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The 2022 - 2023 Ski Season Thread


Skivt2
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On 10/12/2022 at 10:19 AM, 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.

From what I see in our summer town (Rangeley), the economic benefits of short-term rentals only go so far. The disruption in the housing market caused by short-terms is extreme and the result is that many businesses, especially restaurants, are open fewer days and hours than they were a decade ago due to worker shortages. Even with higher wages, it’s very difficult to find a place to live that is affordable. From what I read, this now the norm in most resort towns. The old market wage/living cost balances no longer apply and it will take time to sort out the new market and find solutions.

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3 hours ago, uncletim said:

From what I see in our summer town (Rangeley), the economic benefits of short-term rentals only go so far. The disruption in the housing market caused by short-terms is extreme and the result is that many businesses, especially restaurants, are open fewer days and hours than they were a decade ago due to worker shortages. Even with higher wages, it’s very difficult to find a place to live that is affordable. From what I read, this now the norm in most resort towns. The old market wage/living cost balances no longer apply and it will take time to sort out the new market and find solutions.

I agree. You explained the situation much better than I did above. Here in VT, that situation extends beyond the “resort” towns. When so much of our economy depends on tourism, virtually all of state becomes fertile ground for short term rentals. 

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8 hours ago, uncletim said:

From what I see in our summer town (Rangeley), the economic benefits of short-term rentals only go so far. The disruption in the housing market caused by short-terms is extreme and the result is that many businesses, especially restaurants, are open fewer days and hours than they were a decade ago due to worker shortages. Even with higher wages, it’s very difficult to find a place to live that is affordable. From what I read, this now the norm in most resort towns. The old market wage/living cost balances no longer apply and it will take time to sort out the new market and find solutions.

A friend of mine lives near Mount Snow, his wife still works there, and when we saw him Labor Day weekend for the Brewfest there he said the same thing.  It’s killing the market for locals looking for a place to live. 

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12 hours ago, uncletim said:

From what I see in our summer town (Rangeley), the economic benefits of short-term rentals only go so far. The disruption in the housing market caused by short-terms is extreme and the result is that many businesses, especially restaurants, are open fewer days and hours than they were a decade ago due to worker shortages. Even with higher wages, it’s very difficult to find a place to live that is affordable. From what I read, this now the norm in most resort towns. The old market wage/living cost balances no longer apply and it will take time to sort out the new market and find solutions.

The economic engine is hampered by work force now.  The demand is there but restaurants that were 7-day a week operations are now 4-5 day a week operations.  There are plenty of guests to do 7 day a week operations but can’t staff it.

Wages are minimum $20/hr and some restaurants around here are at $30/hr now. But even being just a line cook for $70,000 a year won’t let you buy or rent around here.

Also I have to imagine the margins weren’t great to begin with but if your whole restaurant staff is now filled with people making the equivalent of $50-$75k annually from hostess to line cooks, the margin has to be even less.  The cost of food is up. Prices keep going up on the menu too.

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11 hours ago, powderfreak said:

The economic engine is hampered by work force now.  The demand is there but restaurants that were 7-day a week operations are now 4-5 day a week operations.  There are plenty of guests to do 7 day a week operations but can’t staff it.

Wages are minimum $20/hr and some restaurants around here are at $30/hr now. But even being just a line cook for $70,000 a year won’t let you buy or rent around here.

Also I have to imagine the margins weren’t great to begin with but if your whole restaurant staff is now filled with people making the equivalent of $50-$75k annually from hostess to line cooks, the margin has to be even less.  The cost of food is up. Prices keep going up on the menu too.

Short of regulatory intervention, which always makes me squirm, I’m not sure what the answers are. I haven’t seen or heard about any communities which have successfully dealt with it. Saddleback is building employee housing, but that seems like a drop in the bucket of a regional problem. 

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The issue is that it’s nearly impossible to build anything in the Northeast due to a combination of NIMBYism, construction costs, and regulation. 
 

Look at housing production/capita in fast-growing yet relatively affordable metros (I.e Houston, San Antonio, Greenville/Spartanburg, just to name a few) vs. the Burlington, VT MSA. 

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Just brought my boots in for some custom fitting at local ski shop in Albany area and spoke to the owner. Place was packed and he said they will probably run out of seasonal rentals a month early this year. Ski industry appears to be booming. He said that ever since Covid, demand went way up and haven’t leveled off.


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1 hour ago, bch2014 said:

The issue is that it’s nearly impossible to build anything in the Northeast due to a combination of NIMBYism, construction costs, and regulation. 
 

