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Thread: Hotel on Mt Washington??!!

  1. #91
    Senior Member Grey J's Avatar
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    Washington is what it is and it has been that way my entire life. I accept that it will never be a pristine open summit let alone a wilderness. The Cog is a lot older than me. However, just because a place has been "spoiled" (which is of course a very subjective term) doesn't mean we are at liberty to "spoil" it further. Washington is a unique experience but Adams will remain my favorite high peak in the northeast.
    Last edited by Grey J; 12-13-2016 at 07:35 AM. Reason: syntax
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  2. #92
    Senior Member Raven's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grey J View Post
    Washington is a unique experience but Adams will remain my favorite high peak in the northeast.
    Ssshhhhhhhhh........
    Humankind has not woven the web of life.
    We are but one thread within it.
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  3. #93
    Senior Member skiguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisB View Post
    I don't quite get this. Who'll be connecting dots?

    I don't think the Obs staff has any skill/training in maintaining sophisticated comm gear. They work hard to keep the web cams (esp Wildcat's) online.

    Without MTW on the summit is there a broadcast eng or RF person available on a daily basis.

    WRT Research: Of the 5 projects listed on the web site, only one involves an external (to NH) entity. Most are UNH system-related.

    Like space exploration, the summit Obs could probably be automated, especially if a non-mechanical wind speed measurement system (doppler?) was available. Keeping a crew of 5 people alive and comfortable in that environment is very expensive. And lacking lots of paying research projects makes it even more difficult.

    cb
    Mount Washington is home to a huge array of Emergency Communication Systems that are a critical link for that system to work. Alot of it is already automated but keeping the way clear to that system especially during Winter Months by humans in the event that the system does go down is critical. The Observatory Staff although not specifically trained as Electrical/RF Engineers are a piece of the chain that keeps the path clear.
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  4. #94
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    A minor update. The Cog was in front of the Coos County Planning board recently. An application has not been filed so no public questions or comments allowed yet. It was mentioned that the rates would be $350 to $500 a night.

    In addition to the planning board, they will need a ruling from the Coos county Zoning Board of Appeals this board exists on paper only at this point. . Unfortunately the only way to date to stop the project is in the hands of Coos County appointed boards. The elected Coos County Commissioners who appoint these boards are typically very supportive of local businesses expanding no matter what the general public cares. There still are dual petitions for and against the project but the against petition seems to be focused outside of Coos county.

  5. #95
    Senior Member Seeker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    A minor update. The Cog was in front of the Coos County Planning board recently. An application has not been filed so no public questions or comments allowed yet. It was mentioned that the rates would be $350 to $500 a night.
    *cough* *sputter*
    "Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, Champagne in one hand - strawberries in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming WOO HOO - What a Ride!"

  6. #96
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    One of the stated customers would be the overflow of hikers from Lake of Crowds . When the cog owner mentions Lake of the Crowds he is sure to point out its primitive amenities. Heck I think I paid that much a night for bunk space along the Milford Track, it all depends on location and considering the OBS trips are apparently $1,000 a head these days., I don't expect they will have a lot of empty rooms.

  7. #97
    Senior Member Mike P.'s Avatar
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    I'd be interested in seeing their plan to see what they think their cost would be and when they would expect to actually turn a profit. (I think it would take years - maybe decades) It would be only reachable by foot traffic and train. Are you expected to just eat PB&J & Bulgur waffles at 350 - 500 a night? I'd expect the services associated with a price that steep, so you'd have to have a staff up there which would have to have places to live down low including a kitchen staff including chef's. (When I've stayed at huts, I've loved my meals but a hotel would have to have real chefs, or at least a co-op program with a Culinary School.)

    Heat & running water? will they be running lines up the mountain along the tracks or down from the summit buildings? Are you running this place all year or just a few summer months? Oil, Nat Gas or other? delivery and storage or fossil fuels? (edited - now read the link, November would still require heat and a way to keep water from freezing, same with early May, it would straddle the track so the train would run through it or just have a covered exit? (350 - 500 to hear the train run through it & fumes I my room?))

    I'll believe it when I see it (& then cry) as I don't think it makes financial or logistical sense, I'd put this project on a short list of soon to be bankrupt projects if they build it. Could this possibly be "fake news"?

