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The 2022 - 2023 Ski Season Thread


Skivt2
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Looks like the company that owns Ragged in NH may be buying Jay Peak.  Hopefully Ragged will end up on The Indie pass rather than Jay leaving.  

It’s not a don’t deal yet..they were extremely profitable last season and the bids went up. Pacific group is basically the starting bid and others can come in higher. That said, I think they have a very good chance and would be a great owner. I’ve heard they intend to keep current management and be more or less hands off.


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I was just in Oregon and visited the Timberline lodge at Mt. Hood. I had no idea they still would have a lift running up to where snow remained and skiing/snowboarding open. These were taken on 8/11:

 

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On 8/16/2022 at 11:16 AM, eyewall said:

I was just in Oregon and visited the Timberline lodge at Mt. Hood. I had no idea they still would have a lift running up to where snow remained and skiing/snowboarding open. These were taken on 8/11:

 

hood1web.jpg

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I thought that lift used to run all year long at some point in the 90's or early 2000's.   ?     Maybe not but I remember reading that in a ski mag.

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7 hours ago, HIPPYVALLEY said:

I thought that lift used to run all year long at some point in the 90's or early 2000's.   ?     Maybe not but I remember reading that in a ski mag.

I believe you are correct.

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Stowe announced a $450 parking season pass which doesn't even guarantee a spot in the lot given it will still be first come first served...:yikes:. Seems like there are definitely some infrastructure related constraints which makes the situation difficult, but I'm not sure this will be a popular solution. 

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5 hours ago, MRVexpat said:

Stowe announced a $450 parking season pass which doesn't even guarantee a spot in the lot given it will still be first come first served...:yikes:. Seems like there are definitely some infrastructure related constraints which makes the situation difficult, but I'm not sure this will be a popular solution. 

Not a popular option and honestly it probably wasn’t designed to be. There’s a reason why passes were $2200 for one mountain in the past.  Needs to be some significant economic disincentive on weekends because the demand is so far out of whack with the supply side economics.

The on-hill lift capacity is higher than two-lane road capacity. People per car nationwide is way down since COVID too, so more cars to get the same number of skiers. Need a very long gondola like Little Cottonwood Canyon is trying to do up Highway 210. Alta and Snowbird have the capacity on-hill but the road can’t come close to matching it. They do the paid parking with reservations and it still hasn’t really eased the situation (even without avalanches and the such).

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I think its a smart move to reduce demand and works towards the goal of the best mountain experience for the required minimum amount of guests. --- I have an epic northeast pass that affords me several non holiday days at stowe, but I'll be staying local to wildcat and attitash. Bring on the snow!

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2 hours ago, powderfreak said:

Not a popular option and honestly it probably wasn’t designed to be. There’s a reason why passes were $2200 for one mountain in the past.  Needs to be some significant economic disincentive on weekends because the demand is so far out of whack with the supply side economics.

The on-hill lift capacity is so much higher than two-lane road capacity. People per car nationwide is way down since COVID too, so more cars to get the same number of skiers. Need a very long gondola like Little Cottonwood Canyon is trying to do up Highway 210. Alta and Snowbird have the capacity on-hill but the road can’t come close to matching it. They do the paid parking with reservations and it still hasn’t really eased the situation (even without avalanches and the such).

There needs to be a aerial tram from the village to the mountain with a couple of stops along the bike path to access businesses and lodging. Cheaper and more environmentally friendly than road expansion and better than shuttle busses. 
 

Edit: Lol. I do this all the time, respond before I finish reading the entire post. I just got excited by my brilliant idea. 

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On 10/3/2022 at 10:19 PM, mreaves said:

There needs to be a aerial tram from the village to the mountain with a couple of stops along the bike path to access businesses and lodging. Cheaper and more environmentally friendly than road expansion and better than shuttle busses. 
 

Edit: Lol. I do this all the time, respond before I finish reading the entire post. I just got excited by my brilliant idea. 

