When attitude meets altitude.
Hidden Valley seems to be going backwards??
23 posts from 11 users
Updated 5 years ago
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6 years ago
I was up this past weekend for a first time in awhile. It seems that they (Buncher) are making some major changes that don’t appear to be beneficial to the community. The first thing I noticed was the Black diamond being closed. I asked about this and was told there was going to be a new pub operated by the new concession group opening over the weekend. I went down on Saturday and there wasn’t a sole there and the place was locked up. Why can’t anyone seem to understand that we need a real restaurant and not some glorified snack bar at a golf course? Additionally, I heard that Northwood and the staff there are being replaced. How does this make any sense? Why would you replace the people that already possess the knowledge of the resort and have established relationships with homeowners with "new faces"? I also heard that there will no longer be horses on the resort, this isn’t a big issue to me, but losing amenities does not seem to be going in a positive direction. Lastly, Valley Crest that used to maintain the golf course did not have their contract renewed, I would speculate this was done in an effort to save money. I hope this doesn’t result in a lack of proper maintenance to the golf course. I have been a homeowner for almost 20 years and have seen the resort in many different stages. Currently it appears that we are digressing again and nobody seems to be able to give you an answer to all of the changes.
6 years ago
Skyline Ventures, the company that operates the Clocktower and Mulligans will be taking over the Black Diamond. I understand that there will also be a Subway and a convenience market in the building in addition to the bar/restuarant. I understand they have been working to fix up the place. I think this is a positive development.
Northwood is being replaced by Abe and Wags. I liked Northwoods but since none of the real estate is selling at HV while Seven Springs had alot of sales this Spring, I guess Buncher’s thought it was time for a change. I doubt it would make a difference. A whole new marketing effort selling lifestyle needs to be developed for the resort. I am not sure the Buncher’s get that. They need to get eveyone excited again by talking again about the great master plan that was developed for the resort.
Not sure about Valley Crest. Maybe their contract expired and another company came forward with a better proposal….happens all the time. They did a good job. I am sure another company is replacing them.

The horse operation was a vendor. If they don’t make money, I assume they’ll not want to provide the stables. It’s tough to get HV homeowners out of there houses. They really need a hotel.

I think part of the problem is Buncher is so old fashioned and thus secretive. They need to get the old farts out and let someone with some fresh ideas run the place.
6 years ago
I am not surprised about the Black Diamond changes. Although the prior operator seemed to give it a good try, it also seemed that the resort wasn’t fully behind them. Skyline has done a reasonable job at the lodge, and even to some degree they were competing against each other (was there a market for brunch at both places?). If they fix up the Outback building that would be a plus. The Co-Go’s in Bakersville does a good business, and perhaps a convenience store/subway isn’t such a bad idea that might provide the basis for a business that will be open all week.
Northwood did know the resort, but Abe and Wags is very active in the area and it might be good to have some new perspective. Agree that they need a top to bottom marketing program and doubt any realtor will be able to do much on their own, but maybe the changes will prompt some of that.

Sorry to hear of the horse operation. We did some riding there last year and it was actually very nice. However, like just about everything at the resort, it was not marketed well and tucked away from everything else such that their exposure was limited.

From a few interactions that I have had, it seems that HV resort mgmt can’t seem to do anything on their own; Even minor things seem to require going back to Buncher in Pittsburgh.

The deal was finally approved with Somerset Water to reroute water from the treatment plant to Bakersville, so Buncher now have a geeen light for public water for their proposed "paradise springs" development, however, all still seems to be on hold on that for now. Also was hoping for some initial signs of movement on the Outback Expansion this spring, but it does not seem to be happening. Everything seems to be awaiting the elusive return of the real estate bubble to do anything.
6 years ago
To clarify the real estate at Hidden Valley. Northwood Real Estate is moving up to the building near the top entrance of Hidden Valley, right across from Fern Mountain. We will not be going anywhere. I believe the traffic on Rt. 31 will be great for exposure of the resort properties. Grand opening to come.Should be open within the next couple of weeks.

The market for the first 2 quarters here at HV has been up slightly from last year. It has been up every year since the crash. Lets hope the summer bring good sales!
6 years ago
HVRE - welcome. Good to know you guys will still be around. Abe and Wags made it sound like they are replacing you. The office on Rte 31 seems kind of disconnected. I always wondered why there was not a sales office in the ski lodge during the ski season.

