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Ski Towns: When did Cali get derailed? - Page 3

post #61 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by Toecutter View Post
 

 

Wow, is this pic really from 2013? I would have guessed 1990 or so judging by the cars and storefronts.

 

Even if the skiing were great, my wife would be PISSED if I booked a week long ski trip there, LOL!

And my wife would love it. I'm proud to have a wife that gets just a little bit disgusted every time we drive through Vail.

 

Hell, Pagosa Springs is too touristy for us.

post #62 of 123

I think how far you are willing to drive for skiing depends hugely on where you live and what skiing you are driving to. There are plenty of people on the front range that drive 3 hours+ each way to day trip. There are a lot of skiers in Fort Collins, where everyplace but Eldora is 3 hours away, and Eldora is about 2:45.  Ditto for Pueblo and Colorado Springs is only moderately shorter. Lots of skiers live in those cities, and most day trip with occasional overnight stays through the season.

 

Plenty of people in Texas and Oklahoma drive 12+ hours to ski in Colorado. I get the feeling in talking to them that the long drive is the norm for skiing Texans rather than flying over CO to go somewhere else.

 

I think it makes sense in understanding the business to group up visitors by whether they are day skiers, weekend skiers, or destination skiers, but I don't think you can firmly determine who will do what depending on travel time. If you live in Breck, you would consider it a long drive to go the 2:30 to Aspen. If you lived in Colorado Springs, that's just how far you drive if you want to ski, period. I know day trippers in some area that drive 4 hours, and they generally are occasional skiers, not hardcore.

post #63 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by Toecutter View Post
 

 

Wow, is this pic really from 2013? I would have guessed 1990 or so judging by the cars and storefronts.

 

Even if the skiing were great, my wife would be PISSED if I booked a week long ski trip there, LOL!


Mine would give up a toe to LIVE there.

post #64 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by anachronism View Post
 

There are a lot of skiers in Fort Collins, where everyplace but Eldora is 3 hours away, and Eldora is about 2:45.

I used to live in Fort Collins. From my driveway to the parking lot at Winter Park was consistantly about 2 hours. Even with a Toyota Tercel.

 

Regarding Tony's comments about traveler type for Red/Whitewater: Type 3 is rare at Whitewater. There is no lodging at the hill, and the nearest airport is unreliable. There are a few who drive (for days, even) to experience the fabled powder, but Whitewater is dominated by day trippers, and can be quite busy midweek if it dumps.

post #65 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by Toecutter View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

Whitefish then and now


cfiles2500.jpg

Wow, is this pic really from 2013? I would have guessed 1990 or so judging by the cars and storefronts.

Even if the skiing were great, my wife would be PISSED if I booked a week long ski trip there, LOL!

Couldn't tell you. The picture was selected to match the same angle and ridge line as the upper one. 1990 vs. 2013 was not on my radar as the discussion was about town origins. This town was very much in existence pre-skiing. That was the point of the pictures.

The picture is definitely from at least five years ago, as the widened sidewalk and corner bump outs we now have are not there.

You can find plenty of more current pictures yourself on the net. If you want Disneyland, complete with Roots, Ralph Lauren, etc., you won't find it here. I pray we never get them, but that horror could still arrive if development isn't managed.
post #66 of 123

Here are some pics of a resort that may turn carpark into a Palace. The village locals and daytrippers aren't happy with carparks being built out. Is the place "derailed"? Much depends on whether you are in the First Class carriage or you're a hitchhiker hiding in the cattle car.

 

LEAD Technologies Inc. V1.01

LEAD Technologies Inc. V1.01

Incidentaly the model may be 15% lower than the reality.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthias99 View Post
 

 

My intuition is that they probably get an order of magnitude more day-trippers from VT than Boston... but I could be wrong!  That's a pretty damn long day trip -- beyond what I'd usually find worthwhile.

 

I'm not sure where you could get those kinds of numbers.


 If they have RFID they know you are a day tripper, a once-a-year mid western week long skier, they know if you use the room discount, whether you use the pass discount for food, if you book the penthouse or the budget room, etc. They share that data with regional tourism partners. Those regional tourism partners share with State tourism. Then they have a conference and they plan whether they want to build a this or a that, and if they'll bid for the Winter Olympics.

