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Killington Bond (lifetime) Pass holders: Class Action Lawsuit over cancellation

post #1 of 76
Thread Starter 
(If you are reading this, you may have found it off of google.)

There is strong likelyhood that there will be a class action lawsuit started to prevent cancellation of Killington Bond (lifetime) passes due to the sale from ASC to SP Land. Please look here for more details, and who to contact:

http://www.killingtonzone.com/forums...ic.php?t=17103


Info: These are lifetime passes issued mainly during the early years of the resort. They are connected to a bond, where they yearly payout is skiing services. Some of these can be transfered infinitely, some are single transfer. The open market price for them tends to be $6000+. Obviously, the people owning these passes are very loyal to Killington, and many are property owners in the town......upsetting them is not wise, especially when the town needs to approve any building that SP Land wants to do for the new Killington Village.
post #2 of 76
Yeah baby, sign me up
post #3 of 76
Thread Starter 
This thread is currently the top result of a Google search for "Killington Bond Pass", as of 3 pm, 5/17/07.

New people, welcome to Epicski!!!!

Make sure to check out K-Zone too!!!!
post #4 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Highway Star View Post
This thread is currently the top result of a Google search for "Killington Bond Pass", as of 3 pm, 5/17/07.
Your mother must be very proud of you.
post #5 of 76
I wish those folks good luck, but I have a feeling that a class action lawsuit is probably a waste of money. I'm certainly not an attorney, but if the language that's been posted on the Killington site is the *only* language assigning the rights to the holders, I'm guessing they're SOL. I think it will come down to a question of whether the new owners are required to assume ALL obligations of the former company, or whether they can pick and choose.

This issue hits close to home for me because my wife and I have lifetime passes at Jackson Hole. Our language (which no attorney for the ski corporation would EVER allow today) is elegantly simple. It states "Holder shall be entitled to free, unlimited use of all uphill ski lift facilities at the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort".

Note that our language does not specifically make that right an obligation of the Jackson Hole Ski Corporation (which operates the Resort) - while the language in the Killington agreement does. Nevertheless, our ski corporation is the entitly that issued the pass, so I assume that our ski corporation is the only organization that would be legally bound to honor it. We've always assumed that AS LONG AS a new owner was purchasing the corporate shell of the JH Ski Corporation, we would continue to have our passes.

If, on the other hand, a new buyer comes along and liquidates the JH Ski Corporation, I really doubt that we would have much of a case. We've sweated through two ownership changes in the last 34 years and luckily both ended up with the ski corp remaining intact.

As an interesting sidenote, our passholders are completely different from many of the Killington ones. Our passes came with the stipulation that they could be transferred indefinitely *until* a holder used it for one ride up the hill. At that point, that pass was no longer transferable (which sounds like the case with some of the K-ton holders).

When we got our passes in 1974, there were something like 220 holders of JH lifetime passes. We would constantly see other lifetime holders on the lifts. Now, in 2007, there are only SIX of those lifetime passholders who still show up on the mountain regularly, and we're two of them.

I still cannot figure out why the JH Ski Corp doesn't finance the new tram by selling lifetime passes. We figure there are easily a thousand people out there who would pay $20,000 to have a lifetime pass at JH. Presto! 20 million dollars. Best of all, if you structure the new passes the way ours are, every year about 3 percent of your liability dies, moves away, gets injured, etc. It seems like the perfect way to pay for the tram.
post #6 of 76
Thread Starter 
Bob, very good points.

However, the legal issue is only a small peice of the puzzle.

This is a huge affront to Killington loyalist's, who have already weathered 5+ years of deteriorating operations under ASC. These are the people who haven't left, are entrenched, and are now...........ticked off. Count me as one of them, even though I haven't skied there that long and don't have a bond pass.........I'm a loyalist, and I really do like Killington. I don't want to see the mountain brought down any further by turning it into even more of a tourist trap....

We can try this in the court of public opinion. They want a fight? Bring it on....we're ready. This issue is already in a half dozen papers across the country, via the AP. It's all over every ski message board. How much damage can we do to their public image? POWDR's and Park City's image? I'm guessing quite a bit......and it's only the first week!!!!!

