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Ski resort businesses....

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Hello Chaps,

I am seriously thinking about setting up or buying a business in a ski resort somewhere in Canada, preferably Whistler. No idea what kind at this stage but you got to have dreams right....

I am UK based but already in process of applying for my Canada residency - and would love to be able to work somewhere I can just strap my planks on and ski in the winter and enjoy the great outdoors in the summer. Also would love my three year old to be bought up in an outdoory type environment.

Does anyone know of any websites or companies that specifically deal with businesses for sale in Canadian resorts ?

Alternatively any advice, do's don'ts, lessons learned from anyone who has experience running a business in a ski resort, or knowing someone who does ?

Second choice is to stay in my line of business (IT/Consultancy) and work in Vancouver or maybe Calgary allowing us to get in as many days skiing as possible although doesn't sound half as much fun....

Here's hoping.....
post #2 of 8
Just a couple of questions that you don't need to answer for me, just for yourself:

1. What experience, skills, abilities do you have that would point you towards a particular business? Keep in mind that if you think you are equally qualified for all of them, you are also equally unqualified. (Gordon Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares comes to mind).

2. What is your business plan? and if you don't have one, you'd better spend some time developing one.

3. Are you looking for a seasonal business based on the ski industry (keeping in mind that this will cut severely into your time on the slopes, particularly in the first few years)? Or are you looking for a year round or summer business that will allow you more time to ski?

4. When you mention Whistler as your first choice are you doing so because you want good skiing (available at other locations) or because you want the resort lifestyle (with all the positives and negatives for you and your daughter)?

Having put those questions out there, you may want to contact a realtor to act on your behalf to scout out the possibilities at a variety of resorts. I just checked the MLS site(Multiple Real Estate Listings) at www.mls.ca to see if they were carrying commercial turn-key operations and it looks like they are primarily focusing on residential, agricultural and land for development rather than established firms. Going on to the MLS site will not only give you some idea of what is available for housing in the various resort areas, it will also give you some idea of which realtors or real estate companies may be the one you wish to deal with.

As for resorts in addition to Whistler you might want to check out the following:

Small towns adjacent to ski resorts (20 minutes to the hill), most of these are seeing expansion of the hills (indicated by star) and significant growth. Note that many of these towns are making the transition from a resource based economy (mining and/or forestry) to resort/retirement communities:

Rossland (Red Mountain*)
Revelstoke (enormous new development*)
Golden (Kicking Horse)
Comox/Courtenay (Mt. Washington)
Nelson (Whitewater)

The following are resorts that are located somewhat farther from town and tend to be more self-contained:

Big White (Kelowna)
Sun Peaks (Kamloops)
Silver Star (Vernon)
Panorama (Invermere)

In Alberta the best hills tend to be in National Parks so you would be looking at moving into one of the park or resort towns at some distance from the hill.

Banff/Canmore (Lake Louise, Sunshine, Norquay, Nakiska, Fortress?)
Jasper (Marmot)

I've left out a number of smaller BC hills, or hills I haven't skied (Apex). You know about Whistler, but keep in mind that Squamish might also be a possibility (possible to commute to Vancouver for work and Whistler for ski).
And of course Vancouver has three ski hills on the edge of the city on the north shore (Cypress, Grouse & Seymour).

Both Calgary and Vancouver have a lot of opportunities for IT work. I've been able to ski 50 days a year the past few years working at an equivalent job. If you are going to do consulting work in Calgary, you can still live in Canmore (which is an hour closer to the hills).

Hope this helps!
post #3 of 8
I am a business broker, but I do not handle Canadian small businesses. I can tell you that MLS will not have enough business opportunities for sale. MLS is for realestates, especially good for homes. Business opportunities are listed in specialised sites. Try

mergernetwork.com (for larger businesses)


However, to find a listing is not the most important thing to do first, personal skill inventory and business plan as the previous poster mentioned are the more important steps to do first.

I have calls from business buyers all day long asking me to find a business for them and I have very little interest in helping them out unless they have a very clear objective in their quest. In addition, if they were in business before and are expanding their practice, I am interested to invest my time for them. I do not accept "blind" "intuitive" requests from the buyers, we call them witch hunters.

Belive me, to buy a business is not an easy task and its not for those with fainted harts.
post #4 of 8
1. When the resort tells you there's enough traffic for your business to be profitable more than 6 months a year, don't believe them.

2. The rent is negotiable.

3. Pizza and beer always sell.
post #5 of 8
Originally Posted by ms2012 View Post
Also would love my three year old to be bought up in an outdoory type environment.
It does take a lot of money to start a new business, but selling children is not legal in Canada.

The odds are that you will make more money can get more ski days in staying in IT. You can get a lot of ski days and/or you can do well financially owning a resort business, but the odds are not in your favor.
post #6 of 8
In my mind, you should consider a business that is not hinged upon with the success of failure of the Resort. Such as an internet business providing either services or merchandises that is unrelated with Snow.
post #7 of 8
Rent space in the busiest apres-ski bar and set up a condom kiosk
post #8 of 8
Originally Posted by Snowsport View Post
Rent space in the busiest apres-ski bar and set up a condom kiosk
better off to hire some one to demo, makes millions....:
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