Killington = EPIC FAIL. Late March 2012 no snowmaking edition. - Page 7

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  1. #61
    Quote Originally Posted by deadheadskier View Post
    Hard to put a dollar figure on brand identity. The investment is good if it means more season passes and day visitors the following season. It's especially good if you have real estate to sell, which has a high ROI and your buyers are people looking for the longest season.

    Boyne has clearly established themselves as the eastern ski company committed to making the most snow and having the best product possible for the longest season possible. That was Killington's brand identity for decades and they really didn't have any challengers. Now, after the past 5 years performance, I don't think anyone can question that Boyne is the market leader in those categories. Most snow made, best late season product, longest season.
    I was thinking about this...SR/Boyne is not only considering the customers and pass holders, but the businesses and employees that rely on them. If the season is cut short by a month, that would be a huge hit to the area businesses and economy. I'm sure the seasonal employees love the chance to make more snow and get more pay days. It's a win win all around, IMO...even if it is ultimately a break even for Boyne/SR.

  2. #62
    Quote Originally Posted by Highway Star View Post
    Very, very roughly, about $50k for 2 days of snowmaking on upper and middle superstar with about 40 snowguns, for about 4 ft of snow (or large whales).
    Also known as "I don't have a clue as to what the figure would be"

    Short of the occasional K employee who chimes in on AZ with actual mountain ops ties, nobody here knows what that figure would approximately be.
    '07--08 season: 51 Days, '08-'09 season: 55 Days, '09-'10 season: 41 Days, '10-'11 season: 49 days, '11-'12 season: 40 Days '12-'13 season: 57 days, '13-'14 season; 60 days '07-'14 seasons: 353 Days

  3. #63
    Geoff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by drjeff View Post
    Also known as "I don't have a clue as to what the figure would be"

    Short of the occasional K employee who chimes in on AZ with actual mountain ops ties, nobody here knows what that figure would approximately be.
    I did work out the electric cost of running the Superstar quad for a day a few years ago. The commercial rate is published with CVPS. The horsepower rating of the lift is known. It was like the cost of 1 day ticket. Inconsequential.

    I figure that Killington doesn't care. They've already given up on the Boston market so they don't care that Loon, Wildcat, Sunday River, Saddleback, and Sugarloaf are blowing snow. They know their core metro-NYC customer base isn't going to drive to Jay Peak or Maine. Their only competition at Sugarbush only has Steins open. Why make snow? There is plenty on Superstar to out-last Sugarbush.

  4. #64
    Quote Originally Posted by drjeff View Post
    Also known as "I don't have a clue as to what the figure would be"

    Short of the occasional K employee who chimes in on AZ with actual mountain ops ties, nobody here knows what that figure would approximately be.
    Killington does not exist in an alternate universe (though their management might). Costs for snowmaking are well known throughout the industry and are what my estimate is based on. It is an accurate rough estimate given the temperature and their equipment. It also assumes only 25% of their snowmaking capacity.
    NOAA 3550ft 2 day forecast graph for Killington VT.

    http://forecast.weather.gov/wtf/mete...an=48&pqpfhr=6

  5. #65
    Quote Originally Posted by Highway Star View Post
    Killington's business model now means that the Dew Tour gets priority over opening normal advanced terrain. It means that there is no buffer for bad weather, ie. they are not durable in bad seasons. And regardless of business model, they made a major tactical error in not making more snow (either mid season or NOW) on middle superstar. And upper skyelark. And everywhere else.
    Yes. That is all 100% correct.

    But what it really means, is that Killington has lost it's value proposition for the vacationer or day ticket skier. Okemo, Stratton, Sugarbush and Stowe all offer far better mid season skiing product and much better value, which is why Killington has been shedding skier visits to them for the past decade. You can go to Stowe and spend $90 on a ticket and actually feel like you got your money's worth.
    Again, as part of the day/weekend skier crowd, I totally agree with this. I did 2 days at Killington this year, they were fairly average days. I had better days at Jay, Stowe, Sugarbush for free riding, and at Mount Snow for park. Killington doesn't draw me in much.

    Without a premium snowmaking effort, running a reasonable number of lifts, and an extended season, Killington has cutbacked itself into being a 2nd tier ski resort.......the ghetto of Vermont skiing.

    (for me sking on a pass for $15 a day, the value is OK).
    Certainly it is now the mid-level between Jay/Stowe/Sugarbush and Mount Snow/Stratton/Okemo (ignoring unique places like MRG and Magic).

    But this ship sailed 4 years ago! . Everything you are complaining about has been patently obvious to everyone else for years now. You are completely preaching to the choir. Why does every single piece of evidence warrant a new thread?