But that's only the half of it. Who do you think owned these passes? Po-dunk dirtbags? No. Wealthy property owners in the town of Killington....either locals, or loyalist weekenders from metro areas. These people are smart, savvy, and involved in the town government. SP Land's primary objective is to develop a BASE VILLAGE. Guess who they need to go through to approve that? The Town. By cancelling the bond passes, these guys shot themselves right in the foot, right off the bat. BIG MISTAKE!!!
post #7 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Highway Star View Post

We can try this in the court of public opinion. They want a fight? Bring it on....we're ready. This issue is already in a half dozen papers across the country, via the AP. It's all over every ski message board. How much damage can we do to their public image? POWDR's and Park City's image? I'm guessing quite a bit......and it's only the first week!!!!!
I admire your passion and your optimism. As I said, good luck to those of you fighting the good fight.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Highway Star View Post

But that's only the half of it. Who do you think owned these passes? Po-dunk dirtbags? No. Wealthy property owners in the town of Killington....either locals, or loyalist weekenders from metro areas. These people are smart, savvy, and involved in the town government. SP Land's primary objective is to develop a BASE VILLAGE. Guess who they need to go through to approve that? The Town. By cancelling the bond passes, these guys shot themselves right in the foot, right off the bat. BIG MISTAKE!!!
Please keep us informed on how this goes.

You might be surprised how many actual passholders get really riled up on this. If they read their contracts going in, this shouldn't come as some massive shock. The language that's been posted seems pretty clear-cut to me. Most of those "wealthy property owners" should be smart enough to read a contract and also to understand the workings of a modern-day corporation.

I don't know if SP Land is a public or private corporation. If they're public, how exactly would they explain to their shareholders that they're giving away something that they aren't required to just in the interest of being nice guys? And if they're going to be nice guys, why stop with the existing passholders, why not extend that courtesy to any K-ton loyalist who wants it?

I'm just asking.
post #8 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Peters View Post
I admire your passion and your optimism. As I said, good luck to those of you fighting the good fight.



Please keep us informed on how this goes.

You might be surprised how many actual passholders get really riled up on this. If they read their contracts going in, this shouldn't come as some massive shock. The language that's been posted seems pretty clear-cut to me. Most of those "wealthy property owners" should be smart enough to read a contract and also to understand the workings of a modern-day corporation.

I don't know if SP Land is a public or private corporation. If they're public, how exactly would they explain to their shareholders that they're giving away something that they aren't required to just in the interest of being nice guys? And if they're going to be nice guys, why stop with the existing passholders, why not extend that courtesy to any K-ton loyalist who wants it?

I'm just asking.
The fundamental problem with ever canceling the passes is the word "Lifetime".
post #9 of 76
I really think it is $hittng where you eat.
post #10 of 76
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Peters View Post
I admire your passion and your optimism. As I said, good luck to those of you fighting the good fight.



Please keep us informed on how this goes.

You might be surprised how many actual passholders get really riled up on this. If they read their contracts going in, this shouldn't come as some massive shock. The language that's been posted seems pretty clear-cut to me. Most of those "wealthy property owners" should be smart enough to read a contract and also to understand the workings of a modern-day corporation.

I don't know if SP Land is a public or private corporation. If they're public, how exactly would they explain to their shareholders that they're giving away something that they aren't required to just in the interest of being nice guys? And if they're going to be nice guys, why stop with the existing passholders, why not extend that courtesy to any K-ton loyalist who wants it?

I'm just asking.
Yeah, pretty much for the reasons the guys said above. I think it will upset enough people.......these bond passes have survived 2 sales already.

ASC was a public company.
SP Land is private.
post #11 of 76
What the "Lifetimers" need to come to grips with is that they didn't purchase lifetime passes - they invested in bonds that returned free skiing as part of the investment payout. Most lifetime stuff - warranties, etc. - is only for the life of the company or the ownership that issues it, anyway.

The investment part is where the risk comes in. I've invested in 3 company's so far that took the money I invested to help start and grow it, then liquidated and I, along with many others, was low bum on the totem pole when it came to recovering any of the remaining assets. Stuff happens. My biggest blunder was a couple thousand shares of WorldCom. Under a cloud of hocus pocus, a management committee was restructured under the MCI banner and took ownership of the remaining assets, while everyone else basically got a "have a nice day". Attorneys seeing a ladder to riches recruited the screwed for a number of class action suits. Over the course of many years, the class actions did see some payout. The lawyers took home huge sums - however, out of my initial investment ($60k+) I finally saw about $0.02 on the dollar when the fat lady sang at the end of 2006.

Since this was a sale prior to the company going under, things are different. But, there is so much financial/legal "stuff" with ASC … so much senior and preferred stock brought in to keep the company afloat that until that is paid back, no one else had claim to anything. So sorting out how the bonds figured into the play from Sherburne to Killington LTD, to SKI, to LBO Enterprises, to ASC, and finally to SP Land will be a nightmare.

Lifetimers can go for it and see what they end up with. However, in many cases when jumping on the class action band wagon one forfeits the concessions the company extends originally - in this case a couple of years of passes. After lengthy legal twists and turns there may be something, or there may not.

The legal costs will probably dictate the outcome (if a case is successfully pulled together). If SP doesn't want big time legal fees they will be best served by settling. On the other hand, if the plaintiffs can't find an attorney willing to take the case for a percentage of the settlement (if successful), then they will also have to come up with a chunk of change and risk more money.

