sallees is the best on snow food and drink. In NSW. Sandy the captain creates a good vibe.
And
Last week I stuck my daughter's 4 day pass in my sleeve by mistake and skied the last two days of it thinking it was my season pass. No one pulled me up at the bottom of any chairs and told me I was not an attractive young woman. When the gates rejected me, I went to the ticket office and told them my sad tale. They put two complimentary days back on the pass!! It probably helped that I wept and looked moronic.

The River inn should be bulldozed into the river.

I love skiing Sponars and Antons
That will do for now.
 

LMB

Old but definitely not Crusty!
Moderator
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May 6, 2010
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Great topic to discuss (sorry about pointing out the date...)

WRT piste overcrowding in lean early season periods.
Totally agree: its a nightmare, chaos and downright dangerous.
But I don't think limiting ticket sales is the way to go.
This is up for self policing.
EG:
I had pre-booked (as those of us that don't live locally have to do) to be there for opening weekend.
I was at Perisher Saturday (a few runs and we called it for chaos & huge queues), Sunday @ Thredbo (One run charlies - but we stayed at Merritts and enjoyed the day, breakfast and then lunch, soaking up the vibe), and again Monday (much better - we lapped from almost first lifts until we had to leave for the airport). There are people there who will only ski that one day for the year - they are going to ski it regardless of crowds and conditions - let them be. For those of us who can pick and choose and just love being in the mountains - don't be afraid to call it! Id much rather be watching that bun fight and then riding hard in NZ in August than fighting the crowds for a slide and injuring myself and being out for the season!

Development:
Its not gonna happen.
I agree with @Townsend that 42 years is long enough to get a return. But as far as private investment goes you wont get that - I was involved with a restaurant/bar proposal that would've updated an old tired area - official word 'awesome, we would love you to do that!' but zero guarantee's that they wouldn't bulldoze the improvements along with the building at any stage in the future - not even a 2 season guarantee, or guarantee to provide similar amenities in a new build. You'd need a minimum of 5 years to even have a crack. I do not blame anyone for steering clear of Thredbo while they are spinning their wheels on development.

Snowmaking - more more more.
Got Merritts open for opening weekend, but if there was more snowmaking up near the top of lift you might be able to reduce the bottleneck there. Get Dream Run operating. Totally agree with the green grooming. Also think a couple of those high temperature slushy making containers to make a base for the natural and traditional snow making to fall onto would be ace.
 

Olgreg

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I was looking at Dream run early this season. It seems a certain thing for snow making, but with the sun so low in the sky it is in shade almost all day, and we know what blue ice man made stuff turns into. It would be a quick slide for a lot of punters down the run to the bridge at the bottom.
 

LMB

Old but definitely not Crusty!
Moderator
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I was looking at Dream run early this season. It seems a certain thing for snow making, but with the sun so low in the sky it is in shade almost all day, and we know what blue ice man made stuff turns into. It would be a quick slide for a lot of punters down the run to the bridge at the bottom.
Yeah its a challenge when its pure ice!
 

Untele-whippet

beard stroker
Ski Pass
Jul 13, 2006
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Burnt Downs, Blue Mtns, 1100M.
Love Black Sallee's,
Need a dedicated uphill randonee ski track to it for breakfast.
Also open it for the MTB season!
Replace the Merrits Chair and encourage beginners to download to VT and not be lemmings down HN.
Snow making on Dream Run.
Bigger eateries at VT.
Change to "Telemark Only" resort and keep out the riff raff.
 

Nidecker

A Local
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Alpine the dark side of snowboarding
The biggest (ski related) problems for Thredbo, are largely related.

They have built their marketing, and reputation around the fact that they have "the longest runs" but the to do this they have extended their runs well below where the snow is going to sit (naturally) all season. To make up for this they have had to concentrate their snowmaking efforts in these areas, which in many instances is counterproductive given the (relative) warm daytime temps at the lower altitudes.

Even on the better days the quality of the skiing on lower super trail is not fabulous i.e. a slushy sticky bumpy crowded funnel.

