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Haystack / Hermitage news

drjeff

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Anecdotal things I have heard/noticed while up at Mount Snow the past few weeks and skiing/talking with friends who are Hermitage members, a Hermitage employee or 2, etc.

#1 - last week was the first week of junior race programs for Mount Snow proper. There are a number of young athletes, who raced for the Hermitage Team last year that are now racing for Mount Snow or the Mount Snow Academy (the Academy is a separate organization, not part of Mount Snow/Peak, and offers both weekend and full time training programs)

#2 - The Mount Snow Academy the last few seasons has had their training on the weekends (Fri - Sun) at The Hermitage during its operating season. The Academy full time boarding student athletes train at Mount Snow Tues - Thurs (they have Monday's off snow unless it's a powder day or a race day). The Academy is actively talking with Magic, Bromley and Berkshire East apparently to see if weekend training space for their athletes is a possibility for the season should the Hermitage not be available. There just isn't enough hill space, without significant trail closures at Mount Snow to have the mainly weekend based Mount Snow race program and the Mount Snow Academy programs, for both programs

#3 - the rumor mill stuff.... I have heard everything from the most dire (they'll be lucky to make it through Christmas week) to the "things will operate as usual" (that rumor is based on a rumor that multiple members will float the Hermitage a loan to meet their current tax obligations and short term operating costs so that the members won't see a decrease in their own equity that that put into the club as it navigates through this issue in front of them now...)

#4 - there does seem to be some consensus among many involved with the club, that there has been a poor line of communication between the club and its operations and it's members. This is why, among other reasons I'm sure, that there's plenty of speculation about what may happen, and no real plan in place right now.....
 
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Pez

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Sounds like sooner or later this will be taken over by Peak.
 

skiur

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Sounds like sooner or later this will be taken over by Peak.

I don't see why peak would want haystack. When ASC had both it did not help out Mt snow in any way. It's not like Killington and Pico where they can be easily connected, and haystack was not a good enough of a mountain to be a stand alone hill. I see it being taken over by nelsap.
 

Pez

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Did ACS have a reason pass like Peak that could be used at other areas? I feel like that changes the dynamic a bit. I don't know much about Haystack, I skied it a bit when i was a kid in the 70's.
 

drjeff

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I don't see why peak would want haystack. When ASC had both it did not help out Mt snow in any way. It's not like Killington and Pico where they can be easily connected, and haystack was not a good enough of a mountain to be a stand alone hill. I see it being taken over by nelsap.

Did ACS have a reason pass like Peak that could be used at other areas? I feel like that changes the dynamic a bit. I don't know much about Haystack, I skied it a bit when i was a kid in the 70's.

Any ASC passes OR Mount Snow day tickets as I recall were valid at Haystack. The ASC passes, depending on their level and what year it was, were good at one time or another at Mount Snow, Haystack, Killington, Pico, Sugarbush, Waterville Valley, Cranmore, Attitash, Wildcat, Sunday River, Sugarloaf, Steamboat, CO, Heavenly, CA and The Canyons, UT. Much like the Hermitage's operating hours the last few season, ASC operated Haystack mainly on weekends and holiday weeks only (can't remember exactly if it was Fri- Sun or just Sat-Sun as the regular ASC operating days.....)

I wouldn't expect Peak to jump on The Hermitage should it go under. In the ASC days, there were significant permitting issues between the US Forest Service, the State of VT and some local land owners that prevented the expansion to connect the 2 along the roughly 2 miles of ridge line that separates them. And that was before all the additions that The Hermitage put in, all of the Hermitage's current tax issues and the ACT 250 issues they (The Hermitage) have incurred the last few years.

Plus Peak is already working on raising the $$ for the 2nd phase of their master plan for the redevelopment of the Sundance and Main Base areas of Mount Snow as well as some more on hill upgrades.

Lastly, while the writing on the wall looks ominous right now for the Hermitage, just remember that if they get 25 to 30 of their 600+ members to pay the $10k assessment, they'll be able to cover their tax issues, and I'm guessing that many of their members, who a good percentage of that I've encountered are in the finance world would see their own benefit in paying the $10k assessment so that their larger membership investment can retain some value still.... The Hermitage does have a decent number of members for whom writing a $10k check isn't a big deal at all, and for a few of the families that I know there that have kids in the race program, that $10k figure isn't far off of what they're annually spending on their kids race training and gear.....
 

xlr8r

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I don't think Haystack could be operated successfully by Peaks in the same vain as Powdr runs Pico. Pico has some key differences from Killington that make it successful enough on its own to keep it profitable enough to stay open. Between Pico and Killington, Pico has some of the longest runs, bigger continuous vert, and some of the better natural classic trails and glades. Haystack doesn't really have anything better than Mount Snow terrain wise. I could see someone buying it just to grab and move the new lifts that have been built there in the last 5 years (1 bubble sixpack, 2 fixed quads), plus all the new snowguns.
 