About 8-9 years ago I seriously looked into LT passes - didn't buy for this very reason. At that time it looked like they might be worthless as ASC was using up one of its 9 lives.
post #12 of 76
Some of you may know this already, but the Bend locals despise Powdr Corp for being cheap since they took over Mt. Bachelor. I told them when I was up there in April that the New Englanders would be less polite in their reaction if Powdr Corp behaved similarly with Killington.
post #13 of 76
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Crocker View Post
Some of you may know this already, but the Bend locals despise Powdr Corp for being cheap since they took over Mt. Bachelor. I told them when I was up there in April that the New Englanders would be less polite in their reaction if Powdr Corp behaved similarly with Killington.
Astute observation and understatement of the year.....
post #14 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Highway Star View Post
Bob, very good points.

However, the legal issue is only a small peice of the puzzle.

But that's only the half of it. Who do you think owned these passes? Po-dunk dirtbags? No. Wealthy property owners in the town of Killington....either locals, or loyalist weekenders from metro areas. These people are smart, savvy, and involved in the town government. SP Land's primary objective is to develop a BASE VILLAGE. Guess who they need to go through to approve that? The Town. By cancelling the bond passes, these guys shot themselves right in the foot, right off the bat. BIG MISTAKE!!!
I don't think this will have much effect in regards to their ability to develope the base area. First, the folks with the lifetime passes do not all live in Killington and Mendon, the two towns the resort lies in.

According to my father-in-law who has two of the original passes, my wife is a Rutland girl who basically grew up at kmart, many live in Rutland and from away with second homes in the area.

Secondly, the people of these towns, like the rest of us, make decisions based on how it effects their wallet. Remember, the fine folks of Killington have been loudly complaining about their high property taxes so much so that they have been on a very public campaign to seccede from Vermont and go to New Hampshire.

Building a base village would lower property taxes for everyone and the town selectboard will base their decision on that not the loss of LT passes for a few.

The opposition to the new base village will come from the same people who strongly opposed the 750m base village proposed by LBO 10 years ago, namely the business community in the Rutland area.

People have a very short attention span for issues like this, once the media hype has died down or Powdr offers a bigger carrot than the 2 year extension, all of this will be forgotten.
post #15 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by medmarkco View Post
What the "Lifetimers" need to come to grips with is that they didn't purchase lifetime passes - they invested in bonds that returned free skiing as part of the investment payout.
Medmarkco makes a very solid point.

Further ... do you think:

- SP/Powdr made this choice on their own, or
- ASC used this as a selling point

I would NOT be surprised if ASC used this tidbit (our lifetime passes all expire upon sale of the resort) as a means of inflating the value of the purchase.

kiersten
post #16 of 76
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JHrefugee View Post
I don't think this will have much effect in regards to their ability to develope the base area. First, the folks with the lifetime passes do not all live in Killington and Mendon, the two towns the resort lies in.

According to my father-in-law who has two of the original passes, my wife is a Rutland girl who basically grew up at kmart, many live in Rutland and from away with second homes in the area.

Secondly, the people of these towns, like the rest of us, make decisions based on how it effects their wallet. Remember, the fine folks of Killington have been loudly complaining about their high property taxes so much so that they have been on a very public campaign to seccede from Vermont and go to New Hampshire.

Building a base village would lower property taxes for everyone and the town selectboard will base their decision on that not the loss of LT passes for a few.

The opposition to the new base village will come from the same people who strongly opposed the 750m base village proposed by LBO 10 years ago, namely the business community in the Rutland area.

People have a very short attention span for issues like this, once the media hype has died down or Powdr offers a bigger carrot than the 2 year extension, all of this will be forgotten.
Aww...that's sweet. You make it sound like Killington is a sleepy little hamlet in the mountains of vermont............GET REAL!!!

Of course property taxes are high. It's a resort town, with a resort that hasn't exactly been performing well over the last 10 years....not like they are spewing out tax money like they were 20 years ago. Killington has population of 1000, but during the winter has to contend with a midweek population of 2000-5000, and 10,000-15,000 on the weekends. Where do you propose that they get the tax revenue to provide the town services that these people require.....police, fire, plowing, sewer, etc, etc, etc.......where?

Sure, plenty of long time locals live in surrounding towns, and rutland. It's expensive to live in Killington! Do you think they really care about Killington's high taxes? Do you think they don't have any influence over town, regional and state government?

People have a short memory??? Not when it's your ski area, in your region, that's been around for 50 years. Again, get real. People aren't going to forget this.

Look, at the end of the day, I think most people are actually in favor of a village....if done right, it will boost the entire region, and provide a prime venues for some of the more successful businesses that currently operate on the access road. As a skier, I wouldn't mind having a village to go down to for apres-ski. Especially if it comes with a greatly improved mountain, run like a top tier resort.

