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Copper Mountain sold to Powdr Corp - Page 2

post #31 of 47
Putting a lift on tucker will appeal to a very small minority of skiers.  At the Basin, the Montezuma lift doubled the terrain.  Tucker would be a marginal expansion, and that terrain is already accessed by the cat and hiking.  How much additional traffic do you think it would create?  Not enough to pay for the lift, I'd bet.

Copper already has virtually no lift lines for the expert terrain.  How's adding more going to drive greater traffic to the area?

Mike
post #32 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevesmith7 View Post




So was it my imagination that I couldn't get a parking spot at the Basin after the Zuma lift went in?



 
Copper had a lift planned for Tucker; not sure if it had been approved or not. Somewhat controversial, since it was to go to what is hike-to terrain now. (Similar to Zuma, I guess). I was mostly against it at first, but now (depending on where it is located), I would be for it. It could open up a ton of terrain and still keep some hikable (like Montezuma).

I'm not sure if it would bring in a ton of new business, but maybe it would spread out the skiers who are there,  preserving the bowls a bit longer.  But I don't really know that. I just wish that. :-)
post #33 of 47
Tucker is not really the terrain i'm really getting at.  I really think any expansion at Copper needs to go to Jacques which is within Copper's rights and would provide tons of new areas for everyone to explore.
post #34 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cphillips View Post

Tucker is not really the terrain i'm really getting at.  I really think any expansion at Copper needs to go to Jacques which is within Copper's rights and would provide tons of new areas for everyone to explore. 
 
I wasn't really talking about expansion, either. Just a new lift to spread things out, like Montezuma. I guess that was technically expansion, but Jacques would be a much bigger (more expensive) proposition, I would think. I'm not sure that's in the cards these days.
post #35 of 47
I suppose you guys are correct looking at it in a financial light.

For the mountain being sold to Powdr I am just anticipating some changes that would make this mountain more competitive in the area.  Hopefully Powdr plans on taking a shot at Vail in some way to pull away some revenue.
post #36 of 47
Thread Starter 
Powdr has a history of only putting money into a resort that the resort made. So I would not see any major changes coming to Copper in the near future.
post #37 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by CR0SS View Post

Powdr has a history of only putting money into a resort that the resort made. So I would not see any major changes coming to Copper in the near future.

Changes in terms of addition, that is. I fear changes of subtraction.
post #38 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by CR0SS View Post

Powdr has a history of only putting money into a resort that the resort made. So I would not see any major changes coming to Copper in the near future.


The general manager of Killington (80% owned by Powdr) just announced a change in that policy at an area homeowners meeting.  See Killingtonzone.com for thread.  Relevant quote:

Quote:
He did say that that POWDR has changed its approach to capital allocation and that big CAPEX decisions will be made in Utah, in effect saying that "we eat what we kill" is dead.

Further down in the thread, he is quoted as saying that the Copper Mountain management team will be kept intact.
post #39 of 47
I just got done talking with a few of my friends that are left there, and here's some of the observations from their standpoint:
  • Powdr is a ski operator / mountain operations company, not a real estate company.  They were quite excited about that.
  • There is absolutely no resemblance left of Copper from the 80/90's.  Intrawest has managed to fire everyone.  I made the joke that they can save a few dollars by not having the Glacier Awards this year because there's no one left who's been there over 10 years.  They just had their third round of layoffs in the past year and morale is in the toilet.  The knowledge that has been drained from that company is phenomenal. 
  • There were a lot of concerns about Steamboat and WP.  Things are still much more integrated than Intrawest would like to admit and it's not clear how long it will take to transition.  There's nothing clear on what will happen in the future regarding lift tickets.
  • Powdr treats all of their resorts as standalone units.  Which, might be nice for Copper after having been very integrated with other resorts for the past 5 years and in the capital budget shadow of Whistler for the past decade.
  • Regarding Tucker, I doubt they'll do that lift line even though it was staked and approved over a decade ago.  There's been discussion in the past of expanding in Jacques Peak bowl and expanding the cat operations to include that.  I don't see that happening either.  One thing about Tucker though, it has a ton of intermediate terrain, especially if it were groomed around the saddle.  It would probably pay for itself.
  •  
post #40 of 47
PWDR was hated at Alpine Meadows.  Cutbacks on lift operations, opening of terrain, expensive season passes.   Unfortunately, the new owners are undercapitalized and not doing much better, except in the season pass price.
post #41 of 47
This is a very interesting discussion.  I've learned a lot about mountain management just reading this.  My question is this: Is there an example of a resort that seems to really "get it"?  By that, I mean is there a resort that caters to customers, re-invests back in the mountain in ways that are sustainable and improve the overall skier experience year after year?  Is Alta an example of this?  Fairly low lift prices...partially owned by the community (correct me if I'm wrong)....great terrain and they have the gift of fabulous snow.  I'd be interested in people's thoughts. 
post #42 of 47
Actually I think it was Copper that brought the prices down before VR even thought of it-back in 2003-2004 I had a Super Pass for 259.00

