Saddleback Meeting - Page 30

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  1. #291
    Quote Originally Posted by bdfreetuna View Post
    overall I think given the positive eventual turnout, the Berry's should be given every benefit of the doubt. While many of us were criticizing them and assuming their motivations were compromised, it seems they played the right hand not only for themselves (which is and should be their primary priority; being a landowner and tourism driver doesn't make you *personally* responsible if things turn south -- especially after the contributions they've already made).

    Not odd... rather clear to me now. Thank you Berry's for being wise enough to ensure this mountain has a future. You didn't owe anybody anything but the end result is best for both the ski community and local economy.

    Many of us, in their shoes, could have done a lot worse
    This!

    lovin life,

    Bob

  2. #292
    x10003q's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by machski View Post
    Well, this is an interesting article. Tries to make the Berry's sound like the good guys. They may have held off of selling to buyers who may have pieced out the resort, but try telling that to the business owners in Rangley who have held on by threads the last several years.

    https://www.mainebiz.biz/article/sad...ity-came-first

    Sent from my SM-T830 using AlpineZone mobile app
    There is lots of revisionist history in that article trying to make the Berrys look better after the multiple bad decisions they have made while owning SB.

    They first put SB up for sale 8 years ago, not 5 years ago. They were asking $12 million for just the 400 acre ski area, which was absurd. The Berrys wanted to keep the other 7600 acres out of the sale. They closed the mountain because they claimed the Rangeley Double needed to be replaced. How much is a ski area in the middle of nowhere worth that needs to replace the main lift? It was clear that they were in no hurry to sell or find a real buyer by asking for $12 million.

    The Berrys have also repeatedly claimed they spent $13 million on the lodge, not the $10 million that is mentioned in the article. The idea of spending $13 million on a lodge at a ski area that might see 80k visits in its best year is the very definition of a bad business decision. They should have taken some of the money spent on the lodge and replaced the Rangeley Double with some kind of quad chair. Any person visiting the resort could see the Rangeley double as a gigantic bottleneck, yet somehow the Berrys missed it.

    The Berrys claim they where waiting for the right buyer and then made a deal in the summer of 2017 with an Australian "developer" named Sebastian Monsour and the Majella Group. We all know how this turned out. Anybody with an internet connection could see this guy was at best a fraud, just based on what he was doing in Portland. It turned out he was a criminal. I guess the words due diligence are not in the Berrys vocabulary. This further delayed the sale.

    We should all notice that the current buyer is running some kind of weird deal that includes donations and grants. We see zero mention of the current ski area resort companies as interested buyers. This is important to note as SB is a big time mountain, yet none of the big time players want it.

    The Berrys get credit for pouring their own money into Saddleback in a vain effort to make it work. They have proved the old adage - "How do you make $6.5 million in the ski industry? Start with $60 million."

    https://www.pressherald.com/2012/12/...-berry-family/

  3. #293
    Quote Originally Posted by x10003q View Post
    There is lots of revisionist history in that article trying to make the Berrys look better after the multiple bad decisions they have made while owning SB.

    They first put SB up for sale 8 years ago, not 5 years ago. They were asking $12 million for just the 400 acre ski area, which was absurd. The Berrys wanted to keep the other 7600 acres out of the sale. They closed the mountain because they claimed the Rangeley Double needed to be replaced. How much is a ski area in the middle of nowhere worth that needs to replace the main lift? It was clear that they were in no hurry to sell or find a real buyer by asking for $12 million.

    The Berrys have also repeatedly claimed they spent $13 million on the lodge, not the $10 million that is mentioned in the article. The idea of spending $13 million on a lodge at a ski area that might see 80k visits in its best year is the very definition of a bad business decision. They should have taken some of the money spent on the lodge and replaced the Rangeley Double with some kind of quad chair. Any person visiting the resort could see the Rangeley double as a gigantic bottleneck, yet somehow the Berrys missed it.

    The Berrys claim they where waiting for the right buyer and then made a deal in the summer of 2017 with an Australian "developer" named Sebastian Monsour and the Majella Group. We all know how this turned out. Anybody with an internet connection could see this guy was at best a fraud, just based on what he was doing in Portland. It turned out he was a criminal. I guess the words due diligence are not in the Berrys vocabulary. This further delayed the sale.

    We should all notice that the current buyer is running some kind of weird deal that includes donations and grants. We see zero mention of the current ski area resort companies as interested buyers. This is important to note as SB is a big time mountain, yet none of the big time players want it.

    The Berrys get credit for pouring their own money into Saddleback in a vain effort to make it work. They have proved the old adage - "How do you make $6.5 million in the ski industry? Start with $60 million."

    https://www.pressherald.com/2012/12/...-berry-family/
    +1

    I think their two biggest mistakes were prioritizing the Kennebago replacement over the Rangeley and spending too much on the lodge. Had they done the Rangeley first and gone with a modest lodge, they might've made it work.

    Also very much agree about the $12M ask for 400 acres. That was ridiculous. And you're right about all the major players kicking the tires. I recall having a conversation with Sugarloaf's Director of marketing and he said as much. They, Vail, Powdr and all the big players took a look and didn't see an ROI with the infrastructure needs and acquisition cost in such a remote location.