Look at housing production/capita in fast-growing yet relatively affordable metros (I.e Houston, San Antonio, Greenville/Spartanburg, just to name a few) vs. the Burlington, VT MSA. 

Just speaking for myself, my posts were primarily addressing resort towns, which have a substantially different set of issues from metros.

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7 minutes ago, uncletim said:

Just speaking for myself, my posts were primarily addressing resort towns, which have a substantially different set of issues from metros.

The way they manifest themselves is different, sure, but the lack of building in the Champlain Valley hasn’t helped Stowe. Otherwise, it could be a relief valve to Stowe. 

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The crazy thing about the housing situation in Vermont us that it’s not just about resort employee housing.  When you think about housing being too expensive for a restaurant employee making $70k, think about how much a teacher or a nurse makes.  They don’t make much more than that.  As a few of you know, my husband and I have been working on a VT move.  But he has been in nursing school in CT for the past several years.  We rent in VT full time and plan to sell our CT house and buy a VT house soon.  I work 75% remote for a CT company and let’s just say I have a very good corporate job.  As we begin to think about buying a house in VT it is painfully clear that it will be difficult to find anything suitable.  And the house we buy will be about half as nice as the house we will be selling for the same amount of money.  We are seeing house prices that in some cases tripled in 3 years. We are not just talking about lift operators and food services people having difficulty finding a place to live. What about nurses and teachers etc? The question really is where will any people with normal jobs live?  I can’t imagine how this housing situation here in Vermont is sustainable.

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The second/vacation home market in my area of NH has nearly doubled over the past 3 or 4 years, but it seems a correction is beginning to happen. I think the trend will continue especially in the second home market which seems to be more volatile. 

It's pretty wild though to think I was able to buy a 1 acre lot with mountain views for less than $10k 12 years ago. Some of the lots just a couple years before that were selling at auction for under $2k.

 

Just picked up the IKON pass. Hope to get in a trip out west and maybe a weekend at Tremblent or possibly a little summer skiiing at Vallle Nevado. At least that's what my buddy has in mind, but a lot will depend on whether the new housing starts don't come to a screeching halt.

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21 minutes ago, MarkO said:

The second/vacation home market in my area of NH has nearly doubled over the past 3 or 4 years, but it seems a correction is beginning to happen. I think the trend will continue especially in the second home market which seems to be more volatile. 

It's pretty wild though to think I was able to buy a 1 acre lot with mountain views for less than $10k 12 years ago. Some of the lots just a couple years before that were selling at auction for under $2k.

 

Just picked up the IKON pass. Hope to get in a trip out west and maybe a weekend at Tremblent or possibly a little summer skiiing at Vallle Nevado. At least that's what my buddy has in mind, but a lot will depend on whether the new housing starts don't come to a screeching halt.

I get Redfin updates a couple of times a day on my phone.  I have noticed that there are more price reductions now than there has been for a couple of years.

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On 10/17/2022 at 3:21 AM, Skivt2 said:

The crazy thing about the housing situation in Vermont us that it’s not just about resort employee housing.  When you think about housing being too expensive for a restaurant employee making $70k, think about how much a teacher or a nurse makes.  They don’t make much more than that.  As a few of you know, my husband and I have been working on a VT move.  But he has been in nursing school in CT for the past several years.  We rent in VT full time and plan to sell our CT house and buy a VT house soon.  I work 75% remote for a CT company and let’s just say I have a very good corporate job.  As we begin to think about buying a house in VT it is painfully clear that it will be difficult to find anything suitable.  And the house we buy will be about half as nice as the house we will be selling for the same amount of money.  We are seeing house prices that in some cases tripled in 3 years. We are not just talking about lift operators and food services people having difficulty finding a place to live. What about nurses and teachers etc? The question really is where will any people with normal jobs live?  I can’t imagine how this housing situation here in Vermont is sustainable.

Yeah that’s all very true.  Our place has tripled in value.  People are selling comparable places for a ridiculous amount of money.  I purchased cheap in 2012 after the market sank and I was sick of paying rent… my rent payments were about the same as a mortgage payment so why not?

Now we could sell for what I think is an obscene price for what we have, but where do we go?  If I did not make the decision back then to just go for it, there’s no way I live in this town right now.

And you are right that in VT there are a lot of jobs like teaching, law enforcement, EMT, etc that are now actually way behind the curve… the service industry was forced into high wages if they wanted to continue to operate.  The same can’t be said for some other professions.  I know a local teacher who’s 17 year old son makes more money than she does bussing tables in the evenings.  

