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Vail to buy Whistler/Blackcomb - Page 5

post #121 of 132

As said, we really need to see just what is offered at WB next spring.  The screaming deal that is no-longer was the senior season pass purchased in the spring.  Free spring skiing.  Double the usual discount for on-mountain food in the spring.  Then ski all season, US$400.  I bought a five day Edge Card for this winter.  I'll be up in mid-December and ski 3 days for free, then four days in January.  I'll be there another 3 days in April.  Just December and January will be seven days for the discounted price of 5.  Vail Resorts, match that!

 

I skied at Vail's Park City last winter.  The food prices were outlandishly high.  $12 paper bowl of mediocre soup.  $4 plain coffee.  If they do that at Whistler, it'll be Whistler Grocery Store sandwiches in the backpack for lunch.

post #122 of 132
The first year Vail will keep running things as they were and not change anything. won't change anything, But the second year changes will happen and it'll be interesting to see how the W/B people like Vail then. My guess is they won't. None of the locals I know like Vail, a-tall. And I've not talked with one local on the lift who likes Vail. Someone even went to the bother of making stickers "Vail Sucks" and putting them on chairs. Vail isn't a charitable organization, it's there to make money. You can bet that spending that kind of money they'll be doing whatever it takes to get a return and it'll have to be a big one. In Park City they spent $50M on a gondola, new 500 person lodge (the old one was half that capacity inside and out), and "remodel" (carpet and a few changes inside) the Summit House restaurant. Food prices doubled and the hamburgers are real unappetizing. They cut back on mountain personnel....mountain hosts, no more fast tracks, no more lift attendants/traffic control, and fewer trained people actually running the lifts. Fewer trained people means when a lift shuts down, which is often, it takes longer for someone to show up who can get it going again. Overall the mountain is run much more poorly than before Vail took over. But........that's how they do it in Vail. And they've gotta recoup their $1B investment.
post #123 of 132

The post above is very surprising to me. Powdr Corp was notorious for penny pinching. Vail's MO is generally to upgrade facilities but charge through the nose for the nicer amenities.   I would never have guessed there would be fewer resort personnel on the hill under Vail vs. Powdr Corp.  Of course I also had the impression that Powdr Corp was not as cheap running their flagship hill at Park City as their other properties like Bachelor and Killington.

post #124 of 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Crocker View Post
 

The post above is very surprising to me. Powdr Corp was notorious for penny pinching. Vail's MO is generally to upgrade facilities but charge through the nose for the nicer amenities.   I would never have guessed there would be fewer resort personnel on the hill under Vail vs. Powdr Corp.  Of course I also had the impression that Powdr Corp was not as cheap running their flagship hill at Park City as their other properties like Bachelor and Killington.

I find what Utahski says difficult to believe. Mountain hosts were generally unpaid positions, there are lift operators on the bottom and top of each lift that can turn them on and off (it isn't rocket science), "traffic control" is never an issue outside of two weeks per year, food was already expensive (and very good) on the Canyons side, Fast Tracks was eliminated to get more people on the Canyons side where there are no lift lines on most of the mountain, grooming from the Prinoth Beasts is unsurpassed, etc.  

 

There are reasons to be wary of Vail e.g., the attempt to hijack the name, "Park City." Skier safety is not one of those reasons.

 

You are right in that Powdr was cheaper in almost all respects. I have an idea why Richard Desvoux was perhaps unjustly fired as CFO. If you recall, PCMR forgot to renew its lease on time. Later, PCMR and its crackerjack LA lawyer couldn't find the lease. Desvoux was finally called and the former CFO told them to look inside his old desk. By then it was too late.  Sometimes being greedy or cheap costs a lot of money in the long run.  Powdr was both greedy and cheap. MTN spends money where it is important. 

post #125 of 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by quant2325 View Post

I find what Utahski says difficult to believe.
1) Mountain hosts were generally unpaid positions,
2) there are lift operators on the bottom and top of each lift that can turn them on and off (it isn't rocket science),
3) "traffic control" is never an issue outside of two weeks per year,
4) food was already expensive (and very good) on the Canyons side,
5) Fast Tracks was eliminated to get more people on the Canyons side where there are no lift lines on most of the mountain,
6) grooming from the Prinoth Beasts is unsurpassed, etc.  

