Ski Chalet Update
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ScotS244
March 7, 2005
Member since 01/29/2004
122 posts
The "official" word came down to us yesterday at noon during the employee demo day at Wisp. As of the close of business today (3/7/05) Ski Chalet is being bought by Ned Hamilton of the Peter Glenn ski store chain. Of course there are going to be a ton of questions regarding the outcome of the sale but what was told to us is that Ski Chalet is going to remain open. All of the five stores were included in the deal, however, the Tysons Corner store is going to be closed in four months time. The sale also involves Patio Place (the summer time operation) and The Kayak Station. To paraphrase part of what was said - "this is a new chapter in the Ski Chalet story".
Finally, rumors that had been circulating about Ski Chalet going out of business because of financial troubles was summarily dismissed as "complete bullsh!t". We'll see what happens with our "ski chalet family" starting tomorrow morning. Perhaps others in the know can add more to this but from speaking to a few of the ski reps they seemed to think that the sale and new ownership would be a good thing. Stay tuned!
SCWVA
March 9, 2005
Member since 07/13/2004
1,049 posts
I heard from a very reliable source today that Ski Chalet has been bought by Ned Hamilton (or some business entity of his). Ned was a long time business associate of Wilbur's. With much sadness, Wilbur's family is getting out of the skiing/retail business. The stores will keep the name of "Ski Chalet". The Chantilly store will be downsizing, but will remain open.

One good thing is that they have lots of sales on their equipment. They had quite a few Volkl 4, 5, & 6 star skis on sale, along with a number of other deals on new and older (still new) model skis. They are willing to deal, they are willing to drop their prices even below the ticketed sale price if you ask.
Elite421
March 12, 2005
Member since 02/4/2005
6 posts
Ski Chalet has been bought by Peter Glen, And the Tysons store will be closing in 4 months. Sad to see it go. Dont know weather or not they are going to keep the Ski Chalet name or not. They do still have a sale going on but there isnt a whole lot left. And they have moved in to patio season now as well....

Alex Helms
Elite421
March 15, 2005
Member since 02/4/2005
6 posts
UPDATE.... So Peter Glenn has either pulled out his bid or Ski Chalet has rejected his offer again. But as of yesterday Ski Chalet has released all there employees except for some of the managers and a few others. If Peter Glenn doesnt buy by the week, Ski Chalet willbe closing there doors and filling for Bankruptcy..... So Sad and yet again the employees were left in the dark until it was too late. They didnt even have time to set up a new job....
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lbotta - DCSki Supporter
March 15, 2005
Member since 10/18/1999
1,526 posts
Nooooooooo

I will have to say Ski Chalet was the source of all my ski gear for over 10 years. I am saddened and can't believe that with as much traffic as they had, that they would be closing their doors. After all, there isn't much competition!
snwborder
March 15, 2005
Member since 02/3/2005
4 posts
'Tis true, somehow the impossible was done, one of the largest ski industries on the east coast went from having almost a monopoly in the DC/Metro Area for decades to being bankrupt in a matter of months. How was this possible you may ask, well I could speculate at the very least that it took every ounce of "wisdom, thought, and charity" of its current owners. Following the employee demo day at Wisp, and the compelling speech that filled us with what we thought was the "beginning of the next step for Ski Chalet" the employees were satisfied to know their job security was no longer "iffy" at best. Little did the employees know the next step was the beginning of the end. In that speech we were informed that Peter Glenn as of close of business on Monday would own Ski Chalet in its entirety. What was left out was that there were still days worth of contract drafting still left to be handled along with what one could only hope was civil negotiating for the future of the company and its faithful employees. So on Monday and Tuesday, everything went as planned...a few of Peter Glenn's associates arrived and spent long hours discussing changes that would involve everything from updating the computer systems to changing physical layouts, etc. Which had the employees in a good mood because as we know, change is good but then on Thursday everything came to a halt. Peter Glenn's associates didn't show, and ugly rumors were flying around about how he had pulled out for this or that reason. It would seem that the thousands upon thousands of faithful Ski Chalet and Patio Place customers would be let down. Not to mention the employees that have spent their lives working for this company, some have dropped out of college to make a career providing top notch service, skiing is all they know and work for Ski Chalet is all they've done. These men and women have been disrespected completely while once again it's been proven that money does make the world go 'round. It is true that if a deal is not made by this Friday, Ski Chalet's doors will be locked, and I can say with honesty that its future will by unsure. If the doors do close, it will be a depressing scene because even before considering our customers, Ski Chalet has been years of good times and good people for me. So you know who to send your "thank you" letters to and you know what is going on. Keep your fingers crossed and your skis parallel.
lbotta - DCSki Supporter
March 16, 2005
Member since 10/18/1999
1,526 posts
Wouldn't this be a golden opportunity for the employees to get together, organize, and buy the darn store chain away from what is apparently an incompetent owner?
snwborder
March 16, 2005
Member since 02/3/2005
4 posts
we will let you know when one of us wins the lottery
JohnL
March 16, 2005
Member since 01/6/2000
3,509 posts
If it's any consolation, I can appreciate how much it sucks to be told one thing about your company's future and your own employment future, and then find out the exact opposite only days later. Happened to me during the Dot-Bomb era.