    It's like when people complain about their favorite mountain replacing their favorite 2-chair with a high speed quad. Yes, we all know that 'your' area will now get tracked out faster. But no matter how much you bitch the mountain is not taking the lift down. The same goes here. No matter how much we scream and yell about it, Killington has a new business model. Unless that model causes them to make less money, they are sticking with it.

    The costs are very clear for a super long season is clear - snowmaking, labor, lifts. The benefit comes from the tickets sold on those days and from the added sales throughout the year due to the longer season.

    Clearly the first avenue doesn't work. It takes a lot of money to make the extra snow to survive deep into spring, and a lot of places close in early spring with snow still on the ground. That says to me you can barely even cover lifts & labor with spring skiing, much less the investment into artificial glaciers Killington used to make.

    The second avenue, goodwill, isn't as hard to measure as people think. You'd be amazed the metrics companies keep on customers these days. You don't think they're doing analysis on this? What do you think they pay the MBAs for?

    You can watch all kinds of data - everything from hits on the conditions page/calls to the snow-phone to season pass use by day to pre-sales of season passes. Use regression analysis to figure out what the sensitivity of the customer base is to trail count, opening/closing date, events, etc.

    A lot of times when you do that really surprising results pop out. I've been in a room 500 times someone laid out a convincing argument on why our customers wanted something, and then we did it, looked at the data, and it failed miserably. I have a feeling thats what staying open late is for Killington. You can make a handwave argument that it is good for them to do, but put the hard numbers to it and it falls apart.

    edit:

    Just one example of that within this post. You say that they have no buffer in a bad year due to their snowmaking strategy. Are you sure thats a mistake? Almost everyone I know down here in flat-land decided ski season was over as soon as it hit 75 degrees - no matter what the mountains had open. I could barely rally people when conditions where good and there was no snow down here. So why should Killington blow money on making snow to survive warm spells if the customers aren't going to show up afterwards? Yea, they can't make it through a historically bad warm spell, but no one was going to show up anyway!

  6. #66
    Great points. But I particularly like this one:

    Quote Originally Posted by Method9455 View Post
    But this ship sailed 4 years ago! . Everything you are complaining about has been patently obvious to everyone else for years now. You are completely preaching to the choir. Why does every single piece of evidence warrant a new thread?
    Actually, the ship sank 4 years ago when they dropped over 100,000 skier visits in one year. They've been slowly recovering, and have changed their minds on many things due to massive public backlash.

    http://forums.alpinezone.com/showthread.php?t=18298
    NOAA 3550ft 2 day forecast graph for Killington VT.

    http://forecast.weather.gov/wtf/mete...an=48&pqpfhr=6

  7. #67
    Geoff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Method9455 View Post

    The second avenue, goodwill, isn't as hard to measure as people think. You'd be amazed the metrics companies keep on customers these days. You don't think they're doing analysis on this? What do you think they pay the MBAs for?
    Killington is only a $50 million dollar business. They had a communications director they fired last year who couldn't write a coherent paragraph. They pay crap and treat their employees like crap. They do not have a staff of mensa candidate MBA grads doing data analysis. It's a miracle if your season pass scans reliably. That's about as sophisticated as they get with computer systems. To make matters worse, there has been so much turnover since POWDR showed up that they have lost most of their institutional knowledge. Wonder why the lifts are always broken? Chief mechanic? Gone. The list goes on and on. These guys are bad managers managing badly. The owner is the scion of a billionaire who had a string of ski areas handed to him so he could "do something with his life" beyond mountain climbing. There is no industry visionary at POWDR. There is a dilettante at the top and hired guns to run his ski areas who might or might not be competent. I know for sure that if I took over a business and lost 30% market share, I'd expect to be fired.

  8. #68
    Quote Originally Posted by Method9455 View Post
    edit:

    Just one example of that within this post. You say that they have no buffer in a bad year due to their snowmaking strategy. Are you sure thats a mistake? Almost everyone I know down here in flat-land decided ski season was over as soon as it hit 75 degrees - no matter what the mountains had open. I could barely rally people when conditions where good and there was no snow down here. So why should Killington blow money on making snow to survive warm spells if the customers aren't going to show up afterwards? Yea, they can't make it through a historically bad warm spell, but no one was going to show up anyway!
    So?

    Evidently, some free raw hamburgers aside, Killington could care less about their customers or any diehard skiers in the region. They have shown they are fools, until circumstances rubs their faces in it and proves them wrong. (see - peak walkway, discount tickets, BMMC, etc)

    There are many thousands of skiers within driving distance that will come for spring skiing if they are open. They have in the past.

