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Killington Lifetime Passholders are dismissed

post #1 of 56
Thread Starter 

As if this summer wasn't hot enough......

I have to say, this one kinda surprised me

 

http://www.rutlandherald.com/article/20100706/BUSINESS/707069887

post #2 of 56

Just because you can, dose not mean you should.

post #3 of 56

I don't know, the wording was pretty clear and they certainly got their money's worth. 

 

But, clearly a message to read the "fine print" on "lifetime pass" contracts....

post #4 of 56

Shouldn't surprise anyone who's paid any attention to Killington under Powdr Corp... they've been quite upfront about being in it to maximize revenue on a short term basis. They've jacked prices as high as they can go, tried to jam as many people onto the mountain as possible and continually treated their customers with contempt and disregard. 
 

I just don't see any reason to visit Kmart under these conditions when there are ample mountains that have a better attitude and better terrain (if not more acreage) within an hour or two.

post #5 of 56

Maybe it just my anti-entitlement leanings, but, I have difficulty being sympathetic to the Killington lifetime pass holders. They had their day in court and lost, move on! In return for a minimal investment, they had years of free skiing so they received great value. Is Powder a villain? I don’t think so. Powder has to complete in today’s economic reality. Lift ticket pricing is linked to this year’s expenses. If many ski free, then either everybody else pays more or , like the old Killington, just sell a ton of cheap tickets and accept the crowds. Who would buy a ski area and be required to provide lifetime free passes to a couple of thousand skiers? Should K’ton’s owners ever file for bankruptcy, the courts would dismiss the lifetime passes in a New York minute. Don’t like what Powder did or how they run the mountain, then take your ski dollars to another ski area. Killington will always have to be price competitive, unlike Stowe.

The Killington sale to Powder was a major thread on Epic, and, most predicted the end of the “Beast of the East”. I can’t remember a threads bashing K’ton as a ski area in the past three years. During the week I was there, it skied really well. Shuttle Bus service is reduced, fewer lifties working the lifts, but, otherwise it’s pretty much the same. Yup, the mountain and the facilities on the access road can use some improvements as it's getting older. I considered buying a $400 midweek lift ticket for next year, but, present plans will not include my traditional full mid-week there. Most locals I talked to have accepted Powder and conceded that after a rough start, the relationship is better. For sure, they know their future is linked to Powder’s success.

 

Beware of anything that states guaranteed forever, or, like many 401k's touted as a surefire way to increase wealth.
 

post #6 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Garrison View Post

Just because you can, dose not mean you should.


This is just what I was going to post. There were just 200 some odd passes still out there. They could have done SOMETHING that would have cost less than the court costs AND allowed them to save face. 

post #7 of 56

I think most LT passholders got there moneys worth many times over.

 

After a rough start with PR I think the new owners are keeping the mountain in better shape than it's ever been & to me that's what counts. Don't really care much about amenities it's about the skiing.

 

You want to go elsewhere? Be my guest.

 

Been buying a season pass for many years & already have it for next year.

post #8 of 56

That is just wrong!  I'm not likely to be in the area any time soon, but am inclined to never ski at Killington over this.  IMO when you buy a ski area you DO assume the liabilities and obligations that come with it, including lifetime passes.  You can rob more people with a pen than a gun.

post #9 of 56


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by steamboat1 View Post

I think most LT passholders got there moneys worth many times over.

 

I don't know how you can say that unless you knew what return those investors expected, and what the actual return was.  Some of those passes were traded, and there was a rumor that one sold for $4000 a year or 2 before Powdr took over.  If you held a $4000 asset, I'm sure you wouldn't believe you got your moneys worth if it were revoked without any compensation.

It was just as bad when ASC sold off Sugarbush.  ASC had sold "all East" passes all summer long, but when they closed on the Bush before the season started passholders had to chose between the Bush or the rest of the ASC resorts.  Apparently, there were no lawyers among the passholders.