 

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58 minutes ago, powderfreak said:

Yeah that’s all very true.  Our place has tripled in value.  People are selling comparable places for a ridiculous amount of money.  I purchased cheap in 2012 after the market sank and I was sick of paying rent… my rent payments were about the same as a mortgage payment so why not?

Now we could sell for what I think is an obscene price for what we have, but where do we go?  If I did not make the decision back then to just go for it, there’s no way I live in this town right now.

And you are right that in VT there are a lot of jobs like teaching, law enforcement, EMT, etc that are now actually way behind the curve… the service industry was forced into high wages if they wanted to continue to operate.  The same can’t be said for some other professions.  I know a local teacher who’s 17 year old son makes more money than she does bussing tables in the evenings.  

 

That's very school district dependent.  I have a friend and his wife who are teacher's in Chittenden county.  They've been at the school for 15+ years and make close to $100K each.

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2 hours ago, mreaves said:

I get Redfin updates a couple of times a day on my phone.  I have noticed that there are more price reductions now than there has been for a couple of years.

Yes, my impression as well that market peaked a few months ago. I can see the short-term rental pressures stabilizing somewhat, but at a level that still freezes out the local work force.

Maybe the solution is to create incentives for the local workforce to construct rental units so they can benefit directly - "Teachers (or law enforcement, whatever) get a no cost loan to build an VRBO/AB&B unit so they can afford to live in our town!". I'm speaking tongue-in-cheek, I think...

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On 10/18/2022 at 12:11 PM, powderfreak said:

Yeah that’s all very true.  Our place has tripled in value.  People are selling comparable places for a ridiculous amount of money.  I purchased cheap in 2012 after the market sank and I was sick of paying rent… my rent payments were about the same as a mortgage payment so why not?

Now we could sell for what I think is an obscene price for what we have, but where do we go?  If I did not make the decision back then to just go for it, there’s no way I live in this town right now.

And you are right that in VT there are a lot of jobs like teaching, law enforcement, EMT, etc that are now actually way behind the curve… the service industry was forced into high wages if they wanted to continue to operate.  The same can’t be said for some other professions.  I know a local teacher who’s 17 year old son makes more money than she does bussing tables in the evenings.  

 

I know a Wilmington VT police officer and he said it’s really difficult to get new PD or FD hires because of the lack of affordable housing.  
All of the new out of state residents have also put a tremendous strain on municipal resources. 

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On 10/18/2022 at 11:15 AM, MarkO said:

The second/vacation home market in my area of NH has nearly doubled over the past 3 or 4 years, but it seems a correction is beginning to happen. I think the trend will continue especially in the second home market which seems to be more volatile. 

It's pretty wild though to think I was able to buy a 1 acre lot with mountain views for less than $10k 12 years ago. Some of the lots just a couple years before that were selling at auction for under $2k.

 

Just picked up the IKON pass. Hope to get in a trip out west and maybe a weekend at Tremblent or possibly a little summer skiiing at Vallle Nevado. At least that's what my buddy has in mind, but a lot will depend on whether the new housing starts don't come to a screeching halt.

There is also a flood of remote workers to more desirable rural locations and that is also driving up prices I am sure.

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18 hours ago, eyewall said:

There is also a flood of remote workers to more desirable rural locations and that is also driving up prices I am sure.

Yes, this certainly the case in Rangeley. Together with short-term rentals it’s a “perfect storm” for the housing market.

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1 hour ago, Professional Lurker said:

Thinking about making a trip out west for Christmas. Never been, looking for suggestions as to who'd have the best early season coverage.

Sent from my SM-A505U using Tapatalk
 

Grand Targhee is usually high on the list for early season snowpack. 

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21 hours ago, Professional Lurker said:

Thinking about making a trip out west for Christmas. Never been, looking for suggestions as to who'd have the best early season coverage.

Sent from my SM-A505U using Tapatalk
 

Any of the Cottonwood resorts (Alta, Snowbird, Brighton, Solitude) in Utah are probably your best bet due to their unique microclimate. Snowbird and Alta are the largest out of those, and receive the highest annual snowfall of any US resort outside of the Cascades/Sierras. Those two average around 500" a season, while nearby Park City typically sees totals in the 300"-400" inch range, so the Cottonwoods have an advantage over other areas even locally thanks to their microclimate. 

