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Boyne become the number 3 in the ski area marketplace.
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Updated 3 months ago
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4 months ago

While Vail and Aspen are playing pass wars. A 3rd player has stepped froward. Boyne Resorts purchased the ski areas of 

Brighton (UT) 

Loon (NH)

Sugarloaf (ME)

Sunday River (ME)

 Summit at Snoqualmie (WA)

 Cypress Mountain (BC)  

They also own Big Sky (MT) as well as Boyne Mountain (MI).

All decent mid size mountians will a strong following. Interesting to see what will happen 

 

 

https://unofficialnetworks.com/2018/05/09/boyne-secures-footing-by-purchasing-of-6-ski-areas/

 

4 months ago

Interesting.  So those places are under the giant Max pass now?  I wonder if they will create their own Boyne multi-resort pass?

4 months ago

Still nothing in VA or NC with multiple resort options :-(  Heck even the single resort passes down here have so many blackout dates it’s not worth it unless you can ski weekdays, non holidays, and skip Christmas Break.

4 months ago

Brighton’s been a Boyne resort for quite awhile - at least back into the mid-90s when I lived in UT.  It’ll be interesting to see what happens now that they own it.

Skied the most there as they always had good deals for locals and they had decent night skiing.  It has that off-the-beaten-path feel and isn’t overly commercialized.  It’s probably even better now that they’ve replaced just about all the lifts with detachable quads.

Boyne’s a sharp company - and they have an interesting portfolio that includes the bigger resort-type places and the more rugged, basic areas.  Really something for everyone - and a welcome difference.  I hope they shake things up.

Interesting this is Brighton’s a buy back. Owned it for 20 years, sold it in 2007, and now has bought it back.

https://www.sltrib.com/news/business/2018/03/14/after-running-brighton-ski-area-for-years-boyne-will-own-it-again/

Here’s an interesting quote from Boyne’s CEO, Stephen Kircher:

“Boyne Resorts has been a longtime operator of these assets — some for decades — [and] poses no business interruption or integration risk,” he added, predicting the ownership change will “accelerate and fine tune the execution of our reinvestment plans … which will boost our competitive advantage.”

I wonder what they got cooking.

4 months ago

Still cannot help but wonder which of these ski conglomerates will have resources sufficient to cover two bad nationwide ski/snow years??

4 months ago

The Colonel wrote:

Still cannot help but wonder which of these ski conglomerates will have resources sufficient to cover two bad nationwide ski/snow years??

I’m thinking the ones with more New England and eastern resorts. Those at least have snow making and crank it out as long as the temps are there. The big western ones have little snowmaking and have no backup if Mother Nature doesn’t deliver the goods.
marzNC - DCSki Supporter
4 months ago

superguy wrote:

The Colonel wrote:

Still cannot help but wonder which of these ski conglomerates will have resources sufficient to cover two bad nationwide ski/snow years??

 

I’m thinking the ones with more New England and eastern resorts. Those at least have snow making and crank it out as long as the temps are there. The big western ones have little snowmaking and have no backup if Mother Nature doesn’t deliver the goods.

Could be right that western ski resorts are more dependent on how much it snows.  Skier visits were down in the west for 2017-18 but up for the southeast and midwest.  The northeast recovered with a snowy March and held steady.

https://www.summitdaily.com/news/sports/skier-visits-at-u-s-resorts-dip-about-3-percent/

Alterra is following the Vail business model that depends on selling lots of season passes well before anyone has any idea what the winter snows will be like.  Vail reported some numbers for the year ending mid-April 2018.  Even though skier visit numbers were down about 2%, ticket revenue including accounting for season passes was up 3%.  Dining and retail revenue was down but people still went skiing or had already bought Epic passes before the season started.

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/vail-resorts-reports-certain-ski-season-metrics-for-the-season-to-date-period-ended-april-15-2018-2018-04-19-818300

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
4 months ago

Here’s an article about the 2018 purchases based on the Boyne press release.  Unlike most ski resort companies, Boyne Resorts doesn’t have a list of their press releases on their website as part of their marketing strategy.  Feels like the family thinks long term and moves ahead in a quieter fashion.  Stephen is the CEO of Boyne Resorts.  His brother, John, used to run Boyne ski resorts out west.  But decided he’d rather concentrate on Crystal.  John become sole owner of Crystal in 2017 and isn’t part of Boyne senior management any more.

http://www.dbusiness.com/daily-news/Annual-2018/Boyne-Resorts-in-Northern-Michigan-Acquires-Sevens-Resorts-and-Attractions/

“Boyne Resorts, an all-season resort company in Boyne Falls, today announced it has closed a purchase transaction with Ski Resort Holdings, an affiliate of Oz Real Estate, to acquire six mountain resorts and a scenic chairlift attraction previously leased by the company. 