Hard to believe it's a better deal for the family of the previous owner to file for bankrupty versus selling the stores.
ScotS244
March 16, 2005
Member since 01/29/2004
122 posts
I agree with you JohnL, which would lead me to believe that Peter Glenn and Co probably pulled out based on some contractual issues. In retrospect, this doesn't surprise me, seeing as how we were told the deal was being run by someone who was in the middle of mid-terms at the time. Brilliant. I'm disgusted at the way this is being handled. Leaving so many full timers in the dark like this is atrocious. Still, lets hope these people can wrap it up on a positive note so we can take that "next step". Grrrrrr.
lbotta - DCSki Supporter
March 16, 2005
Member since 10/18/1999
1,526 posts
You don't have to win the lottery. All it takes is initiative and a bunch of motivated (or pissed-off) people. I'd be willing to bet the banks would look favorably at employee-ownership as it would save them from having to lose money in bankrupcy of the stores.
Elite421
March 17, 2005
Member since 02/4/2005
6 posts
This is one Rumor....I think the reason that they are going to file for bankruptcy is b/c they were tring to get Peter Glenn to take the 2.5 million in debt that Ski Chalet has built up over the past year from patio and ski equipment purchases, though some credit company that has sliped my mind at the moment. I think Peter Glenn doesnt want this on his sholders and this is why he pulled out. And since Ski Chalet doesnt have funds on hand they have to file for bankruptcy. Im not completly sure how all of this works but i would figure they could sell the Tysons location and get a S load of money for and be able to pay of the debt and have enough left over to live the rest of there stinking lives playing rugby and and whatever else they like to do. And still get rent from the the Arlington block and the Chantilly block that they own. Also its kinda funny that the Son Matt Mcbay is looking to buy a mulit million dollar home here real soon when they should be tring to fix the problems that him and his family has caused but instead thay look like there running away from all that Wilbur has built, and Pooping on the loyal employees. Who have stuck it out till the end. Atleast some of them have been able to find jobs quickly. SHAME on them, I hope they live the rest of there lives in Guilt.

Alex Helms
snowcone
March 17, 2005
Member since 09/27/2002
589 posts
Alex ...

FYI ... Wealthy people don't have guilt, especially when dissing the little guy. I was told that Wilber's [trophy?] wife doesn't give squat about the business and all she wants to do is spend her time with her buds in Vail.

If I were the Peter Glenn crew, I would walk away from the inequality of the deal they are being offered and quietly proceed to open a local store or two on my own. If Peter Glenn has the financial where-with-all to buy out Ski Chalet they sure as hell could open one of their own stores here and do a good business. Plus they would have a trained and experience ex SC staff to draw on. From what I see about the SC situation; there is no ski inventory because it was dumped at fire sale prices, who needs another Patio shop, or for that matter another shop selling whitewater gear. So the only thing left is the Ski Chalet name ... big deal!

Footnote: Basically, I'm very upset and angry. I see people we have made friends with over the years being dumped on. One of the reasons we always went to SC was the people; they were our friends and we bought from Ski Chalet because they made it a pleasure to shop there. Dang!
kennedy
March 17, 2005
Member since 12/8/2001
792 posts
Wow this is getting gritty. I agree that the closing of Ski Chalet is a detriment to the skiing industry in the DC area but I'm not worried personally about the lack of locations to buy gear. For boarders there is a slew of places. Fairfax alone I know of three, East Coast Board Co., Fairfax Surf Shop and Dicks (have not been there yet so I'm not sure how it will be).

The real loss as I see is in the loss of tech heads who know their stuff. That was really SC's biggest draw. I was never super impressed by their pricing or their gear selection. There was always a dozen places to get that. Case in point East Coast, better gear from hard to find manufacturers.

What I really want to know is where the stone grind machine will end up. Where will the tuners and gear heads end up and that my friends is where you need to look.