 

All that data can confirm or refute their beliefs. The data can help them decide if they want to charge a 2-night minimum on weekends or come up with ways to convert the a low-value brown bag day tripper into a weekend warrior. And they'll plan things for green season. Vail for example is spending a few mil on 6 resorts that'll return an extra $1m or so a year. They estimate each visitor is worth about $55 to them in sumer. They've predicted how many people will come. They've worked out that 'flat hills' don't appeal to the mixed family of the hot shot dad, the teen racer and the green  skier wife so they've installed black chairs to serve semi-treed black runs.

 

And then they plan and then build the lodging. Squaw for example has made it quite clear they want condos for destination skiers and will build over the parking lots. They know the texans spend $x, the Japanese spend $800 per person over 3 days etc etc, They can arrange a shuttle service that will keep the tourist out of a car (they claim) and in the village spending in the village. There's roadworks they tap into with a few mil in Truckee, $34m on the Homewood-TC road, $25m to bypass a bridge in TC, 3 bus terminal parking areas in Vista etc etc and, bike paths from Dollar Hill to around a dangerous pedestrian/pushbike area called Mousehole. Mammoth has tried 'deals' with 'select properties' and a free airport shuttle IF you stay in their hotels rather than the cheap place. Then they change partnered airlines and we dumb visitors think 'it's easier to fly to ....." and people kick and scream when suddenly June Mtn closed.  Squaw on the other hand  sees 4m seats fly into Reno, and will come up with ways to capitalise on that, and the County's tax payers will bankroll a green bus plan that could fall over leaving locals asking 'but they built over the parking lot so do I pay $40 a day to park or do I ski at Sugarbowl?".

 

There's a lot of planning, and plotting, to get as mch out of the higher-worth customers even at the risk of killing of the low-worth local segment. (Personally I'm averse to any model putting all the eggs in one demographic). In the planning some ssectors will say the resort was 'derailed'. Others will say they had a great once-a-year stay in a luxury condo built over the old free parking lot.


Edited by veteran - 10/29/13 at 9:55am
post #67 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by jhcooley View Post
 

I used to live in Fort Collins. From my driveway to the parking lot at Winter Park was consistantly about 2 hours. Even with a Toyota Tercel.

 

Regarding Tony's comments about traveler type for Red/Whitewater: Type 3 is rare at Whitewater. There is no lodging at the hill, and the nearest airport is unreliable. There are a few who drive (for days, even) to experience the fabled powder, but Whitewater is dominated by day trippers, and can be quite busy midweek if it dumps.

So Google seems to agree with you. My memory must be off, I always remembered it was about 1 1/2 hours to go from the Fort to Denver.

post #68 of 123

people who bash Tahoe skiing or eastern sierra skiing don't live here or haven't stayed here on a long vacation. I live in south reno and have access to great terrain back country or resort all with in a 3 hour drive. I can go to Mammoth, Kirkwood, Sierra, Mt Rose, Squaw, Alpine Meadows, Sierra at Tahoe, Sugar Bowl, etc I could care less about Ski Towns or whatever they are talking about. For me, its all about skiing and that's it...

post #69 of 123
Quote:
  If they have RFID they know you are a day tripper, a once-a-year mid western week long skier, they know if you use the room discount, whether you use the pass discount for food, if you book the penthouse or the budget room, etc. They share that data with regional tourism partners. Those regional tourism partners share with State tourism. Then they have a conference and they plan whether they want to build a this or a that, and if they'll bid for the Winter Olympics.


I'm not saying the resorts don't know this stuff.  Or at least have a pretty good idea about it, even if they aren't tracking everything with computerized systems.  They just normally don't publish this kind of data publicly.

post #70 of 123
Actually, the Montana tourism board published a two year study of all the areas a few years back and it was on the news or I wouldn't have known. The study is still available for download. I refer to it frequently.
post #71 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by anachronism View Post
 

So Google seems to agree with you. My memory must be off, I always remembered it was about 1 1/2 hours to go from the Fort to Denver.