Boyne Resorts has been the long-term operator of the seven assets and owns three resorts in northern Michigan and Big Sky Resort in Montana. 

Included in the transaction are Brighton Resort in Big Cottonwood Canyon near Salt Lake City; Cypress Mountain in Vancouver, British Columbia; Gatlinburg SkyLift in Gatlinburg, Tenn.; Loon Mountain Resort in New Hampshire; Sugarloaf and Sunday River Resort in Maine; and The Summit at Snoqualmie near Seattle. 

“Having focused for several years on regaining and acquiring ownership of these resorts, today is exceptionally gratifying,” says Stephen Kircher, president and CEO of Boyne Resorts. “We are proud of the achievements reflected in these acquisitions and excited about the opportunities ahead at all of our properties, as well as for our team members, guests, and the communities we are part of.” 

Boyne Resorts was founded in 1947 and is the largest mountain resort company in North America based on skier visits. Its mountain property portfolio is the most geographically diverse among all North American ski resort companies. Its Cypress Mountain location in Vancouver was the official freestyle skiing and snowboard venue of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. 

The company also owns the 134-room Inn at Bay Harbor, Bay Harbor Golf Club (The Links, The Quarry, and The Preserve), Crooked Tree Golf Club, The Alpine, The Monument, The Heather, The Moor, Donald Ross Memorial, Arthur Hills, multiple meeting and event spaces, cottages, multiple restaurants, Avalanche Bay Indoor Park, and The Spa at Boyne Mountain, among other offerings.”

4 months ago

The significantly higher elevations of the western resorts are less succeptable to the adverse effects of climate change than the eastern resorts are.  Yes, the eastern places with smaller acreage can more easily manage to blow when nature doesn’t.  However, nature can also dump several inches of rain over a couple days and wash away a week’s worth of full time snow making efforts.  For now, even though the western stuff seems to be coming later and later each season, it is usually still plentiful by mid March. 

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
4 months ago

Boyne ski resorts are well positioned geographically.  Big Sky, Sunday River, and Sugarloaf are all relatively far north compared to the competition in the respective regions.  The plan for Big Sky is to upgrade all the lifts within the next decade.  Even have a gondola on the list that would go from the Big Sky base to the Long Peak bowl.  That’s where the new 6-pack bubble chair that leads to the Long Peak tram is located.  It’s been a while since Big Sky had a gondola.  Clearly would be good in the summer time too.  In recent years, summer tourists have been able to ride up the tram to the summit.

4 months ago

crgildart wrote:

The significantly higher elevations of the western resorts are less succeptable to the adverse effects of climate change than the eastern resorts are.  Yes, the eastern places with smaller acreage can more easily manage to blow when nature doesn’t.  However, nature can also dump several inches of rain over a couple days and wash away a week’s worth of full time snow making efforts.  For now, even though the western stuff seems to be coming later and later each season, it is usually still plentiful by mid March. 

True. Another thing that also does though is fill the snowmaking ponds back up so they have the water to blow more when temps permit.

If you take a look at how quickly 7S was able to recover. It comes down to not just having snow making capability but a good one. Compare 7S and Blue Knob’s recoveries.

I was impressed with how much snow 7S had even into April. The front side was covered pretty well and they managed to keep the back side decent. They have put a lot into their snowmaking system over the years and it shows.

Blue Knob, on the other hand, struggled to put snow down all season, and just didn’t have the system to make a lot quickly. Add to that their creaky plumbing (Expressway’s lines broke early in the season), they ended up being as natural snow dependent as a western resort.b They barely were able to get half the mountain open, and even then, only for a short time.

Boyne seems to be willing to invest in snowmaking. Even Brighton had enough to cover the night terrain that includes a chair all the way to the top. I think they’ll mage the investments needed to keep things covered even in lean years.

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
4 months ago

JimK wrote:

Interesting.  So those places are under the giant Max pass now?  I wonder if they will create their own Boyne multi-resort pass?

Looks like Boyne Resorts has a thoughtful regional approach to multi-resort access.

