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Ski Resort Response to COVID-19

deadheadskier

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There's a lot of gondola's that make sense. It allows you to do big events for non-skiers year around and sightseeing. The events business at these ski resorts is HUUUUUUUGE. Charge twice as much per plate compared to something at the base of the mountain and claim its for "sparkling views" and "the remote access" of having to ship-up some extra liquor in a snowcat the night before. It's stupid money. Remember Bretton Woods put in a new gondola/lodge for this purpose. SR cited going with a Chondola for having the lodge access as well.

Other useful gondolas being stuff you'll only ride once or twice a day- pretty much just Killington Skyeship 1 here in the East but many many places out west just for getting out of lower-mountain areas.
Gondolas and the venues they service are not the huge off season profit centers you think they are.

They help pay the upper management salaries needed to keep that management talent in place year round for the 15-20 weeks a year ski areas actually make real money.


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machski

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Gondolas and the venues they service are not the huge off season profit centers you think they are.

They help pay the upper management salaries needed to keep that management talent in place year round for the 15-20 weeks a year ski areas actually make real money.


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Probably true during your days in ski resort management and likely still true at places like Loon where there is no large summit lodge that can double as a function venue. However, I would think the financial dynamics might be a bit different at a location like Bretton Woods that purposely installed a Gondola to primarily cater to their new summit lodge going in that will also double as a function hall (IE, wedding venue). I know SR has shifted a lot of their summer activities away from Mountain Biking and focus on large events and wedding business, which has powered them along and the Summit Lodge is the top venue they have using the Chondi. That activity pumps more than just a skim of $$ into the resort.

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Siliconebobsquarepants

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Gondolas and the venues they service are not the huge off season profit centers you think they are.

They help pay the upper management salaries needed to keep that management talent in place year round for the 15-20 weeks a year ski areas actually make real money.


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Trams different in revenue sense ? It's been a long time since I rode the Tram at Cannon in the summer but I recall chatting with the operator and he said they run the tram more in the summer . They were charging per ride vs lift ticket and with more daylight does the tram generate more revenue outside of ski season ?
 

Glade Monkey

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Trams different in revenue sense ? It's been a long time since I rode the Tram at Cannon in the summer but I recall chatting with the operator and he said they run the tram more in the summer . They were charging per ride vs lift ticket and with more daylight does the tram generate more revenue outside of ski season ?
They probably did make more in the summer but the Cannon tram didn't open this summer due to Covid.
For comparison a single r/t summer ticket is $19 (9am-5pm) versus a winter uphill ticket for $82 (9am-3:45pm).
 

Puck it

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They probably did make more in the summer but the Cannon tram didn't open this summer due to Covid.
For comparison a single r/t summer ticket is $19 (9am-5pm) versus a winter uphill ticket for $82 (9am-3:45pm).
FYI, summer revenue from the whole state park, (Tram, Lafayette campground, Echo Lake beach and RV, Flume), dwarf the amount of money from the winter ski season. I think it is 3-4x more than ski season. JD hates running the Tram in winter also.
 

Newpylong

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Probably true during your days in ski resort management and likely still true at places like Loon where there is no large summit lodge that can double as a function venue. However, I would think the financial dynamics might be a bit different at a location like Bretton Woods that purposely installed a Gondola to primarily cater to their new summit lodge going in that will also double as a function hall (IE, wedding venue). I know SR has shifted a lot of their summer activities away from Mountain Biking and focus on large events and wedding business, which has powered them along and the Summit Lodge is the top venue they have using the Chondi. That activity pumps more than just a skim of $$ into the resort.

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My experience with events vs biking in ski area management is largely what you describe. Event venues are already a sunk cost - the buildings and facilities are already there in the off-season not making money. If you can use them to provide additional revenue without much expense, it goes a long way towards keeping a place afloat in the off-season.

As for mountain biking - really not a big profit center for most areas. Some areas find this out the hard way and end up ditching it or at least de-emphasizing. You need to have a large, paid staff to maintain the trail network. You need rental and ticket folks. You need to operate the lifts, etc. and so on.
 

Glade Monkey

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As for mountain biking - really not a big profit center for most areas. Some areas find this out the hard way and end up ditching it or at least de-emphasizing. You need to have a large, paid staff to maintain the trail network. You need rental and ticket folks. You need to operate the lifts, etc. and so on.

Sunday River found that out and bailed on mtb. The locals (and Mt Abram) are picking up the slack.
Sugarloaf still supports but it without lift rides. However they have had other issues lately with land closures by the Penobscot Nation.
 

ss20

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As for mountain biking - really not a big profit center for most areas. Some areas find this out the hard way and end up ditching it or at least de-emphasizing. You need to have a large, paid staff to maintain the trail network. You need rental and ticket folks. You need to operate the lifts, etc. and so on.

This is something I've always been curious about. Berkshire East and Killington do TONS of mountain biking and have sunk lots of $$$ into it (Killington running the Gondola, Snowshed, and Ramshead all in the summer is something I never would've though 15 years ago!). It seems there's a tipping point where the ROI really starts to improve?
 

skef

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Massachusetts residents now exempt from quarantine/test mandate:
Screen Shot 2020-09-23 at 5.38.11 PM.png
Per Maine DHHS.

Fingers crossed it stays this way.
 

Newpylong

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This is something I've always been curious about. Berkshire East and Killington do TONS of mountain biking and have sunk lots of $$$ into it (Killington running the Gondola, Snowshed, and Ramshead all in the summer is something I never would've though 15 years ago!). It seems there's a tipping point where the ROI really starts to improve?

I think there definitely is a tipping point. From my observations the ones who are having success with it are also able to couple it with an existing vibrant summer acitvity scene. The whole nine yards whatever that may be: mountain coaster, ziplines, etc. There are also is a limited market for those willing to pay to bike, so it has to be done well ala Killington, Highlands, etc.
 

machski

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Sunday River found that out and bailed on mtb. The locals (and Mt Abram) are picking up the slack.
Sugarloaf still supports but it without lift rides. However they have had other issues lately with land closures by the Penobscot Nation.
Yeah, the other issue at SR was the terrain. Sure, South Ridge is mellow even for bikes, but once you get up to North Peak, the terrain for biking ramps up quickly without much in the moderate range even with machine shaped trails they put in. Even the cross country trails were tough as they were/are super rooty from the forest on North. They just didn't have good step up terrain from South Ridge (and its not like they ran the South Ridge Express to just access that stuff). Part of why Mt. Abram works is the terrain they have over there lends itself to much more moderate trails to allow a step up from the real easy stuff. That is why Killington and Highlands work so well, they both have trails that flow extremely well, are well maintained and offer routes for all levels. Loon's park is headed that way as well.

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Edd

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Cranmore is getting it done with mountain biking. They’re well located, though, as North Conway is busier in summer than winter.


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boston_e

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I'm sure if done right, Mt Biking is profitable. There are places that are biking only and are not even ski resorts that are surviving perfectly well. Highland Bike Park in NH being an example.
 

kingslug

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snoseek

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Cranmore is getting it done with mountain biking. They’re well located, though, as North Conway is busier in summer than winter.


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And they have the advantage of being connected to a vast and existing network. Lots and lots of work being done up there.
 
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