Northstar was bought by an operating company,vail, that knows the business, and they have great snow making.
Squaw was bought by a private equity firm, with a short horizon, run by real estate people, and snow making is pathetic in its absence.
Vail thinks, we wil own this place for 100 years and we will invest what's needed.
Ksl, thinks, we'll make money selling condos, and invest as little as possible, and btw, lets piss off everyone in squaw valley.
My worry is who the next owner will be.
Vail is in the business of enhancing the customer experience and attempting to offer more bang for the buck in a declining industry. KSL? Rich people, and they are rich at KSL, buy ski areas for various reasons. Some, like Dick Bass (Snowbird before selling a majority stake to Ian Cumming) and Louis Bacon (who recently purchased Taos) want to be good stewards of the areas they love. Others, like Jack Bistricer, are looking generations out putting a permanent stamp on an area with their vision. KSL? I cannot figure them out. They obviously want to the area to prosper, but are they looking generations out or seeing this as only an investment? For now I assume the former while their plans get sorted out during a time when ticket sales must suck due to the a few years of drought. KSL has the capital to wait until the legal issues of growth are all get resolved.