The 2018-19 full season pass for the two mountains in Michigan provides unlimited access, plus 50% off at “sister resorts.”  For the home base, Boyne Mountain full pass holders not only get 50% off at ALL other Boyne resorts, including Big Sky, there was an early bird upgrade option (March 12 to April 6, 2018) to the MCP for $249.  Somehow Boyne manage to keep the MAX Pass upgrade idea for people in Michigan.  The Boyne New England pass has been around for a while and covers Loon, Sunday River, and Sugarloaf.  There are <$400 options for college students and ages 20-29.

For Big Sky, the sister resorts that have a 50% discount are only the places in the west: Brighton, Cypress, and The Summit at Snoqualmie.

For Brighton, not only get 50% off at ALL other Boyne resorts, also get 2 free days at Deer Valley and 2 free days at Solitude.  Plus free rides on the UTA Ski Bus.  Early bird prices are $799-Adult, $649-Millenial (26-30), and $499-Young Adult (19-25).  The Senior pass is for 65+ and goes from $499 to $649 on 5/29/18.

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
4 months ago

Boyne started working with CNL in 2007.  There was more than one transaction, including a big loan related to Big Sky.  Pretty clear Boyne got working capital from the sale and long-term lease arrangement.  Triple Peaks (Okemo, Sunapee, Crested Butte) and family that owned Jiminy Peak did similar agreements with CNL.  They are still operating under lease agreements.

As I remember, in 2015 CNL only wanted to sell all the ski resort holdings in one transaction.  Clearly the real estate company buyer, known as OZ, was willing to split up the resorts to allow Boyne to only buy back the resorts they operate want as part of Boyne Resorts.

http://newenglandskihistory.com/skiareamanagement/cnllifestyleproperties.php

On January 9, 2007, CNL Lifestyle Properties, Inc. purchased Brighton Ski Resort, UT, from Boyne USA Resorts for $35 million. Boyne then agreed to a 20 year lease with four additional 5 year options.

On January 19, 2007, CNL Lifestyle Poperties, Inc. purchased Northstar-at-Tahoe, CA, Sierra-at-Tahoe, CA, Summit-at-Snoqualmie, WA, and Loon Mountain, NH, from Booth Creek Ski Holdings, Inc. for $170 million.

On August 8, 2007, CNL Lifestyle Properties, Inc. purchased Sunday River, ME, and Sugarloaf, ME, from Boyne USA Resorts for $76.5 million (immediately following Boyne USA Resorts buying the areas from American Skiing Company). Boyne USA Resorts then leased the two areas from CNL Lifestyle Properties, Inc., through 2026, with additional option years.

On Ocotber 5, 2007, Booth Creek Ski Holdings, Inc. transferred the operational leases of Summit-at-Snoqualmie, WA and Loon Mountain, NH, to Boyne USA Resorts.

On September 23, 2008, CNL Lifestyle Properties, Inc. agreed to loan Boyne USA Resorts $68 million for development use at Big Sky, MT. In addition, CNL acquired the option to purchase the ski area outright, with Boyne USA Resorts maintaining operational control, in September, 2010 for $74 million.

On December 5, 2008, CNL Lifestyle Properties, Inc. purchased Crested Butte, CO, Okemo, VT, and the assets of Mt. Sunapee, NH, from Triple Peaks, LLC for $132 million. Triple Peaks, LLC then entered into an agreement to lease its three areas back from CNL for 40 years, therefore continuing operational control.

On January 27, 2010, CNL Lifestyle Properties, Inc. purchased Jiminy Peak, MA for $27 million, leasing operational control back to Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort LLC for a 40 year term.

On June 15, 2010, CNL Lifestyle Properties, Inc. agreed to provide an additional $7 million in financing to CMR Properties, LLC for Cranmore to go along with $8.8 million previously loaned to Booth Creek Ski Holdings, Inc., allowing Booth Creek to sell Cranmore to CMR, the operators of Jiminy Peak.

CNL was closed to new investments on April 9, 2011.

4 months ago

No affordable ski resort can hope to survive with good conditions for only 6 weeks ( March-mid-April).

Denis - DCSki Supporter
4 months ago

The Colonel wrote:

No affordable ski resort can hope to survive with good conditions for only 6 weeks ( March-mid-April).

I’m confused.  Are any of the resorts in these mega pass deals trying to do that?

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
4 months ago

Denis wrote:

The Colonel wrote:

No affordable ski resort can hope to survive with good conditions for only 6 weeks ( March-mid-April).

I’m confused.  Are any of the resorts in these mega pass deals trying to do that?

