Vail to buy Stowe? - Page 20

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  1. #191
    thetrailboss's Avatar
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    So some additional thoughts on this. First, to those who had folks on the ground saying that this may happen, they were right and your sources are good. A deal like this obviously takes time and it cannot be completely secret. Also, for those that had folks that said it wasn't going to happen, they were right as well....for that time. Again, the deal that Vail wanted was the whole kit and caboodle. AIG said no. So this was the compromise. It gets Vail in the door. The ski area at best is a break-even proposition in the short term but Vail wants the real estate eventually. It is VERY telling that they wanted a destination resort on the east coast and not just a "feeder hill", but settled with what they got. For now.

    This brings me to my perspective with Vail operating a ski area in my backyard. First, this is very similar to Vail's takeover of Canyons and eventually Park City. Vail took over Canyons, on their second attempt, not because they wanted Canyons, but because they wanted Park City. They took the short term move to get the long term prize. I think that is the same here. Take over the ski area and eventually get AIG to sell the rest.

    Second, as to what to expect, I can tell you that the Stowe locals will not at all be happy. Here, in the capital of cheapness, everyone and their grandmother jumped onto the Epic Pass in 2013 when Vail came to town. Folks razzed me for not getting it. But living with the former ASC I knew what was going to happen. Sure enough these same folks bitched endlessly about crowding, expensive food, expensive rentals, and expensive lessons, the former being the worst. Park City now on holidays and weekends runs out of parking. Folks have to park at the high school and ride a bus to the mountain. Stowe will see a jump in skier and rider days and the current clientele will not be happy.

    As to operations, PCMR saw a big influx of cash two years ago to fix a lot of things. On my recent visit the lodges and lifts looked great. I don't see this happening with Stowe because it is already pretty well outfitted. Maybe replacement of the Toll House lift? Also expect the same length season....no more for certain. Out here PCMR used to run a week or two later than it does now. Vail is very much a "Thanksgiving through Easter" operation.

    As to the impact on the other areas, that will be very interesting. Utah and Vermont are similar in size as to skier days, but different markets really with the former having many more locals and a bigger draw of tourists from further away. When Vail came to town, some resorts did not do anything regarding pass prices (Deer Valley, Snowbird, Alta for example). Snowbasin dropped theirs a lot. The Vail entrance also prompted Deer Valley, at least in part, to buy Solitude to grow their marketshare. But what resorts did do was offer more reciprocal deals--Deer Valley, Snowbird, and Alta offer the "Wasatch Benefit" for locals that gets a full passholder free skiing for three days at each other resort. Solitude and Brighton pushed their "SolBright" pass and dropped the price slightly. The AltaBird is also now slightly cheaper. But these resorts already were pretty big and this was a relatively small step. Regionally, the Mountain Collective and Powder Alliance were both the obvious response to Vail.

    In New England, you already have a fair number of multiple resort pass products with Boyne, POWDR (to a lesser extent), Triple Peaks, and Peaks Resorts. I don't think you will see those folks change. You may see a few more independent alliances, like a Mountain Collective, but I don't think too much change.

    As to the one resort to watch, that is Sugarbush. They have for years relied on Stowe to justify a premium on their pass products. Now that's gone. I predict that Sugarbush will continue, if not increase, their "localvore" marketing to, ironically, land more of the Boston and NYC markets. They will say, "hey, we're the local ski area you love", "we're not as crowded," "we're real," and probably keep pass prices flat for now.

    Just my thoughts.
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  2. #192
    Quote Originally Posted by deadheadskier View Post
    reading comprehension?

    I said it's certainly possible that my source was telling a white lie. And I said I guess I'd eat crow. My source was the Director of Marketing for the mountain who used to work for my best friends parents and has remained friends with the family since the early 90's. Direct comment when ask is that it's all rumor and nothing seriously being discussed. Guess he was doing a good job of keeping his lips sealed.
    In all fairness to DHS, I am friends with a few people who are pretty high up the chain at Stowe & they were kept in the dark (they'd be similar level to Director of Marketing). Everyone around here knew something was going on- but specifics were held tightly. Which makes sense with a publicly traded company.

  3. #193
    Quote Originally Posted by cdskier View Post
    Also looks like the original rumors had an extra 0 in the price.
    This was a big part of the reason why I said that while Vail buying Stowe makes 100% perfect sense IMO, this deal is total BS. A $500 Million purchase price, even with the golf course and ancillary amenities, was completely flipping' batpoop bonkers.

