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The NEW Magic Mountain

JamaicaMan

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Guys, we are looking to do a couple of things with a reasonable amount of capital expenditures given the size of the opportunity. There has to be a return on investment. It's a business. Magic has a different profile and care must be taken to stay within that wheel house. Magic actually has some business efficiencies that need to be capitalized on. Spend too much capital and add significantly to your operating expenses for the mtn type and you'll never get a return. Not enough capital and you never get out of your revenue hole.

We will be letting folks know more once we close. But we are trying to be prudent in investment compared to the realistic revenue and customer growth opp. Any of you guys who ski Okemo, Stratton and Mount Snow etc--all good areas--we don't want to be like them and we don't want to spend like them. Magic is not about attracting the same clientele (fancy word). Magic is about capturing the ski enthusiast--a subset. That doesn't mean "expert". It means a passion for the sport above all else. Yeah magic has some millionaires, but you can't tell who they are. Their priorities are different and so are ours.

We are going to spend enough to grow the business to self sustaining profitability.

We want our employees to share in that profitability.

The areas we will focus on are lifts: we need to have two summit lifts for reliability, redundancy and crowd dispersion. As we grow, we want as few lines and no crowds on the slopes still. Fixed grips are the way to go for us. In the short term that's finishing Black repairs (a tall task and expensive). Will we replace it someday? Undoubtedly. But it will be w/ another fixed grip chair. No wind holds, crowd dispersion, conversations/new friends, and no huge capital expenditure for HSQ that would take decades to pay off. In addition we will add a beginner carpet to improve our family, learn to ski product. Finally we are actively looking at mid mtn lift to open earlier in subsequent years (quicker to open w/ snowmaking footprint and begin youth programs) as well as have a graduated option for beginners and inters.

Secondly there is snowmaking. For godsake most people out there think we don't even make snow. Last year didn't help. But we do and we have the operating budget to make more snow this year even without any dramatic improvement to the system. We will now see what it takes to drain our pond which has never happened. New guns will be purchased. We think we can get to 40% of trails (east and west). But we shall see. But eventually we want to get to 50%. With the data we've seen, when Magic gets to 40-50% of trails open, then day ticket sales respond dramatically. We don't need 90% coverage like the big resorts. We have the terrain and lift system that makes less feel like more. We have skiers that love the way natural snow skis. So when ma nature delivers we get it all. When it doesn't, then we still get great runs on both east and west with 40-50%.

Now, water is always an issue as is water pressure up steep 1600' vertical so we can maximize energy efficient guns. On the Lower half, adding new HKDs will allow improved snowmaking efficiency right away. Longer term, we are actively looking at making sure we have enough water (pond replenishment) and enough pressure to cover our 50% goal efficiently--roughly 65 acres. While not easy, it is doable and realistic. 70%+ is not realistic nor necessary for the type of area we want to be, the customer we need to attract, or what can provide a reasonable ROI.

Could you spend $10m on a new snowmaking system? Yes. Could you spend $6m on lifts? Yes. Can you ever get a return on that at Magic? Nope.

So while we haven't raised EB-5 money, we have raised enough money to buy the mountain and property with no debt, and we have at least $1.5m+ to improve our product to the point of a more consistently reliable ski experience unlike anything else in SoVT while ALSO having $500k reserves for operating and capex in case of a rainy day.

SKI MAGIC investors believe this is a good initial funding for our 5-year plan. If we grow the business like we think and run it more efficiently than our competitors, like we think, then there will be more opportunities and more $.

There are of course no guarantees and there are always other business models and other ways to go. But we're trying it this way and we certainly can't do this in a vacuum. We need and will always accept help (Volunteers!) and advice. We wouldn't do this if Magic wasn't unique and special. And that uniqueness and staying true to what makes Magic special is the key to success.

Sorry for the long post. I'm sure I've missed a few things (like the lodge) but it's a start. More to come!

Think snow!