Talk to your favourite tech guy, ask him/her where they think they will end up. It's their skills you really need. Ski shops are closing around here like there is a drought. To be honest I think one of the tuners should buy the base grinder and some key equipment, set up in a garage somewhere and just do tunes. Forget selling gear, too much cash tied up. Just do tunes, advertise through website like this and run your own small business serving a need. I know from reading messages on this board that just about every person on here is passionate about their sport and insist on having their equipment in top shape. How many of you would be willing to send your stuff to a guy whose livelihood is dependent on quality tunes?

Damn I need to stop ranting, it's Paddy's day, I'm Irish and I haven't had a chance to get to the pub yet, what else do you need to know???
Elite421
March 17, 2005
Member since 02/4/2005
6 posts
I understand about them not having Guilt, I tell yea if i ever get rich i wont forget the little people! Especially they people that help me get there. His wife is far from a trophy wife, and yes everyone that i worked with there saw a complete change in her after Wilbur's passing. She went from being a nice lady that you could small talk with to being a complete bitch that you would run and hide from when you saw her coming. Guess the true her came out. She also threated to fire anyone that said the company was being sold. Guess she was afraid that the truth was getting out.

As far as openning just a repair shop. me bing a ex-tech, and Matt Williams and a few other techs have talked about this very idea. We agree and it think it will be a great idea. the only thing is the machines are extemly expensive, and besides i think the best thing to do would be to rent the equipment anyways b/c the companys that do the renting will service them and take them during the off season. We had problems with some of the older machines with keeping them running and operating correctly. And getting tunes that we would feel comfortable with leaving the shop. Who knows maybe you guys will see a Tech shop open up....

Alex Helms
snwborder
March 17, 2005
Member since 02/3/2005
4 posts
Lou,
on top of the motivated or pissed off employees, it takes capital more than anything, and if you saw the true amount of money Ski Chalet owed at its peak over the passed few months, you'd understand my statement about the lottery. Now it looks as though the chain is getting put through a chop-shop. the Tysons store will be shut down for it's property has already been sold, while chantilly and arlington may go to some company from up north. But who knows, it's a different rumor every day.
kennedy
March 17, 2005
Member since 12/8/2001
792 posts
I brought my pride and joy, (Burton Canyon 168), to a recently opened board shop in Chantilly to have an edge tune recently. Not so hot. If you guy's open a tech shop let me know, I'll bring you my gear. I would agree with a renting option if the equip is too expensive. I would rather bring my board to a guy working top tunes out of his garage than to some high end shop where a kid is working a hand tuner across your edges with all the aplomb of a ham fisted hack. Sometimes the grass roots is where it is at. Get that niche following where people in the know go and you will have a solid clientelle.
lbotta - DCSki Supporter
March 17, 2005
Member since 10/18/1999
1,526 posts
Snwborder, I gather the descendants of the old owner may have gone into debt as a way to force its closure. They may get their million dollar mansion in Potomac or McLain at the expense of the many devoted people who worked for years at this venerable store. It pains me to see it as I was a loyal customer for years.

However, you should realize that IS where American industry is headed... the rich are getting richer at the expense of the retirement funds of the workers. Primitive capitalism is back with a vengeance... Corporations can do away with retirement funds with a stroke of a pen. Fairly paid workers in the US can have their jobs exported to a sweat shop in India or Bangladesh at the drop of a hat. Employers are increasingly doing away with health insurance. What next? Child labor because it's good for business? It would not surprise me.
twin58
March 17, 2005
Member since 04/1/2000
198 posts
Quote:

quoting snowcone ...

So the only thing left is the Ski Chalet name ... big deal!




Quote:


Good name in man and woman, dear my lord,
Is the immediate jewel of their souls:
Who steals my purse steals trash; 't is something, nothing;
'T was mine, 't is his, and has been slave to thousands;
But he that filches from me my good name
Robs me of that which not enriches him
And makes me poor indeed.





Shakespeare, Othello, Act iii, Scene 3.

Or, as acountants call it, goodwill.
johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
March 17, 2005
Member since 07/18/2001
1,914 posts
Quote:

Alex ...

One of the reasons we always went to SC was the people; they were our friends and we bought from Ski Chalet because they made it a pleasure to shop there. Dang!




YES!! This is the basic reason why many companies (Merrill Lynch for example) survive scandals--people may despise the owners but they remain loyal to the employees. It's the employees who made this company and they could probably migrate to Peter Glenn if he established stores in similar locations.

PS Are we going to have a lost ski stores section of DCSki?
MadMonk
March 17, 2005
Member since 12/27/2004
235 posts
I can appreciate a small/mid size business owner wanting to get rid of $ millions in debt. It's a big burden to carry around and sometimes the size of that burden leads to dumb decisions that cause people (i.e. employees) to get the shaft.

