New England Hermitage Club, VT, in the news.

Discussion in 'General Resort Discussion' started by Muleski, Nov 5, 2017.

  1. LegacyGT

    LegacyGT Putting on skis Skier

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    This decision tells us a lot about the state of things. The receiver has access to a lot more information than the press, the public and membership. The receiver also has millions of dollars at stake. They are limiting their funding to preservation rather than operation for the upcoming ski season.

    If the club isn't open for skiing this season, the value of everything drops precipitously. Members will flee. Property values will drop. Reputations will suffer even more than they already have. It would be very hard to see them getting the thing up and running again. Yet, the receiver sees this as a BETTER outcome than opening for skiing this season. This tells you a lot about their view of the numbers and the plan that has been put forth by the new management.

    This is further evidence that the club has not developed a plan that shows the club can be run in a sustainable way. Some have stated in comments here that it is impossible to run it sustainably. I still don't know if that's the case but it's looking more and more like it is. The founder was obsessed with growth, acquisitions and new development projects. Perhaps this was necessary to make the club sustainable but, to me, this reflected a form of ADD where the club was always focused on the next thing. Of course, the new management team studied the situation and came up with a similar plan, looking to double down on the idea of building a new hotel. This had to be discouraging to the receiver. This club needs a management team that needs to be honest with the receiver and with membership. Can this thing operate with a budget funded by X members paying Y dollars? If this can't be articulated, they might as well call the whole thing off.
     
    aubergine, K2 Rat, RJS and 1 other person like this.
  2. x10003q

    x10003q Getting off the lift Skier

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    Private townhouse values are not dropping and members are not fleeing. These units are about 3 miles from a 600 acre ski area called Mt Snow and 17 miles from a 670 acre area called Stratton. This was always the safety net for Hermitage Club property owners.
     
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  3. LKLA

    LKLA Out on the slopes Skier

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    Values are not going down?!

    Example 1 (High end)

    10/5/2018 Price change $699,000 -0.1%
    2/12/2018 Price change $699,900 -3.5%
    1/23/2018 Price change $725,000 -6.5%
    12/21/2017 Listed for sale $775,000
    10/26/2017 Listing removed $775,000
    10/18/2017 Listed for sale $775,000

    Example 2 (Mid range)
    Price change $415,000 -3.5%
    1/5/2018 Listed for sale $429,900 -14%
    10/5/2016 Listing removed $500,000
    7/31/2016 Listed for sale $500,000
    6/18/2016 Listing removed $500,000
    2/2/2016 Listed for sale $500,000

    Example 3 (Low end)
    9/13/2018 Price change $304,900 -2.6%
    8/27/2018 Price change $312,900 -1.9%
    6/5/2018 Price change $319,000 -4.8%
    3/16/2018 Listed for sale $335,000 -0.6%
    5/6/2017 Listing removed $337,000
    3/2/2017 Price change $337,000 -3.1%
    2/14/2017 Price change $347,900 -2.5%
    1/5/2017 Price change $357,000 -2.2%
    9/22/2016 Listed for sale $365,000
     
  4. LegacyGT

    LegacyGT Putting on skis Skier

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    I haven't tracked the value of homes affiliated with The Hermitage Club. As the Club's real estate and development interests grew, it incorporated many properties that I would consider "off-site" and I would agree that the value of those properties may be insulated from the fate of the Club. As for the properties within/around the Club, the ski area and the golf course, it's very hard to see how value is maintained. It's clear that there is a premium for slopeside and ski in/out property. If the slopes are closed and lifts are dormant, that premium disappears. Add to that fact that the Club's amenities would not be available. I drove around there this Summer. The place is a ghost town (in part because of the season). The road up to the mountain, homes and lodge is in terrible condition (a small sign apologizes for the road and says that it will be fixed at the end of the winter). I can't see how the receiver can keep the Club closed without destroying additional value. This seems like another indication that those familiar with the numbers, believe the Club is unsustainable.
     
  5. Wilhelmson

    Wilhelmson Out on the slopes Skier

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    We've been looking in other areas of Vermont and it's customary for sellers to list their condos about 20% higher than recent sales. Still there must be a lot of uncertainty regarding the fees and amenities, and they've lost their premium for being close to a private ski mountain.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2018


  6. LegacyGT

    LegacyGT Putting on skis Skier

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    Last edited: Jan 29, 2019
  7. aubergine

    aubergine Booting up Skier

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    There's a template for how property values adjusted when a nearby mountain had troubles. Just look at the transaction history for anything near Magic Mountain, Ascutney, or Suicide Six.