Your memory is probably fine. Once you hit the surface streets, it can take a long tme to get anywhere in Denver. To go to the mountains from the Fort, though, you never get off the freeway.

post #72 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post


Couldn't tell you. The picture was selected to match the same angle and ridge line as the upper one. 1990 vs. 2013 was not on my radar as the discussion was about town origins. This town was very much in existence pre-skiing. That was the point of the pictures.

 

Ahhh, okay. When you wrote "then and now" I took it as meaning "now" now, 2013.

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by anachronism View Post
 

And my wife would love it. I'm proud to have a wife that gets just a little bit disgusted every time we drive through Vail.

 

Hell, Pagosa Springs is too touristy for us.

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ecimmortal View Post
 


Mine would give up a toe to LIVE there.

 

 

 

There's a place for everyone, thank goodness. We've found our Shangi La in Bend -- just ritzy enough.

post #73 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bear Scat View Post
 

. I live in south reno and have access to great terrain back country or resort all with in a 3 hour drive. I can go to Mammoth, Kirkwood, Sierra, Mt Rose, Squaw, Alpine Meadows, Sierra at Tahoe, Sugar Bowl, etc I could care less about Ski Towns or whatever they are talking about. For me, its all about skiing and that's it...

 

Planning takes years, and one day you may wake up in a 'pay per day' parking area at $40 a day.

 

The free day parking can be replaced with paid parking if a resort builds apartments on the carpark. And some resorts are talking to other resorts that make people pay $40.50 a day for a satellite parking area served by tax-payer funded shuttles which cost the counties up to $290 a seat to run on the pilot program.

 

The resort may replace the large free parking area with apartments so the small free parking is ' full' by the time you arrive. Now you got to drive somewhere else. It's your gas and your time or there's always VIP Valet parking.

 

And when you complain to your politicians, you may find they not only endorsed the entire projects as 'green' to 'save the lake' but are using your taxes to "encourage" you to catch a bus and are using your taxes to pay for buses so that  bigger spending  people with  SUVs get free slopeside parking that you paid for in your taxes.

 

And if you vote with your wallet and go somewhere else, you're in the long lift lines full of fellow refugees who fled paid parking.

 

So when yyou say "its all about the skiing", think about this as you try to find a free parking bay, fill up your tank, or sit on the bus you're paying for. We'll wave to you from the top of KT22 on a powder day as your circle looking for a place to park for free.

 

 

 

post #74 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by veteran View Post
 

 

Planning takes years, and one day you may wake up in a 'pay per day' parking area at $40 a day.

 

The free day parking can be replaced with paid parking if a resort builds apartments on the carpark. And some resorts are talking to other resorts that make people pay $40.50 a day for a satellite parking area served by tax-payer funded shuttles which cost the counties up to $290 a seat to run on the pilot program.

 

The resort may replace the large free parking area with apartments so the small free parking is ' full' by the time you arrive. Now you got to drive somewhere else. It's your gas and your time or there's always VIP Valet parking.

 

And when you complain to your politicians, you may find they not only endorsed the entire projects as 'green' to 'save the lake' but are using your taxes to "encourage" you to catch a bus and are using your taxes to pay for buses so that  bigger spending  people with  SUVs get free slopeside parking that you paid for in your taxes.

 

And if you vote with your wallet and go somewhere else, you're in the long lift lines full of fellow refugees who fled paid parking.

 

So when yyou say "its all about the skiing", think about this as you try to find a free parking bay, fill up your tank, or sit on the bus you're paying for. We'll wave to you from the top of KT22 on a powder day as your circle looking for a place to park for free.

 

 

 

I can't imagine where you might be talking about.

post #75 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldgoat View Post
 

I can't imagine where you might be talking about.

A resort near Disneyland I heard. ;) 


Edited by veteran - 10/29/13 at 8:22pm
post #76 of 123
Quote:

I think how far you are willing to drive for skiing depends hugely on where you live and what skiing you are driving to. There are plenty of people on the front range that drive 3 hours+ each way to day trip. There are a lot of skiers in Fort Collins, where everyplace but Eldora is 3 hours away, and Eldora is about 2:45.  Ditto for Pueblo and Colorado Springs is only moderately shorter. Lots of skiers live in those cities, and most day trip with occasional overnight stays through the season.

