fatbob

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The irony of a guy from Ottawa claiming to be a local priced out....

Standard Vail sux bitch. Don't think VR is going to do anything to flatten the terrain and Whistler has had a housing squeeze and a " going upscale" issue for 20+ years. It's not as if Intrawest wasn't the prototype for VR. Those locals have short memories.
 

New2

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Yeah, wow, that article's all over the place. From what I gather, it should be catering to extreme casual day-skiers from Ontario who can't afford to take vacations (wasn't that the latest Saddleback strategy, too?). I sat through several episodes of Après Ski (parental guidancerecommended/not safe for work, etc.), so I can confirm that the absurdity was present in Whistler long before Vail showed up.
 

François Pugh

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If I lived nearby and could get a seasons pass to Whistler for the price Vail Resorts is charging, I would not complain about it.
The article seems to miss the point, despite knowing the point. I grew up with inches and miles- no problem there. VR is not responsible for the exchange rate.

The point is VR making money off the upper class and shutting out the less profitable po folk.

As to VR shutting out the common man and catering to folk far richer than I am - Yeah, I'm against it, but that's the way it's been for quite a few years (since the 100 USD lift tickets). It seems to be working for them though.

BTW I'm just upset 'cause I can't afford that GT3 in the next article.
 

fatbob

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I find it interesting that essentially it's a fluff piece of filler in Bloomberg. Whose readership one assumes are rather in the demographics VR & Alterra etc are targeting.

The "problem" of ski resort owners seeing skiing as an upscale experience and participants as cash cows to be milked if you can cater to their "needs" or at least not turn them off enough has been around for ever since ski tourism was invented for the British upper classes in Switzerland. Now most of us here find ways around that to extract our own "value" equation whether it's buying in to real estate in a resort to brownbagging lunches from the most affordable motel.

I get it - blue collar joes who may have been the root of the great N American ski boom, lumberjacks from Scandinavia, Mtn division vets etc are probably not financially catered to the same as tech workers or financial sector or whatever. I think Europe gets it a bit more - there is huge capacity in Euro resorts but they also recognise that it still needs to be somewhat affordable to families hence reasonably priced SC appartments (which would probably be smaller than a clost in an upscale US ski McMansion)
 

LKLA

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It's a "fluff piece" in the sense that it does not focus on the financial side of Vail Resorts as a public company like some would think a Bloomberg piece would, nor does it focus on the more "ski-specific" aspects of WB as some hard-core skiers might welcome. But, neither of those types of article would appear in Bloomberg Pursuits - Bloomberg's lifestyle brand dedicated to covering art, travel, leisure, collectibles,...

Having said that, I think it's a good article offering a balanced/fair portrayal of both sides of the story, albeit in a somewhat "light" manner. It's no more of a fluff piece than most articles I've read on this subject across other publications (75% of the articles I read in ski-specific publications are "fluff").

".... a decade ago, he slashed the price of access to less than half the price of a season pass at most rival resorts. At the time, the move was seen as crazy. But the Epic Pass upended the industry, making snow sports more accessible..."

It is surely disheartening if the character/history/pedigree of WB is being taken away. Unfortunately be it Starbucks or Vail, there will likely be mixed feelings in the local community about the new neighbor. Nothing is perfect, nothing is ever going to please everyone. But in this case, it's hard to argue that making skiing more affordable is a bad thing.

As a real life example, Stowe's season pass was $1,600 just two years ago. My family would have likely not bought the pass. Now it's about half, so we bought season passes and have spent thousands on hotels, restaurants, ski tunes, retail, ski lessons... with 80-90% of that going to non-Vail related folks and businesses. Other than the season passes and on-mountain lunches and Vail's cut of lessons fees, most everything else has not been in Vail's "ecosystem". Instead, it has benefited the people in the town/community.
 
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Mike Thomas

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I don't like Vail, but I also do not understand how lowering the pass price is pushing out 'locals'. I suppose what they are getting at is single day tickets cost more? If you are buying single day tickets, you ain't a local... well, you ain't a local skier.

