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"It may take more than Magic to save Magic Mountain" - Page 2

post #31 of 83


Originally Posted by liv4ski View Post
By ALAN WECHSLER, Staff writer
Click byline for more stories by writer.
First published: Sunday, March 29, 2009

LONDONDERRY, Vt. — It may take more than Magic to save Magic Mountain.


..... Three years ago, Sullivan, 44, a former ski racer and Connecticut lawyer, decided to get involved. With two silent partners, they leased the property and invested $850,000 in the resort. The original plan was to buy the resort, but in today's market the idea didn't seem feasible.

Instead they came up with the co-op idea.plan," he added.



I'm hopefull Magic survives, I remember skiing there as a child in the 60's. It was a premier area then, known for the impressive mile long chairlift.   I'm also part of the problem in that I haven't skied there since '97.  I settled farther north for bigger snowfalls.


Sullivan doesn't state in this letter what the purchase price would be, and that is the real crux of the matter.  It's likely the major reason he and his investors elected to lease instead of purchase initially.


Magic is so far behind the other ski areas that it will take decades to "catch up", and likely if sucessful it will catch up by finding and serving a different niche.  The purchase price needs to reflect this, and be sufficiantly low to allow capital investment out of annual revenues and still be able to weather lean years.  If the owner is not willing to sell at such a price, the investors should walk.  Good intentions aren't going to pay a mortgage that is too high.


post #32 of 83

I hear things are going well, I believe your above questions will be answered as time comes. 

post #33 of 83
Thread Starter 

Orangegondola, the t-shirt and sticker sales are a great idea.  While the money raised may not be all that significant in the grand scheme of things, the marketing should help get more skiers to the mountain to buy day tickets and, hopefully, passes. 


I have been skiing Stratton and Mt. Snow for years and did not rediscover Magic until this past January.  Prior to January, my last time at Magic was in the mid 70s.  I never even thought of Magic until one of my friends noticed he had a two-for-one coupon that was valid at Magic on the MLK holiday.  We went and had a great time and went two more times before the season ended.  I think a lot more people would ski Magic if they knew about it.  Gorilla marketing can be very successful and hopefully it will work for Magic.

post #34 of 83

I agree, I can't tell you the number of times I have been to Bromley early season and people ask me about my magic sticker on my helmet.  They don't know it is open, my buddy and I figured aside from buying our own shares, we could do the sticker and t-shirt thing and get the word out.  So far it is working!  Thanks for the support!


BTW we don't work for the Mountain, we just live for it.





post #35 of 83


Originally Posted by orangegondola View Post

That is Talisman taken from the deck of the lodge with my buddy's elephant size digital SLR.  Thanks for checking out the sight!

No problem, and it is a great picture!

post #36 of 83

I threw in for a couple of t shirts.  I hope that magic does not go the way of a number of other things in the USA that have "soul."  I mean is everything go to lose to a corporate, homogeneous, faceless, bland entity?


My wife has a box of magic passes from the 70-80s.  It always was a great alternative to stratton and bromley. Its funny, over the decades i remember most of the terrain ive ski'd on and many of the runs.  To this day, despite numerous visits i cant recall anything about stratton....whereas i recall magic runs, terrain and base lodge and i havent been there since 1983


 I couldn't make it up this year and will be deeply sadden if i dont get the chance next year.  



post #37 of 83

Thanks so much, we are doing everything we can to spread the word and will let you know what we hear from management as this moves along.  There are alot of people behind this but we need shares, spread the word and thanks for the t-shirts!



post #38 of 83

We had the same issue last year with the very small local ski hill outside of Omaha. It was stuck in the 70s and needed updating and repairs. At 80 the long time owner was wanting to sell. I was afraid no one would buy it. I hit up all of the big ski corporations. Some (like Peak Resorts) had thought about it but had changed their minds. George Gillete did respond to me and one of my friends actually went out to Vail to talk to him, but Gillette was also looking to slow down on his investments. I was about to give up but fortunately the Fleischer family from Vail ended up finding out about the place and moved here to take it over. So don't give up!


post #39 of 83


Originally Posted by orangegondola View Post

I agree, I can't tell you the number of times I have been to Bromley early season and people ask me about my magic sticker on my helmet.  They don't know it is open, my buddy and I figured aside from buying our own shares, we could do the sticker and t-shirt thing and get the word out.  So far it is working!  Thanks for the support!