 

Plenty of people in Texas and Oklahoma drive 12+ hours to ski in Colorado. I get the feeling in talking to them that the long drive is the norm for skiing Texans rather than flying over CO to go somewhere else.

 

I think it makes sense in understanding the business to group up visitors by whether they are day skiers, weekend skiers, or destination skiers, but I don't think you can firmly determine who will do what depending on travel time. If you live in Breck, you would consider it a long drive to go the 2:30 to Aspen. If you lived in Colorado Springs, that's just how far you drive if you want to ski, period. I know day trippers in some area that drive 4 hours, and they generally are occasional skiers, not hardcore. 

The above is all true, but does not change the 3 skier categories.  The marathon Texas drivers are still 2's.  They haven't bought an airfare and been forced to lock in dates months ahead.  They may have locked in dates somewhat ahead as I'm guessing those aren't Friday night to Sunday night trips.  However, they do get to choose where they are going on much shorter notice than the people flying.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bear Scat View Post
 

. I live in south reno and have access to great terrain back country or resort all with in a 3 hour drive. I can go to Mammoth, Kirkwood, Sierra, Mt Rose, Squaw, Alpine Meadows, Sierra at Tahoe, Sugar Bowl, etc I could care less about Ski Towns or whatever they are talking about. For me, its all about skiing and that's it... 

 This is the prevailing opinion of many and possibly a majority of Mammoth's clientele from SoCal.  Or at least we are content with the town as it is.  There are nice restaurants etc., and people don't care that the town is spread out because everyone drove up there and has a car to get around.  A key reason the Village at Mammoth struggled is that there is not convenient parking for the people not staying there.  So no surprise most of them patronize restaurants, shops etc. in town that do have parking.

 

I'll be interested in seeing how this parking situation shakes out at Squaw.  Mammoth has a small VIP/pay lot near the Main Lodge, otherwise there are 4 base parking arras where you can get on the mountain.  There would be a MAMMOTH stink if they tried to charge for that parking.  Yes, we Mammoth 2's are cheap but since we're 90% of the business I think they pay a fair amount of attention to what we want.

 

Squaw's clientele of big city weekenders lodging elsewhere in Tahoe may not be the 90% it is at Mammoth, but it may be close to half.  I would not want to be alienating those people if I ran Squaw.

 

 

post #77 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Crocker View Post
 

The above is all true, but does not change the 3 skier categories.  The marathon Texas drivers are still 2's.  They haven't bought an airfare and been forced to lock in dates months ahead.  They may have locked in dates somewhat ahead as I'm guessing those aren't Friday night to Sunday night trips.  However, they do get to choose where they are going on much shorter notice than the people flying.

 

 This is the prevailing opinion of many and possibly a majority of Mammoth's clientele from SoCal.  Or at least we are content with the town as it is.  There are nice restaurants etc., and people don't care that the town is spread out because everyone drove up there and has a car to get around.  A key reason the Village at Mammoth struggled is that there is not convenient parking for the people not staying there.  So no surprise most of them patronize restaurants, shops etc. in town that do have parking.

 

I'll be interested in seeing how this parking situation shakes out at Squaw.  Mammoth has a small VIP/pay lot near the Main Lodge, otherwise there are 4 base parking arras where you can get on the mountain.  There would be a MAMMOTH stink if they tried to charge for that parking.  Yes, we Mammoth 2's are cheap but since we're 90% of the business I think they pay a fair amount of attention to what we want.

 

Squaw's clientele of big city weekenders lodging elsewhere in Tahoe may not be the 90% it is at Mammoth, but it may be close to half.  I would not want to be alienating those people if I ran Squaw.

 

 

I think this is the obvious thing about Squaw to anyone apart from the blindest destination tourist.  It is a mountain chockful of locals, semi-locals and weekend warriors with a huge bed base within 30 minutes (& even more if you extend that circle to Reno). So for the new build out to be a success they have to be converting the skier base to destination tourists who are also a bit lazy or content to be captive (i.e. they don't want to see the lake, explore shopping in local towns etc etc).  

