'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
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.
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.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.
Certainly it is now the mid-level between Jay/Stowe/Sugarbush and Mount Snow/Stratton/Okemo (ignoring unique places like MRG and Magic).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).
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.
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!
Great points. But I particularly like this one:
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.
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.
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.
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