Perhaps a few seasons of parking pass revenue can fund this :lol: I just feel bad for the parking attendant who has to explain to the stressed out parents of a family of 4 who sat on a conga line of cars on mountain road for two hours, only to be turned away at 11AM on a busy Saturday that their $450 pass doesn't get them a spot in the lot. The @stoweparkinglot instagram account is sure to be hilarious this winter. 

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1 hour ago, MRVexpat said:

Perhaps a few seasons of parking pass revenue can fund this :lol: I just feel bad for the parking attendant who has to explain to the stressed out parents of a family of 4 who sat on a conga line of cars on mountain road for two hours, only to be turned away at 11AM on a busy Saturday that their $450 pass doesn't get them a spot in the lot. The @stoweparkinglot instagram account is sure to be hilarious this winter. 

Ha the Family of 4 gets in for free and doesn't need a pass.  To be honest the lots only truly fill up maybe 3-4 days a season.  The road is the issue.  And since COVID the people per car metrics nationwide are way down, so there's actually now more cars to get to the same level of actual skiers than in the past.  If it used to be 2.5 per car and now is 1.3, that's a big difference (just as an example).  Traffic has gotten worse without seeing an increase in the actual number of skiers.  All the cars and 1 person in each one.

The mountain also has the lift capacity that lines are never too bad and you can always find lifts like the Lookout Double and Sensation Quad to ride. The lift capacity far outweighs the two lane road capacity.  Same thing in like the Cottonwood Canyons. 

But in Stowe it's not just winter.  This past weekend was worse than anything in the winter.  Took me 1.5 hours to get to the mountain and 45 minutes to get home.  This is with no snow on the roads.  It took some people two hours to get to Exit 10 at Waterbury.  The interstate was backed up a couple miles on the shoulder of people trying to just get off Exit 10.  

311365853_10104894572599140_669589598356

This was a shot from a friend in the Notch on Saturday.

311311827_10159333155068579_851998154940

 

There are just a LOT of people around on the weekends all year round.  Ski area open or not.  Summer has had more traffic than ever, it's just in different places. Even dirt roads had huge backups.

It's not just a winter ski area problem.  This area is extremely popular. 

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AirBnB and VRBO have definitely changed this area.  The hotels used to be great capacity limiters... once the hotels were sold out, you couldn't stay here.  That capped the town's available beds for visitors at a very set number.  The hotels like Topnotch, Stoweflake, Trapps, etc sell out and you are out of luck.  Now there's over 1,000 private residences for rental on AirBnB and VRBO, most of them designed to pack people in too.  You could realistically add another 5,000 people to town on a weekend just in the short term rental market.

If you double the amount of beds in a town that visitors can sleep in (without building a single hotel), this is what happens.  The single family home behind me rents out to 3 families at a time.  Bunkbeds, pull out couches, etc.  It's designed to cram people in.  The guy charges $900 a night for it.  If he rents that 100 days out of 365 in a year, that's $90,000 in revenue he now makes off his second home and he visits the same amount of time as he used to before renting it. But he also doesn't understand why there's so many people around town all the time. The irony.

Ski towns used to complain about all the second homes sitting empty most of the year... well, they found a way to fill them with as many humans as possible all year round.  I'm not one to tell someone what they can and can't do with their property, but it's an interesting dilemma in town right now.  You can see why some places restrict short term rentals.

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1 hour ago, powderfreak said:

AirBnB and VRBO have definitely changed this area.  The hotels used to be great capacity limiters... once the hotels were sold out, you couldn't stay here.  That capped the town's available beds for visitors at a very set number.  The hotels like Topnotch, Stoweflake, Trapps, etc sell out and you are out of luck.  Now there's over 1,000 private residences for rental on AirBnB and VRBO, most of them designed to pack people in too.  You could realistically add another 5,000 people to town on a weekend just in the short term rental market.

