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Thread: Balsams Update - Go Big or Go home

  1. #16
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    I never skied their but the current ski area is relatively small and didn't look like the terrain was particularly challenging. Places like Jay, Sugarloaf, and Saddleback have big terrain that draws skiers. Looking at the stats of Balsalms and hiking/driving through the notch. It seems like you can build on the amenities but the terrain you can't change. On the other hand Bretton Woods isn't the most challenging ski area but still stays busy but this could be a more convenient location.

  2. #17
    Senior Member TCD's Avatar
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    I'm pretty sure from the first headline that the owners plan to expand the ski terrain - it does look like there's plenty of mountain, and the old ski area only uses a little of it...

  3. #18
    Senior Member Stan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NHClimber View Post
    We love LL Cote. How does that place stay in business??
    Diversification. They cater to a lot of outdoor activities plus hardware store, apparel and gas station. Competition is limited for miles around, too. It also helps that they are a comparatively small store with courteous and knowledgeable staff.

  4. #19
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    Well, we support LL Cote whenever we go there, buying stuff we really don't need. I am sure they would like the Balsalms to make a comeback.

  5. #20
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    Various articles indicated the plan would be to rehab and reopen what remains of the current resort (many buildings have been torn down, check on google maps for aerial photos taken in sept 2013). Then increase the size of the ski area by a factor of four. Then build out the resort housing in a series of phases. For those familiar with Sunday River's rise, it was quite similar, build up the ski area and do whatever they have to go get skier traffic up including major snowmaking and then build out the base of the mountain with condos and condo hotels. One big issue is they really don't have a large water source to draw water from. Sunday River has the right of way to draw from the Androscoggin River but I don't think they ever used it, but the Sunday River upstream watershed is fairly large. There really isn't the same option at the Balsams.

    LL Cote has basically been cannibalizing all the other local businesses that cater to tourists and they made prudent investments while the other stores are quite dated. Folks don't realize that many of the Rangeley lakes region folks drive from Mass to Rangeley via RT 16 through Berlin and then through Errol. Errol is a good place to stop and get gas and the folks driving through will pick Cotes over the other stores as it is far more modern and has clean restrooms. The folks driving through with properties in Rangeley tend to have extra cash for toys and Cotes is the one stop that has toys, food and amenities that the other stores do not appear to have. Realistically there is nothing like Cotes even up in Rangeley and there is no real equivalent one stop with what they have anywhere south to the Mass line that I am aware of.

  6. #21
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    Our hike of the Cohos Trail ended at the Balsams in 2012, started there in 2013. They had completely razed part of the resort during that winter-I think it was the newer, less historic hotel rooms. Beautiful hiking through that area, btw. I look back on it fondly, especially because the area was so remote (terrible for business, of course). We drove through Errol and stopped at what must have been Cotes for gas and a milkshake on our way to the trailhead (we did a kind of serpentine loop after dropping a food cache with the caretakers at south pond). It really was the only option in town-nothing else was open in what was basically a one-stop sign town. I can't imagine what the place would look like with 4000 new condos or houses, it would be completely different. It's already a snowmobile paradise.

  7. #22
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    Table Rock is definitely a nice hiking spot in the notch area. Several Waterfalls in the area.

  8. #23
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    Is there any meaningful vertical there for a ski area ??

  9. #24
    Senior Member MichaelJ's Avatar
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    1,000 feet of vertical. Take a look at
    http://www.newenglandskihistory.com/...wilderness.php
    May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. - Edward Abbey

  10. #25
    Senior Member Quietman's Avatar
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    They are looking at getting a windfarm setback variance to get closer to Dixville peak, which would push the vertical to 1,300 +/-

    HERE is a link to some related info

  11. #26
    Senior Member TCD's Avatar
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    In glancing at the map, it does look like if you developed the whole north facing basin, you would get quite a large ski area. Lots of potential. Don't know who owns the land or what the rules are.

  12. #27
    Senior Member billski's Avatar
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    I've skied it. It's un-describable. Kind of felt like a fairy-tale area. So remote, so few people, the scenery was drop-dead gorgeous, the air was so cold, but the sun was so bright. If they had snowmaking, they didn't need it. The snow was perfect powder and packed powder.

    Best damn treatment from people, the laid-back lodge, fireplace with couches and rocking chair and the food was outstanding. Which all goes to show, it's not all about vertical or terrain variety. The ski area seemed like just one more accoutrement, just like boating, hiking, swimming, golf, tennis, etc. If they're going to make a go of it, they need year round visitors.

    I agree with tomcat who points out that Bretton Woods (and Stratton for that matter), keep 'em coming. In the 80's BW's moniker wast "low stress skiing". Rightly so.



    Stay at JP, Kmart, Stowe, Bush or whatever if you need an adrenaline rush.
    Have boots will travel.

  13. #28
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    I think the target market would have to be the high income person who wants a ski area and golf course as a backdrop to a resort experience. They probably aren't going for the hard core skier out for significant terrain.

  14. #29
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    Long article about Less Otten's vision,

    In a radio story there was mention of running a pipe to the Androscoggin for water for snowmaking

  15. #30
    Senior Member Scubahhh's Avatar
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    The Balsams in the news again (still?)

    Add life to your years!

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