BTW we don't work for the Mountain, we just live for it.






Here's a thread from TGR about "Save Magic Mountain" T-shirts, which I believe are the same. 


I bought one and it looks great- it also came with a ton of "Save Magic Mountain" stickers and even a "Don't Stratton Magic" sticker, which are now all over my skis, helmet and winnebago.  I'm also putting them up in area ski shops to get the word out.  I can't afford to buy a share, but if I hit the lotto you bet your ass I'd buy  a few.


It's funny because most people don't even know Magic is open- it's like a bad rumor that I try to dispell whenever I can.  I tell people it's like the MRG of Southern VT- it's got that throwback feel to it you really can't get anywhere else.  If you're going with friends for a pow day trip, Magic is like a private playground and I know there's plenty of people who appreciate it for exactly what it is.


I think they should forego the snowmaking, personally.  They do well enough without it.  Like the MRG guy said, it's just not economically sound practice and would be of only marginal gain to skiers that already frequent magic.  It is a place that I feel would be best left alone.  If you want snowmaking and crowds, go to Okemo, Stratton or Mt. Snow.  If you want to turn back the dial to "The good 'ol days" go to Magic.  Where you can relax and drink a beer on the lift, be the lone set of tracks in a remote scrap of woods or know 3/4 of the other people in the liftline by their first names.  You can't buy that (well I guess you can) and I really don't feel like you can do that too many other places.  Change too much, and you'll just be making it a carbon copy of other resorts in the area.  I'd like to see them raise just enough money for the co-op and just leave it.  MAYBE put in a high speed lift in for the red chair, but that's all I'd do.  


SAVE MAGIC!!!!!!!!  DO IT NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!  


post #40 of 83

"MAYBE put in a high speed lift in for the red chair, but that's all I'd do"


Great post above, no high speed though.  The Red is strong and has many years.  A replacement for the Black would be nice but only a fixed grip.  With a HS lift much like that a Bromley Magic would shrink.  I love Bromley but with that chair it skies to fast.

post #41 of 83


May 15, 2009


Dear Friends of Magic:


We are making progress with respect to the issuance of an offering to prospective shareholders. I have met with the Nelson family and have shared numerous correspondences and documents with them over the past couple of weeks in order to get them up to speed relative to both the current status of Magic as well as the direction we are trying to take it.  I am pleased to advise that the Nelsons and the rest of the current ownership, after considered review, are supportive of the concept of issuing shares in order to raise capital to keep Magic operating and improving.  Their cooperation in the plan is essential and appreciated because it enables us to put money raised toward improvements and operations as opposed to having to completely fund the purchase.  After payment of approximately $300,000 to the current ownership which is necessary in order to clear and transfer title, they have agreed to hold an equity position in the new entity as opposed to requiring a lump sum payment at closing or holding debt.  The technical aspects of a formal offering are complex, and we are working together to effectuate it as soon as possible.


One issue we have encountered is whether what we are trying to accomplish here actually fits within the guidelines provided by law under the co-op statutes. After reviewing the statute and consulting with attorneys we have determined that the new entity does not qualify as a co-op under the applicable statute.  That fact will not prevent us from moving forward, but we will need to create a different legal entity which in all likelihood will be an LLC with various classes of shares.  This will not change the basic tenants of the offering from a shareholder’s perspective.  We will be selling shares for $3000 which will be secured by an equity position in the mountain.  Shareholders will have a say in the overall philosophy and major decisions involving the mountain by way of shareholder meetings and a Board comprised of elected shareholders which will work with mountain management.  There will be other shareholder benefits such as a discounted season pass, discounted lift tickets for friends and family, and special access to management via an exclusive page on the web site. 


We are working diligently with the current ownership and attorneys to put this offering together.  Any proceeds from shares sold will initially be held in escrow until the critical threshold of 300 shares is met and the actual transfer of title to the new entity takes place. We have completed a five year budget together with a business plan which will be posted on the web site next week.


