I would reopen Big Tupper. First I would upgrade the two mountain doubles to either triples or Quads. I would then expand the parking lot to accomodate more than just 50 cars . I would then expand terrain at the top of the moutain into the upper mountain ravine. The stats would be like thise. 5 Lifts, 2 Quads, 1 double, 2 tows. 40 trails, 300 acres, and 95% snowmaking.
if i could do that, i'd wouldn't try to make it successful. i'd just make it for myself! kind of like when eric cartman inherited money and bought that amusement park just for himself. then he put ads on the tv about how no one could go to his amusement park, especially stan and kyle. it wouldn't last long, but it would rock having an entire place all to myself!!! so i think i'd have to go with sugarloaf.
Do not drink Pepsi, do not eat M&M's, because they are the tools of Babylon.
Not sure exactly which ski area I'd buy, but I'd offer $20 lift tickets, $10 half-day and $10 kids. Then, the back of the ticket (that part you throw away after peeling the sticker off) would be a coupon for $2 "mountain bucks", good for anything at the mountain.
The idea being this:
1. Amazingly low ticket prices means high skier volume, and all of 'em have a little extra $$ in their pockets because they didn't pay an arm and leg for a ski pass.
2. Since most of these skiers will have extra dough, they're more likely to spend a bit more elsewhere on the hill ... food, ski shop, bar, ski check, other amenities. To encourage on-mountain spending, we've got the concept of "mountain" bucks ... you'll automatically get $2 mountain bucks for the purchase of your lift ticket.
I'm willing to bet, that with the right ski area and the right marketing, this ski area would be extraordinarily profitable.
Without a doubt I also would want to buy Sugarloaf. This is a great ski resort already, but to improve it I would add a T-bar close to gondi-line to improve access to the upper mountain, heavily advertise the area in central and southern New England and move children's week to February. The remoteness of this place has always caused financial problems for this area, perhaps I would think about offering weekend bus trips from Boston/Portland to increase business.
Chris... How would you deal with the massive crowds on weekends? Your plan could allianate your traditional customer who is willing and able to pay up for weekends.
A crowd is a Good Thing(tm) for business! As a business person, I want the ski area to be crowded every day, especially weekends. This fits nicely with my business model of enticing customers to spend on food, etc.
BUT... if the crowd gets too large, it starts to take away from the skiing customer's experience, which obviously is NOT a good thing. After all, we want each and every customer to come back again! However, you'd be surprised at how many people a well planned ski area can accommodate without feeling crowded!
At any ski area, there is a maximum number of people that can be physically accommodated. Parking lots become full, lodge space is full, lifts are running at full capacity with a long line, etc. These saturation points are carefully designed into a ski area! Companies like SE Group (formerly Sno.Engineering) make a lot of money planning for ski areas ... determining crazy things like how many seats to put in a lodge, how many parking spaces to build, how many people should be in the hill at any given time, how many people should be on the lifts at any time, how much waste capacity is needed, etc.
The key to the operation is this: 1) Know the facility's saturation point, 2) Know how much of a crowd the ski area can handle before feeling too crowded. For maximum efficiency, #1 should be 5-10% above #2, and #2 should be implemented as a ticket sales cut-off.
Would you consider offering a high priced pass than enabled you to bypass lift lines, similar to what is sold in Summit County, C.O? This sounds kind of rude to me, but it appears to be selling in Colorado.
I guess that this would help to increase the areas bottom line, but would annoy other skiers who might feel second rate.
Chris. I think that most eastern ski areas are at their "saturation point" on saturday. Thats the problem....... how to make money 7 days a week., not just 2.
Well, that's an inherent problem with how our society is structured versus the ski industry. The ski industry is in the business of leisure and recreation, and make money when people recreate. Unfortunately, since 99% of this country is content with the M-F 9-5 rat race, it's tough for recreation based businesses to make money on weekdays. It's just a fact of life. If you want to avoid ski area crowds, work on Saturday at your regular job and ski during the week. It's cheaper that way anyway
Design the area to have redundant lifts so you operate half capacity on weekdays and full cap on weekends - the trick is to have adequate trail capacity to provide an uncrowded trail system even when lifts are operating at peak capacity.
Same concept for terrain: concentrate snowmaking and grooming on a portion of the total trail capacity - groom more on weekends and less on weekdays.
Same concept with restaurants, rentals, and other ski area facilities - operate at reduced capacity during the week and more on the weekends.