    I skiied this place a long time ago (back when it was simply Haystack) and can't understand why a family would sink 500k into something here.
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2019
  8. LKLA

    LKLA Out on the slopes Skier

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    Plymouth Notch has ceased operations and has been listed for sale. The 750 acre property located south of Killington on Route 100, has an asking price of $7.5 million.

    It was originally opened as Round Top in 1965. Round Top closed in 1981 and reopened with one chairlift as Bear Creek in 1998. The private club closed in 2010.

    A new ownership group constructed a snowmaking pond and reopened the area as a private club named Plymouth Notch in 2014. Instead of a 2018 groundbreaking, the area was listed for sale with Diamond Realty in September.

    The ski area operated during the winter of 2017-18 with a 1,100 vertical foot 1964 Mueller double. An upscale clubhouse at the base of the ski area included a member locker room, restaurant, and bar. Though the ski area was considered private, members of the public were sometimes allowed to reserve day passes. No updates have been posted on the club's web site or Facebook page since February 2018.
     
  9. PinnacleJim

    PinnacleJim Getting on the lift Skier

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    I really don't understand the whole "private club" thing in New England. It's hard enough for these small to medium sized areas to even survive, but to think a small group of investors believes they could support the cost of lifts, snowmaking, etc. just makes no sense. I skied Haystack and Round Top before they went private and they were OK for a day here and there, but that's about it. Ascutney was somewhat better, but still not enough to keep my attention for long.

    Note Suicide Six is still operating and recently replaced the main lift. Lots of history there.
     
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  10. LKLA

    LKLA Out on the slopes Skier

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    It makes sense from the perspective that there is very high population density and a very affluent consumer in the nearby area (NYC, Hartford, Manchester, Baltimore, Trenton, Boston, DC, Bridgeport,...are all in the top 25 wealthiest cities/metro areas in the US).

    However, these folks are usually fairly discerning and have the means to ski just about anywhere they want. So, if conditions / terrain are not great - if they don't feel the overall experience lives up to the high cost - then they will likely look to spend their money elsewhere.

    I can't begin to tell you how many restaurants open every year in NYC. Most of them figure NYC has millions of people walking around, all needing to eat and many of them with money, so it should be a slam dunk. Well, 90% close within 6-18 months. Why? Because the food / service and overall experience is usually average at best and certainly not worth the sky-high prices.
     
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  11. RJS

    RJS Getting off the lift Skier

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    In some hypothetical world where I could afford to be a member of The Hermitage Club or Plymouth Notch, I would much rather get a fancy ski house near Stowe, Jay, or Sugarloaf. Sure, there will be crowds, but I agree with @LKLA that it would get boring very quickly skiing Haystack or Round Top over and over again. I would much rather have crowds but be at a place with interesting terrain and better snow. Plus, with enough money you can probably bypass most crowds by skiing during the week or getting private lessons with line cutting privileges.
     
  12. James

    James Skiing the powder Instructor

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    Well I think people get bored of skiing Yellowstone Club at times and go to Big Sky. I've actually skied at Big Sky for a run with some who came over. What's another $10k for a family and Big Sky passes?
    But that's a whole different level of location, money, and desire involved that can just roll over bankruptcy and embezellment issues. That just doesn't exist it seems in the east, for skiing. Maybe it's the fact that when you are actually there skiing your chances of good conditions in VT are extremely low, but in Montana very good.

    Didn't the founder of Yellowstone club embezzle like $250 million when they went bankrupt 10 years ago?
     