How about some good rumors. I always hear that the Buncher’s are trying to unload the place. They invested alot of money and have sold 4 condos. The ski area seems to do well despite being challenged vertically.
What ripe rumors do you have for us?
6 years ago
Yes, welcome HVRE! What can you tell us about future plans such as the Outback slope expansion or Lodge/Hotel? I was very excited when I came into your office several years ago and the Jack Johnson plans for the resort were on display, as well as throughout the lodge. Those sketches are now nowhere to be founnd, and everyone is wondering what the plan is even if it is some scaled down version Things are rather secretive, and People just want to know what they can expect and a basic timelines as they look at property there.
6 years ago
From what I have heard Prudential Preferred Realty is moving to the onsite office at Hidden Valley June 1st not just Abe & Wags. Prudental will continue to operate the office in Donegal and have 8 agents to staff both places.
6 years ago
A few developments based on my investigations this past weekend:
- Northwood apparently had a falling out with Buncher, unfortunately. The have been replaced as the on-site broker by Prudential. Northwood is moving to Rte 31 so they’ll still be around which is good.
- Hops Pub opened in what once was the Black Diamond. Buncher is still too cheap to renovate the place which is a shame since the building is a hand made Amish barn.
- I heard that the ski shop manager’s (Mike) wife was layed off by Buncher. Hopefully, this will not affect Mike running the ski shop…he is great!
- Buncher seems to have reverted to the Kettler model for making money…..cut cost rather than investment.
- I hear that a spec house will be built in the Green Tee subdivision.
It will be interesting to see what new hours will be proposed for the ski area next year. I doubt you’ll see the Outback expansion for a long time unless resort real estate starts booming.
6 years ago
I’ve always been an HV supporter and will continue to ski and spend time there in the summer. I also think it’s niche is always going to be as more of a "family resort."

With that said, I have to agree with the going backward sentiment. And, begrudgingly, I will admit that the contrast with 7S is stark. Especially all things non skiing. 7S went back to running their lift ALL WEEK this year for the bike park and those that want a lift ride to the top. There is a cost to this, many weekdays it’s almost certainly not profitable. But it’s an investment, a way of saying we’re committed to our guests having a good experience here.

And with regard to the Outback expansion, I personally don’t think they can have a "we’ll build it if they come" mentality. It needs to be "if you build it, they will come." "They" being skiers and people purchasing real estate. 7S is most certainly still selling condos. The slopes at HV were fairly busy this year on weekends. You’re not going to attract the serious skier UNTIL you expand the terrain.

And lastly, if they really non-renewed the contract of the company managing the golf course, I would want to know why. I’m not a huge golfer, but guys I know who play up there a lot were pretty happy with the results over the last few years. I know someone better may have come along, that’s business, but if that’s the case, the resort should be promoting that fact. And if they’re not, then I have to believe it’s a pure cost savings decision.

OK…sorry…rant over.
6 years ago
The word last winter was that Valley Crest the golf maintenance company was too expensive so HV was going to do it themselves.. That said they laid off more of their maintence crew this spring also.

5 years ago
Update from HV’s facebook page yesterday. It included a pic of a back hoe or some machinery.

"It might be the last day of May, but our mountain crew is getting ready for the first day of ski season! They are making great progress on Voyager trail…creating beginner access from the North Summit, widening the trail, adding lights and enhancing snow making capabilities. Great job, guys!"
5 years ago
New to these forums but have to say I differ with this opinion.

I think the resort appear to be trying to improve, and making progress. Everything can always be better, but relative to years of steady and obvious decline before the current owners got involved, and the dismal economic climate since, I think they are doing pretty well.

For example, I felt the Clock Tower was much improved this year. What I am really optimistic about is they are trying. Seems to me these can be circular chicken and egg kinds of things…..you need a good product to get customers…..and you need customers to pay for improvements……which gets you more customers.

In a perfect world we’d want a big capital investment to "build it and they will come", but if I were the owners of a ski resort in Western PA, in this economic enviornment, I think I’d be pretty cautious about my spending!