A lot of people who ski Thredbo claim its for the length of the runs, but when you drill down with them, they spend their days skiing the tbars up top, or places like michaels / waimea etc

Another big problem is the actual snowmaking infrastructure. Thredbos snowmaking is kind of a glorified sprinkler system actually "Snow Lances" as compared to those mountains which make use of the TechnAlpin TF10 and TF40 fan guns. Most people who have skied thredbo are familiar with the icy nature of the man made, and the "death cookies". These are almost non existent at other resorts where fan guns are more prevalent. I have walked/skied on squeaky fresh man made out of these guns.
If thredbo had Fan Guns on the higher altitude ski areas of the resort, i.e.: basin / sponars / antons etc, they could reasonably spread the crowd.

Also a lot of folk who ski are just not aware of how small Thredbo is as a resort, i.e.: its about 1/4 the skiable terrain of the Perisher resort, Perisher snowmaking covers 53.4 hectares across the resort. and Thredbo 65, but certainly a lot of thredbo doesn't ever appear to be in action, e.g.: World Cup, which appears to be rarely turned on, and certainly not early season, maybe thats a capacity/design issue?

Funnily enough inversions almost suit the thredbo model of snowmaking.

I wouldn't expect to see anything change there anytime soon, with the current owners and management. I'm sure up to a level in the management team there are some very passionate snow sports advocates, but if the the boss is a hotel manager, he ain't gonna prioritise ski infrastructure over beds now is he :(

All that said, the resort is picturesque, and certainly on those few good days a season it has to be the best place in NSW.

On food the two best places i've eaten at NSW resorts are eyre cafe and the new high ground cafe at Perisher, I had what has to be the best burger ever there recently. see below :)

IMG_20170624_135120.jpg
 

Untele-whippet

beard stroker
Ski Pass
Jul 13, 2006
20,478
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Burnt Downs, Blue Mtns, 1100M.
The biggest (ski related) problems for Thredbo, are largely related.

They have built their marketing, and reputation around the fact that they have "the longest runs" but the to do this they have extended their runs well below where the snow is going to sit (naturally) all season. To make up for this they have had to concentrate their snowmaking efforts in these areas, which in many instances is counterproductive given the (relative) warm daytime temps at the lower altitudes.

Even on the better days the quality of the skiing on lower super trail is not fabulous i.e. a slushy sticky bumpy crowded funnel.

A lot of people who ski Thredbo claim its for the length of the runs, but when you drill down with them, they spend their days skiing the tbars up top, or places like michaels / waimea etc

Another big problem is the actual snowmaking infrastructure. Thredbos snowmaking is kind of a glorified sprinkler system actually "Snow Lances" as compared to those mountains which make use of the TechnAlpin TF10 and TF40 fan guns. Most people who have skied thredbo are familiar with the icy nature of the man made, and the "death cookies". These are almost non existent at other resorts where fan guns are more prevalent. I have walked/skied on squeaky fresh man made out of these guns.
If thredbo had Fan Guns on the higher altitude ski areas of the resort, i.e.: basin / sponars / antons etc, they could reasonably spread the crowd.

Also a lot of folk who ski are just not aware of how small Thredbo is as a resort, i.e.: its about 1/4 the skiable terrain of the Perisher resort, Perisher snowmaking covers 53.4 hectares across the resort. and Thredbo 65, but certainly a lot of thredbo doesn't ever appear to be in action, e.g.: World Cup, which appears to be rarely turned on, and certainly not early season, maybe thats a capacity/design issue?

Funnily enough inversions almost suit the thredbo model of snowmaking.

I wouldn't expect to see anything change there anytime soon, with the current owners and management. I'm sure up to a level in the management team there are some very passionate snow sports advocates, but if the the boss is a hotel manager, he ain't gonna prioritise ski infrastructure over beds now is he :(

All that said, the resort is picturesque, and certainly on those few good days a season it has to be the best place in NSW.

On food the two best places i've eaten at NSW resorts are eyre cafe and the new high ground cafe at Perisher, I had what has to be the best burger ever there recently. see below :)

IMG_20170624_135120.jpg
Have you tried The Burger Bar at Thredbo?
 
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Untele-whippet

beard stroker
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And ---- I don't think this is a Perisher vs Thredbo pi$$ing game.
If so I could quote skiing with 2 people who skied Thredbo for the first time in 8 years with us last weekend after 8 years at Perisher -- but I won't.
 
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Annabuzzy

That's 'ma Lord Buzzy to you
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New cafes at top of cruiser and old ramsheads top station and maybe gunbarrel.

