On August 31, 2007, Hidden Valley Four Seasons Resort changed ownership from the Kettler family to the Buncher Company, a Pittsburgh-based real estate developer. This transaction marks a new chapter in the history of the Pennsylvania resort, and ends months of speculation over the fate of the ski area and year-round resort.
Dating back to the 1950’s, Hidden Valley Resort has offered numerous outdoor activities such as golf, tennis, hiking and biking trails, and downhill and cross-country skiing. 1,200 homes are located throughout the 1,500-acre family-oriented resort. In recent years, many homeowners have become vocal critics of the resort, concerned about a reduction in services and activities. Jim Kettler confirmed to DCSki in November, 2006 that he was exploring the possibility of selling the resort. In an interview with DCSki, Kettler stressed that he was looking for a buyer interested in purchasing the entire resort with a vision for the future.
The Buncher Company appears to meet that criteria, and the transfer of ownership is being greeted enthusiastically by mid-Atlantic skiers.
“We have exciting plans for Hidden Valley and the surrounding area over the next 3 to 5 years,” said Bill Doring, Vice President and Treasurer of the Buncher Company, in a press release announcing the sale. “Our focus today is on the fast approaching winter season; we’re moving full steam ahead to ready the resort and slopes for families and skiers to enjoy Hidden Valley.”
To that end, Hidden Valley will be spending this fall increasing snowmaking capacity through the addition of new automated snowmaking and grooming equipment. The ski lodge is being renovated with a new roof, paint, and carpeting, and new shopping and dining amenities will be rolled out. There will also be improvements to roads, signage, and parking. The Buncher Group promises to offer enhanced customer service as the ski season arrives.
“Our vision is to return Hidden Valley to its glory days, as a premier family resort, and ensure a high standard of operation with amenities that cater to families and the residents of Hidden Valley,” said Doring.
In mid-October, the Buncher Company plans to unveil the first phase of its master plan for Hidden Valley. In addition to operating the resort, the Buncher Company plans to develop real estate, including an upscale, gated residential and golf community near the resort.
The privately-held Buncher Company was founded in 1917 as a metals recycling dealer, but grew into a real estate developer specializing in office, flex, and distribution space leasing. The Buncher Company also owns the Hampton Inn and Suites in downtown Pittsburgh. Terms of the Hidden Valley sale were not publicly disclosed, although the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review is reporting that county records put the purchase price at around $12.4 million.
M. Scott Smith is the founder and Editor of DCSki. Scott loves outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, kayaking, skiing, and mountain biking. He is an avid photographer and writer.