In the interim, a group of Magic faithful have created a website dedicated to preserving Magic Mountain .  Along with the website they are selling t-shirts with all proceeds going towards purchasing one and hopefully two shares in the new Magic Mountain ownership group.  I applaud their efforts and it is this passion for Magic Mountain that will ultimately lead to its success.  You can view their site at www.savemagicvermont.com.


I appreciate all of your patience with this process as it has taken longer than expected.    As stated previously, I am happy to field any questions and encourage you all to pose them.




Jim Sullivan  
post #42 of 83



If anyone wants a shirt but can't paypal, PM me and I can put you in touch with someone who will help make it happen.  DON'T LET TECHNOPHOBIA STOP YOU FROM OWNING THIS SWEET SHIRT AND HELPING THE CAUSE!!! 

post #43 of 83


From Jim today: 

Jun 12, 2009


Dear Friends of Magic:


It has been a few weeks since my last update, and I wanted to touch base with you all and advise as to our progress.  We have made substantial headway and are close to selling shares.  As indicated previously, the money will be held in escrow until there is sufficient interest shown in order to assure that we will have the necessary financial wherewithal to proceed with this plan.  That being said, I am very pleased with the widespread support which has been exhibited, and I am confident that we will sell the requisite number of shares to move forward and improve the mountain and gear up for next season.  Needless to say, I am getting somewhat impatient with the process, but I remain excited and fully confident that we will be selling shares soon.  Perhaps my expectations in terms of the pace of the transaction were overly optimistic.  This is a complex process which not only involves various deals with current ownership, but also establishing a new company and the right to sell equity, and it simply takes time to reduce verbal agreements to written legal commitments especially when there are several parties involved.  An attorney with vast experience in the field of memorializing deals and private placement offerings has been retained for several weeks now, and we have been working hard with him to take care of the voluminous legal minutia associated with this process.


The business plan relative to how the capital raised and the operating revenues will be deployed has been completed for several weeks but it has yet to be formally published because it is to a degree contingent upon the other aspects of the deal.  By next week we will formally publish the business plan and associated budgets.  Simultaneously or shortly thereafter I am hoping that we will be able to sign up shareholders and take payments into the escrow account.  I understand that many of you cannot commit to purchasing a share until you review the business plan, but I urge you all to act quickly upon review of the plan and if you are interested in participating, please do so as soon as possible.  The sooner we achieve sufficient share sales, the sooner we can get down to business and begin preparing the mountain for the upcoming season.


I have spoken and shared e-mails with many of you, and have benefited greatly from your counsel.  The passion for this great mountain is apparent and strong, and I am confident that together we can make it work.  Again I encourage you all to spread our message far and wide and make efforts to recruit new or past Magic faithful to our cause.  Thank you for your support, your patience, and your enthusiasm.  As always, please contact me with any questions.  You will be hearing from me next week.


All the best,


Jim Sullivan



post #44 of 83

If you have ever enjoyed a day at Magic, the time to help is now, If you can't do a share consider a shirt or sticker. 



post #45 of 83
Magic business plan and financials up on www.magicmtn.com for anyone interested. 
post #46 of 83
 Shares are now for sale, the offering memorandum is posted on the mountain's website.
post #47 of 83
post #48 of 83
I hope that you save your local hill - or it could end up like the hometown hill from my youth:
post #49 of 83

Don't even SAY THAT! 
post #50 of 83
 Just read in the Rutland Herald that Magic has paid its overdue back taxes, giving it more time to sell enough shares to recapitalize the mountain and stay in business:

post #51 of 83
Originally Posted by Ski Diva View Post

 Just read in the Rutland Herald that Magic has paid its overdue back taxes, giving it more time to sell enough shares to recapitalize the mountain and stay in business:

Thats good news. 
post #52 of 83
Great news on the taxes.  Would be kinda stupid for the town to foreclose on back taxes instead of working out a payment plan. Its not like that area is crawling with visitors.  Anything that can bring folks to londenderry (but not too many) is good for the local economy. 

There should be a clause in the tax documents that confirms that magic must keep at least half its territory UNgroomed.
post #53 of 83
Originally Posted by orangegondola View Post

My buddy is selling t-shirts and stickers.  Check out www.savemagicvermont.com if you have ever enjoyed a day at Magic and might want to some day again. 