The other culprit is the State of Vermont. The State could have made those passes part of the operating agreement with Powdr, and they could have made that clear before the deal was closed.  It would have been a small thing in terms of that total deal, but once the deal was done the passholders had no leverage.

 

BK 


 

post #10 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by tetonpwdrjunkie View Post

  IMO when you buy a ski area you DO assume the liabilities and obligations that come with it, including lifetime passes.  You can rob more people with a pen than a gun.


Let's say you buy a home in Jackson, a week later the next door neighbor introduces himself and says "oh, by the way, you owe me a craftsman socket set and a 10' step ladder. The previous owner borrowed them and now you are responsible."

 

The people who bought second/third/fourth hand passes, after seeing the wording, and are now upset... well, I don't feel they were wronged. The original investment returned almost 50 years of season passes for $1000, the original company that they invested in is long gone.

post #11 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by tetonpwdrjunkie View Post

That is just wrong!  I'm not likely to be in the area any time soon, but am inclined to never ski at Killington over this.  IMO when you buy a ski area you DO assume the liabilities and obligations that come with it, including lifetime passes.  You can rob more people with a pen than a gun.


there are tons of reasons to never ski Killington.

post #12 of 56

there's a big difference between the spirit of the law and the word of the law. I have no doubt that when these folks bought those pass's they were assured that these were lifetime pass's.

 

Mike, 401-K's aren't bad, its the management of 401-K's that matter.... read the fine print....  mine gets re-adjusted every 2-3 months.....

post #13 of 56

In her ruling, Reiss found that the language contained in the investor pass certificates “is clear and unambiguous.”

“The only reasonable interpretation of that language is that it requires Killington Ltd. to provide the designated passholder free use of all ski lifts operated by Killington Ltd. at the Killington Ski Area so long as it operates in that area … ,” Reiss wrote in her 31-page decision.

Reiss continued that the term corporation “clearly refers to the named corporations, Sherburne and Killington Ltd” and that the deal was structured as an asset sale and not a transfer of stock.

“The plain language of the AT and P passes reveals no intention to bind Killington Ltd’s successors … . To the contrary, Killington Ltd’s obligations under the passes clearly terminate with its cessation of operations in the area.”

 

 

 

They were lifetime passes... for the lifetime of Sherburne  and Killington Ltd. 

post #14 of 56

so it actually reads "...free use of all ski lifts operated by Killington Ltd. at the Killington Ski Area so long as it operates in that area.."

 

if that's the case, then I can certainly see their point.....but , it just looks bad....

post #15 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Finndog View Post

so it actually reads "...free use of all ski lifts operated by Killington Ltd. at the Killington Ski Area so long as it operates in that area.."

 

if that's the case, then I can certainly see their point.....but , it just looks bad....

Actually, you could interpret "it operates" to refer to "Killington ski area" (which continues to operate) and interpret "lifts operated by Killington Ltd" to only identify which lifts, not to limit which operator is obligated.  That was probably the argument made by the passholders.

This is just one issue where Powdr has shown complete disregard for the locals and property owners.  The short season, the reduced operating hours for the lower gondola that serves formerly "ski in, ski out" houses, and the pricing for season passes and junior programs were all just like sayiing "fcuk you" to the people who have spent the most time and money there over the years.  It may all be legal but it's short sighted for a company that is subject to local taxation and needs the approval of a local zoning board for any improvements.

 

BK
 

post #16 of 56

for just 200 passholders the good-will and "we're all part of the community" warm and fuzzy feeling seems "pound-wise and penny-foolish".

post #17 of 56

I've worked in three different industries where some products came with "lifetime guarantees".  Every single one of the numerous companies that honestly tried to honor the product unconditionally for the life of the owner eventually experienced severe financial distress as repairs and replacement costs overtook revenues from selling new products.  Every time another company bought out one of these vendors they offered aat best a one year guarantee AGAINST DEFECTS on the products of the company ot acquired.