The problem with Vail is the masses of people the epic pass brings in, diminishing the 'experience' for people used to higher prices and less people. The argument is backwards.
 

Tricia

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I don't like Vail, but I also do not understand how lowering the pass price is pushing out 'locals'. I suppose what they are getting at is single day tickets cost more? If you are buying single day tickets, you ain't a local... well, you ain't a local skier.

The problem with Vail is the masses of people the epic pass brings in, diminishing the 'experience' for people used to higher prices and less people. The argument is backwards.
This is pretty much it.
 
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LKLA

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I don't like Vail, but I also do not understand how lowering the pass price is pushing out 'locals'. I suppose what they are getting at is single day tickets cost more? If you are buying single day tickets, you ain't a local... well, you ain't a local skier.

The problem with Vail is the masses of people the epic pass brings in, diminishing the 'experience' for people used to higher prices and less people. The argument is backwards.
That is why resorts such as Deer Valley, Sun Valley, Aspen, Jackson,... that are perhaps more "exclusive" and expensive are doing well and why resorts that have a unique offering/personality and great skiing and no crowds (Mad River, Magic, Plattekill,...would be examples of that in the Northeast) might actually do very well in the Vaill/Alterra world despite one's initial thought that they will be harmed.
 
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noncrazycanuck

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Only surprising item in the article to me is the claim that skier visits had increased.
From what i have seen on the hill it's been the quietest year since the Olympics.
Have noticed lunch time can still seem busy yet overall lines have been short and it's not uncommon to find yourself the only one in an entire bowl.
Perhaps international visitors are spending more time at lunch or in the village.
It is obvious there are less day skiers. It's now quite rare to share a chair with a day skier.
Day ticket prices seem to have driven many casual skiers from Vancouver elsewhere and we have a lot of other choices here.
I would choke at the cost of taking a family day skiing to Whistler but do like my season pass rate

Seems the hill is making an attempt to lure some of Vancouver traffic back by reintroducing a cheap spring pass.
believe it's 10 days for 209 Canadian starting April 23 season ends May 22
 

David Chaus

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Two things that stood out for me in the article, is the impact of housing and other cost of living on locals, which makes for more work commuters if they can’t afford to live near where they work. Rob Katz’s statement about housing 30-something-% of their employees still leaves most of their employees and does nothing for people who live and work at W/B who are not directly employed by W/B.

The second thing is the mention of eliminating the 1 and 3 day discounted locals pricing for Canadian and Washington residents. If the author is referring to the Edge Card; the 5 day Edge Card is still available; my guess is that they didn’t sell that many 1 and 3 days passes. People who are traveling from WA or elsewhere in BC are typically going to stay for longer than 1 or 3 days, and locals from the Vancouver area can get up there pretty easily for multiple day trips if they don’t go often enough to get an Epic Pass.
 

KingGrump

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“The problems started long before the acquisition, but locals fear it's set to get worse.”

That quote from the article is pretty accurate. The mess started long before the arrival of VR.

I spent the season at W/B last year. It was pretty crowded already without the massive infusion of US skiers. The resort was loaded with hordes of Aussies both Jan and Feb. Canadians and US skiers were in the minorities during the morning gondola rides. Crowds during the weekends were insane. Lift upgrades were definitely required. Nice terrain though. Will wait a few seasons for things to settle down before returning.
 
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LKLA

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Two things that stood out for me in the article, is the impact of housing and other cost of living on locals, which makes for more work commuters if they can’t afford to live near where they work. Rob Katz’s statement about housing 30-something-% of their employees still leaves most of their employees and does nothing for people who live and work at W/B who are not directly employed by W/B.

The second thing is the mention of eliminating the 1 and 3 day discounted locals pricing for Canadian and Washington residents. If the author is referring to the Edge Card; the 5 day Edge Card is still available; my guess is that they didn’t sell that many 1 and 3 days passes. People who are traveling from WA or elsewhere in BC are typically going to stay for longer than 1 or 3 days, and locals from the Vancouver area can get up there pretty easily for multiple day trips if they don’t go often enough to get an Epic Pass.
This is by no means a ski resort specific problem. Far, far from it.