KustyTheKlown

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pico also serves a fairly substantial local population being 15 minutes from rutland, which is basically the big city as far as Vermont is concerned.
 

Pez

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OK wishful thinking on my part. It would be nice to have another option in southern VT for me.
 

heiusa

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ILMINGTON — The Hermitage Club has a few days to make a payment owed for a bond or the company could lose the ability to expand due to water and sewer rights being pulled.

Kimberly Hicks, administrator at Cold Brook Fire District, said the Hermitage asked the Prudential Committee for a week to get the money together. The committee, which governs the fire district, held a meeting Saturday.

“We gave them until Friday at noon,” Hicks said.

The Hermitage runs a private ski resort at Haystack Mountain, a golf course, inns and restaurants. The sewer/water allocations, or rights, are important for building projects proposed by the company in its Act 250 master plan.

A lack of allocations would mean there’s no wastewater plan in place, Zoning Administrator Craig Ohlson said.

“I think everything would come to a screeching halt,” he said.

Cold Brook Fire District signed an agreement with the Hermitage to take out a $3.1 million loan from the Vermont Municipal Bond Bank on its behalf for improvements already completed. Upgrades were needed on Cold Brook’s water and sewer systems in order to move forward with plans at the Hermitage.

Under the agreement, Cold Brook does not make payments on the bond. The district enhances infrastructure based on development needs. Two payments from the Hermitage are due each year. In May, the bill was for about $49,000. The annual combined payment “balloons” to $320,000 in 2019, Hicks said.

The defaulted payment of $117,485 was Cold Brook’s responsibility to resolve.

“We’re trying to deter the precedent they’re trying to set,” she said. “The Prudential Committee decided that this was the way to go.”

Hicks said her group’s attorney advised that since Cold Brook had to use money from a reserve fund to make the payment for Hermitage, an agreement between the fire district and Hermitage has been defaulted. That would require payments to accelerate and could cause all remaining payments to be due as soon as possible.

Cold Brook is responsible should the Hermitage stop making bond payments. “We don’t want the Hermitage Club to fail,” Hicks said. “No one does. But we have a business to run as a municipality. We need to make sure they’re given every opportunity. I would say we have been very, very accommodating.”

As a municipality, Cold Brook has the right to hold tax sales. Hicks said future permits could not be secured without water and sewer allocations. She called the threat of taking allocations away “our biggest leverage.”

Right now, Cold Brook has enough money in a reserve fund to make payments.

“We couldn’t sustain it the way we would need to,” Hicks said. “The Vermont Municipal Bond Bank is a bank that gives these to municipalities, so they wouldn’t want us to fail.”

This summer, another bond proposal was shot down by voters in the district. Hicks said the plan involved borrowing $7 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture but there were concerns related to the company’s ability to make payments.

Issues with the Hermitage paying property taxes and contractors have been reported in the past. In October, the company announced it would be charging members a one-time $10,000 fee on top of regular dues to “provide some relief to several suppliers and vendors in town.”

Cold Brook also recently sent the Hermitage shutoff notices, which go out once two water and sewer payments are missed. The company must pay $89,289 by Jan. 3 to avoid having services shut off.

Hermitage properties in jeopardy of losing water and sewer operations include the Clubhouse at Haystack, a golf course and townhouses that were built but not yet sold. All fire suppression systems would also be powered down.

“We plan on keeping payments with our obligations including the CBFD,” said Jim Barnes, Hermitage founder and CEO.
 

drjeff

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For what it's worth, from a Facebook post of a friend of mine who's a race coach at the Hermitage, they were making snow there yesterday (can't tell today by looking South from Mount Snow as it's not clear enough due to the snow flurries in the air this morning) and from taking a few runs this morning at Mount Snow with some of my Hermitage member friends who are skiing at Mount Snow today, the Hermitage had their sizeable annual holiday party for members last night, so the club is still spending money, and apparently members have been told that plans are in place to make the payments... Time will tell...

