Top Five Fridays - September 9, 2016 // Ski Industry News
#1: Balsams Resort Envisioning Mega Expansion:
While it’s been mentioned in the past, this week brought new attention to the planned expansion at the currently closed Balsams Resort in New Hampshire’s White Mountains. Spurred by an interview from local news station WMUR’s Fred Kocher with Balsam Resorts’ lead re-developer Les Otten, talk of Balsam’s plans for an East Coast mega resort reemerged. In discussing the plans, Otten, the former CEO of the American Skiing Company says that his plans for expansion came about when he looked to the undeveloped and unclaimed land behind the former ski area. According to Otten, there’s approximately 3,600 acres of land that would be phenomenal skiing terrain. If the full development of the resort is realized, there will ultimately be 2,200 acres of new skiing terrain- a huge increase rom the approximately 500 acres that the Balsams claimed upon closing. When the project is complete, the Balsams will be the largest ski resort in the Northeast. To learn more, check out the Balsams website.
#2: Stagecoach Ski Area Under Contract to Sell in October, Re-open in 2017:
Here’s a bit of good news to get things started this week: it was recently announced that Stagecoach Ski Area in Colorado will have a new owner by mid-October who plans to bring the mountain back to life as a family-friendly, four season operation. Open for just two years during the mid 1970’s, Stagecoach was a hit with skiers. According to Olympic downhill skier Jim Barrows, “Stagecoach was the real deal, it had good skiing for everybody.” Perhaps the real highlight with this story though isn’t just that the resort’s coming back, but how it’s coming back. Don McLean, the man behind the purchase of the mountain, has pledged to make Stagecoach, “a ski are built by skiers for skiers and riders… we intend to develop something that’s more organic that follows what the land tells us to do and not try to rush it.” At a time when industry talk is full of conglomeration and the shuttering of small ski hills, it’s refreshing to hear of developers purposely planning on creating a community focused ski area. If all continues to go according to plan, the new Stagecoach will be opening with two new chairlifts by mid December 2017.
#3: Tamarack Resort Getting the “Death Penalty”:
Sounds extreme right? Well, that’s essentially what’s happening over in Idaho where Tamarack resort’s properties are about to be auctioned off by the state as a result of nonpayment of taxes. The situation seems pretty messy over there, with the Tamarack Homeowner’s Association having passed off resort operations to a company called New Trac back in 2014. Over the last 18 months, New Trac hasn’t been able to keep up with taxes, forcing the county to auction off its assets in order to collect payment. To keep matters even more complicated, the Tamarack Homeowner’s Association is hoping to take the reins back from New Trac this coming Winter, allowing them to reopen the mountain for ski season. Of course that would be nearly impossible to pull off if the resort auctions off key pieces of infrastructure like the Mid-Mountain lodge, the Tamarack Express, and Summit chair lifts. Currently, the Homeowner’s Association is working with the county to ensure that they’ll only auction off non-essential equipment and properties such as the zip line and portions of the golf course. The auction is scheduled for October 17th at 1 pm, and there will surely be more developments with this story before then. For more information, read the report from KTVB News.
#4: Lindsey Vonn Gone Wild (with Bear Grylls):
Let’s end with a bit of fun news: last week Lindsey Vonn was the guest star of an episode of “Running Wild with Bear Grylls”. For those unfamiliar, Bear Grylls is the host of a reality show about surviving the raw elements of nature. In this episode, Lindsey and Bear take on the rocky coastline of Corsican. While the premise of surviving a rocky coastline for seemingly no reason in particular seems a bit… dumb, the episode is still a pretty interesting watch for anyone who’s a fan of Vonn. Throughout the episode we get to see the determination and persistence that’s made her one of, if not the best, female ski racer of all time. In addition to seeing her personality, we also get a lot of insights into her personal life, from reflections on her failed marriage when she was 22, to her feelings about Tiger Woods and her desire to race against male skiers. All in all, it’s a pretty entertaining watch for anyone who’s a Vonn fan!