There are reasons to be wary of Vail e.g.,
7) the attempt to hijack the name, "Park City." Skier safety is not one of those reasons.

8) You are right in that Powdr was cheaper in almost all respects. I have an idea why Richard Desvoux was perhaps unjustly fired as CFO. If you recall, PCMR forgot to renew its lease on time. Later, PCMR and its crackerjack LA lawyer couldn't find the lease. Desvoux was finally called and the former CFO told them to look inside his old desk. By then it was too late.  Sometimes being greedy or cheap costs a lot of money in the long run.  Powdr was both greedy and cheap. MTN spends money where it is important. 

I don't make this stuff up, but believe whatever you like. Living over in No. Calif. you surely know all about it. However, you're mistaken.

1) Mountain hosts were unpaid but they received a season pass, I don't know what restrictions were on it. Hosts were used by many visitors.......they were eliminated.

2) When the lift stops there's a sequence involved to get things going again. Not rocket science but it takes knowhow that many obviously don't have. These lifts stop frequently and it's real fun to wait while the one operator at the bottom screws around outside and inside, and outside, and inside, with controls, calls people on the phone trying to get things going again. Finally a snowmobile shows up with someone who knows how to do it. It's about training, they've cut back on trained people. If you know someone on the mountain, they can tell you.

3) Not just "two weeks out of the year".....weekend crowds are bad. Some are horrendous. Traffic control wasn't an issue before Vail. The 6 packs - Payday, Silverlode, and Bonanza, King Con (now a 6) had good lifties controlling the lines. Even bad weekend crowds went smoothly. Now it's lines merging into lines, finally squeezing into one. It's an ugly mess. But that's "how they do it at Vail."

4) Food prices on the PC side mountain have doubled. I talk with locals and visitors on the lift every day and they can't believe the prices.

5) Fast tracks was great and very popular with locals. It made weekend crowds more bearable. We gladly paid another $200+ to have it added to the pass, free money for the mountain. Nobody is happy about it being eliminated. Payday, Bonanza, Silverlode, and King Con had Fast Tracks turnstiles.....gone. And no, the Canyons had nothing to do with that. It was eliminated because the computer system controlling it wasn't compatible with Vail's system in Colorado. There was a very good turnstile arrangement at the Payday and Crescent lifts, those are gone too.

6) Grooming is less on the PC side, I seldom go to the Canyons. There's lots of early season snowmaking. Now some of the popular runs sit with weeds showing at times when they'd have been open before.

7) Their attempt to copyright the name Park City made everyone furious....everyone. There was a lot of protest by about that. It was a big story for months.

8) Powdr cheaped out on things, but on-snow experience was better. And that legal mess was a big mess. Very well covered news the whole time. We were all quite aware of what was happening.
Edited by Utahski - 10/20/16 at 8:09pm
post #126 of 132

Hey folks - Discussion of how Vail may change resorts - as it relates to WB, and for better or for worse - is just fine. But please let's not have this devolve into the same PCMR arguments that have been had before. Thanks.

post #127 of 132
If I were a W/B regular, I'd not be happy about Vail coming in.
post #128 of 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by Utah ski View Post

If I were a W/B regular, I'd not be happy about Vail coming in.

 

If I were a WB regular I would wait and see what changes are made before I decided whether I was happy or not. But I am not a WB skier because it is already very easy to find less crowded, less expensive, skiing at other resorts throughout the rest of British Columbia, and all of them have better quality snow.

 

We do know that for the WB community, ownership by Vail represents an increase in financial stability for the prime employer and the financial wherewithal to proceed with the Renaissance Project expansion.

post #129 of 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanoT View Post

If I were a WB regular I would wait and see what changes are made before I decided whether I was happy or not.

That's exactly what we did here. We learned.
post #130 of 132

I don't live in Utah either, but this one really seems strange:

Quote = Utahski:
6) Grooming is less on the PC side, I seldom go to the Canyons. There's lots of early season snowmaking. Now some of the popular runs sit with weeds showing at times when they'd have been open before.

Snowmaking and especially grooming are not known to be weak points of Vail's brand/reputation, or my experience at their resorts.  I did try out the new Park City last March 28, but since it was snowing all day over a previously melt/frozen surface it would have been hard for anyone to evaluate grooming that day.

