The Berry's have always held the line, along with even some of the folks here, that a HSQ would be a mistake, and an expensive one, for a resort like Saddleback. It's been my opinion that an HSQ is vital to resorts. It attracts newbie skiers who don't like getting on fixed grip lifts that need to be bumped by a liftie. That still is my opinion, and I was pleasantly surprised to read that is what Arctaris is doing. How many of us would have the stones to invest 40 million into a ski resort that never topped 100K visits in a season? And that HSQ is what? 8 Million of that total? I believe, that if they are going to succeed, they need that HSQ. Not sure the investment will be justified, but I certainly hope so.
Just for kicks, here is the website to Artaris, showing their portfolio.
I don't see any other ski resorts listed there. How do these folks have any more experience than the fraudster from Australia with ski resorts?
The big difference is capitalization. You get to make a lot more learning decisions while running a ski area if you have the capital available to continue operating and deal with unexpected expenses while also pouring some of your money into boondoggles of your choice.
With that said, I'm also curious how the HSQ will work out. Last time I was near-enough a lift-installation decision to hear numbers, the install cost of a HSQ was about twice that of a fixed-grip, but that wasn't the show-stopper: the operational cost is also substantially higher, possibly even double. It's one thing to suck it up and spend a few more million on a capital expenditure to provide a better experience despite a longer ROI; it's another when the increased capital also results in significant increase in daily operating expenses.
With that said, Arctaris seems to have plenty of smart folks involved who know more about the details than anyone posting here, so I hope they're right. I'd love to see Saddleback back up and running as a successful smaller resort, even if it roughly 45 minutes northeast of nowhere.