However, this can all be done very badly...........very, very badly for the town. The last thing that anybody in the region, and the loyal skiers want to see, is Killington continuing to be run as a cut rate, 2nd tier operation, while suckering hordes of tourists into a base Village. If Killington gets to build a village, they will control much more of the retail and rental real estate in the area. Thus, they can ignore real skiers, locals and loyalists, and simply feed off tourists who come up and stay in the condos, and shop and eat in the village......these people won't come down to the access road or Rutand nearly as often as they do now....and the access road is already hurting in the last 5 years. Everyone who cares about skiing quality will go elsewhere, leaving Killington exclusively populated by tourons......

People will not stand for that.........
post #17 of 76
If the SP purchased the stock in the ski company, then any liabilities would be assumed by the SP. If the SP purchased the assets, then the liabilities remain with the acquired corporation, ASC or a subsidiary.

Assuming that SP acquired the assets of the Killington company and not the stock, IMO people like HS will be upset for a sort period of time. In six months, the anger will pass and things will be as normal.
post #18 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by klkaye View Post
Medmarkco makes a very solid point.

Further ... do you think:

- SP/Powdr made this choice on their own, or
- ASC used this as a selling point

I would NOT be surprised if ASC used this tidbit (our lifetime passes all expire upon sale of the resort) as a means of inflating the value of the purchase.

kiersten
Yup, would have loved to be a fly on the wall during that discussion. I assume the financials of every aspect of the property were closely scrutinized, the LT passes as being one.

You want to talk about investment value, in 1957 when the original shares were offered they were $250 per but if you bought 4 you got the LT pass. That's $1,000 for 50 years of skiing. Unreal. Even Jim Cramer would be amazed.

I think this issue is a hard one, I can see and understand where both sides are coming from. The ski business is a hard one and with the added debt of the cost of purchase Powdr knows it has a challenging road ahead of itself. Maybe they used cash from the Alpine Meadows sale but irregardless making a profit at kmart will be hard as it is for many of the major resorts.

I have alot of friends who ski "the Beast of the East" , even some of my co-workers here at the Bush bought and used the A41. That deal is over but it was great for a few years.

It appears every step Powdr takes will be scrutinized in public so all I can say is "Welcome to Vermont".
post #19 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Highway Star View Post
Aww...that's sweet. You make it sound like Killington is a sleepy little hamlet in the mountains of vermont............GET REAL!!!

Of course property taxes are high. It's a resort town, with a resort that hasn't exactly been performing well over the last 10 years....not like they are spewing out tax money like they were 20 years ago. Killington has population of 1000, but during the winter has to contend with a midweek population of 2000-5000, and 10,000-15,000 on the weekends. Where do you propose that they get the tax revenue to provide the town services that these people require.....police, fire, plowing, sewer, etc, etc, etc.......where?

Sure, plenty of long time locals live in surrounding towns, and rutland. It's expensive to live in Killington! Do you think they really care about Killington's high taxes? Do you think they don't have any influence over town, regional and state government?

People have a short memory??? Not when it's your ski area, in your region, that's been around for 50 years. Again, get real. People aren't going to forget this.

Look, at the end of the day, I think most people are actually in favor of a village....if done right, it will boost the entire region, and provide a prime venues for some of the more successful businesses that currently operate on the access road. As a skier, I wouldn't mind having a village to go down to for apres-ski. Especially if it comes with a greatly improved mountain, run like a top tier resort.

However, this can all be done very badly...........very, very badly for the town. The last thing that anybody in the region, and the loyal skiers want to see, is Killington continuing to be run as a cut rate, 2nd tier operation, while suckering hordes of tourists into a base Village. If Killington gets to build a village, they will control much more of the retail and rental real estate in the area. Thus, they can ignore real skiers, locals and loyalists, and simply feed off tourists who come up and stay in the condos, and shop and eat in the village......these people won't come down to the access road or Rutand nearly as often as they do now....and the access road is already hurting in the last 5 years. Everyone who cares about skiing quality will go elsewhere, leaving Killington exclusively populated by tourons......

People will not stand for that.........
HS what do you pay for property taxes a year?? Now if you want to know where the town of Killington will get the $$ to pay for the added services to provide for the influx of weekenders who don't add to the number of kids in a town's school system, its quite simple, S&P land goes to the Town of Killington and says when we're done building, we'll be adding over 500 million to your taxable property value. Think the average skier who would buy many of these and realistically uses K from Thanksgiving to St. Paddy's day is going to be upset about the bond issue, doubt it.