 

Nowadays, all these companies do is file some kind of bankrupcy then return to operations free of the obligations they made that they don't want to continue to honor such as employee pension and retirement plans.  Then they go back to business as usual for the fat cats.

post #18 of 56

Yeah, I suppose Powdr could probably have settled this whole thing out of court, but then, having been personally involved on both sides of asset sales, I very well understand the method to their madness. We have no idea what kind of agreements Killington Ltd had with other people, and they don't want to set any kind of precedent that might come back to bite them. You would be absolutely amazed at what crawls out of the woodwork if it suddenly appears there's money to be claimed, whether legitimately or not.

 

I'm shedding no tears for the pass holders. Heck, I spend at least $1000 for the 20-25 days I ski in any one year (and I rarely pay the full daily price). For those who bought those passes from original owners at a huge premium, caveat emptor.

 

PR for this kind of thing is overrated; it's not like they're killing baby seals. Outside of locals and a handful of members of ski forums, most skiers don't know or care about the issue. With its location and terrain, Killington won't miss the few dozen who decide to boycott the place.

 

Personally, it's far from my favorite place to ski, but it has enough going for it that I still find myself skiing there once a year.

 

post #19 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by garylk View Post

Yeah, I suppose Powdr could probably have settled this whole thing out of court, but then, having been personally involved on both sides of asset sales, I very well understand the method to their madness. We have no idea what kind of agreements Killington Ltd had with other people, and they don't want to set any kind of precedent that might come back to bite them. You would be absolutely amazed at what crawls out of the woodwork if it suddenly appears there's money to be claimed, whether legitimately or not.

 

I'm shedding no tears for the pass holders. Heck, I spend at least $1000 for the 20-25 days I ski in any one year (and I rarely pay the full daily price). For those who bought those passes from original owners at a huge premium, caveat emptor.

 

PR for this kind of thing is overrated; it's not like they're killing baby seals. Outside of locals and a handful of members of ski forums, most skiers don't know or care about the issue. With its location and terrain, Killington won't miss the few dozen who decide to boycott the place.

 

Personally, it's far from my favorite place to ski, but it has enough going for it that I still find myself skiing there once a year.

 


That pretty much sums it up. The people that spend the most money won't know or care.
 

post #20 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by ecimmortal View Post




The people that spend the most money won't know or care.
 

The passholders are the people who spend the most money.  Powdr has treated all the passholders and property owners poorly.  Those are the people who not only spend a lot, they bring their friends ot the mountain as well.  Powdr apparently has (had?) some idea of creating a big buck resort like Vale, but in won't work in central Vermont because the weather is just not reliable enough for that anymore.  It probably won't work in Stowe either, but that's another topic.

If I'm a Rutland local, with the new short season and high season pass prices,  Sugarbush is looking a lot better, and Okemo is looking better for my kid program.  And if I'm a local who doesn't ski there, taxing all those rich New Yorkers Powdr wants to bring is a pretty good idea.

Most ski area managements put a lot of effort into getting the locals on their side (think of the cheap passes available to Colorado locals), but Powdr seems to have been doing the opposite, and not just with regard to the lifetime passes.

 

BK 
 

post #21 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bode Klammer View Post

The passholders are the people who spend the most money.  Powdr has treated all the passholders and property owners poorly.  ........

 

Most ski area managements put a lot of effort into getting the locals on their side (think of the cheap passes available to Colorado locals), but Powdr seems to have been doing the opposite, and not just with regard to the lifetime passes.

 

BK 
 


Most sucessful managers don't care about money that has already come and gone-especially for the previous owners. They care about bringing in more and more future revenues.  People that own property and have what they were lead to believe were lifetime passes paid money to the previous management.  They are likely looked upon as dead wood by the new owners.