 

This model works in Europe where holidaymakers may have no clue about other attractions 5 miles away as they were passively delivered by coach from airport to their selected destination, but I'm just not sure in the US where car rentals are an accepted part of the travel experience.  Plus in Europe your village may be genuinely old and interesting e.g. Austria or very functional e.g. ski in/out of Avoriaz, Les Arcs etc rather than something slapped together for ersatz "experience".  The only place in N America that I consider has achieved the latter wholly successfully is Whistler, where the mass of people, pedestrianisation and some clever bits of layout e.g.patio bars create a "vibe" that does feel a bit special. Anywhere else that has adopted the Intrawest model (including Intrawest developments elsewhere) largely succeeds in feeling try hard e.g. at Squaw the vibe is at the Chammy or the Cornice Cantina and not anywhere in the village.


Edited by fatbob - 10/30/13 at 7:14am
post #78 of 123

When they built the existing Squaw village they called it a European style village. To me it's a bunch of condos in the middle of a parking lot. The new village will still be a bunch of condos in a parking lot, except that the parking lot will be gone.

post #79 of 123

I haven't been following this thread because I'm not familiar with Cali resorts, but the discussion has become very interesting.

 

Agreed that most Northeast resorts up to Killington/Cannon are a Crocker 1.  Further north, it's probably 50/50 between Crocker 1 and Crocker 2.  Sugarloaf and Saddleback are probably the only places that are predominately Crocker 2s.

post #80 of 123

I'm Crocker 1 due to the proximity of my home hill, but when it's time for a ski trip I go Crocker 3. I want full amenities.

post #81 of 123
It's been a long time since I was Crocker 3, now a 1, but thinking back, I wanted a cool town to explore, without the falseness of some places I could name. If I'd wanted a mall feeling, I could have stayed home. We always chose B&B's or smaller, more intimate hotels or condos and stayed away from the places that felt like Manhattan.

Now that I live in a ski town, the fact that it is a real town where you run into your ski buddies all year round at Safeway or the hardware store is huge. It's a nice bonus that the summer and winter tourists help sustain the excellent restaurants a town of this size could otherwise not support. And even bigger that I can't think of anything that closes during the off season. Maybe the ice rink? And I guess the resort itself in shoulder seasons.

And the trophy homes around the lake subsidize my property taxes, even though I'm only 15 - 20 minutes from the slopes. Even ten years later, they are 60 % of what I paid in New Jersey for a townhouse with no land to speak of.
post #82 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by Toecutter View Post
 

I'm Crocker 1 due to the proximity of my home hill, but when it's time for a ski trip I go Crocker 3. I want full amenities.

 

Imo a hill shouldn't put all its eggs in one basket. It takes one slip up and all the king's horses and all the king's men can't put  Humpty Dumpty together again.

post #83 of 123
Quote:
I think it makes sense in understanding the business to group up visitors by whether they are day skiers, weekend skiers, or destination skiers, but I don't think you can firmly determine who will do what depending on travel time. 

Travel time is the most important variable, but as anachronism notes,  it varies by the specific ski market.  I think it's very difficult for any ski area to radically change its mix of 1's, 2's and 3's.  Whistler is of course Exhibit A of transforming itself from a local/regional resort to an international destination.

 

So a whole bunch of people thought, "We'll build a Whistler-style village and that will attract the big spending destination consumers."  But Whistler had 2 world class mountains to go along with that village. So no surprise Tamarack trying to build an upscale resort at a mountain not even as good as its local competition (Bogus and Brundage) went down in flames. 

 

Mammoth has the mountain quality but the access issue  remains difficult.  Mammoth has hosted NASJA annual meetings in 1998 and 2013.  In 1998 all the talk was about the Intrawest partnership was going to build this destination resort.  Last year management's emphasis was upon keeping our SoCal customers happy.