Was this move a good part by the entire S&P/Powder new mgt. teams, now way. Is it a business move, 100%. I doubt too many attorney's would touch this as a class action matter, since it's not really $$ that the bond holders are looking for(and as we all know, trial lawyers love $$), but season passes, and those original bonds with a $1000 investment have yielded 50 years of season passes, which is one very,very impressive return on investment.
post #20 of 76
This happned once before whe ASC (public) took over from SKI, which (was private )and decided to eliminate it. If enough people get together they (not me as I sold my pass ) They can force a reconsideration. Keep in mind there are two kinds of transferable passes ,the first being a warrant that allows unlimited transfers, and a secondary pass that can only be sold ONCE
post #21 of 76
my wife is one of the "lifetime pass" holders. It was passed down from her father who was a patroller at Killington back in the day. We are very upset and would like to be part of any action to fight this choice.
post #22 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Highway Star View Post
Aww...that's sweet. You make it sound like Killington is a sleepy little hamlet in the mountains of vermont............GET REAL!!!

Of course property taxes are high. It's a resort town, with a resort that hasn't exactly been performing well over the last 10 years....not like they are spewing out tax money like they were 20 years ago. Killington has population of 1000, but during the winter has to contend with a midweek population of 2000-5000, and 10,000-15,000 on the weekends. Where do you propose that they get the tax revenue to provide the town services that these people require.....police, fire, plowing, sewer, etc, etc, etc.......where?

Sure, plenty of long time locals live in surrounding towns, and rutland. It's expensive to live in Killington! Do you think they really care about Killington's high taxes? Do you think they don't have any influence over town, regional and state government?

People have a short memory??? Not when it's your ski area, in your region, that's been around for 50 years. Again, get real. People aren't going to forget this.

Look, at the end of the day, I think most people are actually in favor of a village....if done right, it will boost the entire region, and provide a prime venues for some of the more successful businesses that currently operate on the access road. As a skier, I wouldn't mind having a village to go down to for apres-ski. Especially if it comes with a greatly improved mountain, run like a top tier resort.

However, this can all be done very badly...........very, very badly for the town. The last thing that anybody in the region, and the loyal skiers want to see, is Killington continuing to be run as a cut rate, 2nd tier operation, while suckering hordes of tourists into a base Village. If Killington gets to build a village, they will control much more of the retail and rental real estate in the area. Thus, they can ignore real skiers, locals and loyalists, and simply feed off tourists who come up and stay in the condos, and shop and eat in the village......these people won't come down to the access road or Rutand nearly as often as they do now....and the access road is already hurting in the last 5 years. Everyone who cares about skiing quality will go elsewhere, leaving Killington exclusively populated by tourons......

People will not stand for that.........
:lol: First, Killington has no police department, has a volunteer fire dept and does not even have a town center. The money for the services they do provide to the resort is paid for by the property taxes the resort pays. Most of the skiers have no effect on the town as they ski, stay in a motel or condo and then on Sunday go home. The town has to plow the road whether there be 1000 people or 10,000.

The resort has their own sewage and treatment district and pays for the equipment for their own fire station. When they built the Grand Summit the resort had to buy the town a very expensive ladder fire truck.

I assume the resort has some sort of stature with the town selectman, afterall for some reason they decided to change the name from Sherburne to Killington about 8 years ago but as far as state goverment, not even on their radar.

The residents of Killington definately care a great deal about their property as the town actually voted by resolution to succede from Vermont because of their high property taxes. If you don't believe it check this link and learn something about the people of Killington.
http://www.wcax.com/Global/story.asp?s=%20%201597752

Lastly, most of the skiers at kmart are tourists who want improvements on the mountain. Recovering lost income from folks who have had LT passes is just one small way to help pay for it. Tourists are the ones who rent condos, eat out each night, rent equipment and take lessons. Locals and loyalists contribute very little to those revenue streams.
post #23 of 76

Hs...

It's all about business and the bottom line. Who do you think puts more black into the ledger: tourons or lifetime season pass holders? If someone has owned property and a pass for 50 years, do you think they're still paying a mortgage? These are exactly the people the bean counters want to get rid of. It lets more free-spending gaper-wannabe's shoulder their way into the beast of the east.

Move to the Mad River Valley where the inmates run the asylum at the (2nd) best ski area on the east coast. Doesn't make much money but the shareholders are more interested in keeping it real.
post #24 of 76
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JHrefugee View Post
:lol: First, Killington has no police department, has a volunteer fire dept and does not even have a town center. The money for the services they do provide to the resort is paid for by the property taxes the resort pays. Most of the skiers have no effect on the town as they ski, stay in a motel or condo and then on Sunday go home. The town has to plow the road whether there be 1000 people or 10,000.

The resort has their own sewage and treatment district and pays for the equipment for their own fire station. When they built the Grand Summit the resort had to buy the town a very expensive ladder fire truck.