Sent from my iPhone using AlpineZone
 
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slatham

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Thanks for the detailed post JM. Best of luck closing the deal and getting her up and running for a white Christmas!
 

slatham

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People keep referencing 70% snowmaking, but the article clearly states that the goal is to bring snowmaking from 30% to 50% by the fifth year. That's not a major increase / expense for a small ski area like Magic. I'm sure some of that expense will be upfront with initial investment and some with reinvestment of profits.

Get the Black going, manage the place better, hope for some average to above average winters and hopefully things work out. This is Magic we're talking about. It doesn't sound like they want to change things all that much, just offer a bit more consistent of a product.

Re: the 70% snowmaking number? This is how much terrain has pipes on it. But most are not functional so it's not really relevant, and to JM's post, not necessary. Previous years actual coverage has been circa 30%, as JM states their goal is to get to 50% coverage which I agree offers enough terrain to attract skiers who want to escape the crowds (and I use my family as a prime example).
 

xwhaler

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I think it's awesome that the new group recognizes that Magic skis a lot better on man made snow when they can offer routes off both the East and West Side.
Lapping Trick to Showoff can get a bit old. I wonder what the plan is for West side routes for snowmaking?
A couple yrs ago I recall skiing on man made on Talisman, Sorcerer and one year they actually blew snow the entire length of Wizard to the bottom.

Wizard T2B probably takes a ton of snow so I wonder if they could reduce the costs by offering Bail Out (off Tali) and then blowing snow on Heart of Magician and Lower Magician?
No idea if pipe works over there but just looking at the map would appear to be fewer total acres to cover while still providing multiple routes on the West Side.
 

deadheadskier

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Re: the 70% snowmaking number? This is how much terrain has pipes on it. But most are not functional so it's not really relevant, and to JM's post, not necessary. Previous years actual coverage has been circa 30%, as JM states their goal is to get to 50% coverage which I agree offers enough terrain to attract skiers who want to escape the crowds (and I use my family as a prime example).

We're on the same page. I was addressing previous posters who were throwing the 70% figure out there without reading the rest of the article and seeing what the actual plan is. Agreed JM explains their intentions well. If those plans don't work for certain types of skiers, they've got plenty of other alternatives to ski in the area.
 

JoeB-Z

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Re: the 70% snowmaking number? This is how much terrain has pipes on it. But most are not functional so it's not really relevant, and to JM's post, not necessary. Previous years actual coverage has been circa 30%, as JM states their goal is to get to 50% coverage which I agree offers enough terrain to attract skiers who want to escape the crowds (and I use my family as a prime example).

There is no need to make snow in the upper center of the mountain from Twilight Zone over to Magician and Broomstick. Any pipes there can just lay fallow. That is a lot of terrain in itself. 50% sounds like a great plan to me.
 

WoodCore

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I wonder what the plan is for West side routes for snowmaking?
A couple yrs ago I recall skiing on man made on Talisman, Sorcerer and one year they actually blew snow the entire length of Wizard to the bottom.

Wizard T2B probably takes a ton of snow so I wonder if they could reduce the costs by offering Bail Out (off Tali) and then blowing snow on Heart of Magician and Lower Magician?

No idea if pipe works over there but just looking at the map would appear to be fewer total acres to cover while still providing multiple routes on the West Side.

Don't quote me on it but pretty sure Heart of the Magician does not have snowmaking pipe installed. That being said another option for an additional snowmaking route on the west side would be to blow Witch and Bail Out to Blackline. I assume the piping on Blackline above Hocus Pocus is in disrepair and would require alot of snow due to the width and terrain however IMHO this may be the most important piece of trail to bury with snow. It's central to both the East and West sides, gives the ability to open other feeder/access trails that require less snow and most importantly is the biggest visual icon of Magic.

First impressions are the most important so ask yourself what might go through the mind of a first time Magic skier driving up access road and seeing the rocks, dirt and brown of Black Line in it's usual state? The rest of the trails might be in great shape but seeing the most visible trail from the access road, parking lot and lodge goes a long way swaying the initial opinion in the negative direction before the consumers even get up on the hill. I wouldn't doubt that folks have driven in, looked at the mess up on Black Line and pulled a U-turn.
 