Most people who work in NYC can not afford to live in NYC! Most cities are doing little if anything to help. That is the major reason why people leave large/job rich areas - they are too expensive. While these cities have a lot going for them - rich, productive, and pulsating with culture and life - many of them have net out-migration because they’re not affordable to a growing number of hardworking people. At least Vail is doing something to help those 30%.

While a lot of the revenue generated by skiers does indeed end-up in Vail's coffers - starting with the season pass revenue - much of it does not. It goes to the communities. I am a living/real example of that. More than 75% of the thousands of dollars I spend every season related to skiing goes to local businesses, not to Vail.
 
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Started at 53

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I am pretty sure that the basic premise of the Law of Supply and Demand that everyone should have learned in Econ 101 still applies. The prices will rise as long as there are sufficient numbers buying.

The ONLY ones I feel sorry for are the working folks at the ski resorts, obviously there is a serious housing issue for them
 
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PTskier

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A couple of things were left out--
--How much of the U.S. skier migration to WB was driven by the very poor snow in Colorado and Utah this past winter? I'm sure that was a contributing factor. I was in Vail on a February Sunday, and there weren't even any lift lines that day. Few wanted to ski around the grassy patches. Some of the small shops were counting the days until they went out of business or the snow returned, whichever came first; business was that slow.
--The general prosperity has increased traffic to many recreation destinations.
--A WB season pass costs more than an Epic Pass. US$1026 (at today's exchange rate) for the WB season pass. US$899 for the Epic Pass. The WB pass gives 20% discounts at on-mountain eateries and corporate-owned ski shops. That'll take US$625 worth of purchases to break even.

I'm looking forward to the new gondola from the Blackcomb base to the Rendezvous Lodge & Peak-to-Peak.

That Bloomberg article misidentified the Roundhouse on Whistler Mt. as the Summit Lodge...it isn't even at a summit. Alas, it isn't round.
 
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LKLA

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A couple of things were left out--
--How much of the U.S. skier migration to WB was driven by the very poor snow in Colorado and Utah this past winter? I'm sure that was a contributing factor. I was in Vail on a February Sunday, and there weren't even any lift lines that day. Few wanted to ski around the grassy patches. Some of the small shops were counting the days until they went out of business or the snow returned, whichever came first; business was that slow.
A lot if not almost all of the increase this season that WB experienced was due to the poor conditions at the other properties on the Epic pass. Vail itself said so.

--The general prosperity has increased traffic to many recreation destinations.
Very true. There was an article in the NY Times a few months ago regarding national parks and the issue of parking was very much part of the conversation. Bythe same token, there is a traffic issue in major metro areas as well. NYC for example is considering congestion pricing.

--A WB season pass costs more than an Epic Pass. US$1026 (at today's exchange rate) for the WB season pass. US$899 for the Epic Pass. The WB pass gives 20% discounts at on-mountain eateries and corporate-owned ski shops. That'll take US$625 worth of purchases to break even.
Unless you eat a lot or plan to buy new skies at WB, seems like it makes little sense to buy the WB pass. There must be something else - perhaps there are enough suckers who are not aware of the difference:doh:

I'm looking forward to the new gondola from the Blackcomb base to the Rendezvous Lodge & Peak-to-Peak.

That Bloomberg article misidentified the Roundhouse on Whistler Mt. as the Summit Lodge...it isn't even at a summit. Alas, it isn't round.
 

Goran M.

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no, not going to be sucked in to a meaningless internet banter about Vail Resorts ...
 

David Chaus

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^^^^ Seems like you just did.

Alternatively, none of us were, so why are you?
 

DanoT

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IMO Vail Resorts and Whistler-Blackcomb are very well suited for each other.

When skiing with CMH last season, at dinner one night I ended up seated beside the overall General Manager for all of CMH's operations and when VR-WB came up in the conversation, he stated that the info he was hearing was that WB's execs were the ones showing/teaching the VR execs. This kind of backs up what I wrote above and while I am not much of a fan of Whistler (mostly do to weather, crowds, cost) I do think it is a well designed and well run resort.
 
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