I assume the resort has some sort of stature with the town selectman, afterall for some reason they decided to change the name from Sherburne to Killington about 8 years ago but as far as state goverment, not even on their radar.

The residents of Killington definately care a great deal about their property as the town actually voted by resolution to succede from Vermont because of their high property taxes. If you don't believe it check this link and learn something about the people of Killington.
http://www.wcax.com/Global/story.asp?s=%20%201597752

Lastly, most of the skiers at kmart are tourists who want improvements on the mountain. Recovering lost income from folks who have had LT passes is just one small way to help pay for it. Tourists are the ones who rent condos, eat out each night, rent equipment and take lessons. Locals and loyalists contribute very little to those revenue streams.

Lol.....you still haven't done anything to refute my point about the property taxes....

- Killington is a resort community
- Killington has a very high transient population
- The property owners directly profit from this transient population
- Local property taxes are higher than normal.

Simple.

Look, I know there is no police department.....so how do they get cops on the access road? Yeah, they have to rent them. A transient cost.

This is off topic. I really could care less that people in town have to pay higher taxes........such is life in resort town.

Cancelling lifetime passes and building a resort village isn't going to lower anyone's property taxes......why are we talking about taxes again???

One more point.....locals vs. loyalists....two entirely different groups.

Locals are people who live in VT full time and have for a long while, in Killington or surrounding towns, and make their money through normal means in the state of VT. They are "local"...there's certain things tieing them to the area, like familly, community, history, a job, etc. No, they don't spend a ton of money at Killington every year, but Killington should still be nice to them anyway.....but Killington can just as easily be mean to them.....for which there will be reprocussions, mostly political, but little on the business side.

Loyalists.....well, they could almost define them as a "Super-Tourist". These are people that regularly visit from metro areas on the weekends, or may have recently relocated to the area. These are Killington's best customers. Typically, these people have an upper/middle to upper class level income, often from an unconventional source. They are the ones buying property near the mountain, a pass every year (if they don't own a bond pass already!!!), eating out all the time, and buying new gear....spending money. These people are smart, and they do have a choice about where they come and ski, and where they buy property.....and if they've bought property, a real stake in how the mountain is run and developed, and real power through the town government. Killington needs to be extremely careful about alienating these people........it will come back to haunt them.
post #25 of 76
I think you guys should be organized together and start letter writing to the politicians, such as the mayor, city council, state senator and assemblyman, US senator and assemblyman... etc who are in charge of Park and Recreation or City development. If there are enough voices, they will listen. I once did that in New York bus terminal handing out sample letters and addresses to fight for the New Jersey bus fare increases and it did work.

One important point, in the sample letter, you should tell them to copy those letters by hand writing and mail it via post office. Those will be read very carefully, emails or typed letters will most likely be ignored..

You also can threat to file a law suite against the old and the new company, in addition to the letter writing, just the threat to file a law suite is enough to have them to sit down and negotiate better terms, such as a 10 year unlimted pass...
post #26 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Crocker View Post
Some of you may know this already, but the Bend locals despise Powdr Corp for being cheap since they took over Mt. Bachelor. I told them when I was up there in April that the New Englanders would be less polite in their reaction if Powdr Corp behaved similarly with Killington.
Thank you for bringing this up!

The locals here in Bend have a good right to be upset with Powder Corp. Not only have they been "cheap" but, reckless, (IMO). To PC, lift maintenance is; Running 2 lifts all week, and 5 on weekends "weather permitting".

I can go on and on, about changes at Bachelor but this thread is about Killington. I first of all hope the locals at Killington don't get screwed, but if (when) they do, I hope they do put up a good fight against the man!! (Powder Corpse)

Good Luck. I will be following this one.
post #27 of 76
I think it iwll be 2-3 years before we see any significant change at K, in the meantime it is going to get worse it gets better.
post #28 of 76
Thread Starter 
This was posted over on K-zone in the big thread....one person's personal perspective on how far Killington has fallen from it's founding ideals....plus a few more angles on a potential lawsuit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ldmjr
A resort or any other business is more than a profit center. A center of fun and entertainment like Killington develops history and makes money for its owners, but it also creates a tradition.

I knew the Smiths and the Sargents from relatively early days at Killington, having supported their second round of skier-financed borrowing, and once owned two once-transferrable lifetime passes, which I have sold since moving from New England to the mid-Atlantic.

As far as I could ever tell, Preston Smith was a man of extreme personal honesty and integrity. While he was certainly capable of political grandstanding, especially about the more extreme environmental efforts of Vermont during the 70's, he always intended Killington to be the best showcase possible for responsible development compatible with an environmentally oriented business.