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slatham

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Don't quote me on it but pretty sure Heart of the Magician does not have snowmaking pipe installed. That being said another option for an additional snowmaking route on the west side would be to blow Witch and Bail Out to Blackline. I assume the piping on Blackline above Hocus Pocus is in disrepair and would require alot of snow due to the width and terrain however IMHO this may be the most important piece of trail to bury with snow. It's central to both the East and West sides, gives the ability to open other feeder/access trails that require less snow and most importantly is the biggest visual icon of Magic.

First impressions are the most important so ask yourself what might go through the mind of a first time Magic skier driving up access road and seeing the rocks, dirt and brown of Black Line in it's usual state? The rest of the trails might be in great shape but seeing the most visible trail from the access road, parking lot and lodge goes a long way swaying the initial opinion in the negative direction before the consumers even get up on the hill. I wouldn't doubt that folks have driven in, looked at the mess up on Black Line and pulled a U-turn.

I think your logic on Witch to Blackline Is spot on. It is also less linear feet than getting Wizard to Tali and the runout covered, yet gives you a challenging expert trail. And the visual impact of clearly seeing snowmaking and solid coverage on Blackline is compelling.

A few years back it was mentioned that the pipes on Witch/Blackline were repaired. Regardless, you won't know until they light it up and see if it holds.
 

jimk

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Sorry for a bit of a hijack, but to those who know both, which is better on a good day: Magic Mtn or Saddleback? I skied Saddleback in 2012 in good conditions and thought it was a beautiful and fairly challenging ski area. I only skied Magic a couple days back in the '80s in marginal conditions when the groomers were decent, but the glades weren't open.
 

dlague

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Sorry for a bit of a hijack, but to those who know both, which is better on a good day: Magic Mtn or Saddleback? I skied Saddleback in 2012 in good conditions and thought it was a beautiful and fairly challenging ski area. I only skied Magic a couple days back in the '80s in marginal conditions when the groomers were decent, but the glades weren't open.

I would have to say Saddleback. The whole area serviced by the Kennebago Lift is probably larger than Magic and the are some serious glades up there. Also no run outs on to intermediate/beginner trails. Set up as pods. I could go on. Chair lift there is better too.
 

bdfreetuna

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Sorry for a bit of a hijack, but to those who know both, which is better on a good day: Magic Mtn or Saddleback? I skied Saddleback in 2012 in good conditions and thought it was a beautiful and fairly challenging ski area. I only skied Magic a couple days back in the '80s in marginal conditions when the groomers were decent, but the glades weren't open.

Saddleback by a mile.
 

xwhaler

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Yea love Magic but hard to compare a 1600' mtn with a low base elevation with a high Alpine 2k mtn with acres upon acres of terrain. Both are awesome in their own ways but can't really be compared to one another. Magic remains the very best 1500-2k vert mtn in New England
 

slatham

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Went for a hike at Magic today and was very happy to see Red turning! The lift crew was doing some work inside given the rain. They have also started to prep the summit terminal of Black for some work too. Will try to upload some pics. Great to see work in motion.
 

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xwhaler

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As an low cost alternative to massive snowmaking upgrades a good trail clearing would go a long way in allowing the mtn to open on limited natural and/or man made. Hopefully the volunteer crews and mtn can make some good headway with that this fall either on weed wackers or heavy duty brush mowers.
 

steamboat1

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He is still mad about Hans Thorner railing Mrs. Steamboat back in the day. Can't blame him for hating the place.

Your a class act dude mentioning my wife (what a low life). You'd have a hard time keeping your hands out of your pants pockets playing with yourself if you saw my wife. Introduce yourself one day so I can kick you in the balls.
 

bdfreetuna

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Yea love Magic but hard to compare a 1600' mtn with a low base elevation with a high Alpine 2k mtn with acres upon acres of terrain. Both are awesome in their own ways but can't really be compared to one another. Magic remains the very best 1500-2k vert mtn in New England

I give Bolton Valley the edge for low-key 1500-2000k vert. Then again that's another discussion.

edit: Just realized Pico comes in at 1,967.. BV still wins when it's full on though
 
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