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Thread: Saddleback Mountain Sale

  1. #1
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    Saddleback Mountain Sale

    http://www.pressherald.com/2016/10/2...leback-resort/

    I expect at least part of the land being purchased is land that the prior owner retained as part of his greenmail of the federal government. I don't see how this fundamentally changes the economics of the facility, its still is a couple of extra hours north of the target markets and despite years of trying the Rangeley area doesn't seem to be able to be regarded as a winter ski destination. It does fairly well with the snowmachine business.

    It is does preserve the southern end of what is an underappreciated very wild stretch of the AT. The backpack from RT 4 to RT 27 is road less except for now gated Caribou Valley Road, add in the Bigelows and this stretch rivals a lot of alternatives in the whites.
    Last edited by peakbagger; 10-27-2016 at 05:08 AM.

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    Senior Member skiguy's Avatar
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    This is good news. If they are truely moving to a "Coop" model and if Mad River Glen is an indication of how that model potentially could be successful this is a good thing for the area. Which also IMO does fundamentally change the economics of the facility. I really don't see how the return of 17 to 20 million dollars to Franklin County and the potential of 350 jobs could be a bad thing. Yes they may be a couple of hours North of the target markets but that is a good thing if your a skier and yes it is considered a ski destination IMO. Not all skiing is mainstream and about making huge money but the sustainability of a unique experience. The Alpine ridge line of Saddelback is also unique and any effort to preserve any part of it is a good thing. This is a potentially excellent move if all the details can be ironed out.
    "I'm getting up and going to work everyday and I am stoked. That does not suck!"__Shane McConkey

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    Senior Member TEO's Avatar
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    Mad River is an exceptional case & has a number of advantages. 1) Its product is unique in New England; 2) It has a core of especially devoted & loyal customers; 3) It is within an hour's drive of Vermont's largest population center, & easily accessible to out-of-staters; 4) It has relatively low infrastructure costs, including snowmaking and grooming.

    That said, sadly Mad River will probably be one of the first ski areas to fall victim to climate change. Unless it is able to develop a new model, where it either figures out how to increase its snowmaking capacity & how to afford it—in addition to require initial capital, snowmaking would significantly increase its operating costs—or it is dormant & pops-up intermittently, as conditions permit, I think that its days are numbered. Perhaps Saddleback's biggest advantage is it's northern location will give it some protection from climate change, at least in the short-term.

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    Senior Member skiguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TEO View Post
    Mad River is an exceptional case & has a number of advantages. 1) Its product is unique in New England; 2) It has a core of especially devoted & loyal customers; 3) It is within an hour's drive of Vermont's largest population center, & easily accessible to out-of-staters; 4) It has relatively low infrastructure costs, including snowmaking and grooming.

    That said, sadly Mad River will probably be one of the first ski areas to fall victim to climate change. Unless it is able to develop a new model, where it either figures out how to increase its snowmaking capacity & how to afford it—in addition to require initial capital, snowmaking would significantly increase its operating costs—or it is dormant & pops-up intermittently, as conditions permit, I think that its days are numbered. Perhaps Saddleback's biggest advantage is it's northern location will give it some protection from climate change, at least in the short-term.
    Excellent insight. One reason MRG is an exceptional case is because the Co-op made it that way.I encourage you to join the Co-op if you are not already a member. Therefore you can attend the Board meetings and truly see the inner workings of the way Mad River works. I think it is important to note the use of the word "Co-op" here is a broad encompassing term. Co-ops can take on many different forms. The model being proposed at Saddelback is not the same as MadRiver although their underlying goals are somewhat congruent IMO. That being sustainability. Until then enjoy the mountains and think snow! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1y8B...ature=youtu.be
    Last edited by skiguy; 10-28-2016 at 01:44 PM. Reason: added additional comments
    "I'm getting up and going to work everyday and I am stoked. That does not suck!"__Shane McConkey

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    Quote Originally Posted by TEO View Post
    That said, sadly Mad River will probably be one of the first ski areas to fall victim to climate change.
    What do you base that on? Mad River Glen opened in the late 1940s, when New England had a terrible stretch of natural snow years.

    New England natural snow ski areas have fared much better in recent years than they did during the first few decades of lift served skiing in New England. A common theme in old newspaper articles about Stowe from the 1930s and 40s was the lack of natural snow. Our 'scientific' data on snowfall in New England is skewed by the weather station locations and available history.

    A big advantage Mad River Glen has over Saddleback, snowwise is its exposure.

  6. #6
    Senior Member skiguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rocket21 View Post
    What do you base that on? Mad River Glen opened in the late 1940s, when New England had a terrible stretch of natural snow years.

    New England natural snow ski areas have fared much better in recent years than they did during the first few decades of lift served skiing in New England. A common theme in old newspaper articles about Stowe from the 1930s and 40s was the lack of natural snow. Our 'scientific' data on snowfall in New England is skewed by the weather station locations and available history.