Seemes like it was VR which then dropped their prices (Colorado Pass/Epic pass) to try and crush Intrawest
post #43 of 47
I moved to CO in 2000 and my first Vail pass was just over $200.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cal to colorado View Post

Actually I think it was Copper that brought the prices down before VR even thought of it-back in 2003-2004 I had a Super Pass for 259.00

Seemes like it was VR which then dropped their prices (Colorado Pass/Epic pass) to try and crush Intrawest
post #44 of 47
Powdr Corp.+Mt.Bachelor=FAIL!
post #45 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by locknload View Post

This is a very interesting discussion.  I've learned a lot about mountain management just reading this.  My question is this: Is there an example of a resort that seems to really "get it"?  By that, I mean is there a resort that caters to customers, re-invests back in the mountain in ways that are sustainable and improve the overall skier experience year after year?  Is Alta an example of this?  Fairly low lift prices...partially owned by the community (correct me if I'm wrong)....great terrain and they have the gift of fabulous snow.  I'd be interested in people's thoughts. 

There are places that get it, and I'll focus on the employees because so often that's what translates to an overall skier experience.  They're few and far between, but you can make some generalizations.  Owners/operators of small ski areas are generally happy, especially if they're not in it to build the next big resort - example, Silverton.  Larger corporations tend to treat their employees like crap.  In particular, Vail Resorts and Intrawest churn people over and over and over.  However, they've also designed their business to make that possible; where it's not a disaster if they have to replace half of their mid-level managers in a year.  (Yes, I've worked for both, I'm fairly confident in saying they're bad employers, though I'd probably say Vail is better than Intrawest.)  However, the larger corporations tend to be the only ones that are very profitable at skiing.  Copper brings in around $15 million in EBITDA a year (Winter Park, closer to $17 million.)  There are some large independent outfits still left that seem to have happy employees - example, Jackson Hole. 

If you're talking all around resort, the opinion gets harder because even though I pay very close attention to it, it gets tainted if you work there and it gets tainted if you don't.  I'd like to think my employer, Moonlight Basin, is pretty high on everything you mentioned.  You didn't list ski industry business strategy though, so that helps (and that's something I often consider.  For example: free keg beer in the base area = great low prices, horrible customer service.)  I took a trip to Silver Mountain a few years ago and was very impressed with every aspect of their business and they did a great job at everything.  Well, they had a bunch of real estate that looked tough to sell, but I've certainly seen harder sales.

By the way, a very interesting analogy with ski resorts is hotels on the Vegas Strip in many, many ways.
post #46 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cphillips View Post

I suppose you guys are correct looking at it in a financial light.

For the mountain being sold to Powdr I am just anticipating some changes that would make this mountain more competitive in the area.  Hopefully Powdr plans on taking a shot at Vail in some way to pull away some revenue.

This is a horrible, horrible idea.  Copper could never compete against Vail, fortunately I think they're very aware of this.

David Barry, who was GM at Copper for a while before taking over all of Intrawest's North American operations, had one of the best ideas I've ever heard of for Copper.  Colorado is basically the Disneyland of skiing in the US.  Copper could fill a 'boutique' niche that none of the other areas currently try to do.  What does that mean?  Do whatever it takes to cut skier visits to around 9,000 a day, which is a very nice number for Copper.  Do it in such a way that you fill in all the week day gaps and also carry 9,000.  This probably means raising prices (hey, there's a reason Aspen can get away with a $100 lift ticket.. it's Aspen.)  Once you get to 9,000 SV, suddenly guest service levels go WAY up.  You can charge more for lodging because you can do more than just put a butt in a bed.  You can also decide that there are market segments to focus on rather than trying to get everyone - for example, market to the adventure seeking 30 - 40 year olds with disposable income and a kid; forget about everyone 50+.  Then you build businesses in the base area that support that, perhaps a sushi bar.  Even more important would be to let independent businesses thrive in the base area and allow them to develop a business model so that they last more than a season or two.

The old days of the pass wars will probably disappear after this recession is over.  Colorado will still have competition and remain one of the cheapest places to ski, but it won't be like it was.

And I don't think Copper ever offered a $249 Superpass, unless it was a teen rate.  There may have been a $299 pass one spring, but for many years the price hovered around $350 - $369.  Which is still a killer deal. 
post #47 of 47
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by vinn View Post


(hey, there's a reason Aspen can get away with a $100 lift ticket.. it's Aspen.) 

Actually Vail is more expensive then Aspen when you are buying just lift tickets. It is only when buying a pass that Vail becomes cheaper than Aspen.
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