I was just reading over the Real Estate ad for Maple Valley and saw the old snow guns and groomers. Can those be operational again or is new equipment needed? Also all the rental equipment must be out dated as well.
The mountain will need a lot of work and some creative thinking to be successful. The equipment including the guns should be able to function. I skied MV about 10 or 15 years ago at night. There was a ton of Natural Snow. I have driven by on my way to my family's house in Jamaica, Vt when they had the snow cannon on not too long ago. May be 5 years or so.
It will be interesting to see what happens. I've always dreamed about owning a ski area. I wish I could airlift the entire mountain down to Long Island. Someone would probably have me killed so they can build townhouses on it.
I recently found out that Maple Valley last operated during the 2000-2001 season. Since it was operational recently, there's a significantly better chance that the current infrastructure on the mountain can be made functional. This is definitely a better outlook than if the ski area last operated 8-10 years ago ... between 8-10 years in New England is about the point where the infrastructure deteorates beyond reasonable repair. The fact the Maple Valley has a tubing setup, along with a complete rental fleet, and some signs of modern snowmaking capabilities (fan guns, etc), I think the mountain stands a good chance with the right ownership. It's still going to take a bit of sprucing up (maintenance), and upgrades over the course of a couple of years to bring up to par. Not a bad thing, if you're an investor with $10m and understand how to tap the market from that location!
I wrote a note to the guy in charge and he wrote me this back:
The whole area learned to ski there. My kids learned to ski there during winter sports
program. There's been a lot of interest and it doesn't lend itself to 'rape and pillage'. Am
doing what I can to educate the developers to Vermont's rules, zoning and ways.
Thanks for emailing.
Granger Real Estate
Chris, I'm not sure that Snow Valley's chairs are in any better shape than Whaleback's chair. What is your source that Whaleback's chair would absolutely need to be replaced? Of course as a marketing tool, certainly it would.
Yeah but the one thing Whaleback has going for it is itís close proximity to Boston.
Well, not really Whaleback is pretty much near the Vermont border off I-89 ... a bostoner would have to drive north on 93 to Concord, NH ... then northwest on I-89. The whole trip is probably at least 2+ hours. If you were a Bostonian, and were going to drive 2+ hours on the interstate to go ski, would you choose Whaleback or Waterville Valley? I think the choice is obvious.
Besides that, heading up I-89 to Whaleback means that you'll be passing several good ski areas before reaching Whaleback... You'll drive past Sunapee, Ragged and Crotched.
Ok, so maybe Whaleback could get a draw from the Concord area because it's a straight shot up I-89. But then again, you're competing with Sunapee, Ragged, Crotched, and Pat's Peak which are all closer. Night skiing? Can't beat Crotched. Local skiers in the Hanover/Lebanon/Dartmouth area... can't beat Darthmouth Skiway.
Unfortunately, Whaleback is in a tough position... it's a small ski area with a single double chair to serve the terrain. It's lodge is somewhat small. The ski area, because of the way it's situated on the hill, looks very small when viewed from I-89. Basically, the ski area in it's current configuration isn't capable of producing a good enough product to get the population draw from Concord.
Another unfortunate thing for Whaleback is terrain... or lack of it. Last time I looked at a topo map, there isn't much expansion potential.
I do believe, however, that there are several unconventional ideas for Whaleback that could make it viable. For example, it would make a great facility as host of some type of ski area management and operations school. In that scenario, the ski area would operate on tuition money, not skier revenue. Also, the area might make for a good technology testing platform ... a place where product developers can bring their prototype technologies for testing... grooming advances, snowmaking advances, computer systems, etc... Or, the ski area could operate ONLY during the summer on various types of artificial surfaces.... a sort of specialized summer-time only ski area, with wide area marketing, sure enough to pull skiers from around the united states during the summer.
I took a tour of MV a few years back, I would consider it closer to Crotched than Whaleback at this point...while it does have a lodge in good standing, the rest needs to be replaced. The Whaleback chair seems to be turnkey still, however the Halls at MV will need work...almost to the extent of the Crotched doubles. The rest of the infrastructure would be better replaced than repaired (if even possible).