    A big advantage Mad River Glen has over Saddleback, snowwise is its exposure.
    Great points. Not sure what you mean though Rocket when you say "A big advantage Mad River Glen has over Saddleback, snowwise is its exposure". Interesting if you Google average snowfalls for both ski areas MRG receives average annual snowfall of 250 inches and Saddleback receives 225 inches. Another note they are both ski areas but entirely different experiences and therefore IMO appeal to somewhat different demographics as far as skier visits. Both have been a part of skiing history and I hope that Saddleback continues to be a part of the picture. Nice to see that folks care enough about the place to make some thing happen and not throw the baby out with the wash water.
    "I'm getting up and going to work everyday and I am stoked. That does not suck!"__Shane McConkey

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    Senior Member TEO's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rocket21 View Post
    What do you base that on? Mad River Glen opened in the late 1940s, when New England had a terrible stretch of natural snow years.
    Limited snowmaking, and as I understand it, little ability to improve capacity. And yeah, no, they haven't fared well in the recent low-snow years.

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    Senior Member ChrisB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TEO View Post
    Limited snowmaking, and as I understand it, little ability to improve capacity. And yeah, no, they haven't fared well in the recent low-snow years.
    My buddy who teaches at Wildcat has a funny twist on the Mad River Glen tag line: He says, "Mad River Glen - Ski it WHEN you can!"

    Referring of course that the woeful snow condx often encountered there.

    He tells a story of skiing there one day when members of the association were out with shovels patching bare spots so a run from top to bottom was possible.

    cb
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    I ran into a local this weekend that was familiar with the sale, he indicated that this sale is not a done deal. There are apparently competing groups who are interested in purchase. Stay tuned.

  10. #10
    Senior Member skiguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    I ran into a local this weekend that was familiar with the sale, he indicated that this sale is not a done deal. There are apparently competing groups who are interested in purchase. Stay tuned.
    NO question about that. The Berrys solicited on their FB Page the same day of this annoucement that they were still courting other offers.
    "I'm getting up and going to work everyday and I am stoked. That does not suck!"__Shane McConkey

  11. #11
    Senior Member skiguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisB View Post
    My buddy who teaches at Wildcat has a funny twist on the Mad River Glen tag line: He says, "Mad River Glen - Ski it WHEN you can!"

    Referring of course that the woeful snow condx often encountered there.

    He tells a story of skiing there one day when members of the association were out with shovels patching bare spots so a run from top to bottom was possible.

    cb
    Wildcat can certainly have it's moments of scrap and scrape also. Their average snow fall comes in at 200 inches. The wind is the wrench in the crankcase in that operation. Don't get me wrong I love "The Cat". Bottom line all ski areas have their ups and downs. I would definitively put all the above mentioned ski areas in a category of "Vintage Experiences". Which if your a skier you can ski it but also taste it.
    "I'm getting up and going to work everyday and I am stoked. That does not suck!"__Shane McConkey

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    Senior Member bcskier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skiguy View Post
    ... I would definitively put all the above mentioned ski areas in a category of "Vintage Experiences". Which if your a skier you can ski it but also taste it.
    Add Magic Mt. to that list. They are on the upswing themselves right now. New owners. Upgrades to infrastructure. Pray for a good snow year.

  13. #13
    Senior Member skiguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bcskier View Post
    Add Magic Mt. to that list. They are on the upswing themselves right now. New owners. Upgrades to infrastructure. Pray for a good snow year.
    Affirmative on that. I agree "Magic" is in the coo.
    "I'm getting up and going to work everyday and I am stoked. That does not suck!"__Shane McConkey

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    Quote Originally Posted by skiguy View Post
    Great points. Not sure what you mean though Rocket when you say "A big advantage Mad River Glen has over Saddleback, snowwise is its exposure". Interesting if you Google average snowfalls for both ski areas MRG receives average annual snowfall of 250 inches and Saddleback receives 225 inches.
    Mad River Glen has a northeastern exposure that acts as a catcher's mitt for snow, whereas Saddleback has a northwestern exposure, which can leave it more vulnerable to wind.

    Quote Originally Posted by TEO View Post
    Limited snowmaking, and as I understand it, little ability to improve capacity. And yeah, no, they haven't fared well in the recent low-snow years.
    They had no snowmaking when they started. There were some pretty lean snow years in the 1930s-50s (multiple winters with extended periods of *no* snow on the ground), which predate standard ski area snowfall record keeping (and for that matter the Mansfield snowstake).

    The key for a ski area like Mad River Glen is to keep overhead to a minimum so that they can react to a bad snowfall season like areas during those years did - roll with it and get ready for the next winter.

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    Senior Member billski's Avatar
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    Praise the lord! Can't wait to get back to their glades!
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