FF carpark underground multilevel.

4billion more wind fences above the tree line.
Rams head top station would be a great location for a low key venue similar to Frost Bite
 
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Telezacski

A Local
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Mar 19, 2010
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What do I love? The place and the people.

This^^^^^^^

I love that I can turn up to Thredbo put a message out have a great day skiing with people I've met because of Thredbo.

Head to the pub and wonder who will I catch up with today and never be disappointed!

I love listening to live music at the house of Ullr after a solid day skiing.

Yeah, I'd bring back mid station and I love the idea of the proposed development (yep I'd like to see it sooner rather than later).

I'd definitely like snow making on dream run just to add another element especially at the start of the season.

I do find it interesting that some peoples default is to point the fingure at KT for things that may or may not have anything to do with them.

Birds nest had a pop up shop in the village and chose not to keep it going, how is this KT fault? They have to make money for shareholders so rent is rent. The bakery went bust so they took over.

Personally I'd prefer shops owned by KT that are open year round than shops struggling and only open in peak periods.
 

Principal Douglas

Lapsed Perisher Skier
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Perhaps if rent was more reasonable Birds Nest would've stayed and the bakery may not have had to charge a billion dollars for a pie and still gone bust
 

Telezacski

A Local
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Perhaps if rent was more reasonable Birds Nest would've stayed and the bakery may not have had to charge a billion dollars for a pie and still gone bust

What's reasonable rent? If other shops can last paying the rent in Thredbo. I'm pretty sure birdsnest was never going to stay as they're business model is online. I use them as an example of KT filling a space albeit temporarily for winter without putting there own business in there.

I think KT have a lot to answer for in basic maintenance etc and always being one step behind I.e Perisher does something then a few years later Thredbo copies but I don't think the shops are something they can control
 

Annabuzzy

That's 'ma Lord Buzzy to you
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This^^^^^^^

I love that I can turn up to Thredbo put a message out have a great day skiing with people I've met because of Thredbo.

Head to the pub and wonder who will I catch up with today and never be disappointed!

I love listening to live music at the house of Ullr after a solid day skiing.

Yeah, I'd bring back mid station and I love the idea of the proposed development (yep I'd like to see it sooner rather than later).

I'd definitely like snow making on dream run just to add another element especially at the start of the season.

I do find it interesting that some peoples default is to point the fingure at KT for things that may or may not have anything to do with them.

Birds nest had a pop up shop in the village and chose not to keep it going, how is this KT fault? They have to make money for shareholders so rent is rent. The bakery went bust so they took over.

Personally I'd prefer shops owned by KT that are open year round than shops struggling and only open in peak periods.
Ask around. KT appears now to have a policy of taking over business leases as they expire
 

Townsend

One of Us
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Bird's Nest didn't seem interested last year. In the first year they refreshed their stock regularly. Last year they still had winter clothes in September. I believe they were not paying market rent.

The bakery had been in private hands for many years. The departure of the last private owner had much more to do with the 'manager' of the bakery than anything else. I personally think that the bakery is much better now than it had been for many years.

That said there was a great proposal at the end of last season for the Birds Nest shop that fell over due to KT wanting to charge 'market' rent. I would suspect that Rossignol are paying a 'little' less han that.
 

Annabuzzy

That's 'ma Lord Buzzy to you
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Watch KT take over Black Sallees when the lease expires.

Same as Merrits.

Same as Kareela Hut.

Same as the old gift shop.

Same as the newsagent.
 

Annabuzzy

That's 'ma Lord Buzzy to you
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Not forgetting Michelle's/Birds Nest and the Bakery (although I think the Bakery is a different story, and justified).
 

Townsend

One of Us
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I think that most people think that Kareela is better now than it has been at anytime since Sonia owned it. The previous owner of the news agency couldn't find an owner and the old gift shop went broke.

Is it the rent or is it poor management? Two of the shops mentioned in this discussion were purchased by people for family members who needed support. Is it no wonder that these business were not successful?

The summer visitation is so much higher now so the rent should now be more realistic unless KT has put it up because of the increased visitation!
 

Nidecker

A Local
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Alpine the dark side of snowboarding
And ---- I don't think this is a Perisher vs Thredbo pi$$ing game................................