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ss20

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For what it's worth, from a Facebook post of a friend of mine who's a race coach at the Hermitage, they were making snow there yesterday (can't tell today by looking South from Mount Snow as it's not clear enough due to the snow flurries in the air this morning) and from taking a few runs this morning at Mount Snow with some of my Hermitage member friends who are skiing at Mount Snow today, the Hermitage had their sizeable annual holiday party for members last night, so the club is still spending money, and apparently members have been told that plans are in place to make the payments... Time will tell...

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They were making snow Friday. Saw it with my eyes from Mount Snow. Looked like only one trail ttb.
 

drjeff

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They were making snow Friday. Saw it with my eyes from Mount Snow. Looked like only one trail ttb.

As much as most of what the Hermitage Club is about, isn't for my wife and our family, the last thing I want to see is for it to go under, as we have a number of good friends who have invested in the club, and a number of friends who either work for the Club or have businesses greatly benefiting from the patronage of members, and it's an overall GOOD thing for the Deerfield Valley and Windham County! So I sincerely hope Jim Barnes and the Hermitage club makes it through this!!
 

ss20

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Definitely adds $$$ to the valley...

You could probably confirm this but I'd imagine a healthy percentage of member's are also giving Peaks a good chunk of change via season passes or seasonal programs, correct? That's something I wonder about a bit.
 

drjeff

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Definitely adds $$$ to the valley...

You could probably confirm this but I'd imagine a healthy percentage of member's are also giving Peaks a good chunk of change via season passes or seasonal programs, correct? That's something I wonder about a bit.

By no means do I know all of the 600+ members!!

Of the dozen or so that I do know, the majority of them (probably 10 out of the 12) do also have Mount Snow passes, and over the course of the season will log probably 20 days or so at Mount Snow. Obviously a good chunk of those days are early and late season when the Hermitage isn't open. This early season more so for sure given the large amount of terrain Mount Snow has open vs the essentially 1 run the Hermitage currently apparently has open.

I am curious to see this season, especially since a number of Hermitage families with kids in the race program have switched to the weekend Mount Snow Academy race program, if I'll be seeing more Hermitage members regularly at Mount Snow this year.

Also, for sure there are some Hermitage members who I only see at races, and haven't seen at Mount Snow since they joined the Hermitage in the past
 

2Planker

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Unfortunately the ASC Pass was NEVER good at Wildcat.......



Any ASC passes OR Mount Snow day tickets as I recall were valid at Haystack. The ASC passes, depending on their level and what year it was, were good at one time or another at Mount Snow, Haystack, Killington, Pico, Sugarbush, Waterville Valley, Cranmore, Attitash, Wildcat, Sunday River, Sugarloaf, Steamboat, CO, Heavenly, CA and The Canyons, UT. Much like the Hermitage's operating hours the last few season, ASC operated Haystack mainly on weekends and holiday weeks only (can't remember exactly if it was Fri- Sun or just Sat-Sun as the regular ASC operating days.....)

I wouldn't expect Peak to jump on The Hermitage should it go under. In the ASC days, there were significant permitting issues between the US Forest Service, the State of VT and some local land owners that prevented the expansion to connect the 2 along the roughly 2 miles of ridge line that separates them. And that was before all the additions that The Hermitage put in, all of the Hermitage's current tax issues and the ACT 250 issues they (The Hermitage) have incurred the last few years.

Plus Peak is already working on raising the $$ for the 2nd phase of their master plan for the redevelopment of the Sundance and Main Base areas of Mount Snow as well as some more on hill upgrades.

Lastly, while the writing on the wall looks ominous right now for the Hermitage, just remember that if they get 25 to 30 of their 600+ members to pay the $10k assessment, they'll be able to cover their tax issues, and I'm guessing that many of their members, who a good percentage of that I've encountered are in the finance world would see their own benefit in paying the $10k assessment so that their larger membership investment can retain some value still.... The Hermitage does have a decent number of members for whom writing a $10k check isn't a big deal at all, and for a few of the families that I know there that have kids in the race program, that $10k figure isn't far off of what they're annually spending on their kids race training and gear.....
 

2Planker

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I will have to disagree, as a 30 year Patroller at SR and The Cat, all thru the 90's w/ Less Otten's Buying Craze, WC was always a solo hill until the merger w/ Attitash

ASC did buy Waterville, BUT that only lasted 1-2 seasons as they were forced to sell it....

Read Downhill Slide by John Clifford







Trying to remember what multi resort pass Wildcat used to be a part of then back in the mid 90's?? I know I used to go there and it was on my pass back then when I visited relatives in the Lakes Region....

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