Featured Colorado Arapahoe Basin Is NOW a Free Agent

Discussion in 'General Resort Discussion' started by jmeb, Feb 18, 2019.

  1. tball

    tball Zipped up Skier

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    I wonder if the same can be said for A-basin now after adding the Beavers quad and substracting overflow parking at Keystone. Had anyone done the math on parking spots vs. uphill capacity?
    Yeah, it's that uncertainty of getting a parking spot that ruins everything.

    How about this idea? Sell guaranteed spots to the High Noon lot online in advance to pass holders, and to those who have pre-purchased a ticket for that day. Charge $10 or so and hold those spots open until 11 am. If you don't make it by 11 am your spot goes up for grabs. I'd pay that just to sleep in some days.

    That might work for Eldora and eventually Loveland too.
     
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  2. nay

    nay dirt heel pusher Skier

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    I think the limited parking places will have to start selling advance purchase spots. The problem of course is those sit idle most days.

    A-Basin spreads people around pretty well, but unlike Loveland a lot of primary blue terrain is accessed by the same lift as expert terrain.

    Pali to Beavers helps as an alternate route to the top, but for the main front side terrain it’s Lenawee only with Norway gone.

    The removal of Norway without a replacement is suggestive that A-Basin sees a significant reduction of front-side crowding. That makes a lot of sense, but only if they stay completely off a mega pass.
     
  3. Monique

    Monique bounceswoosh Skier

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    Ah! That's why I needed the Ikon pass!
     
  4. dbostedo

    dbostedo Asst. Gathermeister-- Jackson Hole 2020 Moderator Team Gathermeister

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    Don't you need some more tree skiing in there? May as well add Steamboat while you're dreaming?
     
  5. Philpug

    Philpug Enjoying being back on two skis. Admin Pugski Ski Tester

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    I wonder how long the courting process will go on. Will it be MPC? Will it Be Ikon? A local option? Is the "8 days" comment a red herring?
     
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  6. mikel

    mikel Out on the slopes Skier

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    I'll go with red herring which will probably mean it's something else.
     
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  7. tball

    tball Zipped up Skier

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    I'll just add that even if I spend $798 and commit to two years with all this uncertainty, I still don't get the rest of this season for free. It's not even available for $898! Boohiss.
     
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  8. coskigirl

    coskigirl Making fresh tracks Skier

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    I was just thinking about this on my commute this morning. I think they'd draw in at least a few people who would be willing to jump on this.
     
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  9. tball

    tball Zipped up Skier

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    I'm curious why you or anyone else thinks an A-basin exchange with Copper won't happen or doesn't make sense. It seems like such a natural fit, but I've got Copper colored glasses on.
     
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  10. nay

    nay dirt heel pusher Skier

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    Same reason I don’t think Loveland/A-Basin will happen.

    If you pass join with a neighbor who is not under common ownership, you basically cannibalize season pass sales in exchange for free days.

    How many people would buy an A-Basin pass with Loveland days on it and vice versa and not buy any other product from the non-primary resort? Almost all of us. You just ration the free days.

    We are trying to avoid buying a pass if we can get days there as a free benefit. As I believe @jmeb pointed out earlier, the free day benefits are almost exclusively at places 100+ miles away. That’s precisely because those days are appealing without any cannibalization of pass sales.

    A local exchange is different than Ikon or Epic where there is revenue from those passes. Free days is just that: free days.

    I’d rather sell you the pass.
     
  11. tball

    tball Zipped up Skier

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    Having a pass product to compete with the dominant Epic Pass seems far more important than any loss from cannibalization, at least in the local Summit County and Front Range markets where A-basin competes.

    A-basin and Copper Mountain Passes compete against these Summit County passes from VR:
    • Keystone Plus: $369 - unlimited Keystone, Breck after April 1, and 5 holiday restricted days at Crested Butte.
    • Summit Value: $569 - unlimited Keystone, unlimited Breck with holiday restrictions.
    A-basin's pass is $399 and Copper is $549. Both just for one local ski area. Those prices have gone up almost enough you could buy a season pass and a four pack in previous years. Looks like they will be up to that pricing before long.

    Also, there doesn't seem to be any reason A-basin couldn't join Ikon and exchange days with Copper Mountain.

    If they go with Ikon, A-basin really needs to do something for their loyal local pass holders with exchange days, IMO. I don't think switching from Epic to Ikon, even if it's limited days, isn't going to be enough to settle the restless natives. We've seen how locals have responded at other Ikon resorts, same as the Epic complaints at A-basin. At least Copper could be A-basin's overflow parking (and skiing) for A-basin pass holders when the A-basin lots are full.

    I see Loveland as a different deal. They don't seem as focused on making money and being located closest do Denver would create perverse use patterns with reciprocal days that A-basin and Copper don't have to worry about.
     