Its certainly not that, I have spent seasons working at Thredbo, I currently ski Perisher, because thats where the child does race training, and I see it (training) as better value because its supported by the mountain, and not private, so they get much more hill space than the kids over at Thredbo.

For me,

Hotham wins the pissing game :)

Thredbo wins the vibe game

Perisher wins the most skiable terrain for the longest effective season game.

These are very personal responses and everyone will be different. There is no right answer and no one size fits all.
 
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Annabuzzy

That's 'ma Lord Buzzy to you
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I think that most people think that Kareela is better now than it has been at anytime since Sonia owned it. The previous owner of the news agency couldn't find an owner and the old gift shop went broke.

Is it the rent or is it poor management? Two of the shops mentioned in this discussion were purchased by people for family members who needed support. Is it no wonder that these business were not successful?

The summer visitation is so much higher now so the rent should now be more realistic unless KT has put it up because of the increased visitation!
I'm not suggesting that ailing businesses be propped up. But I do think the village is better with a diversity of businesses and business owners.

If the rent is so high it discourages investment in what is said to be a great investment environment maybe the rents are too high?

For myself I'm pretty satisfied KT have made a decision to run as many businesses in the village as possible. I reckon there are two drivers for that;

  1. Maintain consistency of service;
  2. Suck as many dollars spent in the resort into the KT vortex as possible.
1 can be achieved with lease covenants etc. they don't need to own all the businesses to maintain service standards.

There's a reason when Westfield designs its shipping centres that they aren't all Westfield owned stores
 

Snow Blowey

Old n' Crusty
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I've said it before but I'd love to see Thredbo send a bus down to DHG every hour or so, to ferry people back to the resort.

Not sure why. The bus will be for everyone. Lift it and there's no longer any appeal. Its a plain run except for the fact that you can get fresh snow and get away from crowds. That all goes away when you lift it.
 

Principal Douglas

Lapsed Perisher Skier
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I agree with Annabuzzy, but there's got to be people interested in buying a business or setting up a new business. Retail is dying in Thredbo. So KT takes over where they have to and they do a really good job (I agree that Kareela and the bakery are great now) but you lose some character in the village when it's all KT everywhere.
 

shabu_shabu

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The newsagent story is an interesting one. The business otherwise ran even with the profit in camera film sales. They were the only ones that sold it. We all know now how that was going to turn out. The village basically has to have a newsagent. If a third party doesn't step in then presumably KT has to fill the void. Like others, I'm a bit cynical towards KT but I don't see how they can be painted as the bad guys here.
 

Annabuzzy

That's 'ma Lord Buzzy to you
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I don't want to over push the barrow but I'm seeing a bit of a pattern here guys. I count at least 6 formerly independent businesses that are now run by KT. I have heard KT plans to take over Black Sallees too. So 7 soon.

Meanwhile there's only around another 10 independently run retail operations that aren't lodges. That's a pretty hefty whack.

If the resort is thriving it should be attractive for business operators. Thredbo is doing something wrong if business operators don't want to start up there.

I say it again though. I think the takeover is intended
 
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Majikthise

Sage
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Love the idea of uphill randonee tracks to both Merritts and Black Sallees...
Thredbo and possibly Buller would be the only resorts that could do this well..iMO.
To improve further on the european experience , sun lounges at Eagles Nest at the end of spring , complete with bikini brigade.
 

Annabuzzy

That's 'ma Lord Buzzy to you
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Bring in customers with the ticket pricing, profit directly from their expenditure. It's a pretty straightforward model isn't it? and not too controversial really?
Only to the extent it doesn't degrade from the overall experience. One of the great traditional selling points of Thredbo is its village atmosphere. I think they're at the point of degrading from that, so the maximisation of revenue is short termism.

I agree incidentally that Merrits dropped off after Sonia left. I also agree that Kareela Hut dropped off after Sonia left. I also agree both improved after KT took over. But I don't think KT taking over is the only necessary answer. It was Sonia who lifted the game at KT, not KT. Where will the next Sonia come from? Where are the new Randy Weimans, and Michelle's, and Berntis? I just think the new business model locks Thredbo in to reliably safe, somewhat bland, positive service. But it's still not of the same level as delivered in the Sonia years (for instance). The lesson for me is to make sure the lease model makes it attractive to businesses to invest (so you are not just selecting from one candidate), build in lease conditions regarding independent quality audits, and then monitor that.
 
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