Updated 3 years ago
What are these rules?
As a die hard skier I don’t want to see competition reduced or eliminated. 7 Springs will control Hidden Valley and Laurel. Last year, 7 Springs announced they were closing 3 times only to remain open after Hidden Valley extended their season. If it wasn’t for the competition, all of the resorts would have been closed before the end of March.
No monopoly will ever benefit the consumer. They will have control of pricing, discounting, development, hours of operation, seasons, packages, etc…. Anyone who thinks Bob Nutting buying his only major competition will be good for the consumer is delusional at best.
Ask yourself why they are trying to rush a sale. It took them almost a year of negotiation and due diligence to buy 7 Springs. What’s the hurry? If Snowsmith is correct, are they trying to keep the owners of Wisp or other interested parties from submitting an offer?
Don’t delude yourselves, this is all about limiting competition and controlling the market, nothing more!
What it won’t address is how this sale will reduce competition resulting in consumers paying higher prices for skiing, rentals, lodging and food.
I guess having a legalized baseball monopoly was not enough for Nutting he know wants to try to create one in the Laurel Highlands.
On Saturday, 11/16, 7S gave a presentation to the HV community as part of our annual community foundation meeting; The meeting was very well attended. I would say there were at least 400 homeowner there if not more. A summary of what Eric. Mauch, 7S CEO told us is as follows:
- They are focused on preparing for winter…repeated more than a few times. They did not want to discuss long term plans.
- he presented information on the management team….all 7S employees. Mike Moore is the temporary general manager for HV. He started and managed the 7S sporting clays facility. I can’t say I remember the names of the other staff. He will be replaced with a permanent general manager after ski season.
- They are bringing over somebody from 7S to manage the food and beverage (F+B) including a chef. THey would not commit to when the Clock Tower would open and only said it would coincide with ski season. They also would not commit to any long term solution for providing a full time restuarant. This was despite loud grumbling from HV residents that we NEED a restauarant.
- When asked about if they would proceed with the Outback expansion, the answer was “No.” with no further explanation.
- Mr. Mauch emphasized that they want to maintain the family atmosphere at HV.
- Mr. Mauch alluded that snow making at HV was superior to 7S and that they would maintain quality snow making and grooming. He noted that HV snowmaking is entirely automated while the air and water system at 7S is manually operated.
- When pressed about the poor quality of snow making and grooming last season at 7S, he indicated that the made some strategic mistakes that created some problems which required time to recover from. He indicated that by mid - winter they had corrected the problems. The HV resident pressing him on this issue agreed with this assessment.
- Mr. Mauch listed the projects that they had started including renovation of the ski lodge cafeteria, partial renovation of Glaciers Pub and the Clock Tower restuarant, complete reconstruction of the ski rental facility which will be automated. He indicated they brought in a consultant who specializes in ski rental facilites.
- He said they always shoot for a day after Thanksgiving Opening but that of course would be weather depedent.
- He mentioned the new “Highland Pass” allowing unlimited skiing at both HV and 7S.
- He said prices would most likely increase, but he was cognizant of the ‘family’ nature of HV.
- There will be no shuttle service between HV and 7S . He said that it was studied and found to be too expensive.
- Eventually (and he alluded that State was taking forever) he hoped the Highland pass would include Laurel Mountain.
The team that 7S has in place are all long time 7S employeers. They seemed more people oriented than Mauch who is bit on the cockey side. That’s about as much as I can remember.
Thanks for the extensive meeting coverage. Unfortunately, there isn’t much I can get excited about here, as well as some cause for concern. The updates of the rental area and cafeteria are nice to see happening, and were overdue . But the lack of a long term vision, specifically taking the Outback expansion off the table, shows more of a maintain staus quo approach than any big initiative to improve. Even the shuttle bus to 7S, which I would have thought would be a given to tie the resorts together, has fallen victim to the limited vision of short term bean counting. Meanwhile they have closed the Hops resturaunt, just as they were getting momentum, and don’t have any plans to share for a year round resturaunt to replace it; I guess one is supposed to drive to 7S if they need to eat outside of ski season. Seems like they want to knock back HV to the status as a feeder resort for 7S.