Utah can get unlucky and get stuck in extended dry periods from time to time, so the most "coverage proof" early season resort in North America is probably Whistler above mid mountain. The base area gets warm and can flip to rain during some storms, but with a 5000ft vertical drop its not hard to find good coverage up top.

Wolf Creek and Targhee are good bets as well, but on the smaller side. Larger spots in CO, as well as Jackson Hole and Big Sky, need a lot of snow to fill in their terrain so openings aren't as reliable by Christmas.

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On 10/15/2022 at 2:27 AM, uncletim said:

From what I see in our summer town (Rangeley), the economic benefits of short-term rentals only go so far. The disruption in the housing market caused by short-terms is extreme and the result is that many businesses, especially restaurants, are open fewer days and hours than they were a decade ago due to worker shortages. Even with higher wages, it’s very difficult to find a place to live that is affordable. From what I read, this now the norm in most resort towns. The old market wage/living cost balances no longer apply and it will take time to sort out the new market and find solutions.

I may be biased here, but it's obviously a topic I follow a lot and the data doesn't agree, for the following reasons: 

1. The impact of STRs on housing market is actually over-rated. See https://www.forbes.com/sites/rogervaldez/2022/10/06/housing-scapegoat-short-term-rentals-arent-the-problem/?sh=268e93a76abb

2. The economic impact of STRs on local economies is huge. A recent study puts the economic value of STRs just in the town of Conway at $45 million. See https://www.responsiblevacationrentals.com/resources/Conway STR Economic Impact Study 2021.pdf 

3. From personal experience, STRs don't significantly impact the local housing market for 2 reasons.

a) most of the 100+ homes we have in our program would not be affordable in any way. They are built as vacation homes, and not for local workforce who simply couldn't afford them. That's where towns/governments need to step in and incentivize new constructions that's focused on workforce housing, not large luxury homes on 2+ acres. Everyone in Carrol complains that there are not enough homes, but at the same time the town doesn't want to change the minimum 1 acre, and has fought for the longest time against Accessory Dwelling Units, homes over 3 stories, etc - all things that would lead to more workforce housing. 

b) most of the homes in our program are second homes and not available as Short Term Rentals on a full time basis, with very few exceptions. If STRs didn't exist, they would simply sit unoccupied when the owners are not using them. They wouldn't magically become housing available in the long term rental market. 

It's a controversial issue - and I want employees housing just as anyone else, but in my opinion simply putting the blame on STRs is very short sighted. 

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13 minutes ago, alex said:

I may be biased here, but it's obviously a topic I follow a lot and the data doesn't agree, for the following reasons: 

1. The impact of STRs on housing market is actually over-rated. See https://www.forbes.com/sites/rogervaldez/2022/10/06/housing-scapegoat-short-term-rentals-arent-the-problem/?sh=268e93a76abb

2. The economic impact of STRs on local economies is huge. A recent study puts the economic value of STRs just in the town of Conway at $45 million. See https://www.responsiblevacationrentals.com/resources/Conway STR Economic Impact Study 2021.pdf 

3. From personal experience, STRs don't significantly impact the local housing market for 2 reasons.

a) most of the 100+ homes we have in our program would not be affordable in any way. They are built as vacation homes, and not for local workforce who simply couldn't afford them. That's where towns/governments need to step in and incentivize new constructions that's focused on workforce housing, not large luxury homes on 2+ acres. Everyone in Carrol complains that there are not enough homes, but at the same time the town doesn't want to change the minimum 1 acre, and has fought for the longest time against Accessory Dwelling Units, homes over 3 stories, etc - all things that would lead to more workforce housing. 

b) most of the homes in our program are second homes and not available as Short Term Rentals on a full time basis, with very few exceptions. If STRs didn't exist, they would simply sit unoccupied when the owners are not using them. They wouldn't magically become housing available in the long term rental market. 

It's a controversial issue - and I want employees housing just as anyone else, but in my opinion simply putting the blame on STRs is very short sighted. 

I agree, there are numerous factors that come into play.  We also need to remember that many of the employees that work at the resorts and other tourism oriented businesses would also be using, if not STRs then MTRs, Medium Term Rentals, for the entire season so some of the shift is there.  It's hard to incentivize a focus on non-luxury housing though.  Developers will build where they can make the most profit and that's where the market is.  It's also harder to build in our areas.  Between regulations, which can be changed, physical challenges with terrain and the simple fact that when people think of moving to NNE, most aren't thinking of living in an apartment block.  Most people want to live in a house in the country.    

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