I agree that Maple Valley is much more convenient to the Hartford-Springfield-I91 corridor than Whaleback is to Boston or anywhere else. Hey Rocket, that's your market! Don't worry, I'd much prefer the Beast for more vertical, more steeps, more trails, and proven performance. Maple Valley could well establish a different niche with night skiing and a terrain park, replacing Mt. Tom.
Actually, the closest major ski resort tp MV is Stratton, just a few miles up the road. Could they get some market share from Boston, Springfield etc? I doubt it.
Around New England there are several small local orientated ski areas making a profit by offering night skiing and by hooking into the local school ski/racing programs.
A perfect example is Shawnee Peak, between N Conway and Bridgton,Me. From 3pm until closing(9pm) that place is hopping every week night with local families and kids. Lost Valley, outside of Auburn,Me is another.
I think Maple Valley may have been known as Sugar Mountain, but I can't confirm that for sure.
Lost Valley in Auburn, ME is a cool little area... very small, but we raced there on weeknights. They sell skiing by the hour! I remember the rate being about $5/hour ... not bad if you want to just go and make a few turns.
Living in the Hartford/Springfield I-91 corridor, MV was the place we went for night skiing. We did not go to the Berkshires or Mt Tom, we went to MV.
After going to Berkshire East this past ski season, I do not know why we chose MV over BE. It is about the same distance. I think the perception was that BE is "in the middle of nowhere" and MV is right off of I-91. In fact when you are on rt 30 you go under I-91 and in about 10 minutes you are there.
chris--------i agree with your thoughts! especially the infrastucuure. good point.better to get at an area without a lot of **down**time.
i do recall the summit chair was old fashioned and slow. it was a type of double, that i believe had wooden slat construction. hence--the need of checking all that wood and repair/repainting. maybe this was done during the last open season?
i really enjoyed maple valley from---1973 till early 80s. so my memories are from that time era-
there was also a cool little tbar in front of the lodge--the summit chair--and the 2nd chair to the right. all in all no lines/everybody had a good time. reasonable tickets...good lodge w/ food..ample parking --w/ the tunnel under the rd that led to a lot.that was built around 78-
as soon as you parked--you gathered your equip and hit the tunnel.it brought you directly to where they sold the tickets.lodge.rentals-etc.
the best trails....i think...were the steep one off the right of the summit chair. also some intermediate runs that wound along in a semi circle.you had to keep your speed up on these. very close to the old ONSET outer trails.same effect.
i wish i had the sanity and 2-10 mil on a scratch ticket to get this area glowing w/ pride again. still--------a huge factor is the ...FICKLE weather/snowguns/and a plan of action to get skiers to mv.....
i think WB could indeed market itself to the boston crowd. they biggest thing they have going is that they are right off the highway, they have every other ski area in southern NH beat for ease of access. thing i hated about ragged was the amount of non-highway driving it took to get there... by the time i got to ragged i could have been nearly to cannon on the highway. it clocks in just under 2 hours driving around 70 MPH from the boston area which isn't that much more than many of the other larger southern NH areas which are 1:15-1:30 for the most part. also, i think there could be a big draw against the waterville/loon crowd if WB was marketed as family friendly and a lot less crowded. down side for WB imo is no slope side or immediate lodging options. i think WB would have better access to boston skiers than maple valley would as southern vermont is a pain to get to from boston compared to a quick jet up 93/89.
the smaller privately owned ski areas really have yet to fully tap into the potential market of families skiing the larger resorts. but obvious the marketing budget for smaller areas isn't near what the larger resorts have. would be nice to see an associate arise for small independant privately owned ski areas that would market and advertise them collectively as the alternative to large, crowded, over priced resorts. maybe offer cheap packages if you ski within "the system" - earn free lift tickets or lodging for skiing so many areas within the system. any takers? just remember where the suggestion came from if it gets put into use
Sled, I'm putting my foot down. Your information is inaccurate. I do not appreciate you posting such incoherent nonsense while pretending to know what you're talking about. Act 250 is a word and a number, not two words!