    Thing that they don't understand is that these "die hard" skiers and passholders are the ones that invite guests, spend money on the off weekends, and eventually buy property in the area. Every other area in the east seems to understand this - they are the bedrock of a resort's income stream.

    NOAA 3550ft 2 day forecast graph for Killington VT.

    http://forecast.weather.gov/wtf/mete...an=48&pqpfhr=6

  9. #69
    Quote Originally Posted by Method9455 View Post
    Yes. That is all 100% correct.



    Again, as part of the day/weekend skier crowd, I totally agree with this. I did 2 days at Killington this year, they were fairly average days. I had better days at Jay, Stowe, Sugarbush for free riding, and at Mount Snow for park. Killington doesn't draw me in much.



    Certainly it is now the mid-level between Jay/Stowe/Sugarbush and Mount Snow/Stratton/Okemo (ignoring unique places like MRG and Magic).

    But this ship sailed 4 years ago! . Everything you are complaining about has been patently obvious to everyone else for years now. You are completely preaching to the choir. Why does every single piece of evidence warrant a new thread?

    It's like when people complain about their favorite mountain replacing their favorite 2-chair with a high speed quad. Yes, we all know that 'your' area will now get tracked out faster. But no matter how much you bitch the mountain is not taking the lift down. The same goes here. No matter how much we scream and yell about it, Killington has a new business model. Unless that model causes them to make less money, they are sticking with it.

    The costs are very clear for a super long season is clear - snowmaking, labor, lifts. The benefit comes from the tickets sold on those days and from the added sales throughout the year due to the longer season.

    Clearly the first avenue doesn't work. It takes a lot of money to make the extra snow to survive deep into spring, and a lot of places close in early spring with snow still on the ground. That says to me you can barely even cover lifts & labor with spring skiing, much less the investment into artificial glaciers Killington used to make.

    The second avenue, goodwill, isn't as hard to measure as people think. You'd be amazed the metrics companies keep on customers these days. You don't think they're doing analysis on this? What do you think they pay the MBAs for?

    You can watch all kinds of data - everything from hits on the conditions page/calls to the snow-phone to season pass use by day to pre-sales of season passes. Use regression analysis to figure out what the sensitivity of the customer base is to trail count, opening/closing date, events, etc.

    A lot of times when you do that really surprising results pop out. I've been in a room 500 times someone laid out a convincing argument on why our customers wanted something, and then we did it, looked at the data, and it failed miserably. I have a feeling thats what staying open late is for Killington. You can make a handwave argument that it is good for them to do, but put the hard numbers to it and it falls apart.

    edit:

    Just one example of that within this post. You say that they have no buffer in a bad year due to their snowmaking strategy. Are you sure thats a mistake? Almost everyone I know down here in flat-land decided ski season was over as soon as it hit 75 degrees - no matter what the mountains had open. I could barely rally people when conditions where good and there was no snow down here. So why should Killington blow money on making snow to survive warm spells if the customers aren't going to show up afterwards? Yea, they can't make it through a historically bad warm spell, but no one was going to show up anyway!
    I think you hit the nail on the head.
    There arent enough people on this board to make extending the season even remotely profitable. The vast majority of the market has moved on. They re done with winter and happily so, no matter how much fun they had skiing for a week vacation in the winter. Heck even most of the weekend warriors are done by the end of march.
    Kudos to those mtns that are making more snow. There are many who appreciate and will enjoy it. just not enough to make it worthwhile.

  10. #70
    Quote Originally Posted by Highway Star View Post
    Very, very roughly, about $50k for 2 days of snowmaking on upper and middle superstar with about 40 snowguns, for about 4 ft of snow (or large whales).
    Trying to do a bit of math here. Superstar is what? 15 acres of terrain? So, 4 feet of snow, would be 60 acre/feet. At $50K, that means it costs about $833 to make one foot of snow on an acre of terrain. Obviously there are many variables; temperature, humidity, current fuel cost, gun quality etc.

    Now, say the current cost of diesel is $3.75. That means it takes 222 gallons of diesel to make 1 acre foot of snow.

    Is that how you "very, very, roughly" came up with the figure of $50K???

    Just curious, as I haven't a clue regarding snowmaking costs.
    Killington 11/11; Crotched 12/1,12/15, 12/19, 12/27, 12/31, 1/2, 1/8, 1/10, 1/22, 1/28, 2/5, 2/17 Attitash, 12/12, 1/9; Wildcat 12/30, Suicide Six 1/13; Smuggs, 1/14; Cannon, 2/2; Sugarloaf 2/7, 2/8, 2/9
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