Not on purpose.  But this season there were certainly destination resorts that had very low snow levels in Jan and Feb.  For Colorado and Utah, it was pretty clear the storms that started up in March saved the season.  Even so, skier visits were down in the Rockies.  Ironically, skier visits were up in the Midwest and southeast.  The early season cold snaps and storms in Feb and even March led to a longer than expected season in the flatlands.

Even the big destination resorts in the big mountains are investing in more snowmaking to make sure that families have a good time during the winter break holidays and over MLK week.  Most of them make reservations will before it’s clear what the weather will be in the first half of December.

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
4 months ago

Speaking of snowmaking, Everett Kircher who founded Boyne Mountain had an early patent for a snowgun.  The Boyne Snowmaker was six times more efficient that snow guns of the day back in the 1950s.  SMI is a major snowmaking company that licensed the Boyne Snowmaker.  Guess where SMI is based?  Michigan, same as Boyne Mountain and Boyne Highlands.

http://www.michiganskiblog.com/boyne-snowmaking/

Fair to say that Boyne Resorts knows the value of efficient and well placed snowmaking.  Big Sky is investing in snowguns along with new chairlifts.

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
3 months ago

Found out more about the story of how Everett Kircher ended up building and owning a chairlift in on a strip of leased land in Gatlinburg, TN.  After the Nov 2016 fire that destroyed the top terminal, Boyne replaced the 1991 double with a triple chair for $2.4 million in about six months.  The lease for the land under the lift goes for 99 years.

https://liftblog.com/2017/05/22/six-months-after-flames-gatlinburg-sky-lift-returns-friday/

https://www.gatlinburgskylift.com/about-us

Gatlinburg Sky Lift History

In the winter of 1953, Rel Maples contacted Everett Kircher and asked him to build a chairlift in Gatlinburg Tennessee. The local innkeeper wanted him to build the lift after reading an article about Kircher’s chairlift expertise in AAA magazine. Kircher was interested however wanted to build the lift for himself with a possible lease or purchase of the land from Maples.

Gatlinburg is located in a narrow valley at the foot of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. It was, and still is, a funnel for people driving coast to coast and for hordes of vacationing familes from everywhere.

Kircher met with Mr. Maples and drove to Gatlinburg. Maples had a small hotel called the Gatlinburg Inn at the center of town. Right behind it on his property was a mountain with a steep vertical rise. There wasn’t a road or even a path to efficiently begin the project however it wasn’t impossible.

Maples wouldn’t sell the property but did agree to a 99-year lease on a 100-foot easement. Kircher and Maples soon struck a deal and Gatlinburg sightseeing history was made.

Companies were not manufacturing chairlifts nor could Kircher afford one during this time. With a $10,000 budget he purchased a lift from the Sugar Bowl Ski Area in California. The lift cost a total of $3,000 plus the expense of tearing it down. Vic Chmielewski, head of Boyne’s maintenance crew went to California to dismantle the lift and transport it to Kircher’s fathers Studebaker dealership in Rochester, Michigan.

From the dealership, Kircher drew up the engineering plans using the Sugar Bowls original chairs, bull wheels and terminal apparatus but had to machine new wheels and make new balance assemblies, which he did at his fathers dealership with outside machining assistance.

Kircher’s father made the trip to Gatlinburg to scout the area and coordinate labor. Kircher soon followed after closing Boyne Mountain after the ski season.

The first step was to hire a surveyor to set property easement lines. Flags were placed starting from the main street of town, running alongside Maples Inn, over the river and up this steep, imposing mountain. Before clearing the slope a road would need to be built from the valley floor up.

A local resident lived near the top of the mountain where the road would need to be placed. Kircher offered the owner the cut logs in exchange for clearing the road through his property. The owner was delighted and planned on selling the logs and then have a road to drive back and forth from his property.

The mountain had a 1,200 vertical drop. Pouring the footings would not be easy on the steep, rocky slope. Water was trucked to the top and then fed station to station through a series of 55 galloon drums connected by garden hoses. After the footings were set in place the lift was erected and chairs were placed.

The lift was an immediate success and became must do while exploring that Gatlinburg area. By the third season of operation, over 100,000 tourists rode the Gatlinburg Lift. It was the first chairlift ever built in Dixieland.

Boyne Mountain Resort would not have been developed as quickly without the added income from Gatlinburg. The scenic chairlift has been one of the main catalysts for the success of Boyne USA Resorts. For more information on the Kircher Legacy, visit any Boyne Country Sports Store for a copy of “Everett Kircher, Michigan’s Resort Pioneer.”

 

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