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VAIL SUCKS

BenedictGomez

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If any new lodge goes in on the east it will be the same as one out west. They copy the same blueprint for many of their new lodges.

Of course they do.

Per job function they wear the same color coats at every resort, you dont think the lodges wouldn't look the same!
 

Cobbold

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I wrote a full page, War & Peace post on that theory a few years back. lol

Short version I've seen this story several times prior in my life & it never ends well. A company "revolutionizing" its' industry, with a "brilliant CEO all-star" with "unique" attributes and qualities. I see Vail no differently than any other large corporate, numerous bolt-on acquisitions that are immediately accretive to earnings, rinse & repeat, with an ungodly pile of debt. Turns out the CEO isnt so "brilliant", the low-hanging fruit acquisitions end & you run out of crap to buy, then you start over-paying for acquisitions, then your aggressive accounting tricks run dry, you've raised all prices to their absolute max, you start pissing off your loyal customers, and the debt bomb eventually explodes.

EDIT: I almost bought puts last week when it was at $283, but they're too thinly traded & expensive. But I'll be very interested in the next 10Q,, because it will be our first apples-to-apples look at Vail YoY comps without an acquisition to muddy things up (SKIS closed 3Q19).
Not sure that works because of COVID 19 affecting earnings, vail wasn’t built in a year, look at alterra they were put together over what a two year period three tops, their loan payments must be massive
 

Cobbold

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Of course they do.

Per job function they wear the same color coats at every resort, you dont think the lodges wouldn't look the same!
Lots of their lodges tend to be up the Mtn, mid Mtn or higher, back East the lodges tend to be at the bottom, not sure west coast lodges work back East, but what do I know.
 
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The single terrain improvement at attitash is beginner terrain. Attitash is terrible for beginers, wildcat is decent but many staying at attitash will not make the drive. Not sure where you would put it though.
I've thought about this before. Not many of these are true "beginner" options, but they could:
-Retrofit the Kachina triple with a carped load (would involve fixing that awfully flat unload area) to run that lift at higher speed and make better use of the pod. That lift is garbage but can be run much faster than it does (at least it used to at SR).

-Figure out a way to make the pinball alley->lower bridge situation more manageable for beginners - potentially with a second bridge (opening up a way to get beginners to Attitash from Bear safely without going to the top of Bear Peak). They should also only allow one way traffic to Bear Peak on the top bridge. It's amazing that interchange has lasted 25+ years in both directions.

-Replace the double-doubles with at a quad. Widen and reverse the direction at the top of what used to be alleyway so you can go from Spillway->Middle Highway->Lower Whitehorse. If you wanted to get really adventurous, you could even encourage beginners/lower intermediates to ski lower Ptarmigan from the top of what are now the double-doubles. Crossing Whitehorse could definitely be a problem though.

-Either re-grade and prioritize opening Carrigan with snowmaking, or encourage beginners/low intermediates to take Turkey Chute->Moat->Lower Ptarmigan (or continue to Whitehorse) to provide another mellower option(s) off the Yankee.
 

deadheadskier

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The single terrain improvement at attitash is beginner terrain. Attitash is terrible for beginers, wildcat is decent but many staying at attitash will not make the drive. Not sure where you would put it though.
Agreed. Their beginner terrain sucks. Not much I can think of to improve it.
BH certainly would have known best. They also have limited power from what I have been told, one reason the booster station is all diesels. Their water pumping capacity is woefully inadequate I believe about 2,000 GPM. A mountain with that much acreage should be triple that. Not only that, besides the core sections of pipe they replaced a few years back, the entire place is old rotting victaulic pipe. They can't even make snow on any expert trails due to both capacity and condition issues.

Attitash needs that triple gone yesterday.

Ragged is going to open first in NH, that tells us where Vail's NH properties rank in priority.
They've made snow on Black Cat and Starr Line in recent years. It's interesting and labor intensive as the terrain on both would be near impossible to run a groomer on to spread out; especially Starr Line. So they just babysit it and frequently adjust gun direction to spread the snow around. Essentially just leave it whaled up.

But the Flex Seal and Duct Tape on the pipes with both can't last forever. ;)

If they were to add one expert trail to the regular rotation, I'd want it to be Tomcat Schuss. It would make for a great spring bump run, but is one of the first trails to burn out from the amount of sun that hits it.
 

