Valemount

Fast Eddie

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Right. Does have potential, although a little ambitious. I remember I was living in Banff the season that Kicking Horse opened for the first time. Just a day lodge and the top to bottom gondola. No people and an amazing mountain. It felt like the start of something really special. This kind of reminds me of that a little, but time will tell. In the middle of nowhere to be a real destination.
 

Born2ski

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Anyone got a timeline showing all the new ski resorts in Canada ?

There's been a few in recent times - Kicking Horse, Revelstoke and now this one.
 

absentskier

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3 hours from an airport looks bad. But I tend to factor in a day for access. If I can leave (say) Vancouver and arrive at a resort by sunset that is acceptable.
I just struggle to see it working. A mountain seemingly aimed at expert skiers that is so far away from a population centre of any significance just doesn't seem like a sound commercial model to me.
 
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CarveMan

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As someone who has been on the wrong side of a 10 mph wind that resulted in all flights being grounded - yep. Although Eagle Vail is a couple of hours down the road.
I was also referring to the propensity of crashes there too. One year on my way to Vail a friend and I were on the same flight from Oz - she was then flying in to Vail but I was going via Denver and then in a van. I won.
 

absentskier

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Jackson Hole and Sun Valley are a couple that come to mind. Mammoth. Grand Targhee. Revelstoke.
They are all very different to Valemont.

Jackson Hole: 30 minutes away from a large regional airport offering non-stop service to LA, Denver, SLC, SF, DFW, HOU, Minneapolis, Chicago, and Atlanta. Also, Jackson is a significant year round resort anyway due to its proximity to Yellowstone. And the town of Jackson is a real town with added attractions. Valemont is in the middle of nowhere with a town of 2,000 people.

Sun Valley: one of the most famous ski resorts in the USA, with a big emphasis on intermediate fall line cruising. It attracts a well to do crowd. It is as different to Valemont as any resort I could imagine (similar to Aspen). Again, about 14 miles to an airport served by direct flights from LA, Seattle, Portland, SLC, Denver and SF.

Mammoth: again, totally different. Huge resort appealing to families for start. Draws huge numbers of Californians from LA, SF and Sacramento.

Revelstoke is the most similar, and it has had a checkered history. First owners went broke, second owners are struggling to make a profit. Development has halted and the industry widely concurs that it needs to significantly invest in lift infrastructure before it can be a long term successful destination resort. Revelstoke is far from a commercial success (yet).

As for Aspen, again I contend that is totally diffferent. Has its own airport (albeit unreliable), Vail is close, and within driving distance of the Front Range. Aspen is a great town in its own right.

You have to remember that Valemont is a tiny little town in the middle of nowhere at present. If it succeeds, it will be rather unique in North America. And I hope it does.
 
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absentskier

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Telluride is way out there too
Once again, very different to Valemont.
For a start, Telluride had a beautiful, authentic town before the ski resort existed. It is an attraction in itself.

Also, Telluride is within an hour of a decent airport offering non-stop service from LA, DFW, Houston, Chicago, New York, SF, Phoenix and Atlanta. Also within a 5 hour drive from the large feeder Front Range population as well as a reasonable number of people in northern New Mexico.

Very different to what is proposed at Valemont.
 

Ralph_implement

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Yeah, as I said in the other thread, it appeals to me and I hope it does well, but I can't see it taking off. Too isolated IMO.
 

absentskier

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Eh Sun Valley is out in the middle of nowhere and it survives. So why can't this one?
From my post above. Sun Valley and Valemont are nothing alike.

Sun Valley: one of the most famous ski resorts in the USA, with a big emphasis on intermediate fall line cruising. It attracts a well to do crowd. It is as different to Valemont as any resort I could imagine (similar to Aspen). Again, about 14 miles to an airport served by direct flights from LA, Seattle, Portland, SLC, Denver and SF.
 

chunky

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People might base themselves there for the heli operations out of Blue River. Be a lot closer than any other ski resort. That alone won't drive the resort.
 

sly_karma

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Would be nice to see their business plan before I comment on their viability. I see the same issues that already plague Revy, too far from airport and population centres.
 

