Peak Resorts Moves East Again
Peak Resorts, based out of St. Louis, Missouri, has entered into a long-term agreement to operate the Jack Frost and Big Boulder ski areas in Pennsylvania starting this season. The areas are owned by The Blue Ridge Real Estate Companies.
With the addition of the two ski areas, Peak Resorts will now operate nine winter resorts in the U.S. Dave Grenier, an executive VP at Peak, along with his wife Linda, will oversee the Pennsylvania operations.
In true Peak Resorts style, first on the list for improvements is a 3-year, $5 million upgrade to the snowmaking systems at both areas. The company plans to add fan technology (20 tower Polecats for starters) to the existing air-water systems. Next up in improvements will be snowgrooming, followed by upgrades on buildings, grounds and lifts as needed.
Burke Sold to Ginn
In late November, the sale of Burke Mountain in Vermont to the Ginn Company was completed.
The long-term plan for the ski area will likely include turning it into a four-season resort, complete with real estate and retail. Charles Hardiman will be the resort’s new GM.
The Ginn Company, which is known for its high-end golf communities, also owns land in Colorado, in the Vail suburb of Minturn. The company is proposing to build a private ski area along with a golf course on the land, which will include 1,400 homes.
Gondola to Connect Whistler and Blackcomb
Intrawest announced that it is planning on installing a gondola that would connect Whistler and Blackcomb at an elevation of 6,000 feet with a free span between the two peaks that will stretch nearly two miles. Initial estimates of the cost come in at $43.5 million. The gondola would cover 3 miles and be built by Doppelmayr/CTEC in time for the 2007-08 season, Intrawest hopes (the company is looking for an investment partner). Capacity would be in the 4,000 people per hour range—2,000 going each way—with twenty-six 30-passenger cabins.
Laurel Remains Closed
The doors will remain closed at Laurel Mountain, Pa., this season. Last year, Seven Springs operated the area, but a warm winter took its toll. Officials still hope to strike a deal with Seven Springs for the future operation of the area, but for now, the area will not offer skiing and snowboarding.
Boyne USA, Inc., sold Cypress Mountain, B.C., and the scenic Gatlinburg Sky Lift to CNL Income Properties Inc., a real estate investment trust (REIT)—and will lease them back. The $47.5 million agreement is expected to close by the first quarter of 2006.
CNL Income Properties will own 100 percent of the properties, including improvements and leasehold interests. Boyne USA will continue to operate both properties under a 20-year lease term with four, five-year renewal options. Cypress will be home to freestyle events during the 2010 Olympics.
Snow Time, Inc., owner of Ski Roundtop, Liberty Mountain Resort and Whitetail Mountain Resort in Pennsylvania, sold Windham Mountain to a group of local investors, including Windham president Dan Frank. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The partnership will maintain the current management group led by Frank and general manager Tim Woods, and expand the resort by investing in the operation and adjoining real estate.
At Sunday River, Maine, Susan DuPlessis moves over to real estate while Alex Kaufman fills her role as communications manager.
American Skiing Company promoted Kelly Pawlak to the position of managing director of Mount Snow, Vt. . .At Okemo, Ted Reeves is the resort’s new director of planning and real estate development.
In N.Y., Ted Blazer stepped down from his CEO position at the New York State Olympic Regional Development Authority. . .At Holiday Valley, Jeff Clancy becomes snowmaking supervisor; Joan Scharf was appointed as group sales coordinator; Carl Kirchner is the new retail manager; Bonnie Koschir was promoted to VP of operations; and David Trathen moves up to executive VP of finance.
Ron Hawkes is the new GM at Ski Roundtop in Pennsylvania.
At Snowshoe, W.V., Joe Stevens has left the communications department.
Colorado Ski Country USA announced that John J. Urdi III will be the new director of marketing. . .At Winter Park, Darcy Morse was named communications manager. . .Jen Schenk is the new environmental manager at Copper and Winter Park; JP Chevalier is Copper’s new director of the ski and ride school. . .Aspen/Snowmass named Steve Metcalf senior marketing manager. . .At Keystone, Paul Jeppson is the new VP of hospitality; Pete Sonntag became director of skier services; Leslie Roubos is the new director of resort planning; and Elliott Cohne was appointed assistant terrain park manager.
In Utah, Hilary Reiter became director of communications. . .At American Skiing Company, Jame Donovan is the new director of POS business solutions and Erik Anderson is the new general merchandising manager. Todd Burnette was named VP of brand management and marketing at The Canyons.
In California, Jim Gentling moves from Arapahoe Basin to become the new COO of Bear Valley, which was recently bought by Dundee Realty. . .Matt Reeder became the snow surfaces manager at Northstar-at-Tahoe. . .Further south, Big Bear appointed Marty Ward as industry and public relations director.
At Mt. Ashland, Ore., Kim Clark became manager of operations and Jeff Hanson, the GM, will devote his time to the ski area’s expansion project.
Up in Canada, at Sunshine Village in Banff, Alberta, Ken Derpak was appointed vice president of operations.
A new travel program hits the industry called VacationGuard. VacationGuard is run by industry veterans Kerry Lynch and Brian Rock and will provide vacation protection plans for the winter resort industry. Clients include Intrawest, Hilton, Bluegreen and others.
For more information, e-mail Kerry@VacationGuard.com or Brian@VacationGuard.com.
Steve Daly has joined Areco Snowmaking and will take on eastern sales and special projects. Daly will sell Areco’s multi-nozzle fan snowguns, as well as the company’s LP3 air-water tower snowgun.
At RTP, Scott Clover joined the company as regional sales manager.
Spyder named Jake Jacobs the new president and CEO.
At Atomic Snowboarding, Ted Lohr moves up to national sales manager.
At Dynastar, Tait Wardlaw is the new Alpine brand director.