FBGM

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Lots of their lodges tend to be up the Mtn, mid Mtn or higher, back East the lodges tend to be at the bottom, not sure west coast lodges work back East, but what do I know.
You know how to drink the cool aid, that’s for sure.
 

Cobbold

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Here’s a conspiracy theory to kick around, sun valley ski area is owned by the people who own Sinclair oil company, they recently put the oil company up for sale, could fetch 3 billion, depending on stock price for vail they could own 1/3 of vail with that, more if vails price sinks.
 

xlr8r

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Vails lack of communication flat out sucks. It is deceitful, and they are purposely treating their loyal season passholders poorly. Vail would probably say snow and weather reports are part of their marketing department, (This is what Intrawest used to say), but the fact is that up until next weekend the only people skiing are passholder with whom Vail has already gotten their money. This early season was supposed to be Vail rewarding passholders, instead they have pissed everyone off. All it takes is for a daily message from each mountain to be put up on their websites about when they are trying to make snow and when they hope to open up. Clearly the weather has been terrible, I do not blame Vail for delaying opening. But try coming across as a company that cares instead of a company that does not give a sh*t about its customers.

Now as far as investments are concerned, overall Vail has spent less in recent years. They still favor their Colorado resorts over all others as Vail, Beaver Creek, Keystone, and Breckenridge all regularly get expanded terrain and new lifts almost every season. Their Tahoe areas have been ignored, especially Kirkwood and Heavenly (their has been barely any investment in Kirkwood). Park City and Whistler both received major lift investments in their first couple years of ownership, But overall their strategy has been to wait about two years after purchase to see how their new mountains operate before making major investments.

Stowe - I bet they view Stowe as being maxed out capacity wise which is probably why nothing major has happened there yet. The lifts for the most part are modern, I could see either the double or triple getting replaced with a HSQ, but besides that little needs to be done at Stowe.

Okemo - Already had new Lifts and Lodge revamp planned this year which has been delayed. No reason to expect these improvements won't happen soon.

Mount Snow - Probably will get similar treatment to Okemo with a couple new lifts soon (HSQ in Sunbrook) and lodge revamp. A bunch of the fixed grips might see revamps instead replacements.

Wildcat - I do not see much of anything happening to Wildcat, this is probably going to be like Kirkwood.

Attitash - I think they will replace the Triple with a HSQ. The double doubles also need to be replaced as they are ancient and terrible as beginner lifts. Summit Triple could be relocated to replace the double doubles or a new fixed quad. This is all probably 2+ years away though.

Crotched - Like Wildcat I do not see much at all happening here, the biggest need is a beginner trail from the summit beyond jupiter storm.

Sunapee - This is the place I am most unsure of what Vail will do. They could leave things pretty much as is, or they could go through with the west bowl expansion. Sunapee already has high skier visit numbers that could grow with expansion. Also expansion could relieve the poor parking situation at Sunapee on busy days.
 
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Vails lack of communication flat out sucks. It is deceitful, and they are purposely treating their loyal season passholders poorly. Vail would probably say snow and weather reports are part of their marketing department, (This is what Intrawest used to say), but the fact is that up until next weekend the only people skiing are passholder with whom Vail has already gotten their money. This early season was supposed to be Vail rewarding passholders, instead they have pissed everyone off. All it takes is for a daily message from each mountain to be put up on their websites about when they are trying to make snow and when they hope to open up. Clearly the weather has been terrible, I do not blame Vail for delaying opening. But try coming across as a company that cares instead of a company that does not give a sh*t about its customers.

Now as far as investments are concerned, overall Vail has spent less in recent years. They still favor their Colorado resorts over all others as Vail, Beaver Creek, Keystone, and Breckenridge all regularly get expanded terrain and new lifts almost every season. Their Tahoe areas have been ignored, especially Kirkwood and Heavenly (their has been barely any investment in Kirkwood). Park City and Whistler both received major lift investments in their first couple years of ownership, But overall their strategy has been to wait about two years after purchase to see how their new mountains operate before making major investments.

Stowe - I bet they view Stowe as being maxed out capacity wise which is probably why nothing major has happened there yet. The lifts for the most part are modern, I could see either the double or triple getting replaced with a HSQ, but besides that little needs to be done at Stowe.

Okemo - Already had new Lifts and Lodge revamp planned this year which has been delayed. No reason to expect these improvements won't happen soon.

