New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Fortress gutting Intrawest

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
Fortress is gutting Intrawest. Basically they said, "figure out how to cut your operating expenses by 25% or we'll figure it out for you." Some of the fun things happening in Colorado:

1. Intrawest Shared Services based out of Golden, CO no longer exists. This group basically handled accounting for US operations and little things like benefits.

2. Intrawest Retail Group, who runs the Breeze/Max line of rental shops, is getting kicked to the curb. I'm not quite sure what's going on with that, or whether the business is going to sell, but there's a bunch of people I think about to lose their jobs.

3. Speaking of losing jobs, heads are rolling at Copper and Winter Park. Lots of management types are out of work. Within the IT world, the IT Director is gone, 2 of her direct reports, the entire help desk, and a few other positions. Pretty much every area of the resort is affected.

As you can guess, morale seems to be at an all-time low (as if it could have gotten worse.)

Structure-wise, Intrawest has spent a lot of time and effort over the past 5 years trying to integrate a lot of disparate resorts. A lot of things were centralized. The focus of all of these restructurings is to undo all of that and return to where each resort operates autonomously. Speculation is that each resort is going to get chopped up and sold like many originally thought.

And if you got any more rumblings from the rumor mill than I do, please share.
post #2 of 22
Here are my rumblings, from the other side of the coin:

"However....I'd point out that
Intrawest was on its last leg before Fortess came in and saved them last
year. I suspect some heads should have rolled. Obviously Fortress is looking for a return on investment, which means lots of changes, cuts
and new efficiencies. But I've also seen a commitment to improving the
portfolio so that it is more valuable and attractive (they bought
Steamboat for heavens sake). Our friends in Europe are now beginning to
hear about Copper Mountain, when it never used to really reach their
consciousness, and wasn't marketed in Europe the way Vail and others
are. Executives I've spoken to at Intrawest are really optimistic.

"More specifically, I can tell you definitively that this guys point #1
is bogus. Confidentially, [.... information that I can't share b/c it's confidential, but that supports the idea that Shared Services is still around]. The Fortress guy who is Intrawest's interim CFO is a shared services expert who is committed to strengthening what was a broken system. I don't have a dog in this fight, but there are definitely two sides to the story."
post #3 of 22
Well, it is not surprising to me that Fortress is making changes. Unfortunately, it is too late for me and my buddies. We feel we were shafted by Intrawest last year, and are moving our business (for ten folk) to Vail Resorts. Perhaps Intrawest/Copper will become more customer focused, but the initial signs are not good. In any case, I'll be frequenting the Basin, Breck, and Beaver Creek next season.

Mike
post #4 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by vinn View Post
Within the IT world, the IT Director is gone, 2 of her direct reports, the entire help desk, and a few other positions. Pretty much every area of the resort is affected.
Would this be the same IT director who wouldn't even give me an interview a couple of years ago? (after 20 years in corporate IT on multiple platforms). Not upset that I didn't get the job - IT director wouldn't even give me the courtesy of an interview. Experience with five Wall Street firms, two consumer-focused retail firms and an entertainment company on the resume.

Sob. Sob. (crocodile tears) Sob.
post #5 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by segbrown View Post

"However....I'd point out that
Intrawest was on its last leg before Fortess came in and saved them last
year.
Not true at all....up until Fortress took it private the stock was up over 40% in the last 18 months. Every Q they hit their numbers both in growth and earnings. I sold out when there were rumblings of labor problems last November at Tremblant.

On a side note, Vail Resorts(MTN), is up 132% since April 2005, a pretty good run as well.
post #6 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkXS View Post
Would this be the same IT director who wouldn't even give me an interview a couple of years ago? (after 20 years in corporate IT on multiple platforms). Not upset that I didn't get the job - IT director wouldn't even give me the courtesy of an interview. Experience with five Wall Street firms, two consumer-focused retail firms and an entertainment company on the resume.

Sob. Sob. (crocodile tears) Sob.
And you wonder why you didn't get an interview?! You should have said you were 2 years out of technical school and were good at polishing dust off keyboards.
post #7 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by ant View Post
And you wonder why you didn't get an interview?! You should have said you were 2 years out of technical school and were good at polishing dust off keyboards.

Heh heh, so true! I actually only graduated college in the mid 1990's - for a long time I didn't put the date on the resume. Lately I do put the date of graduation on the resume so it looks on paper like I'm 20 years younger assuming a "traditional" college experience. I should have faked downward the experience and age cues for this app.

Of course then I would have maybe gotten the keyboard-polishing job. Not the IT Operations manager-level position they were advertising.

I do feel badly for Intrawest folks who may be out of work. But I can't be too upset about IT directors who don't handle their hiring process well. Yeah, being a bit cocky here. But in terms of my IT experience, it was the equivalent of a ski school not even giving an interview to a LIII with years of experience.