    If running in the winter, it would be a pain to ski down and then get to a lift service slope and it is my understanding that the ski train & skiing along the train corridor via the ski train was a short lived project that was not profitable or worthwhile as there was not enough terrain to make it more than a one time deal where skiers can say they did it.

    I like the view from Adams and Monroe with the summit buildings far enough away to be quaint and historic & close enough to be recognizable. IMO, this building would have to be so large to provide the services and amenities expected at that price range to be a wicked eyesore.
    Last edited by Mike P.; 02-01-2017 at 05:10 AM. Reason: content
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  8. #98
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    The business model is pure speculation at this point. As an example of what can (but not necessarily should be done). I had an opportunity a few years ago to go on the Routeburn and Milford Tracks in NZ. Its a guided trip by a for profit firm and seasonal. The huts are a short day apart along a very well built trail, sort of Crawford Path with a lot of crushed rock flown in. The Milford track has been run as guided hut to hut for over a 100 years, the Routeburn https://www.ultimatehikes.co.nz/en/g...outeburn-track is a newer track and had just replaced their huts in their entirety, there are no roads and the area is very wild, everything to build the huts had to be flown in and power is from generators (PV isn't very practical as the area is quite cloudy). The terrain is similar to Mt Washington although both huts are right below the edge of treeline. The huts are full service for at best 5 months every year. They are supplied by helicopter. The accommodations are a mix of bunk rooms and private rooms. Food is a definitely not gourmet but very high quality with a limited choice of entree's which makes for a lot less hassle for a kitchen staff. Costs for a trip staying in a bunkroom were $1,500. This is for two nights of accommodation plus 4 group guides and bus transportation to and from the trailheads. For simplicity assume 1/3 of the cost is for logistics and the other 2/3rd is accommodations so $500 a night minimum per person. While on the trip I was talking to one of their senior staff and he was quite open that what they do is look at what a night on a cruise ship would cost to set their prices. They assume that folks have a lot of recreational choices and that as long as they are competitive they will fill out the schedule of the trips by their reputation.

    I don't see the cog going after people for multiday stays and as such I don't see where they have to have highly trained kitchen staff, folks are not there for the food as long as the staff does it well I don't think anyone will ding them for a limited menu. Logistically, everything the COG needs to support seasonal occupation is already being done on the summit. They are definitely angling for the state and possibly the autoroad to share the costs for running a sewer line to the base of the mountain. The power line was run several years ago. Water can be pumped up from the base station but I expect there may be higher sources. Ideally they would put in large tank under the new building sized for surge demand and fire protection that could be filled 24/7 from a low yield source and by going with ultra low water use fixtures they can sell the place as "green". The heating source is biodiesel that they are already using for the COG. Put in a bulk tank and that covers them. The tracks are usable 24/7 so they would just run utility shuttles as needed during off hours. The comment of running the cog through the building is not cast in stone. I expect the state fire marshall would object. I see them running the track over to the edge of the right of way and putting the building in the remainder of the right of way. I don't see this as a year round business as even the COG shuts down in winter. If built correctly, the facility could be drained and stabilized during the winter. The Cog could also access it via snow cat from the summit via their owned right of way.

    Long ago there was study floating around by AMC of their future and one of the keys was that their membership is getting older and have expectations of higher end accommodations. The result was the Highland Center and the major investments in the 100 mile wilderness facilities. They keep the huts as a drawing card and when generous members want to donate money they spend it on hut upgrades. I expect that some VFTT folks may say they will be dead and buried before staying in the Highland Center but expect others have stayed there and enjoyed it. I see someone coming up from Boston, staying at the Highland center maybe hiking up to a Hut and then stopping by at the Cog for their last night out. Even in the era of the VFTT gatherings at least a portion of the group gravitated to local hotels. I wouldn't be surprised if after the Cog hotel was built that more than a few VFTT folks would end up staying there. It all comes down to priorities, the current shift in demographics is pushing the concept that folks are better off paying for experiences rather than stuff. A night on the side of Mt Washington above treeline in nice accommodations is something that I see a lot of folks willing to run their credit card. The east coast got the short end of the stick when it comes to National Park Lodges but out west folks pay similar costs to stay in the lodges.