 

The question is, will there be people lined up and bidding to purchaed the property currently owned by the lifetime pass holders that go peaved becasue they were booted?  If so, then there is a whole new target market tfor the mountain to sell daily and anual passes to.  Furthermore, they will escape all liabilities that they can.  Mission accomplished from their perspective. 
 

post #22 of 56

I find it hard to believe, as a season passholder, that the passholders are spending the most money.  Most of us on this board (the regulars anyway) are proud passholders and just love talking about how LITTLE we spend per day skiing.  Sure, we may spend the MOST over the course of an entire season on skiing as a sport....maybe...by the time you add in airfare to other areas and lodging and equipment, but how much are we dropping at our local hill per day?  We make a point of saying NOT MUCH. 

 

In the report I posted on the Montana ski areas, they reported that residents (passholders, I would assume primarily, but it wasn't divided up that way, so it would have included people buying lift tickets and renting) were spending only about $141 per "trip" vs. $1273 per "trip" for non-residents, which you know were not passholders.  Now that of course, included airfare.  But if I go to page 15 of that report, I find that it's not all due to airfare, the tourists are spending more on just about everything:

expenses.jpg

If we assume there is a high correlation between passholders/residents and nonpassholders/nonresidents, I think it sort of blows a big hole in your idea that passholders are that profitable.

 

I just did a quick calculation of how much I personally will drop in the SKI AREA'S pocket next year, given my seasonal locker, the lift ticket and lunch.  Came to just around $1020 in TOTAL FOR THE WHOLE SEASON.  Those numbers above are for just a guy's 3 or 4 day trip. 

post #23 of 56

Sibhusky, you beat me to it.

 

After paying for their pass, most passholders I know contribute little more to an area's bottom line than an occasional lunch or a couple of beers in the bar on the way home.

 

That much derided gaper who stumbles off the bus for his/her annual ski weekend, who rented accomodations through the mountain, pays full price for lift tickets, rents equipment at the mountain, and eats all their meals in restaurants is far more profitable and worthwhile cultivating than any local.

post #24 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bode Klammer View Post



The passholders are the people who spend the most money.  Powdr has treated all the passholders and property owners poorly.  Those are the people who not only spend a lot, they bring their friends ot the mountain as well.  Powdr apparently has (had?) some idea of creating a big buck resort like Vale, but in won't work in central Vermont because the weather is just not reliable enough for that anymore.  It probably won't work in Stowe either, but that's another topic.

If I'm a Rutland local, with the new short season and high season pass prices,  Sugarbush is looking a lot better, and Okemo is looking better for my kid program.  And if I'm a local who doesn't ski there, taxing all those rich New Yorkers Powdr wants to bring is a pretty good idea.

Most ski area managements put a lot of effort into getting the locals on their side (think of the cheap passes available to Colorado locals), but Powdr seems to have been doing the opposite, and not just with regard to the lifetime passes.

 

BK 
 


LOL...as stated by others. People buy passes to NOT spend money. When it comes to a destination resort such as Killington the few lifetime pass holders that they lose as customers will not even be a blip in the long run.

Are you actually a lifetime holder? Or were you just looking for a reason to go somewhere else anyways.
 

post #25 of 56

Actually, I have to adjust the number I gave downward.  I forgot I'm sharing that locker with another passholder.  Knock off $105, making it $915.

post #26 of 56

The more people who get to ski free, the more the rest of the customers have to pay to keep the books balanced.

post #27 of 56

I know a few original lifetime passholders. All of them are pretty old now & don't ski much anymore. A couple of them had their passes for sale a few years ago. I don't think they were asking much, maybe $500-$700. If they sold them all power to them.

 

The conversation about passholders (lifetime or seasonal) not spending much at the mountain is true for myself & others I know. I personally pride myself in how little I spend at the mountain. Not that I don't have a good time & spend money in the local economy but just not at the mountain. We have a ski club not far away where we spend most of our after ski time. On the other hand our group brings hundreds (yes hundreds) of people to the area that pay full price for lifts & apre ski at the mountain. I buy a season pass because I ski enough to make that the best option for me. Killington also offers discounts to  ski club members that buy multi day tickets that can be used throughout the season not all at once & additional days can be added on throughout the season. I believe the unused days can be added on to next season.. They have a similar deal offered to the public but the club discount is a little nicer.