If you double the amount of beds in a town that visitors can sleep in (without building a single hotel), this is what happens.  The single family home behind me rents out to 3 families at a time.  Bunkbeds, pull out couches, etc.  It's designed to cram people in.  The guy charges $900 a night for it.  If he rents that 100 days out of 365 in a year, that's $90,000 in revenue he now makes off his second home and he visits the same amount of time as he used to before renting it. But he also doesn't understand why there's so many people around town all the time. The irony.

Ski towns used to complain about all the second homes sitting empty most of the year... well, they found a way to fill them with as many humans as possible all year round.  I'm not one to tell someone what they can and can't do with their property, but it's an interesting dilemma in town right now.  You can see why some places restrict short term rentals.

Totally get that and its an interesting dilemma with no 100% correct answer as to how to remedy the situation without massive capital investments between the mountain/town. Can't make everyone happy and as it stands, this is just one more thing that front line employees will have to deal with. Face the wrath of the paying customer for a year or so until this is accepted as standard practice and then everyone moves on.

Quelling demand with high season pass prices was definitely an easier sell, given it directly relates to the premium product that consumers are wanting to access. Obviously that isn't an option any longer and Vail/Stowe were forced to get creative. Will be interesting to see how it plays out. 

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2 hours ago, powderfreak said:

AirBnB and VRBO have definitely changed this area.  The hotels used to be great capacity limiters... once the hotels were sold out, you couldn't stay here.  That capped the town's available beds for visitors at a very set number.  The hotels like Topnotch, Stoweflake, Trapps, etc sell out and you are out of luck.  Now there's over 1,000 private residences for rental on AirBnB and VRBO, most of them designed to pack people in too.  You could realistically add another 5,000 people to town on a weekend just in the short term rental market.

If you double the amount of beds in a town that visitors can sleep in (without building a single hotel), this is what happens.  The single family home behind me rents out to 3 families at a time.  Bunkbeds, pull out couches, etc.  It's designed to cram people in.  The guy charges $900 a night for it.  If he rents that 100 days out of 365 in a year, that's $90,000 in revenue he now makes off his second home and he visits the same amount of time as he used to before renting it. But he also doesn't understand why there's so many people around town all the time. The irony.

Ski towns used to complain about all the second homes sitting empty most of the year... well, they found a way to fill them with as many humans as possible all year round.  I'm not one to tell someone what they can and can't do with their property, but it's an interesting dilemma in town right now.  You can see why some places restrict short term rentals.

And don't forget what the impact this has had on the long-term rental market.  Why would you want to tie your place up for a single, monthly payment when you could get a steady stream of income without the headaches that come with being a landlord.

My solution is the gondola up 108 to the resort and then through the Notch down to Jeffersonville.  You would have several stops along the way and it would be a year round tourist attraction.  Now if I only had the billion dollars and the legal firepower to get it built. 

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21 hours ago, powderfreak said:

AirBnB and VRBO have definitely changed this area.  The hotels used to be great capacity limiters... once the hotels were sold out, you couldn't stay here.  That capped the town's available beds for visitors at a very set number.  The hotels like Topnotch, Stoweflake, Trapps, etc sell out and you are out of luck.  Now there's over 1,000 private residences for rental on AirBnB and VRBO, most of them designed to pack people in too.  You could realistically add another 5,000 people to town on a weekend just in the short term rental market.

If you double the amount of beds in a town that visitors can sleep in (without building a single hotel), this is what happens.  The single family home behind me rents out to 3 families at a time.  Bunkbeds, pull out couches, etc.  It's designed to cram people in.  The guy charges $900 a night for it.  If he rents that 100 days out of 365 in a year, that's $90,000 in revenue he now makes off his second home and he visits the same amount of time as he used to before renting it. But he also doesn't understand why there's so many people around town all the time. The irony.

Ski towns used to complain about all the second homes sitting empty most of the year... well, they found a way to fill them with as many humans as possible all year round.  I'm not one to tell someone what they can and can't do with their property, but it's an interesting dilemma in town right now.  You can see why some places restrict short term rentals.