  13. LKLA

    LKLA Out on the slopes Skier

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    Comparing the two is like comparing a Yugo to a Bentley. Pioneer Mountain, where most of the skiing happens at Yellowstone, has a summit of close to 10,000 feet and over 2,000 acres (Haystack has 45 trails, if that, and less than 1,400 feet of vertical drop). And, some trails ski directly into Big Sky (you don't have to drive to Big Sky to ski Big Ski). Need we say more :huh:
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2019
  14. LegacyGT

    LegacyGT Putting on skis Skier

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    I'm not sure I can argue with this because we've now seen two failures at Haystack Mountain. But I'm not sure there's enough information here to rule out the idea entirely. The first Haystack Club never really got off the ground. The Hermitage Club is a different story. They were open for a few seasons, built out some nice property and had an engaged and seemingly satisfied group of members. The question is whether it could be run sustainably and we don't really have the answer because of the way the club was run. Yes, they burned through whatever cash was coming in but they were busy buying up properties and chasing after amenities and programming that may not be essential to an operation like this. For the time being nobody knows. The courts and banks have a lot to work out. It doesn't speak well of the situation that the bank decided to remain closed this ski season. You'd think that if they viewed the operation as sustainable, they would rather it be open than closed. But there are a number of other factors, including the fact that bankruptcy has not been pursued.
     
  15. Itinerant skier

    Itinerant skier Putting on skis Skier

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    New England isn't the only place the concept doesn't work. After being private since 1939, 400 ish foot vertical The Otsego Club in Michigan was forced to open the slopes to the unwashed masses for the 17-18 season.
     
  16. James

    James Skiing the powder Instructor

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    Those are both cars that run on the same roads. These roads aren't the same.
    Seattle to Bozeman is probably < 2 hrs hrs flight? SF maybe a little more. From the east it's 5.5 hrs. I think it's the ease of getting back quickly at short notice which has people trying this in the east. Even if it's a 4-5hr drive, one could leave at any time.
    Afaik, the club at Stratton is still working. Possibly that level makes sense for the east. Standby for Vail in the coming years to do something at Stowe and Okemo.
     
  17. Erik Timmerman

    Erik Timmerman Making fresh tracks Instructor

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    AIG already put in a club at Stowe.

    I just have to say that for must of us, sure, these smaller hills make no sense, but for a lot of people, maybe a hill like Roundtop would be better than Stowe. If you are going to be skiing pretty much just Spruce anyway, and probably just the bottom half, you might have a better skiing experience at a Roundtop. To all of the people I taught today, Mt Mansfield is pretty much just a thing they are looking at while they ski.
     
  18. LKLA

    LKLA Out on the slopes Skier

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    You could be on the same road and the experience would be vastly different in a Yugo vs a Bentley.

    I've been to both Yellowstone and Hermitage and the difference is striking. I'll stick to ski resorts comparisons this time - like comparing Deer Valley to Jiminy Peak. I was approached by Hermitage to join as where a few friends of ours. No one did. If anything, we all thought it made much more sense to join a club at a nearby mountain like the Stratton Mountain Club a few miles up the road.
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2019
  19. James

    James Skiing the powder Instructor

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    Yes, of course. But no area in the east would compare. Could Stowe go private? Sugarloaf? How about the promised Balsalms expansion?
    All of those are pretty far away from nyc and Boston. And then the snow is just as likely to suck as be good when one is there. It might even be raining.
     
  20. Dee

    Dee At the base lodge Skier

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    As a kid I skied frequently at both Mount Snow and Haystack (coming up from NYC). But much more at Haystack because my parents were below average skiers and understandably preferred the lower ticket price. We inevitably got bored and always begged to go to Mount Snow instead, which became sort of like a special treat.

    Fast-forward 30 years and my sister and brother-in-law join the Hermitage Club. After hearing the cost I couldn’t believe it. The biggest driver of my disbelief was my opinion that Haystack is just not a great skiing mountain for more than a day or weekend, certainly not an entire season, regardless of the amenities.

    The first two seasons of their membership they invited us a fair bit, maybe 4-5 days a year, using their generous allocation of free guest passes. We declined a few times but mostly went out of a feeling of obligation. However, even our kids, who were quite young at the time, complained about being bored. They ultimately began asking if we could go to Mount Snow instead. They would often quit skiing after a few runs to play in the game room in the clubhouse (this applies to my sister’s kids also).

    It seemed to me that many club members were attracted to the exclusivity and the amenities, and weren’t driven, vertical-crazed skiers. Over the 7-8 days I skied there over three seasons (much less the third season after they started charging for guest passes, charging double on public holidays, etc) my amazement never ceased that anyone would prefer this, at that cost. Couldn’t one spend that kind of money, or even less, flying to Stowe 5x a season?
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019
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