 

I think Squaw has an uphill battle if it thinks can change its mix of 1's, 2's and 3's.   It's world class for experts, good for beginners, not that great for intermediates.  The mindset of 3's who come to Tahoe is to sample multiple areas.  The intermediates will find several that are more comfortable for them.  Squaw has a fanatical cadre of loyal experts, both local and from a large population base in the Bay Area.  There's lots of room for success serving that market, staying "within one's circle of competence," as Warren Buffett says.  I question the wisdom of pretending to be Vail with that kind of mountain in a region with so many different ski areas.
 

Quote:

It's a nice bonus that the summer and winter tourists help sustain the excellent restaurants a town of this size could otherwise not support. And even bigger that I can't think of anything that closes during the off season. Maybe the ice rink? And I guess the resort itself in shoulder seasons. 

 

I have little doubt that Whitefish has far more summer than winter tourism, even more obvious passing through last July from Glacier National Park.  No question that helps with town amenities.  Same thing with Jackson and Tahoe.


Edited by Tony Crocker - 10/30/13 at 12:55pm
post #84 of 123
Quote:
 I think Squaw has an uphill battle if it thinks can change its mix of 1's, 2's and 3's.   It's world class for experts, good for beginners, not that great for intermediates.  The mindset of 3's who come to Tahoe is to sample multiple areas.  The intermediates will find several that are more comfortable for them.  Squaw has a fanatical cadre of loyal experts, both local and from a large population base in the Bay Area.  There's lots of room for success serving that market, staying "within one's circle of competence," as Warren Buffett says.  I question the wisdom of pretending to be Vail with that kind of mountain in a region with so many different ski areas.

 

I'd certainly think the straightforward marketing angle would be to play up the gnarliness of Squaw and the family-friendly accessibility of Alpine Meadows -- and look, you get them both on the same pass!  Isn't that convenient.

 

Whether they can draw significantly more nationwide visitors to just ski there for a week is another question.  I've been to Tahoe twice, and both have been 'tour a bunch of different resorts' sort of visits.  But with the right pricing structure and slopeside lodging you might entice families to double down on Squalpine and skip Heavenly/Northstar.  Or you shoot yourself in the foot...

post #85 of 123

Tony, what type of ski consumer is a group of 40+ year old guys, that grew up together, with wives/families (that understand), travel 8+ hours on a mid week afternoon from Denver to Targhee based upon an approaching storm, and care little about the amenities? 

post #86 of 123
Quote:
Tony, what type of ski consumer is a group of 40+ year old guys, that grew up together, with wives/families (that understand), travel 8+ hours on a mid week afternoon from Denver to Targhee based upon an approaching storm, and care little about the amenities?  

A microscopic percentage of the total skier market, particularly the wives/families that understand part.:rolleyes 

post #87 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Crocker View Post
 
Quote:
Tony, what type of ski consumer is a group of 40+ year old guys, that grew up together, with wives/families (that understand), travel 8+ hours on a mid week afternoon from Denver to Targhee based upon an approaching storm, and care little about the amenities?  

A microscopic percentage of the total skier market, particularly the wives/families that understand part.:rolleyes 


sound like us (except we do our trips mainly in B.C.) Having partners who understand is always what makes it really work.

post #88 of 123

This thread just nailed it.  California sucks.  Do not come here.  Our mountain biking, surfing and skiing are just terrible.  And we really can't compete with the "gnar" or the down-home culture of Vail (it's not phony one bit I tell you!), so don't bother and just go to Colorado.

 

I don't know why the real estate is so expensive since no one really wants to be here - it's a sheer paradox of economic reality.

post #89 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by fatbob View Post
 

I think this is the obvious thing about Squaw to anyone apart from the blindest destination tourist.

 

Or, apparently, the company that bought the place.  ;-)

post #90 of 123

california has some of the best skiing in the USA. "ugly town" syndrome applies to all of the US. I do not ski in the parking lot of wall mart or squaw valley. heavenly is just fine, mammoth has snow in june, reno is around the corner and south lake tahoe has some fine "clubs". if you are european and reading this come to california for true american ski experience all with fake european villages and real american big box towns. it is what it is and it is good. 

 

Seriously, California is one of the world jewels and skiing in California is some of the best in the world. Come to California and enjoy it as is - you will love it !!!

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