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The importance of mom and pop ski hills to the industry

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

Powder Magazine has written an article about Abenaki Ski Area in Maine that strikes a chord with me and my experience learning to ski at Caberfae Peaks in Cadillac, Michigan. 

 

The Meyer family who owns Caberfae Peaks has done a tremendous job of reaching out to kids, and in the same interest, families to continue to grow the generations of skiers. 

 

The School Ski Program that Pete Meyer extended to us included a ski rental and lift ticket package for $12.00 (this may be slightly higher now) and a free lift ticket for parents who helped transport the kids from the school to Caberfae.  We usually had two or three parents drive kids. 

This program helped generate families who fell in love with skiing. 

 

Kudos to the small ski hills :beercheer: 

post #2 of 23

It is my opinion (which is, admittedly, worth very little because I have no influence over anything), small, accessible ski areas have historically been significant contributors to the numbers of skiers. The financial failure of such areas has created enormous barriers to getting young people started.

 

Without the availability of local, inexpensive skiing in much of North America, people contemplating the idea of taking their kids skiing (or learning to ski themselves) are faced with long, expensive journeys to the nearest place where they can try it out or undertake continuing skill development. In their push to sell expensive, profitable destination travel, the major ski areas have failed to consider that skiing is a relentlessly skill-based activity with significant equipment requirements, in addition to travel. The time, logistics and financial barriers to skiing tend to direct many people to other kinds of leisure activity.

 

It seems, incidentally, that Vail Resorts may recognize this. They have invested in at least two small Midwestern resorts, perhaps with the idea that people from Minnesota and Michigan can get hooked at Afton Alps or Mt. Brighton and end up spending a bunch on a vacation at Breck or somewhere similar.

 

Regarding TC's comment on the school programs at Caberfae: Many big destination areas also have school programs, but they can only reach out to people within reasonable driving distance. There aren't enough of those people to keep the big places alive. Small areas near places that might not otherwise have skiing are needed. If necessary, they may need to be subsidized as a marketing expense.

 

Now that the big areas have proven that they can out-compete the small areas, they need to revive them as feeders.

post #3 of 23
Thread Starter 
:beercheer:Quote:
Originally Posted by jhcooley View Post
 

It is my opinion (which is, admittedly, worth very little because I have no influence over anything), small, accessible ski areas have historically been significant contributors to the numbers of skiers. The financial failure of such areas has created enormous barriers to getting young people started.

 

Without the availability of local, inexpensive skiing in much of North America, people contemplating the idea of taking their kids skiing (or learning to ski themselves) are faced with long, expensive journeys to the nearest place where they can try it out or undertake continuing skill development. In their push to sell expensive, profitable destination travel, the major ski areas have failed to consider that skiing is a relentlessly skill-based activity with significant equipment requirements, in addition to travel. The time, logistics and financial barriers to skiing tend to direct many people to other kinds of leisure activity.

 

It seems, incidentally, that Vail Resorts may recognize this. They have invested in at least two small Midwestern resorts, perhaps with the idea that people from Minnesota and Michigan can get hooked at Afton Alps or Mt. Brighton and end up spending a bunch on a vacation at Breck or somewhere similar.

 

Regarding TC's comment on the school programs at Caberfae: Many big destination areas also have school programs, but they can only reach out to people within reasonable driving distance. There aren't enough of those people to keep the big places alive. Small areas near places that might not otherwise have skiing are needed. If necessary, they may need to be subsidized as a marketing expense.

 

Now that the big areas have proven that they can out-compete the small areas, they need to revive them as feeders.


All great points!

post #4 of 23
Thread Starter 

For anyone who has a small home ski area, please tag it along the side of this page. 

post #5 of 23
Unfortunately small areas are usually at lower elevations which haven't seen much snowfall recently. I prefer mom & pop resorts. Hoodoo-Steep,Deep & cheap.
post #6 of 23

I added 4 local ski hills. I find it fascinating that the San Juans, of all places in Colorado, has some of the last local hills that exist in the state. 

 

Durango has Ski Hesperus and Chapman Hill, which keep going despite Purgatory 25 miles away.

 

Lake City has Lake City Ski Hill.

 

Silverton has Kendall Mountain in addition to its big brother. 

post #7 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by anachronism View Post
 

I added 4 local ski hills. I find it fascinating that the San Juans, of all places in Colorado, has some of the last local hills that exist in the state. 

 

Durango has Ski Hesperus and Chapman Hill, which keep going despite Purgatory 25 miles away.

 

Lake City has Lake City Ski Hill.

 

Silverton has Kendall Mountain in addition to its big brother. 