    The Cog currently is a cash generator, the owners have been making steady investments in the infrastructure and with the shift to biodiesel trains they have substantially increased the volume of customers for limited increase in staffing. They pretty well can charge what they want for rides up as its a destination activity for most so the obvious approach now is to reinvest that cash back into the business. Keep in mind they also reportedly made a bundle on the Mt Washington hotel previously after buying it after a second foreclosure in the depths of very deep real estate slump and reselling it during a real estate boom therefore they probably have few dollars in the bank sitting idle. Most projects that go bust are due to borrowing too much money, (something like the Balsams project will be awash in loans and I expect wont end well). I expect the Cog will have some short term loans but they will put a lot of their equity into it to retain control.

    Business wise I expect that the owners have it planned out pretty well. As the real estate folks always explain Location, Location, Location and that's what the Cog has, effectively the US government is their neighbor and guarantees little or no competition, they just have to come up with business model that works and I expect that they have already run the numbers. What is a major bonus for the COG is unfortunately a potentially major blight on the presidential range, even though its adjacent to another major blight, the summit complex, its still a major new blight on the summit. To date the Fed hasn't said anything and expect that at best if they do anything at all it will be an advisory opinion as the Cog owners have made darn sure over the years that the fed has no control.

    Much as I don't support the project, to date I haven't seen any real viable way to stop it. Sure I can waste a few electrons signing an online petition but the reality is that the entities who have the right to approve or disapprove could care less about the input except from county voters. The reality is that those who bother to vote in Coos County elections are quite few and they tend to support the "anything for a buck" method of long term planning. Even the state of NH has a vested interest in this as one of the most lucrative taxes in the state is the room and meals tax of 9%. The state is also angling for a solution to the growth issues on the summit and this project will help. On a statewide basis perception is going to be more important so the approach will be not necessarily come out in public for full support but not throw any roadblocks behind closed doors.
    Last edited by peakbagger; 02-01-2017 at 08:25 AM.

  9. #99
    Senior Member skiguy's Avatar
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    People have been dreaming for a long time. About 20 years ago when my in laws were retiring and cleaning out their home they had lived in for almost 40 years I found a publication copyrighted 1912 by Chilsome Brothers, Publishers, Portland ,Maine titled "Views of the White Mountains". Lots of old B&W photos many showing the old Inns and Hotels at the time. Near the front of the publication there was a drawing that must have been inspired by some developer at the time.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  10. #100
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    That was the plan to put a trolley to the top of Mt Washington. Some of the current Summit Rd follows the proposed path.

  11. #101
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    Okay the big guns have weighed in

    http://www.berlindailysun.com/newsx/...-skyline-lodge

    Its good news in way as they have the resources and legal advice to make sure all the rules are followed. The downside is AMC earned a really bad reputation of meddling in what the locals considered local decisions in the past (Reagan era) and it didn't end well for the AMC (they had to do an extensive and expensive EIS to justify keeping the huts). They ended up funding a position for a community activity supporter to support local conservation and outdoors efforts in order to redevelop some trust in the area but there is pretty solid opposition to them "meddling" in local decisions in the county political structure.

  12. #102
    Senior Member jrbren's Avatar
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    Protect Mt Washington petition

    FWIW, I signed the petition that was from the closed out thread that was locked out, a decision I disagree with. Here is a link to the petition again. It's a pretty significant topic, I do not agree it needs to be limited to 1 multi page thread where petitions like this would get buried, perhaps that is the reason for locking the other thread ?

    If you haven't already, please visit our website: http://www.protectmountwashington.org and like the facebook page for news and updates.
    Please sign the petition online if you agree the hotel should not be built: https://www.change.org/p/stop-the-co...ion-custom_msg

  13. #103
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    I think it was closed out as it was duplicate of the Cog thread. I prefer having one thread in place of multiple threads on the same topic.

  14. #104
    Senior Member Stan's Avatar
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    I think it adds to and definitely should be part of the original thread. I assumed it would be moved but, if not, it can certainly be reposted there.

  15. #105
    Senior Member Stan's Avatar
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    The position of the "big guns" is quite predictable. I think it boils down to legal rights, including environmental concerns. Would the owner be entitled to some compensation over loss of property rights if this project is not allowed? There is some precedent for that. Could any permits contain conditions that could make this more palatable, or less objectionable? ... and I'd like to see their menu before I make up my mind ...

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