Do whatever you can to reduce operating costs during slack times but be ready and able to accomodate the weekends crowds efficiently.
Offer promotional discounts during the week to the local population base to entice them to the hill - maximize the regional market. Fill the valleys in usership - promote the slow times to get more people there then.
Just the opposite with destination skiers - promote the times that they can travel to the resort and that usually means holidays, school vacations, weekends. Sell the peak times to these folks and bve ready to accomodate them.
Snow Valley in Southern California because there is a huge demand for it there because of LA an hour 15 min away. I would upgrade the lifts to 2 high speed quads, then I would add some sheets or "quikly removable shade providers" like some fancy resturaunts have on thier patio, to keep the snow from melting on hot days over the runs. I would Advertise and deffinetly upgrade the web site. Then I would buy the land around it build Hotels with really cheap rates, like $30 a night rather than 200,and build a few shops for touristy stuff like Big Bear has 20 mins away. And I would build a 300 ft tall lookout station at the top of the mountain as a land mark. Season tickets would have free friend fridays, and bee only 100 bucks for Socal Residents. Then I would pitch a skit to Nickelodeon for that one Extremesports place to do a show based around it and pay for production of it aswell. Then I would Build Britney Spears a house up there and pay her to make a music video with Snow Valley in it and have her tell everyone how cool it is so all the kids would want to come and therfore their parents aswell, perverted uncles too. I would also discount the board rentals to $10 but keep the $25 Ticket and sell cheaper food and free lessons the first season. I would buy radio time to advertise and tell everyone it is the closer than Snow summit, Bear, and Mt High and tell everyone that they get more natural snow. Which is all true. I would invite military, fire and police to come up on WEEKENDS to skit free the last weekend of every month and Build a Tommy's, In N Out, and a movie theater on Hwy 330 across the street. And then Give it to the Count of San Bernardino Parks so it reamains free, after I make my money back. And then start again with another resort. Every body should experience it without being ripped off.
I would buy KILLIGNTON and put in the interconnect with a lift going to the real top of rams head. Bear and Skyepeak would be HSQs and i would make snowdon quad a HSQ. Also i would make a large dome over both mountains and air condition it to 25 degress year round. Assumeing that this lottery was aleast 400 Billions dollars.Just kidding on that last one.
I Dont Have To Outrun The Bear, I Just Have To Outrun You.....
Staying with a ski area that currently operates, my choice is West Mountain, Glens Falls, NY. Here's why...
Although this mountain offers, at best a 1,050 ft vertical drop, it is a nice billboard with excellent location. I believe this location could yield a Mountain Creek, NJ type development... only better.
The Lake George/Glens Falls/Saratoga corridor is becoming a hot bed as the real estate pushes north. West Mt sits in the center acting like its rim.
Of course the present West would need a total revamp with High Speed Quads running from the developements at their base locations off West Mountain Rd. To its north and south, I would maximize the use of this ridge . Off the southeastern fall is the key to its snowmaking future, a problem in the current operation , . A "mini" Outer Limits type trail also lurkes in this area with excellent location.
This project is work (you gotta do something), but do-able.
With the proper real estate planning and infusion, West could be a success.
I would buy Copper, and make it my own private ski area for about a year then I would uprade the lifts and get rid of the bloody Bee-line pass. I would also make the adds better, and make a massive begginers park with jumps that I could actully do.
I would buy Mt. Snow. First thing is to bring back Walt's vision of the area. Move the Summit express to Haystack, put in a Bi-Cable Gondola in it's place, make the Sunbrook Quad a detech, Put bubbles on the Ego Alley chair, and remove the Summit Local, and use the Summit lift from Haystack in it's place. Get rid of the preferred parking, lower food costs, put in new seats and tables in the lodges, reopen lower haystack as a terrain park that has lights for night action. Offer old time Wednesdays where a ticket price from yester year is offered. Bring back fountain mountain. Rename The plunge to Slalom Glade. Then over the years improve the mountain infustructure by replacing older Yan lifts with Partek lifts (I like small companies), snowmaking equipment. The area has lost it's character over the last few years and it makes me sad
I thought some more about my idea ... and my original ideal ticket amount of $20 isn't the best price. Instead, after more thought, $26 is a better "ideal" ticket price. Why? Because ATMs spit out cash in multiples of 20 and with $26 bucks, ATM users will need to pull out 2 bills, thus ensuring an extra $14 in their pocket to spend.