 

Is Hesperus still for sale?  I wonder if they will operate next season?  It is on my bucket list to get a day there but they are definitely an endangered species type of ski hill if there ever was one.

post #8 of 23

Added Mt. Lemmon, the most southern ski area in the United States.  They haven't been able to open much the last few seasons but actually had more snow than some NM and CO areas at Christmas a few years back (whopping 40" base).  This is the type of place that gets people on skis that never would otherwise.  You can go up there and rent some ultra crappy boots and old skis for cheap and see what the sport is all about without any intimidation or pressure.

 

I'd like to see some co-op ski areas like Mad River Glen open out west.  I don't know what is all involved with an operation like that but it seems like it would be a good way to keep some of the mom and pop hills alive?

post #9 of 23

http://www.madriverglen.com/coop/about-the-coop  interesting, sounds like they are doing well. 

post #10 of 23
Come ski with us at this great, family friendly, and very snowy (usually, that is!) Mom and Pop mountain that is thriving!

https://skilookout.com

zenny
post #11 of 23

Trek,  you are forgetting Mount Rose on your doorstep!   Bigger perhaps than most mom and pop but closely family held and also a leader in encouraging and making it affordable for the local community!  

post #12 of 23
i agree completely. I live in the Cincinnati area and see how many kids are skiing Monday through Friday at Perfect North slopes. They have many different affordable learn to ski programs from 4 years old and up. They have everything from new skiers to youth race training. My wife and sister took a 5 week lesson program 2 hours per lesson one day per week for $40 total. It was group lesson but it turned out to be just them with a very experienced level 3 instructor that was there for each lesson. They improved quite a bit and learned to enjoy skiing. If you go into the lodge around 5pm Monday through Friday you will see it full of families that are skiing or parents of skiers in lodge waiting for kids programs to finish. I tend to think there are thousands of skiers in my area that would not ski if we didn't have that small hill. Those people spend money to travel either east or west every season.
post #13 of 23
In the Mid-Atlantic we sometimes joke about the small stature of our local hills, but they're really important to the skiers here. The 3 Snowtime resorts (Liberty, Whitetail, and RoundTop) really do a good job creating a great experience for their guests.
post #14 of 23

In addition to Mad River Glen, the small places that I checked out in the northeast the last couple seasons are Plattekill, Sunapee, Pico, and Wildcat.  I skied midweek.  If there happened to be kids around, it was clear they had started very young and would be life long skiers.

 

Any ski area in the southeast is small, meaning under 100 acres, 100% snowmaking coverage, 3 month season.  They are all very busy on weekends with plenty of families.  Some may never ski anywhere else, but some will venture to bigger mountains sooner or later.  Demand is high enough that lift tickets are pretty expensive, meaning $60-70 for 8 hours on Sat or Sun.  Midweek there are deals to be had.

post #15 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by core2 View Post
 

 

Is Hesperus still for sale?  I wonder if they will operate next season?  It is on my bucket list to get a day there but they are definitely an endangered species type of ski hill if there ever was one.

 

Yes, it is still for sale. It has been for sale off and on since 2003. The price has been lowered to $450,000- but a key problem there is the land is privately leased, and I have heard from people familiar with the situation that "The current lease is basically drafted on the back of a napkin." The landholder isn't on great terms with the ski area and in the past has threatened to pull the lease. A new owner would have to negotiate a new lease from a possible hostile landowner.

 

http://www.ski-hesperus.com/ski-area-for-sale.html

 

As far as operating, the owner just can't seem to bring himself to shut it down. He knows if he stop spinning lifts, the ski area goes away- its only chance to keep going is if he keeps operating it until somebody buys it. From what I hear, the money piece is very negotiable, and if he could find somebody willing to invest to install snowmaking and possible the second lift that is lying around the property (if it is still even usable), he'd probably slash deep into his asking price.

 

If epicski wanted to pass the hat around and own a ski area, you could do ONE HELL of a lot worse than Hesperus. That place has GREAT terrain for a 60 acre mountain.

post #16 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by anachronism View Post

 

Yes, it is still for sale. It has been for sale off and on since 2003. The price has been lowered to $450,000- but a key problem there is the land is privately leased, and I have heard from people familiar with the situation that "The current lease is basically drafted on the back of a napkin." The landholder isn't on great terms with the ski area and in the past has threatened to pull the lease. A new owner would have to negotiate a new lease from a possible hostile landowner.

 

http://www.ski-hesperus.com/ski-area-for-sale.html

 

As far as operating, the owner just can't seem to bring himself to shut it down. He knows if he stop spinning lifts, the ski area goes away- its only chance to keep going is if he keeps operating it until somebody buys it. From what I hear, the money piece is very negotiable, and if he could find somebody willing to invest to install snowmaking and possible the second lift that is lying around the property (if it is still even usable), he'd probably slash deep into his asking price.