I agree, but this goes to not being able to make everyone happy.  The small businesses benefit immensely from Short Term Rentals.  More people in town means more people renting skis, going to restaurants, going on snow mobile tours, buying gas at the convivence store etc.  Hotels generally tend to keep people more isolated to the businesses in or immediately near a hotel.  Short term also saves towns tons of money because there are no kids going to school like long term rentals (and schools are by far the biggest impact on property taxes) Towns also hire seasonal part time police with no benefits, instead of full time officers, the second biggest impact on the municipal budget.  The mountain is usually the biggest employer in the nearby town, so more people equals more jobs.  Economically, it is a substantially superior model.  The downside is the local resident, who wants a less crowded experience at their mountain.  Everyone bitches about Stowe being too crowded, but isn't the real issue a one lane road leading to a dead end?  I kind of equate this to a stadium.  No matter what you do (besides expanding for about 8 days a year) you are going to have traffic before and after a football game.  It's like a powder day at Stowe, or the 7am-10am period on Saturdays in mid winter or two weekends in October.  Do you really build another road (even if you could) to accommodate that? I love the idea of a town gondola; I just don't know if the expense could be justified.  Stowe is not Breck or Vail or the western giants.  Maybe.  The other bitching is just vail sucks guy, who wants the mountain to himself and is ok with a $1799 season pass because he skis everyday, can afford it, and it's "their mountain".

 

Full disclosure: I rent out my condo a couple weeks a year, so I am one of those Short Term rental people everyone hates.  We use it a ton so if we couldn't rent it for those two or three weeks a year, it's no big deal.  But I know a lot of people who would have to sell, as theirs's are strictly rentals and I wonder what that flood of supply would do to everyone's property values.

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Slightly OT, but this caught my attentions.

Towns also hire seasonal part time police with no benefits, instead of full time officers, the second biggest impact on the municipal budget.

Schools are the biggest part of our property tax bill, but roads - maintenance, plowing, etc, - are by far the 2nd biggest.  Law enforcement is way down the list, as our town is too small to warrant its own police, and our bill for our share of the county sheriff budget is relatively small.  Probably the town fire department would be #3.  Of course, our town is definitely not a tourist destination, though this fall's colors have been quite nice.

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37 minutes ago, tamarack said:

Slightly OT, but this caught my attentions.

Towns also hire seasonal part time police with no benefits, instead of full time officers, the second biggest impact on the municipal budget.

Schools are the biggest part of our property tax bill, but roads - maintenance, plowing, etc, - are by far the 2nd biggest.  Law enforcement is way down the list, as our town is too small to warrant its own police, and our bill for our share of the county sheriff budget is relatively small.  Probably the town fire department would be #3.  Of course, our town is definitely not a tourist destination, though this fall's colors have been quite nice.

I'm thinking more like tourist towns, in particular, my jersey roots come to mind as the shore towns bring on as many as 20-30 police officers for the summer at $25-35 an hour instead of full time officers at 100k plus a year with benefits packages.  Long term rentals wouldn't require quite so many, but substantially more full time officers. 

 

But my statement implied a one size fits all; which, to your point, is incorrect.

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1 hour ago, bwt3650 said:

I agree, but this goes to not being able to make everyone happy.  The small businesses benefit immensely from Short Term Rentals.  More people in town means more people renting skis, going to restaurants, going on snow mobile tours, buying gas at the convivence store etc.  Hotels generally tend to keep people more isolated to the businesses in or immediately near a hotel.  Short term also saves towns tons of money because there are no kids going to school like long term rentals (and schools are by far the biggest impact on property taxes) Towns also hire seasonal part time police with no benefits, instead of full time officers, the second biggest impact on the municipal budget.  The mountain is usually the biggest employer in the nearby town, so more people equals more jobs.  Economically, it is a substantially superior model.  The downside is the local resident, who wants a less crowded experience at their mountain.  Everyone bitches about Stowe being too crowded, but isn't the real issue a one lane road leading to a dead end?  I kind of equate this to a stadium.  No matter what you do (besides expanding for about 8 days a year) you are going to have traffic before and after a football game.  It's like a powder day at Stowe, or the 7am-10am period on Saturdays in mid winter or two weekends in October.  Do you really build another road (even if you could) to accommodate that? I love the idea of a town gondola; I just don't know if the expense could be justified.  Stowe is not Breck or Vail or the western giants.  Maybe.  The other bitching is just vail sucks guy, who wants the mountain to himself and is ok with a $1799 season pass because he skis everyday, can afford it, and it's "their mountain".