Pres and his team pioneered some of the most significant innovations in the American ski industry, such as it is. Everyone knows Killington successfully promoted GLM for beginners, but how many know that Killington was the first ski area to develop comprehensive snowmaking, when nobody else believed it was needed or economically practical? Or how many know that Pres' team developed an on-line accounting system that allowed them to balance the books of S-K-I Corp at the close of business every day, permitting constant adjustment of business details to meet demand, counter weather risk, plan advertising, and otherwise help assure an understandable cash flow?

This attempt to cut off the old pass holders, who hardly represent a significant drain on the facilities at this point, would, I think, serious disappoint Pres because he set a much higher ethical standard for the company than was the norm in the industry.

I do not know the current business arrangements that existed (pre-sale) between ASC and the State of Vermont, however, the basic concept of how Killington was set up was this: The state acquired and/or reserved for use by Sherburne corporation approximately 5000 acres within the Calvin Coolidge State Forest, including the major peaks of Killington Basin (excluding Pico), all the initially available ski area, and some surrounding land (to the south and west, I believe). Sherburne corporation, at roughly the same time, purchased about 5000 acres of the adjacent, privately held land to the north and east of the state forest from Oren Bates and possibly other landowners. As a result, the combined area stretched south of route 4 and west of route 100. To the west, the property stretched to the boundary with Pico on route 4. I was never sure exactly how far south the property extended. Privately held small tracts on route 4 were presumably not included in the acquisition.

The plan for was the skiing to be on state lands (lifts, lodges, parking, trails) and for the fun (eating, drinking, apres-ski-ing, and whatever) going on in facilities on land leased or purchased from Sherburne Corp. Later, of course, Sherburn (or S-K-I) extended trail and road development into their own property on the northeast side to improve sales prospects for condo and home sales and rentals.

Sherburne Corp. operated the ski area under an indenture (lease) from the state. This provided that Sherburne and its successors in interest would be entitled to essentially permanent and uninterrupted use of the area. Every building, pole, lift or other permanent installation became immediately THE PROPERTY OF THE STATE OF VERMONT and was included in the lease back to Sherburne corp. The State was allowed to terminate the lease and take back the land and all improvements by paying a negotiated amount equal to some multiple of the average GROSS receipts for the past three years. A 10x multiplier comes to mind, but I am not at all sure that was the number. In any case, even in 1970 nobody thought the state would care to raise enough money to buy out the lease and acquire the facilities.

As the successor-in-interest to S-K-I which was the successor to Sherburne, ASC acquired all the rights and obligations of the prior companies and honored them without question. While ASC did not extend all the benefits to passholders that S-K-I had (cheap passes to other areas, store discounts, etc.), it certainly honored the actual spirit and original commitment of the passes. Of course, back then many of those passes belonged to Sherburne corp small stockholders, who controlled about 10% of the company at most.

Now, what I am about to offer as an opinion may well be WRONG because of changes in the business model of ASC since I last noticed. But, assuming the lease from the state is still valid, I offer these thoughts.

1. ASC cannot sell any part of the ski area itself that exists within the boundaries of Calvin Coolidge State Forest to a third party, because it does not own any of this land nor these facilities. It may be able to sell its lease with the State, but I expect that requires negotiation with the State regarding provisions for the transfer. Unless ASC managed to get this arrangement changed, they don't own anything in the actual ski area that is theirs to sell. (except the lease)

2. ASC can sell any of the Bates property that it still owns (most of it) and has not transferred to a third party. Much of this land is leased to third parties, but they probably have no say over the sale of the underlying land they lease. Your pass won't be good at the golf course, if it ever was...

3. Any lessee of the Coolidge Park facilities and any operator of those facilities would be bound by the original indentures issued by the state. In turn, such a successor would also be bound by liabilities accumulated by its predecessor, including passes.

4. I do not believe this liability can be escaped by simply renaming of the responsible parties. Any successor to ASC is bound by all ASC obligations to private individuals, including passholders, and that obligation is not diffused by making two parties jointly responsible for it, which is all that can be legally accomplished by this deal. Especially since those two parties are controlled by a common owner and management.

5. So, what we really have here is a conspiracy to defraud the lifetime passholders of their rights under the pass indentures and under the lease from the state. Conspiracies like this are not only commercially fraudulent, but they are also criminal and open to vigorous prosecution if anyone in government would take and interest.

6. What can you do? Obviously complain to state and federal authorities. Get together an affinity group and file a lawsuit. A modest start would be to sue the new owners, ASC, and the state, in chancery for recision of the sale based on the pre-existing intent to defraud members of the public. Alternatively, seek a temporary restraining order to block the transfer of Killington operations to the new owner because of the announced intent of the new owners to defraud the public through this transaction.