 

POWDR had a shaky start because of all the layoffs & loss of employee benefits to the local community, which is the only thing I still hold against them. Plus POWDR also closed baselodges & didn't run some lifts during the week. They changed their ways this year & have all facilities open & most lifts running, even the lower condo access gondola. Some lifts are still closed mid-week but access to all terrain on the mountain is accessable. I mentioned in my earlier post that they've been taking excellent care of the mountain both grooming & snowmaking on a large swath of the mountain. To me the mountain is in the best shape it's ever been & is often better than most other resorts, especially to the north. Although the terrain to the north is equal or better. I do ski around a bit in VT. & elsewhere in NE besides K  & to me they're doing a good job. 

post #28 of 56

I think a deal like...."we will honor lifetime passes for the origional holder (if this can be proven somehow) or the first generation of children under that holder...ie, mom passes it down to daughter.        

 

Once you sell it or plan to sell it, you become part of the business world and have to abide by business laws/standards.      

 

 

In that case,I feel they would have kept the goodwill for the dedicated skiers who origionally invested...the remainder are numbers folks and numbers folks (who like to ski too) will still look for the best deal.    

 

Locals don't spend money at the mountain.      But, giving props to locals---they are one reason why tourists who do bring money spend the money and come back or go somewhere else.         Example:  Hawaii---never need to go back.      Same beachs as the carribean in my view...locals to the south love you...Hawaian natives---hate you and dont have a problem telling you.      I simply could not believe what  my tour guide was saying and acting like on my bike trip to the top of Maui.     I took notice then, and the distaste for tourists began to jump out of every crack.   

 

 

Need a reason to not  go to Kmart (though I do enjoy it) ask a PSIA instructor how they are treated.

post #29 of 56

IANAL but my son is on a break from law school. And at age 57 I'm thinking of taking the LSAT. :-) That said, so you know I'm just talking out of my hat...

 

It looks to me that legally, the judge is correct. Powdr and SP Land did NOT purchase Killington Ski Resort from ASC. What they purchased were certain ASSETS of ASC in and around the resort. 

 

So they didn't "buy the company". This is a typical strategy when a failing company is being carved up. Potential buyers swoop in and go for just the pieces of it they want, without any of the messy debts, liabilities, labor contracts, etc. 

 

(break for me ROFLMAO at the idea of a Ski Resort having a labor contract with a union. PSIA would probably hire lawyers to protect its too-cozy relationship with resort operators if Ski Instructors tried to unionize. Even though we're paid almost exactly in the same "block-time" or "class-start-to-end" time manner as Flight Attendants, who are heavily unionized except at legacy pre-merger Delta).

 

Thus the current operators of Killington have no legal obligation to honor those lifetime passes.

 

Which means the current operators of Killington are FLAMING MORONS for not realizing what a PR disaster they've created by fighting this. It's a lousy 1243 passholders. Most of whom by now have grandchildren and great grandchildren. Or large networks of friends, partners, "intentional family" members. Classic multiplier effect. They could have kept the next two generations of these passholders as paying customers, along with their larger group of compatriots. 

 

Instead they piss everybody off, get horrible press, and get ski-related websites like right here posting about what kind of jerks they are.

 

This, in an economy where the whole concept of a resort vacation, second homes, expensive sports like skiing are purely discretionary and being cut back or replaced with cheaper alternatives. 

 

They're frakkin' nuts to take away these passes. The passholders will keep skiing. Just not at Killington or other Powdr-owned resorts, ever. And they'll take their families and friends to Powdr's competitors, and teach their children to avoid Killington and Powdr's other properties.

post #30 of 56

I agree with the poster above. Pass holder may not spend a lot of money in the resort themselves. But they bring friends who do. And since a pass holder are naturally good local guide and ambasadors, so their guests are more likely to return on their own!

 

Piss off the pass holders, all of their guest are going to ski elsewhere.

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