    I'm thrilled it sold and the HSQ is going in, but it's no given they survive long term. It's certainly a bit suspect the new owners don't have what appears to be very deep pockets.

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  4. #294
    thetrailboss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by x10003q View Post
    There is lots of revisionist history in that article trying to make the Berrys look better after the multiple bad decisions they have made while owning SB.

    They first put SB up for sale 8 years ago, not 5 years ago. They were asking $12 million for just the 400 acre ski area, which was absurd. The Berrys wanted to keep the other 7600 acres out of the sale. They closed the mountain because they claimed the Rangeley Double needed to be replaced. How much is a ski area in the middle of nowhere worth that needs to replace the main lift? It was clear that they were in no hurry to sell or find a real buyer by asking for $12 million.

    The Berrys have also repeatedly claimed they spent $13 million on the lodge, not the $10 million that is mentioned in the article. The idea of spending $13 million on a lodge at a ski area that might see 80k visits in its best year is the very definition of a bad business decision. They should have taken some of the money spent on the lodge and replaced the Rangeley Double with some kind of quad chair. Any person visiting the resort could see the Rangeley double as a gigantic bottleneck, yet somehow the Berrys missed it.

    The Berrys claim they where waiting for the right buyer and then made a deal in the summer of 2017 with an Australian "developer" named Sebastian Monsour and the Majella Group. We all know how this turned out. Anybody with an internet connection could see this guy was at best a fraud, just based on what he was doing in Portland. It turned out he was a criminal. I guess the words due diligence are not in the Berrys vocabulary. This further delayed the sale.

    We should all notice that the current buyer is running some kind of weird deal that includes donations and grants. We see zero mention of the current ski area resort companies as interested buyers. This is important to note as SB is a big time mountain, yet none of the big time players want it.

    The Berrys get credit for pouring their own money into Saddleback in a vain effort to make it work. They have proved the old adage - "How do you make $6.5 million in the ski industry? Start with $60 million."

    https://www.pressherald.com/2012/12/...-berry-family/
    Agreed. Thanks for reminding us of the other issues. I think the "charity" line was in part to save face. It did seem to me that they were not very business savvy. I forgot how they got their money--was it an inheritance? Sale of a family business?
    Live, Ski, or Die!


  5. #295
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    Quote Originally Posted by thetrailboss View Post
    Agreed. Thanks for reminding us of the other issues. I think the "charity" line was in part to save face. It did seem to me that they were not very business savvy. I forgot how they got their money--was it an inheritance? Sale of a family business?
    Insurance company heirs. They paid $8 million for SB in 2003.

  6. #296
    From New England Ski Industry website:


    In 1971, the U.S. Investment Corporation was founded, which would include Mount Vernon Fire Insurance Company and US Underwriters Insurance Company. On August 8, 2000, Berkshire Hathaway acquired the U.S. Investment Corporation for an estimated $160 million in stock, mainly transferred to the extended Berry family.


    They purchased Saddleback in 2003 including 8000 acres for $8M. Even that was probably an overpay. They only did 16k skier visits in 2002 and the Breens said they were going to close it.

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  7. #297
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    Quote Originally Posted by deadheadskier View Post
    From New England Ski Industry website:


    In 1971, the U.S. Investment Corporation was founded, which would include Mount Vernon Fire Insurance Company and US Underwriters Insurance Company. On August 8, 2000, Berkshire Hathaway acquired the U.S. Investment Corporation for an estimated $160 million in stock, mainly transferred to the extended Berry family.


    They purchased Saddleback in 2003 including 8000 acres for $8M. Even that was probably an overpay. They only did 16k skier visits in 2002 and the Breens said they were going to close it.

    Sent from my XT1635-01 using AlpineZone mobile app
    They got fleeced.

  8. #298
    That old tbar worked just fine at the time.

    Base lodge needed work for sure but was way overkill.

  9. #299
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    Quote Originally Posted by deadheadskier View Post
    From New England Ski Industry website:


    In 1971, the U.S. Investment Corporation was founded, which would include Mount Vernon Fire Insurance Company and US Underwriters Insurance Company. On August 8, 2000, Berkshire Hathaway acquired the U.S. Investment Corporation for an estimated $160 million in stock, mainly transferred to the extended Berry family.


    They purchased Saddleback in 2003 including 8000 acres for $8M. Even that was probably an overpay. They only did 16k skier visits in 2002 and the Breens said they were going to close it.

    Sent from my XT1635-01 using AlpineZone mobile app
    Quote Originally Posted by x10003q View Post
    Insurance company heirs. They paid $8 million for SB in 2003.
    Very interesting. Thanks guys.
    Live, Ski, or Die!


  10. #300
    Quote Originally Posted by deadheadskier View Post
    They purchased Saddleback in 2003 including 8000 acres for $8M. Even that was probably an overpay. They only did 16k skier visits in 2002 and the Breens said they were going to close it.
    That's an interesting number to put things in perspective with respect to the SR/Loaf comparisons. Didn't Dana Bullen say 15k visits at Sunday River on a busy Saturday in the Storm Skiing podcast?
    Disclaimer: Unless otherwise noted, I speak only for myself, unless I'm saying something incredibly dumb, in which case I didn't say anything and you're hallucinating.

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