 

If epicski wanted to pass the hat around and own a ski area, you could do ONE HELL of a lot worse than Hesperus. That place has GREAT terrain for a 60 acre mountain.

 



I'd have no problem pitching in a few grand to buy into Hesperus. You could do some neat things with that property and the terrain is really good for the size.
post #17 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ScotsSkier View Post
 

Trek,  you are forgetting Mount Rose on your doorstep!   Bigger perhaps than most mom and pop but closely family held and also a leader in encouraging and making it affordable for the local community!  


Amen to that, as well as Diamond Peak.  

 

I remember a kid at the Arne Backstrom Blastathon who was talking to Ingrid about how much she loved skiing.  Ingrid asked her where she usually skis and the kid answered, "Diamond Peak"  Ingrid showed a great deal of enthusiasm and stoke about the girl's home hill saying. "Diamond Peak is really fun.  I like to ski there when I get a chance"  

 

Love how Ingrid validated the girl's home hill and amped the stoke level of these young skiers. 

post #18 of 23

Added a tag for Boyce Park in Plum Borough, ~15 miles east of Pittsburgh. It's where I learned, and it's really tiny (160 ft vertical). I think you could call it a feeder hill for Seven Springs.

 

EDIT - No, I actually didn't. Anyone care to explain how to tag things? I tried both the text selection and the "find a topic to tag" text box. "Boyce Park" shows up, but I can't seem to select it or make it appear as tagged.

post #19 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by dbostedo View Post
 

Added a tag for Boyce Park in Plum Borough, ~15 miles east of Pittsburgh. It's where I learned, and it's really tiny (160 ft vertical). I think you could call it a feeder hill for Seven Springs.

 

EDIT - No, I actually didn't. Anyone care to explain how to tag things? I tried both the text selection and the "find a topic to tag" text box. "Boyce Park" shows up, but I can't seem to select it or make it appear as tagged.


After you see "Boyce Park" or whatever you want to choose as a Tag, hover over the Tag in the drop down list, then you can click on the "+" to actually add the tag.  I use the Find method.

 

What's pretty amazing about the EpicSki Resort Pages is that at some point in EpicSki's history, all these small hills were added.

post #20 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 


After you see "Boyce Park" or whatever you want to choose as a Tag, hover over the Tag in the drop down list, then you can click on the "+" to actually add the tag.  I use the Find method.

 

What's pretty amazing about the EpicSki Resort Pages is that at some point in EpicSki's history, all these small hills were added.

 

Hmm... that's exactly what I was trying. I had to do it in Internet Explorer. It doesn't seem to work in Chrome. Thanks.

post #21 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by dbostedo View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 


After you see "Boyce Park" or whatever you want to choose as a Tag, hover over the Tag in the drop down list, then you can click on the "+" to actually add the tag.  I use the Find method.

 

What's pretty amazing about the EpicSki Resort Pages is that at some point in EpicSki's history, all these small hills were added.

 

Hmm... that's exactly what I was trying. I had to do it in Internet Explorer. It doesn't seem to work in Chrome. Thanks.

Hmm . . . paging @tylrwnzl.

post #22 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dbostedo View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 


After you see "Boyce Park" or whatever you want to choose as a Tag, hover over the Tag in the drop down list, then you can click on the "+" to actually add the tag.  I use the Find method.

 

What's pretty amazing about the EpicSki Resort Pages is that at some point in EpicSki's history, all these small hills were added.

 

Hmm... that's exactly what I was trying. I had to do it in Internet Explorer. It doesn't seem to work in Chrome. Thanks.

Hmm . . . paging @tylrwnzl.

 

Perhaps try clearing your cache, I just tried on Chrome and had no problem with it.  

post #23 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trekchick View Post
 

Powder Magazine has written an article about Abenaki Ski Area in Maine that strikes a chord with me and my experience learning to ski at Caberfae Peaks in Cadillac, Michigan. 

 

The Meyer family who owns Caberfae Peaks has done a tremendous job of reaching out to kids, and in the same interest, families to continue to grow the generations of skiers. 

 

The School Ski Program that Pete Meyer extended to us included a ski rental and lift ticket package for $12.00 (this may be slightly higher now) and a free lift ticket for parents who helped transport the kids from the school to Caberfae.  We usually had two or three parents drive kids. 

This program helped generate families who fell in love with skiing. 

 

Kudos to the small ski hills :beercheer: 


Hey, is that Bob Meyer? Teresa's dad? 

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