I see that the snow making system at Hidden Valley has been turned on. Not sure if this is just testing or this is the real thing, but they are on.
Laurel Highlands - I understand your concern. However, in 50 days they have accomplished alot at HV. I think we need to give them a chance and see what happens. For $100 HV season pass holders can have unlimited skiing at 7S. They have a chef working on improving HV restaurants. Let’s wait and see how all of this unfolds. It seems the Mauch does not want to release any information until it is verified. That seems to be his way. What he explained is that they are trying to make the combined resorts a destination, expecially for DC/Baltimore customers.
Let’s not make premature gross assumptions until the results are a little clears
I, too, attended the homeowners meeting. While Eric Mauch was definitely ‘polished’ my overall impression was favorable. At the get-go, Mauch stated that, with just 40+ days of boots on the ground, their sole focus was the upcoming winter season and that they had not yet had the opportunity to look, in depth, beyond. My definite impression was that their strategy is to under-promise in hopes of over-delivering. I, for one, can respect this position especially given Bunchers grandiose (albeit, sincere) promises and their inability to deliver (due largely to circumstances beyond their control, i.e., the financial collapse).
Bottom line, though, only time will tell.
I don’t get the lack of shuttle either. Charge $5 per person, limit the departure/arrivals to 2 or 3 times a day on weekends only and I think its a win/win. Makes everyne feel that the resorts are truly “merged”. Couldn’t agree more with Laurel Highlands. Short term bean counting.
The long term viability of resort and the ability to invest in the resort hinge heavily on drawing paying customers some of whom aren’t season passholders. The cafeteria/rental shop projects were long overdue upgrades and to me show committment from the new owners beyond buying out the competition.
I can’t say I understand the hand wringing about prices and the potential for increases. People will spend twice as much on a pair of skis as they do on a season pass and then complain about the pass price. I don’t get it. I’d rather pay more for a better product, but that’s just me.
Most of the homeowners and season passholders I know are cautiously optimistic. Only time will tell if this was a good deal or not, in the meantime I think some of the things happening are encouraging.
….. The cafeteria/rental shop projects were long overdue upgrades and to me show committment from the new owners beyond buying out the competition.
And, that is an excellent point! There was considerable speculation that Nutting was buying HV to ‘close it down’ although that never did seem to make much sense. The $$ put into the cafe/rental shop would seem to quash that rumor.
gizmosnow wrote….”At the get-go, Mauch stated that, with just 40+ days of boots on the ground, their sole focus was the upcoming winter season and that they had not yet had the opportunity to look, in depth, beyond.”
The company is serious about success through quality product and, a realistic timetable to provide it.
RUMORS out of HV are that they are targeting Friday after Thanksgiving as a possible opening date. (Personally, I’d be stoked by a 12/6 opening….weather forecast looking promising).
I am continuing to hear ‘talk’ at HV of a possible 11/27 opening date (and, possibly, for 7S as well). I’m thinking there would be no better sign of 7S’ commitment to HV than an early opening of HV in conjunction with (or even ahead of) 7S. Forecast looks to cooperate.
HV PICS from Sat + Sun
From Accuweather Website Today
Don’t count on forecasts that far in advance. They predicted 2-4 inches of snow by the end of the day Sunday here as late as Friday night where I live (less than 20 miles from 7S and HV). Guess what? There’s not even a trace of snow on the ground, just occasional flurries. But as long as the cold temps prevail in Western PA, I guess there’s always a chance the long range forecast might be right.
It continuously cracks me up that every year, usually sometime in October, local meteorologists predict what the upcoming Winter will be like. I have just as good a chance of getting that prediction right by throwing dice or spiinning a chuck-luck wheel.
HD - I agree but don’t you love the hype?
NWS just jumped on the bandwagon - winter storm watch issued for Pgh http://forecast.weather.gov/showsigwx.php?warnzone=PAZ020&warncounty=PAC007&firewxzone=PAZ020&local_place1=&product1=Winter+Storm+Watch#.UpJvaNLeHE0