7. How many passes are we talking about? There were never that many liftetime passes. Less than 1000 in all, and some are probably defunct by now. Considering that most of these people will go ski elsewhere after being so signally screwed by the new owners and their shop/food/school/service trade lost forever, what on earth to they think they are achieving with this extremely unpopular action? Penny wise and pound foolish, as they say.

Since I am no longer a passholder, I have no standing in this matter and, in one sense, could care less. On the other hand it pains me to see the high ethical and moral standards on which Killington was founded have deteriorated to the point that the new owner/operators care so little for their most loyal supporters. A ski area is founded by idealists (the Smiths and Sargents), redeveloped in the sole service of commerce by marketers and conglomerateurs (Les Otten), and finally passes into marginal and socially irresponsible hands as the marketers model, ignorant of the sport it intended to accommodate, fails. You can see much the same pattern in the evolution of Aspen and Vail and others (on a much larger scale).

A sad day for Killington and Vermont.

post #29 of 76

Action Lifetime Passholders should take ASAP

Obviously I am new here, I just created my account to post this. I've cross-posted this same message over at the higher traffic (and high google pagerank) thread on killingtonzone.com. Sorry for the poor etiquette but I figured I should cover as many bases as possible.

I am the holder of a one-time transferable Lifetime Ski Pass at Killington Ski Area. I want to encourage as many other Lifetime passholders to take effective action as possible. Many people will suggest that action on our part is futile. Do not fall into the trap of believing them. Doing nothing will accomplish nothing. We have good grounds for action and a prominent discussion of this issue will only help our cause.

As a first step I recommend contacting the VT Attorney General via email:
  • Send an email to the VT attorney General: consumercomplaint@atg.state.vt.us
  • It would probably be worth copying Vt State Rep Harry Chen as this is occurring in his backyard: hchen@leg.state.vt.us
  • Your email can be very simple and need not utilize expensive or fancy lawyer-speak. Simply describe the situation in your own words and what outcome you would like to see.
  • Include your name, address, and phone number so that the AG can contact you if necessary
The VT AG needs to hear from as many of us as possible in order to appreciate the scope and importance of the problem.

BTW: the AG will need your complaint in writing (email or regular mail are both fine). If you also want to call them, they can be reached at 802 656 3183

Thanks for your time.

-Sam
post #30 of 76
Thread Starter 
Another post from K-zone, explains the origins of the bonds....

This is from a brand new poster to K-Zone....there's been about a dozen people who registered over there in the past week just to post about this issue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by curtis123
Killington lifetime passes are BONDS. Administered by the bond department of the Bank of NY. Referred to by Killington LTD as “bond” passes. They are securities with an unusual dividend. What would people have to say to a company that walked away from its debt obligations as part of a closing on assets? That’s what is attempted here.

Preson Smith couldn’t get money from a bank in 1960 to develop a ski area in the middle of nowhere. He had to convince individual investors like my grandfather to put $1000 dollars into the Vermont woods by giving them a security interest in the resort operations and the dividend of skiing privileges. I doubt that any investor expected the ski area owners to pull a fast one by selling the area without taking care of the obligation to the original investors.

And the evidence is that ASC didn’t try to pull one. The P&S agreement posted on the SEC web site contains a covenant on the buyer requiring them to honor the lifetime passes (page 25). Sometime after Powdr and SP Land signed the P&S they decided they could screw the bond holders out of their legitimate interests by calling this an asset sale. They point to language in the bond to justify their position. But any language in the bond has to be read in the context in which it was issued in 1960. I doubt that any investor would have agreed to lend money to Killington if they were informed that their investment could be stolen through an asset sale.

This was clearly not the agreement that these investors expected when they forked over their money. They expected that as long as the area was operated under the lease, i.e. the area didn’t go bankrupt and the State didn’t kick the company off the mountain, they would get to ski there with NO FURTHER INVESTMENT. These passes are not FREE, they are dividends based on prior investment. $1000 was a lot of money in 1960! That’s $7,053 inflation adjusted dollars. Put in at a time when the mountain consisted of 3 poma lifts! Would you pay $7000 to ski at a place with three pomas? My grandmother was livid when she heard that my grandfather bought these passes, “We are going to ski only at that little area for the rest of our lives!?,” she said. Fortunately Pres put my grandparent’s hard earned money to good use and built a pretty nice ski area.

I have filed a complaint with the SEC based on ASC/POWDR/Killington fraudulent filings and I plan on complaining to the Vermont State Attorney General later today. I’m interested in hearing from anyone forming a class action suit to recover our legitimate interests from these bozos.

You can’t just walk away from debt instruments as part of ANY type of sale. You need to go bankrupt through a court approved filing or buy them out or satisfy them. I’d say the liability lies with ASC except for the fact that they wrote the covenant into the P&S which throws it back to Powdr as the bad actor. Not a good start for the new operators – anyone entering into a contract with these guys – count your fingers after you sign.
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