I like the site. I'd like to see Magic stay open, it's the type of area that isn't found so often anymore. I like how on the site, it says its lifts are 'direct to summit, without a second lift line'. Seems like a pretty direct stab at Okemo, where all routes to the summit take two lift rides. In any case, having lived in the area (Ludlow), and worked in the industry (Okemo), I think there will be significant difficulties in keeping Magic open.
First of all, there is the fact that there is a huge amount of competition nearby. Okemo, Stratton, Mt. Snow, and K******ton so close, it's hard to compete. Taken with that, you have to consider the locality. In order to be a viable ski area in southern Vermont these days, you have to be a destination resort. This is partly because of the competition in the area, and it also has to do with the fact that southern VT is extremely sparsely populated. There simply isn't the local population to support a day-type area. Especially when you consider the proportion of that population which is already directly or indirectly employed by the existing areas. I knew a guy who was born and raised in Londonderry, and lives literally within sight of Magic, but he works full time at Okemo.

Also, you have to consider that the operating costs for a resort have gone up dramatically. Partially, this is due to the fact that energy costs have gone up so drastically. To make snow, you have to run huge diesel air compressors and water pumps, both of which suck up huge amounts of very expensive fuel. On top of that, each lift runs off an electric motor putting out 500-1000hp each. Those costs add up quickly. Add to that the increased need for snowmaking as temperatures have risen in the past couple decades (maybe its natural, maybe its caused by man, but either way, temps are going up), and you see the operating margins for resorts getting thinner.

As far as Magic leveraging the local businesses and property owners to subsidize the mountain, I don't really see that happening. Londonderry isn't like Ludlow or K******ton, they don't rely on the skier income the way those towns do. Magic is too small to have that significant an impact on the town's economy.

It would be great to think that the co-op plan would work here, but I just don't see it happening. It works for MRG, but MRG is the definition of an anomaly. Everything MRG does is against the norm, and that is what they are world famous for, their selling point. And that's why MRG can work. Magic just doesn't have that notoriety.
post #54 of 83
Sadly I agree with a lot of what free ski 919 said. However I do believe the mountain can be saved, and saved for the good of the sport.  Half the mountain should have snowmaking and the other natural. Heck if you like stratton and okemo buy all regards, ski there. But some of us want something a little different in this duane reade, starbucks, homedepot, walmart, fridays,  type of world.

I will also note that another forum, 30 members chipped in a hundred to buy a share. Donations came from folks who live out west and never ski'd magic.  There are obviously no benefits to this joint package, other then a desire to save something, which should be saved.  Maybe we can generate similar activty here. 
post #55 of 83

Bumpity-bump.  For those who don't know, Migic is opening for this season.  I celebrated by heading up with a friend and doing some volunteer work on one of the new glades they're making.  Just figured I'd share the stoke and maybe inspire some other people to head up and put in some legwork.

Sorry, a couple of the pics are blurry I spontaneously suck at times.  Here's a few trail whoopage shots first.  We hiked up there and immediately started to clear- This is about an hour into it.  Still looking pretty hairy. 

Better get to work...
Bigger picture from farther back. 
After about another hour and change, we said "We're gonna need a bigger boat!  So we called for reinforcements... 
And in about four more hours, we had it pretty well cleaned up.  I'm obviously skipping by a bunch of pics that you can't tell shit from, but you get the idea.   

And then we decided to go for a hike before we left, it was too nice not to see some sights. 
And then the big guy had enough...  Who knew hiking to work was so hard???  :D
A few parting shots... 

I hope you guys enjoyed the pics.  If you're thinking about heading up at all, DO IT!  they need your help and it's a great time of the year to be in the hills.

post #56 of 83
Man, I suck at teh interwebz.  Help pleeeez? 
post #57 of 83
I'm sure they are all nice pics.  Have posted similar pics a few times myself.
post #58 of 83
This will be much easier.  Just follow this link to the TGR Magic Mountain Volunteer thread, where my computer speaks the same language as the forums

post #59 of 83
Way to do work, son!  Thanks for gettin' the pics up here
post #60 of 83
Dowork, You clean up a mighty fine trail, getting all that brush out of the way means a lot less cover is needed. good job!
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