Legs Akimbo

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Would be nice to see their business plan before I comment on their viability. I see the same issues that already plague Revy, too far from airport and population centres.
I had a chat to Al Raine about Revelstoke a few years ago. He had been asked to come on board as a consultant and refused. His theory was that Revelstoke was struggling because of lack of beginner and intermediate terrain, not because of location. Al Raine knows a thing or two about ski resort development.
 
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absentskier

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I had a chat to Al Raine about Revelstoke a few years ago. He had been asked to come on board as a consultant and refused. His theory was that Revelstoke was struggling because of lack of beginner and intermediate terrain, not because of location. Al Raine knows a thing or two about ski resort development.
I just struggle to see it working. A mountain seemingly aimed at expert skiers that is so far away from a population centre of any significance just doesn't seem like a sound commercial model to me.
Both issues at play IMO.
 

Chowder11

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I for one am very excited.
The snow quality and vert will be amazing.
Think skiing top to bottom Whistler but on Lake Louise/Sunshine dry snow all the way from top to bottom?

Id jump in a plane then drive from Edmonton for that any day. Crowds will be much lower also.
It will get cold though Jan/Feb, very very cold.
 

Chester

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I had a chat to Al Raine about Revelstoke a few years ago. He had been asked to come on board as a consultant and refused. His theory was that Revelstoke was struggling because of lack of beginner and intermediate terrain, not because of location. Al Raine knows a thing or two about ski resort development.
I'm thinking he may be right, the 'ski-in ski-out' blue cruiser brigade' is where the money is. I suspect that's why places like Big White and Sun Peaks do so well.
 

Zeroz

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So who owns the land around Valemount?

Most ski resorts are a real estate development disguised as a ski area. Buy land for a modest amount, announce ski area, sell lots of condos and upmarket housing. Mainly to wealthy intermediates who want a full service deal, including ski in/out.

Revelstoke was supposed to have 20 lifts, 100 runs, etc. It actually has three lifts. It's been for sale for a few years.
Kicking Horse (four lifts) has not been a financial success. Both sold a ton of condos in the publicity phase though.
The killer seems to be the lack of easy access, specifically a major local airport.

I'd love to see them build Valemount and would ski there, like many here. But we are not their target market.

Why will Valemount triumph, while Revy and The Horse (love calling them that) struggle to succeed?
 
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absentskier

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So who owns the land around Valemount?

Most ski resorts are a real estate development disguised as a ski area. Buy land for a modest amount, announce ski area, sell lots of condos and upmarket housing. Mainly to wealthy intermediates who want a full service deal, including ski in/out.

Revelstoke was supposed to have 20 lifts, 100 runs, etc. It actually has three lifts. It's been for sale for a few years.
Kicking Horse (four lifts) has not been a financial success. Both sold a ton of condos in the publicity phase though.
The killer seems to be the lack of easy access, specifically a major local airport.

I'd love to see them build Valemount and would ski there, like many here. But we are not their target market.

Why will Valemount triumph, while Revy and The Horse (love calling them that) struggle to succeed?
It won't.
 

Ralph_implement

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According to Al Raine, lack of beginner and intermediate terrain will cause the failure.

It is coincidence that his two successes are within 2 hours of a capital city and within 1 hour of a regional airport.
 

sly_karma

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Most ski resorts are a real estate development disguised as a ski area. Buy land for a modest amount, announce ski area, sell lots of condos and upmarket housing. Mainly to wealthy intermediates who want a full service deal, including ski in/out.

This is true for the places established some decades ago, but their real estate heyday was 20 years ago when you had droves of boomers with decent jobs buying recreational properties for their young families. Those days are gone and now the boomers are trying to unload their ski properties so they can buy somewhere warm for their retirement winters. Demographics no longer favour the real estate/ski area development model. Other routes must be found.