Full disclosure: I rent out my condo a couple weeks a year, so I am one of those Short Term rental people everyone hates.  We use it a ton so if we couldn't rent it for those two or three weeks a year, it's no big deal.  But I know a lot of people who would have to sell, as theirs's are strictly rentals and I wonder what that flood of supply would do to everyone's property values.

Yeah I should've clarified too.  People around here have always rented out their places for a couple/few weeks a year to cover their bills, taxes, etc.  That totally makes sense.  What I see is more on the Industrial level scale of renting.  Our townhomes have people who own multiple units. They are in it solely for renting and their units are empty a few weeks a year instead of the other way around.  Then by owning multiple units they control the HOA, etc.  Next thing they are trying to get folks to pay for a heated pool because they control more HOA votes and heated pool goes better on their listings and charging more money.  Many decisions made are not for the better quality of living necessarily but what works better on a VRBO listing.  That's my personal druthers, ha ha.

There are also corporations buying up property, homes, condos, townhomes, etc around here for rentals... so you know there will never be an actual owner living there at any point in time.  I get cold calls personally from companies looking to buy my place, ha.  To me the balance might be limiting the number of weeks you can rent a property?  Something that tries to make sure it is actually someone's second home/vacation place and not owned solely to be a stand alone mini-hotel operation?

I do like the positives you pointed out though.  Its good to remind myself of that sometimes.  We could live in the country with nothing around us but chose to live in Stowe because we also like seeing some humans, eating out, bars, restaurants, breweries, music, festivals, etc.  That wide variety of food, drinks, breweries, etc that is often on par with small cities is all because the town is popular.  Property values too... ours has tripled since buying in 2012.  Not a bad investment.  And 95% of the days in a calendar year are perfectly fine, normal days.  So much of this rabble rousing is for under 5% of days annually.

@bwt3650 you think very much like me, ha.  I've always used the football stadium or concert analogy too! No matter what happens, if you go to say Foxboro on a Sunday for a Pats game.  You are waiting in traffic.  There's no way around it.  You cannot have that volume of people arrive and leave at similar times and not wait.  There may be capacity at the end of the road (the stadium) but the road itself will bottleneck hard.  Even rush hour into or out of a city.  The Mountain Road here is like I-93 into Boston but on a much smaller scale obviously.  The office buildings all those people go to is like the chairlift capacity (it's there, it can handle it) but getting to that office building or chairlift is all via the same roads and thus, bumper to bumper traffic.

Even during AIG days there were traffic problems.  Maybe people want to pay $2200 and have traffic a half dozen days vs. paying much less and having it a dozen days instead?  And in the grand scheme of things.... a 155 day operating season, trying to do some monster infrastructure project for what is maybe 8% of winter days, and like 2-3% of days out of an entire year... seems like a hard sell.  No one is building a 3rd lane on RT 108 for such a low percentage of days out of the calendar once you really boil it down.

 

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2 hours ago, bwt3650 said:

I'm thinking more like tourist towns, in particular, my jersey roots come to mind as the shore towns bring on as many as 20-30 police officers for the summer at $25-35 an hour instead of full time officers at 100k plus a year with benefits packages.  Long term rentals wouldn't require quite so many, but substantially more full time officers. 

 

But my statement implied a one size fits all; which, to your point, is incorrect.

Thanks
The idea of my comparing New Sharon, Maine to the Jersey shore is literally lol.

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