    Quote Originally Posted by deadheadskier View Post
    I'll eat crow. Guess the mountain's director of marketing was running interference by telling people in town the sale was just a rumor with no substance.
    It sure beats going to jail.
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  4. #194
    Quote Originally Posted by deadheadskier View Post
    My good you're an idiot sometimes. You aren't sure of shit and are basically being a loser accusing me of lying.
    Jesus. All I said was "whoops" and your proceeded to lose your shit. Unless you spoke directly with the Director of Marketing, your source for the information is your buddy. That's just a fact. Your buddy's source was the Director of Marketing. See how this works? It's really not that hard of a concept.

    But whatever. You got played. It happened to many people up at the mountain. I can't blame the Director of Marketing for doing his job. I could blame you for thinking that he owes your buddy more allegiance than his employer, but I was decent enough to refrain from doing so.

  5. #195
    So, net/net, does this really mean that you can buy a Stowe season pass for ~$800 next year and then get a call option on "free" skiing at numerous western resorts?

    Because if so, that's going to be awfully hard to pass up for an awful lot of eastern skiers. Hell, I like variety way too much to ski 100% of the time at Stowe, even given how much I love Stowe, but for many people on a "ski budget" this will be viewed as a helluva bargain. Lets say you ski at Stowe about fifteen times, that's $53/ticket - take a week-long trip to Park City or Whistler etc.... and it gets better and better!
    President - Bicknell's Thrush Extermination Solutions (BTES), LLC



  6. #196
    Quote Originally Posted by thetrailboss View Post
    So some additional thoughts on this...
    Thanks for sharing those thoughts. It's interesting to hear from someone who has seen this play out in a similar context.

  7. #197
    Quote Originally Posted by BenedictGomez View Post
    So, net/net, does this really mean that you can buy a Stowe season pass for ~$800 next year and then get a call option on "free" skiing at numerous western resorts?
    If this happens, it will be very hard to pass up for anyone who makes a trip out west anyway.

  8. #198
    TB- you make some good points, most of which I agree with. Regarding crowds, I think I said something similar to this in the beginning of this thread- I'm not sure how much more the mountain (in its current layout) can take. There's already very limited parking. This past weekend was JAMMED in town & I don't even know how it went up at the mountain because like most locals I avoided the mountain this weekend. I can imagine what it was like though. Without a pretty significant expansion in infrastructure the mountain can not really physically handle much larger crowds. Maybe Vail will get creative around this, I don't know. It's certainly going to be interesting.

    I will say that as a local who'd never spend $1300-$1400 on a pass, I could be swayed to spend $800 or whatever Epic is. I do Backcountry or Nordic on Saturdays anyway so Sunday afternoons are where it's at. And powder/sick days.


  9. #199
    Quote Originally Posted by thetrailboss View Post

    As to the one resort to watch, that is Sugarbush. They have for years relied on Stowe to justify a premium on their pass products. Now that's gone. I predict that Sugarbush will continue, if not increase, their "localvore" marketing to, ironically, land more of the Boston and NYC markets. They will say, "hey, we're the local ski area you love", "we're not as crowded," "we're real," and probably keep pass prices flat for now.

    Just my thoughts.
    I'm not so sure what Sugarbush will do. They already have a lot of cheap pass products out there, just for very specific demographics. I obviously have no idea what the breakdown of the season pass sales looks like between these products, but if not many people are purchasing their expensive single adult, unlimited pass, then it might not change at all as it may well be that most of those passholders are property owners or otherwise too invested.

    Regardless of how you slice it though, the unlimited adult pass at SB does look mighty pricey now...

  10. #200
    thetrailboss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by farlep99 View Post
    TB- you make some good points, most of which I agree with. Regarding crowds, I think I said something similar to this in the beginning of this thread- I'm not sure how much more the mountain (in its current layout) can take. There's already very limited parking. This past weekend was JAMMED in town & I don't even know how it went up at the mountain because like most locals I avoided the mountain this weekend. I can imagine what it was like though. Without a pretty significant expansion in infrastructure the mountain can not really physically handle much larger crowds. Maybe Vail will get creative around this, I don't know. It's certainly going to be interesting.

    I will say that as a local who'd never spend $1300-$1400 on a pass, I could be swayed to spend $800 or whatever Epic is. I do Backcountry or Nordic on Saturdays anyway so Sunday afternoons are where it's at. And powder/sick days.
    The anticipated crowds will be the biggest gamechanger in my mind. It will be like the pre-discounted ASC All East Pass versus the discounted All-East Pass where EVERY weekend will be crowded. Not sure how that will go over with those who bought AIG's very expensive homes expecting a premium product with limited crowds. FWIW in Park City folks do have an option to avoid crowding and that is Deer Valley with its capped ticket sales. But if you were at the Colony in Canyons you might not be too thrilled. That said, Canyons side still remains LESS crowded than PCMR proper.
    Live, Ski, or Die!


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