So with that perspective, if one feels like they are trying, and its better than it was, then I feel like I can be both happy and optimistic!
5 years ago
They went from investing large sums in some things like that Cadillac maintenance facility, replacing the Bakersville firehouse, a sewer line and pump station of Route 31 to investing very little. They had this rendering on the wall with the future plan for the resort; then that dissappeared. The Outback slope expansion was supposed to happen in 2009; now they don’t even cut the grass on the slopes they cleared. They still won’t invest in a hotel, the old Outback restuarant building is still a dump and there is one bathroom for both men and women opening to the dining room in Mulligans. They need some new real estate product rather than the continuation of the Summit condos overlooking a sewage lagoon and abandoned clay tennis courts. They eliminated the outdoor swimming pool from the "Inn" so people staying there have to drive to a swimming pool. We all realize that the 2nd home real estate market is in the toilet (although I think it may have moved up to the seat), but I think they have gone to both extremes. Don’t get me wrong, I do not miss the previos owners, but they need to invest some money in that Outback building if they want the restuarant to be succesful; they need to get some new real estate product designed for today’s market. they need to spend some money on marketing the resort lifestyle outside of the Pittsburgh market (Cleveland, DC, Baltimore,etc.) Because of their investment in snow making, they actually had a pretty good year last winter, from what I have heard, despite the lousy weather. So that investment has paid off. I think some wise and cautious investments at this point are where they need to go until they can sell real estate at a good clip.
5 years ago
A few things happening:
- Snow making expansion to the steepest slope on the mountain, Charger. This slope previously was rarely open and is part of the ‘Outback’ expansion. Based on what I observed they extended a large snow making main to this area so it would appear that they are preparing for future expansion.
- Widening/Regrading of the Voyager trail - it is now about 3 times as wide and is the main connection from the North Summit to the Outback area. They also added additional snow making hydrants and made the slope a tadd steeper.
- New Enterprises Quarry on the south side of Rte 31 - the very large piles of quarry spoil have dissappeared. They are being graded and the old mountain is being ‘restored’. They are placing top soil so I assume the new ‘mountain’ will be vegetated and planted.
- Hops Pub - they had fire works and a band on Saturday night. The place was hoppin’… I have never seen this place that crowded. Lots of Hidden Valley homeowner’s were there.

I went to the Laurel Hill Blue Grass Festival on Saturday. This was my first time. It was excellent and it costs nothing. Great music and it was very well organized. I highly recommend attendance next year.
5 years ago
I was there last Friday night, and yes Hops was also busier than I had seen before. They had a good live band and an impressive schedule through the fall. Word was that they sold every beer in the place during their monthly "full moon party"

Some additional improvements:
- They are building a big deck at Glaciers to provide expanded area
-They are fixing up the upstairs at Hops with plans to open the bar there
-Hops is now open every night, with the exception of Monday I believe

So seems like HV is making an effort to create more of a happening atmosphere to compete with 7S.
5 years ago
snowsmith & edgar3, thank you for the updates. This is all good to hear. I was really hoping to make the bluegrass festival this past weekend but could not. I don’t know that it makes a huge difference in HV’s ultimate success, but the best item for me on that list is the quarry news. It has been an eye sore for homeowners and anyone at the resort, for that matter, for far too many years now. At one time there were rumors of a lake being part of the ultimate reclamation project, don’t know if that was ever true or not.
5 years ago
Originally Posted By: Leo
the quarry news. It has been an eye sore for homeowners and anyone at the resort

Agree 100%
5 years ago
Originally Posted By: Blue Don 1982
Originally Posted By: Leo
the quarry news. It has been an eye sore for homeowners and anyone at the resort

Agree 100%

5 years ago
What you are looking at is the new quarry across Rte 31. THis land was sold by our friend, Jim Kettler to New Enterprise, the quarry operator. They are building a large ‘mountain’ using the quarry overburden and then planting it. So while it is a scar on an other wise beautiful area, it won’t look as bad as the old quarry did.
The area being restored is on the far left of your photo. There were huge piles of quarry spoil that have been moved and graded and they appear to be in preparation for revegetating the whole area. A welcome change to say the least.
5 years ago
Anyone hear any news that the Buncher Group is going ahead with plans for the new golf course over in "Paradise Valley"?
5 years ago
Given the amount of play on the resort course, the depressed 2nd home market, the original condos Buncher built a few years ago are still for sale, I would think the bottom of the priority list is to begin development of a golf course for Paradise Springs.

But to succinctly answer your question, "no", haven’t heard a thing.
5 years ago
I have heard a rumor…and repeat just a rumor…that that they are going to start developing the Parisise Springs area next year. Even if it is true, it would not necessarily mean that they are startign on another golf course, and I would agree with hockeydaves analysis. However, since the water is now approved, and they already have sunk investment in the sewer and the property, I would not be surprised if they decided to cut some roads and put some lots on the market.
5 years ago
The sure sign of some kind of activity is surveyor stakes. I noticed that there were new stakes along Gardner Road starting at the existing cemetary. Not sure what they mean. I did not have time to stop and read the markings on them. There is still a large inventory of unsold existing homes on both Seven Springs and Hidden Valley markets. With Wisp in bankruptcy, and the real estate market still reeling from the 2008 crash and subsequent forclosures, I am sure they would proceed cautiously.

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