 

Areas with limited water for snowmaking may choose to reinforce key runs before opening new ones.  This is particularly necessary when there's a lot of skier traffic.  I do not know any details about the snowmaking strategy for Park City, but I do know that with only 150 inches average snowfall at its base, snowmaking is often critical to Park City having a viable ski area at Christmas.  I always said during the Park City legal soap opera that Powdr's one point of leverage was that they had the water rights.  That's why Vail had to negotiate and buy them out IMHO. 

post #131 of 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Crocker View Post
 

I don't live in Utah either, but this one really seems strange:

Snowmaking and especially grooming are not known to be weak points of Vail's brand/reputation, or my experience at their resorts.  I did try out the new Park City last March 28, but since it was snowing all day over a previously melt/frozen surface it would have been hard for anyone to evaluate grooming that day.

 

Areas with limited water for snowmaking may choose to reinforce key runs before opening new ones.  This is particularly necessary when there's a lot of skier traffic.  I do not know any details about the snowmaking strategy for Park City, but I do know that with only 150 inches average snowfall at its base, snowmaking is often critical to Park City having a viable ski area at Christmas.  I always said during the Park City legal soap opera that Powdr's one point of leverage was that they had the water rights.  That's why Vail had to negotiate and buy them out IMHO. 

Bistricer put in the retaining pond you see under the Orange Bubble on the Canyons side since there was no natural reservoir. The old PCMR had water that retained under and in the old mines, all of which are beneath the mountain. Therefore, Canyons couldn't expand the snowmaking without buying water, and that proved to be expensive. Worse, golf courses require lots of water and Canyons was going to open one soon after legal battle began. Katz correctly (as it turns out) paid up for Canyons, assumed the Talisker side of the lawsuit (which was won), and got access to enough water for the whole enchilada.  

 

The new Park City Mountain has the same snowmaking on the PC side, with some additions to make the connection work. The Canyons side always blew snow whenever it could at the base so people could ski down Doc's run at the end of the day until closing in April. The problem was getting more of that acreage on the Canyons side covered early in the season, and it is still an issue. Now that there is a cheaper supply of water Vail can justify the cost of  expanding snowmaking    on the Canyons side.

 

Grooming (and this is just an opinion) was always fairly done at both resorts: There was a lot of it, but not too much of it. Canyons even out-groomed Deer Valley when it purchased the Prinoth Beasts, providing a better surface on more snow for the tourists who want to feel like heroes. Fortunately, they left a lot, actually most, of the 4000 acres on that side alone.

 

I am aware you know more about weather than anyone posting here and are favorable to Alta's snow (as I am). Regardless, most skiers can find whatever they desire at Park City since it has the lodging, restaurants, etc. and great snow. It may not be the ultimate snow, but most people don't get upset when they are skiing in 17" of powder on uncrowded slopes (that would be the Canyons side) instead of 23" of powder at Alta.

 

Some people will always hate the owners of Park City. Some people sit in bars thinking they should own the mountain they ski on. Some people discuss these changes (e.g., increased traffic with more tourists) as rational people and some are incapable of this. Regardless, the financials tell the story of Vail's business model and how the combined mountains have been received by the skiing public. If history is a guide, Whistler/Blackcomb will be fine.

post #132 of 132
Quote = quant2325:

It may not be the ultimate snow, but most people don't get upset when they are skiing in 17" of powder on uncrowded slopes (that would be the Canyons side) instead of 23" of powder at Alta.

 

On average, 23 inches at mid-mountain Alta translates to:

16 inches at the top of Jupiter Bowl

13 inches at Summit House, representative of most upper terrain at Park City/Canyons

7  inches at the Park City base

 

Even by Alta standards, a 23-inch storm is relatively rare.  7.2% of days at Alta December-March get 12 inches or more new snow.  Only 1.5% of days at Park City Summit House get 12 inches or more, and the dropoff from upper to lower mountain snowfall is much more drastic at Park City than at Alta.  If you're an advance scheduled visitor to Park City and you experience deep powder, you're damn lucky.

 

If you're trying to get away from the competition on powder days, Solitude, Snowbasin and Powder Mt. are better for that than even the the Canyons, and also with higher average snowfall.

 

If you're going to Park City with the expectation of expansive intermediate terrain, good grooming, upgraded amenities and a great apres-ski town, you won't be disappointed.  If you're looking for Utah powder, you're on the wrong side of the Wasatch.

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