Mount Snow - Probably will get similar treatment to Okemo with a couple new lifts soon (HSQ in Sunbrook) and lodge revamp. A bunch of the fixed grips might see revamps instead replacements.

Wildcat - I do not see much of anything happening to Wildcat, this is probably going to be like Kirkwood.

Attitash - I think they will replace the Triple with a HSQ. The double doubles also need to be replaced as they are ancient and terrible as beginner lifts. Summit Triple could be relocated to replace the double doubles or a new fixed quad. This is all probably 2+ years away though.

Crotched - Like Wildcat I do not see much at all happening here, the biggest need is a beginner trail from the summit beyond jupiter storm.

Sunapee - This is the place I am most unsure of what Vail will do. They could leave things pretty much as is, or they could go through with the west bowl expansion. Sunapee already has high skier visit numbers that could grow with expansion. Also expansion could relieve the poor parking situation at Sunapee on busy days.
Excellent overview. That's more or less exactly my synopsis/expectation(s).
 

tumbler

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All one has to do is look at ASC as the example. Feels like deja vous all over again with no capital investments, shitty communication and the home office taking the soul of the individual mountain community away.
It is an industry that barely makes money and is totally dependent on the weather in winter. And only making money during the winter on some holiday days.
 

drjeff

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All one has to do is look at ASC as the example. Feels like deja vous all over again with no capital investments, shitty communication and the home office taking the soul of the individual mountain community away.
It is an industry that barely makes money and is totally dependent on the weather in winter. And only making money during the winter on some holiday days.

As much as I CERTAINLY have my concerns about Vail Resorts operations and communications as a Mount Snow 2nd homeowner, I am trying to give them a bit of slack on SOME things, given the timeframe of how things have gone down. Last season, especially for the Peak properties, Vail took over far to close to the start of the season to see how they'd run the resort fully their way, with their staff. Then COVID hit. This year isn't going to be a true indicator in how they'll run the resort. Next year, we'll likely see more of their day to day "normal" operations and get a feel for those. The '22-'23 season is when I would suspect we might get a feel as to how much, or little they'll make capital investments.

I sure hope their communications department starts to realize that what Eastern, mainly day trip and weekend visitors, in a much more highly dynamic weather environment that larger, Rockies destination resorts, needs is different, since frankly now the level of communications and basic details about snowmaking trails, etc, is worse than anything I can recall in the over 40 years that I have been skiing
 

Edd

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As much as I CERTAINLY have my concerns about Vail Resorts operations and communications as a Mount Snow 2nd homeowner, I am trying to give them a bit of slack on SOME things, given the timeframe of how things have gone down. Last season, especially for the Peak properties, Vail took over far to close to the start of the season to see how they'd run the resort fully their way, with their staff. Then COVID hit. This year isn't going to be a true indicator in how they'll run the resort. Next year, we'll likely see more of their day to day "normal" operations and get a feel for those. The '22-'23 season is when I would suspect we might get a feel as to how much, or little they'll make capital investments.

I sure hope their communications department starts to realize that what Eastern, mainly day trip and weekend visitors, in a much more highly dynamic weather environment that larger, Rockies destination resorts, needs is different, since frankly now the level of communications and basic details about snowmaking trails, etc, is worse than anything I can recall in the over 40 years that I have been skiing
I’m cutting them slack also, but I assume they know precisely what eastern skiers expect with snow reports. If they don’t tighten it up 2 weeks from now, it’ll be obvious they’ve chosen to blow it off.
 
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I’m cutting them slack also, but I assume they know precisely what eastern skiers expect with snow reports. If they don’t tighten it up 2 weeks from now, it’ll be obvious they’ve chosen to blow it off.
Totally with you on this approach. I don't think there are a ton of conclusions that can be drawn from this season other than how they handle the basics. This year is just going to be too abnormal.
 

jimmywilson69

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I think its pretty clear they don't care what the eastern skier thinks or wants. This poor snow reporting started day 1 at Stowe and has continued ever since.

I don't really have a an issue with some of the corporate combining/branding hoopla. Its more the global "blind eye" to the ski culture and just how the eastern ski area business works differently than destination resorts that is disappointing and downright disrespectful...

I don't have a choice but to buy an epic pass because of my local ski hill and I do use my pass elsewhere out west and in New England. So that is a little silver lining I guess.
 
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