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Balsams Grand Resort teams up with ski industry legend Les Otten

VTKilarney

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I think the key is Canada. Mt. Tremblant is not the most impressive mountain, yet people flock to it. It's a tough sell, but there are definitely enough Canadians within 2-3 hours to make it work.

I think the key is to make it a resort, and not just a ski hill. It's got to have other attractions to draw people in.

From the south, the drive is brutal. I've always been amazed at just how remote it is from points south.
 

VTKilarney

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I've been there several times & I'm from NYC.

You are the exception. Just because you have made the trip does not mean that a similar percentage will make that trip as would a shorter trip. Hopefully their marketing department understands the dangers of using a sample size of one person.
 

AdironRider

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Dude the place was one of the premier resorts in the entire country for a long time. There are plenty of people from all over the Northeast that went there religiously.

That being said, recent history not so much, but it wasnt so long ago that people have completely forgotten about it.
 

steamboat1

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You are the exception. Just because you have made the trip does not mean that a similar percentage will make that trip as would a shorter trip. Hopefully their marketing department understands the dangers of using a sample size of one person.

Never been to Burke & if that's the attitude of folks from the NEK probably never will. Much better places even further away. Last time I was up to Stoneham just north of Quebec City there was a group at least a hundred strong from Brooklyn, NY. I guess no one from around here drives that far. Drove right past your little misfit ski hill.
 
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deadheadskier

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Dude the place was one of the premier resorts in the entire country for a long time. There are plenty of people from all over the Northeast that went there religiously.

Even when it was a world class destination, the Balsams almost always lost money. Its been well documented in numerous publications.

I hope Les can make his plans happen, but its pretty easy to have doubts about the financial viability of his plans.
 

AdironRider

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Wasn't arguing whether they were profitable, just that there was/is a market.

Wonder how much the culinary school affected their numbers. The times I stayed there they couldnt have been pushing more than 20% occupancy and had a buffet spread fit for kings.
 

VTKilarney

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But your argument is centered on an an unprofitable market. Are people here seriously suggesting that the distance is not a hinderance? Really?

I'm suggesting to acknowledge this and plan accordingly. I never thought this suggestion would be controversial. Not in a million years.
 

VTKilarney

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Wasn't arguing whether they were profitable, just that there was/is a market.

Nobody said that the market did not exist. It's just never been sufficient to turn a profit. That' san important bit of context that cannot be ignored by the new owners.
 

AdironRider

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Its in marketing.

Jackson Hole Wyoming has billionaires pricing out millionaires, and were a couple thousand miles away from anywhere. Distance, when marketed properly, can increase market share.
 

VTKilarney

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I also think that Jackson Hole is just a little bit better of a mountain. Just a little... It's also got a pretentious village, which is not quite the same as Colebrook. Trust me on that one.
 

VTKilarney

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IMHO, it's doable if they attract the well to do crowd and make it a vacation experience rather than just a ski experience.

They could have packages that include gourmet food, snowmobiling, kids clubs, etc. An expensive all-inclusive experience.
 

snoseek

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The culinary school was mainly there as it was hard to find good mid-grade chefs from the local pool. The program was three and a half years and by the end you better believe the graduates had rock solid skills...then sometimes they stayed for a bit more after. Summer season when I did my time was pretty full except the shoulders, winter likely much harder struggle, then again a larger area might grab some attention, plus all that snomobiling
 

thetrailboss

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:blink:

They're out of their minds. 4 hours from Boston and 7 from NYC and 1,000 vertical. Who is going to finance that?
It's Les Otten. He'll find a few extra vert here and there I'm sure. They do have a lot of work. But 35 years ago folks said the same about this tiny place called Sunday River....



Sent from my iPhone using AlpineZone
 

steamboat1

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But your argument is centered on an an unprofitable market. Are people here seriously suggesting that the distance is not a hinderance? Really?

I'm suggesting to acknowledge this and plan accordingly. I never thought this suggestion would be controversial. Not in a million years.

For the day trip crowd that hangs out on here yes it would be a hinderance. I don't think that's ever been their target market. I can think of a lot of other successful ski areas that don't cater to that crowd either. Some not so big either. Burke doesn't happen to be one of the ones that come to mind. Never seemed to be a success.
 

deadheadskier

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For the day trip crowd that hangs out on here yes it would be a hinderance. I don't think that's ever been their target market. I can think of a lot of other successful ski areas that don't cater to that crowd either. Some not so big either.

Examples? Preferably 250 or less natural snowfall areas in the middle of nowhere (with no airport), less than 1000 vertical feet and 200 acres of terrain?

Adironrider brought up Jackson Hole as a successful remote area, but that's like comparing a Peppercorn to a Watermelon. Jackson Hole is a 4K+ vertical ski area with 2000 acres of some of the best advanced terrain on the planet and get's 400 inches of snow a year.

Burke doesn't happen to be one of the ones that come to mind. Never seemed to be a success.

Despite it's prestige, never was the Balsam's according to everything I've read and heard from friends/colleagues in the biz. For 50 years it was a mostly a money losing hobby for the inventor of latex balloon and gloves.

Don't take this as me not hoping the place comes back to life. I absolutely hope it does. I'm just wondering where Otten is going to come up with the $100M to execute his plan and how many decades it's going to take for the investors to receive an ROI.
 

snoseek

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Yeah, I've got question whether sinking all that money in for a winter resort is going to work...big gamble if you ask me.

It would make sense to focus on summer/fall season as that's historically where the action is. Either way if anyone can hype the hell out of 1500ish vert it would be him.
 

VTKilarney

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It's as simple as this. Their traditional market never responded enough for the resort to break even. If the resort is going to succeed, they need to change things up.
 
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