  12. nay

    nay dirt heel pusher Skier

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    Loveland literally offers everything A-Basin offers, except a Spring Pass. That’s free if you buy next season’s pass. How could they possibly be less focused on making money?

    Loveland runs at capacity (full lots across two different base areas) pretty much every day on a $419 season pass price and $139 four packs, plus a ton of window business at $74 a swipe.

    They have absolutely no reason to find another way to compete with Epic and Ikon other than the flat out attractiveness of being a great independent mountain that has a ton of non-local pass add-ons (well, Ski Cooper is local).

    Why does A-Basin need to do anything but be itself to compete when Loveland is killing it? Wasn’t the entire point that A-Basin was way past capacity and that was killing the experience?
     
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  13. tball

    tball Zipped up Skier

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    Yes, Loveland is doing great, but their offerings would look very different if they wanted to maximize net income. Something like unlimited IKON, charge $10 to park weekdays and $20 weekends. Give Loveland pass holders half off parking. Loveland's parking fees would be gas money to get anywhere else. ;)

    I think the question for A-basin is are they looking to maximize profits? It's hard to imagine in the long run they are not. It seems the owners of A-basin choose not to sell the ski area during this seller's market. It's a business, so they must expect they can generate cash flow that exceeds what they could make elsewhere with the proceeds of a sale.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2019 at 7:32 AM
  14. Thread Starter
    TS
    jmeb

    jmeb Stereotypical Front Range Weekend Warrior Skier

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    I know a lot of people who are part of, or own a business, where they could make more money with their time, skills and financial resources elsewhere. But they choose to stay in that line of work because they like it, and it is a sustainable way to make enough money.

    Enough money is a thing. Enough profit is a thing.

    I'm pretty sure Abasin is owned by a real estate group. Loveland is owned by a family. It isn't surprising they have different priorities. EDIT: Abasin is owned by a real estate group: Dundee Resort Development, a subsidiary of Dream Unlimited Corporation ("Dream") of Toronto, Canada.

    The idea that only one model is operable to me, so a particular entity "needs" to do something (like joining a megapass) -- seems wrong. Especially when you're located close to one of the fastest growing skier markets in the US, with some of most climate-change resistant terrain anywhere.
     
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  15. tball

    tball Zipped up Skier

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    Yes, for sure. My point is it seems A-basin is likely to operate to maximize profits while Loveland is willing to leave money on the table. At least for now.

    I hope Loveland continues to operate this way, but I wouldn't count on Loveland having the same ownership and priorities in 20 years.

    Look at the family ownership fight over the Denver Broncos as one example.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2019 at 8:15 AM
  16. Brian Likes Pow

    Brian Likes Pow Out on the slopes Skier

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    Its funny how when you don't have to answer to shareholders and can look beyond the next quarter how good of a customer experience you can create. Im hopeful they go the loveland route and have a few days at other areas. Abasin without the hordes and all that new terrain will be a premium experience and worth the extra money.
     
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  17. skix

    skix Getting on the lift Skier

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    Perhaps parking is an untapped goldmine but I have serious doubt that model works as well as assumed. No, an extra $10 a day isn't much if you are paying window prices of $75 or more but the percentage cost to passholders is much higher. It would have nearly tripled my daily cost last year for example when I had over 50 days in at ABasin. Even with a big increase in season pass prices it would still mean a doubling of daily cost with that many days skied. Not a chance I'd renew if that was the deal. The tradeoff then is asking how many passholders you'd lose to capture that parking revenue. Don't know the answer but hope they don't go down that road to find out.
     
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  18. nay

    nay dirt heel pusher Skier

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    Will Loveland survive an ownership change with its culture intact? Hard to tell. Clear Creek Skiing Corporation was incorporated in 1972. In 2011, Chair 4 was replaced with a new fixed triple, in 2015 Chair 2 was split and the Ptarmigan fixed triple was added. In 2018 Chair 1 was replaced with the HSQ Chet’s. That’s quite a bit of investment and rumor is 6 is going to get a high speed chair soon, although a fixed triple makes more sense to me.

    Annual revenues are estimated at $6M with approximately 60 total employees. D&B shows a low credit risk rating. This doesn’t look or feel like a struggling independent ski area, but rather one with significant and material operating cost advantages over its competitors. So much so they can still offer a day ticket well under $100 with a half day option $20 less than that.

    How many larger resorts have been sitting on major needed on-mountain upgrades for years waiting for a cash infusion? Copper is a case example. Who needs who?

    A-Basin has it all right now. Terrain, fully revitalized base facilities, BML is the best spot on the front range, the lifts except Pali are all current, and they are expanding summer operations and assets. To that point, I told my wife about buying the mid-week pass and she said “Good, now call them and upgrade to the full pass.” :doh:

    Typing on a phone is one of the most perfected forms of overthinking ever created. Now excuse me while I call A-basin customer service and go renew my Loveland passes.

    Edit: A-Basin upgrade and Loveland renewals complete.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2019 at 7:45 PM
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