KH was an unusual case. It was built by Ballast Nedam, the Dutch company who was the majority partner that built the Confederation Bridge in Atlantic Canada. One of the conditions of its participation in a federally funded infrastructure mega-project was that it invest in a Canadian business development. They linked up with the Oberti family (same as the Valemount and Jumbo proponents) for planning and strategy and built - and eventually sold - the lifts, infrastructure and land development. Their intent all along was to invest, manage (at a distance), and withdraw. Successful project considering those objectives. Not a wildly busy resort but it has steady visitation numbers and has managed to establish itself in a heavily over-capacity market despite being subjected to far more rigorous environmental regulation during planning and building than its competitors had to endure in their own startup years. Considering its greatest appeal is to advanced and experts and it;s even more of an achievement.
 

Zeroz

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The new case for the real estate/ski area development model can usually be summarized as "Asia!"
Specifically Hong Kong and mainland China.

The usual example is Niseko and the change in Asian investment there. Related is the transformation of the Vancouver real estate market (see also Singapore, Sydney etc). Also what the Russian wealthy elite did to Courchevel resort prices.

The logic being 'it's only a matter of time' until Asians start buying expensive mountain resort homes.
Once they do, someone and somewhere will make a lot of money.

Having travelled to China many times and lived there, I get the fascination in Western stuff. I remember going ten pin bowling with my hosts in Beijing in the 1990's because that was a huge trend.
Skiing is a very fashionable activity among the rich even in the crap resorts in China.

So @sly_karma is there any sign of Asians, Vancouverites, getting interested in mountain properties outside of Whistler?
 

blowfin

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They linked up with the Oberti family (same as the Valemount and Jumbo proponents) for planning and strategy and built - and eventually sold - the lifts, infrastructure and land development.

I actually caught "Jumbo Wild" at a fly fishing film night last year. It was an interesting watch. Where are they at with that development?

It's an interesting situation though, currently the "pristine" environment there is the exclusive domain of heli operations, snowmobilers, and backcountry visitors, and the local sawmill sounds like it has closed down. Yet there is apparently a groundswell against the tourism industry, which could ultimately make the local economy more sustainable in the long term. The open letter on their site from last October actually makes a lot of sense.
 
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blowfin

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Actually never mind, there's another thread that petered out into nothingness about it that I missed. Feel free to update if you've heard anything though. :p
 

Snorkler

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I'm thinking he may be right, the 'ski-in ski-out' blue cruiser brigade' is where the money is. I suspect that's why places like Big White and Sun Peaks do so well.

Northstar isn't known for it's wicked terrain but it is where you find the well healed skiing in the sun.
 

sly_karma

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The new case for the real estate/ski area development model can usually be summarized as "Asia!"
Specifically Hong Kong and mainland China.

The usual example is Niseko and the change in Asian investment there. Related is the transformation of the Vancouver real estate market (see also Singapore, Sydney etc). Also what the Russian wealthy elite did to Courchevel resort prices.

The logic being 'it's only a matter of time' until Asians start buying expensive mountain resort homes.
Once they do, someone and somewhere will make a lot of money.

Having travelled to China many times and lived there, I get the fascination in Western stuff. I remember going ten pin bowling with my hosts in Beijing in the 1990's because that was a huge trend.
Skiing is a very fashionable activity among the rich even in the crap resorts in China.

So @sly_karma is there any sign of Asians, Vancouverites, getting interested in mountain properties outside of Whistler?
That's the great hope, but show me the money. After years of talk that Asians would buy heavily into the BC wine industry, it is yet to happen. Maybe 5 or 6 of the 300+ licences are Asian owned. Far and away the lions share of the investment has come from Alberta, with the only significant 'visible minority' owner group being of south Asian (Indian) heritage. And this is after the massive run on worldwide first growth wines by Asian buyers a decade ago that drove prices spiraling up, everyone figured it was only a matter of time before they wouldn't be satisfied with just the wines but would have to own the business as well. BC was considered by the 'experts' to be a prime target since they were already parking their money here in the form of property in fashionable Vancouver locales, and our icewines were perfectly suited to the Asian palate, etc etc.

Can't say I'm an active watcher of these things, but I don't see much action in the ski area real estate market at all. Of course, if you ask a real estate agent, they'll tell you that things are heating up and you should get in now before the flood of buyers from <insert region/province/nation of your choice> is coming and they will drive the prices up. Actually I do have a couple of longtime skiing friends that are realtors who would tell me what's really happening.
 
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