As a lowly LI instructor, I could see perhaps not getting into Copper - I'd just be one of the crowd. But with my IT hat on, not even getting in the door? Bah humbug!
post #8 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by vinn View Post
The focus of all of these restructurings is to undo all of that and return to where each resort operates autonomously. Speculation is that each resort is going to get chopped up and sold like many originally thought.
Getting back on-topic, as opposed to "all about me" , this is an interesting and perhaps disturbing trend. With ASC selling off everything pretty much except the Canyons, if Fortress sells off the individual Intrawest resorts, that leaves Vail Resorts as the only remaining large-scale multiple resort operator. Sure, there's Boyne and maybe one or two others, but nobody else on the scale of Vail or the old Intrawest or the old ASC - owning multiple top-tier destination resorts.

Is this an indicator that the ski-resort business isn't viable long-term? Companies getting ahead of the global warming issue in terms of ski area impact, changing demographics and fewer skier days? Or is this just specific to the particular business issues of Intrawest/Fortress (and to ASC's debt burden) but not an indicator of "it's time to get out of running ski areas" overall?
post #9 of 22
I think the fundamental problem with companies owning multiple resorts, is that the profits from the good resorts get dumped into recovering the loses of the failing resorts instead of making the good resorts better. Vail resorts does well because they only own profitable resorts, i.e. Vail et al and Heavenly. They don't have any money pits dragging them down.
post #10 of 22
I really wasn't going to chime in on this but I feel I must. I do know that Fortress took a very hard look at who was senior management, and middle management and the buddie/buddie hiring practices involved. Most of the high dollar cuts are there.
post #11 of 22
There's a few other conglomerates. Booth Creek and Powdr Corp spring to mind, I bet there's quite a few more.
post #12 of 22
The ski resort ownership story has taken a very interesting turn in the last couple of years.

If your talking 5 years ago then I basically agree with MarkXS's comment that Intrawest and ASC were the two big companies that in market value owned, made up the top level. There are some mid sized ones and some smaller ones.


Peak Resorts which just purchased Mt Snow and Attitash owns several small mid-Atlantic and midwest hills and bought Crotched in NH a few years ago and really has done an incredible job there.

This year the changes, dominated by ASC's selloff and Intrawest being bought by a large private equity company and taken private, have been amazing. Booth Creek sold a couple of resorts in NH to a huge national developer who then leased the resorts back to the current management.

Ginn Co bought it's first ski resort, Burke in Vt a couple of years ago, but is a huge national resort developer in the warmer area's of the country.

Vail Resorts is quality over quanitity and they even have a family connection to ownership of Grand Targhee which is trying to become a major resort.

Many of these companies own other non-ski properties that are very interesting. Vail owns a property(is ski related of course) in Teton Village but purchased the biggest resort property in Jackson Hole which operates in the busy season...the summer. In the valley now I wonder who is watching who..

The list goes on and on. Although small in scale Tenney in NH was purchased by a New Jersey truck stop developer and is worth watching.

The easy answer to the question is that the ski resort business is one hard volatle almost impossible business to be in. You might have a better shot if you take your money and instead of buying a resort you put the money on a few horses at the track.

Just about every business/industry sector across the board has gotten harder and more complicated to succeed. Add in the weather factor and you can see how the ski resort biz is one tough row to hoe.

The new owners of all these resorts the last couple of years have all announced big captal investments in their new assets. Many have incurred alot of debt to finance the purchases. These resort weren't free so there has to be cost involved even if you sold one resort(Alpine Meadows) like Powdr did and bought Killington. The deals are never as simple as they might appear. The Powdr/SP Land Co relationship at kmart is very interesting and complicated.

The problems in the real estate world are not going away anytime soon unless your selling million dollar properties like Bob does in JH....
It has to effect the ski resort biz to some extent.

I have worked in the ski resort biz for 15+ years at two resorts. Some years as a seasonal grunt and some years as yearround management. One was owned by ASC for 3 years of my employment. I could write a book just about that experience....

The next couple of years is going to be very interesting. It used to be alot easier to keep up with the yearly changes.

Any kzoners want to predict what the SP prices will be at kmart? I'm going with $700 and I have no inside info just making a prediction. For all my friends that ski there I hope that's what it will be, $600 would even be better.
post #13 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by JHrefugee View Post

Vail Resorts is quality over quanitity and they even have a family connection to ownership of Grand Targhee which is trying to become a major resort.
I don't have much to add other than to note that as far as I know, the family connection these days is between Targhee and Booth Creek - since the Gillette family owns Targhee & were instrumental in founding Booth Creek after selling Vail. See http://www.boothcreek.com/info/company.mission.asp
post #14 of 22
There are a few statements floating around on this thread about Vail Resorts which are incorrect. I'm gonna take a minute and straighten a few of them out.

First of all, George Gillette did not sell Vail, he was driven out by a bankruptcy. He got in with group of very sly NY types who he bought a bunch of TV stations from, at the top of the market. As the market proceeded to plummet, he could not keep up with his debt payments, and went into both corporate and personal bankruptcy. The group which purchased Vail from the court was Apollo Partners (then Apollo Ski Partners)

George then went on to create (with support from new investors) Booth Creek Holdings. As various senior executives were let go by Vail Resorts, George collected them back together to run Booth Creek. Booth Creek has just recently undergone a major change in operating structure, and investors, now being owned by Chris Ryman, and a few other ex-VR execs. They did sell off several of their properties, including Northstar at Tahoe, and then leased them back as the management company. I'm not sure who purchased those BC areas which were sold.

George then purchased Grand Targhee, by himself, without Booth Creek. He still personally owns GT. There are no "family connections" between Vail Resorts and GT.

BTW- George also owns the Montreal Canadiens NHL franchise, as well as a Natural Meat Packing Plant in WISC, (Packerland Meats) GG at one time also owned the Harlem Globetrotters!

VR's buy into summer resorts is not new. Since purchasing the RockResort chain of hotels and resorts from the Rockefeller Family several years ago, they have gone into the hotel business in a very big way! With the purchase of several local Vail, Keystone, and Breckenridge properties and other hotels around the country, they are most definitely a year round resort company. Their purchase several years ago of the Targhee Resort and Conference Center was not out of context for their diversification strategy.

Other ties might extend out to KSL (Kravitz, Shannon, Lichliter) Where Mike Shannon was VR Pres and Larry Lichliter was a primary VP under Gillette. (Kravitz is just the financial underwriter) This group specializes in buying and operating golf resorts.
post #15 of 22
Appreciate the detailed info. When I think of Vail I still think about the Gilletts so that was my inference between Vail and Targhee. I suppose just like when I think about JH, Paul Mc is the man I think about, not the Kemmerers. I need to update my memories.

I'm glad you mentioned Rock Resorts which owns the the Grand Teton Lodging Company which owns the Jackson Lake Lodge, the JH Golf Course, Coulter Bay Marina and a couple of other icon summer resort properties in Jackson Hole/Grand Teton Nat Park.

Quote:
They did sell off several of their properties, including Northstar at Tahoe, and then leased them back as the management company. I'm not sure who purchased those BC areas which were sold.
The following article contains that info. http://www.saminfo.com/news/article.php?tid=1175
post #16 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by vail snopro View Post
BTW- George also owns the Montreal Canadiens NHL franchise, as well as a Natural Meat Packing Plant in WISC, (Packerland Meats) GG at one time also owned the Harlem Globetrotters!
vsp, how could you miss out the most successful club in English football??!!
( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liverpool_F.C. )
post #17 of 22
Oh ya, Martin, I forgot! That is his most recent acquisition, finalized just a few months ago... He has also gotten involved in much more of the food business than I had realized, as well!
post #18 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Bell View Post
vsp, how could you miss out the most successful club in English football??!!
( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liverpool_F.C. )
As opposed to the morally best, Arsenal.
post #19 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by JHrefugee View Post
I'm glad you mentioned Rock Resorts which owns the the Grand Teton Lodging Company which owns the Jackson Lake Lodge, the JH Golf Course, Coulter Bay Marina and a couple of other icon summer resort properties in Jackson Hole/Grand Teton Nat Park.
Sorry, but the Jackson Lake Lodge and the Coulter Bay Marina are US property operated by the GTLC as concessionaire to the National Park Service.

Mike
post #20 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by vinn View Post
2. Intrawest Retail Group, who runs the Breeze/Max line of rental shops, is getting kicked to the curb. I'm not quite sure what's going on with that, or whether the business is going to sell, but there's a bunch of people I think about to lose their jobs.
It did indeed get sold:
http://www.firsttracksonline.com/ind...ticle&sid=2456
post #21 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by vinn View Post
Heads are rolling at Copper and Winter Park. Lots of management types are out of work. Within the IT world, the IT Director is gone, 2 of her direct reports, the entire help desk, and a few other positions. Pretty much every area of the resort is affected. As you can guess, morale seems to be at an all-time low (as if it could have gotten worse.)
Hmmm, should I reconsider a short trip I was planning for Winter Park in December?:
post #22 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by habacomike View Post
Sorry, but the Jackson Lake Lodge and the Coulter Bay Marina are US property operated by the GTLC as concessionaire to the National Park Service.
Mike
Actually, every private retail business that operates in any national park has to become an authorized concessionaire. Has nothing to do with ownership.
From the Rock Resorts website:

The RockResorts brand was originally created in 1956 by Laurance Rockefeller, with the development of Caneel Bay on St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Other resorts formerly branded under the RockResorts identity include Little Dix on Virgin Gorda; The Lodge at Koele, Manele Bay on the Hawaiian island of Lanai; The Mauna Kea on the Big Island; Kapalua Bay Hotel on Maui; The Hyatt Dorado Beach, Cerromar Beach in Puerto Rico; The Woodstock Inn in Vermont; and the Grand Teton Lodge Company in Wyoming.

I worked for a Jackson contractor for several years and we did alot of work for the Grand Teton Lodge Company. A pretty nice location for work, especially in the off season.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Resorts, Conditions & Travel