Personally it sounds like SC had some real problems with inventory mgt. and probably AR mgt.

I'll be sad to see the place go. Eric was a great bootfitter.
skitech
March 17, 2005
Member since 03/17/2005
12 posts
i have been working at ski ski chalet for about 6 years and i cant see a seventh season in my future which blows. so to everyone who trusts me to tune, mount or fix any size hole in your ski. hopefully if we are still open i will keep up the good work but other wise i just want all of you to know that i have enjoyed it and see you in the snow
comprex
March 18, 2005
Member since 04/11/2003
1,326 posts
Quote:


PS Are we going to have a lost ski stores section of DCSki?




I would welcome a continued and expanded presence of their bootfitters and technicians on this board.

PS If SC's future is uncertain, should we prepare for a DCSki gear swap in the fall?
shredsticks
March 18, 2005
Member since 03/16/2005
2 posts
Wow, I just went in Ski Chalet in Arlington and the people in there had no idea what was going to happen. They still have some stuff over there, got myself a nice fleece and sweet gloves for $70! total, the gloves themselves originally cost $75 alone.
Anyway, I guess they are getting a bunch of clothes in today. Personally I'm thinking about going back and getting some christmas gift for next year... 70% off now or full price next december.
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PhysicsMan
March 18, 2005
Member since 11/20/2001
218 posts
Quote:

i have been working at ski ski chalet for about 6 years ...




You don't happen to be the main tech at the Gaithersberg store, are you?

If you don't want to answer publicly, send me an email at physicsman000@yahoo.com

Tom / PM
tjburke
March 19, 2005
Member since 03/19/2005
8 posts
So I have been sitting here on the sidelines trying to bite my lip and wait to see how things shook out, but I feel like I need to add my two cents (the way I rant, I am sure it will be more than two cents).
With regard to the whole "what will and what won't happen" with Ski Chalet. Mr. "Shredsticks" If you really think the employees at the Arlington store don't have an idea of what is going to happen then you are hopefully referring to the fact that we don't like to openly worry our customers. Unlike this series of postings that have been going on, where everyone claims the sky is falling, the employees have to keep composure and make sure that we keep our heads about us and go on as if nothing is going to change. We are professionals, that is the way to behave in this type of situation. It is true that we have no more idea of the outcome of the potential sale or going bankrupt as anyone else, but the end result is that until we are told otherwise we have to come into work every day and do our jobs like there has been no change and that we will be there 6 days, 6 months, and 6 years from now.
As a long time employee, and one of the people that is still employed at Ski Chalet, I can tell you that this is not the greatest of times. Each of us has concerns, many have families and other obligations that would be better served by a more stable career, but in the end the reason we are still there is that we are professionals, and that our work at Ski Chalet is what we love. Having been an avid skier for most of my life I have visited many ski shops in all parts of the country, and I will say without any reservation that I will put our employees up against the best boot fitters, and ski salesmen in the country. While we may have disagreements about how things are run, and how they are operated, each of us owes a great deal to the institution that is Ski Chalet. I can honestly say that some of my best friends are people I have met while working at that fine Arlington shop. There are people that come to work at our shop from high priced careers because of the comraderie and common love of skiing and the ski industry.
Additionally I can say with great pride that one of the reasons I love working at Ski Chalet is the happiness we see in our customers expressions when they get new skis, new boots or even the right pair of gloves. When they come to us, it is because they know they are getting the utmost in professional care. I love having customers call or stop in and talk about how they loved their new skis, or really liked how warm their new jacket was.
Rather than having a conversation about a topic that only 2-3 people in the entire Ski Chalet organization can answer (posts from the McBay family would be welcome at any time) how about we do this:
If you have been a customer of Ski Chalet, and you have enjoyed your service, and had great experiences, why don't you drop by your local store and tell the employees that you have aprpeciated their help. At a time like this the employees are already on edge, but some encouragement and thanks can go a long way to making our day. Perhaps Dan in Chantilly helped you with a boot, Phil in Arlington did a "now" mount on your skis, Erick in Shady Grove sold you a great pair of skis, or Carter in Richmond helped you with a Kayak. No matter who it is, or what they did, stop in and say hello.
Its time to turn this whole posting positive rather than negative. No one can really say what is going to happen, and we won't know for a while now, so rather than looking at the sky waiting for it to fall, make the most of the time and get any of the professional advice you have been looking for, talk shop, and say "Thank You" for the service you have received.
As a long time part and full time employee, I hope that I have many years at ski chalet ahead of me, and I am positive that whether it is ski chalet, or some other name, there are going to be a lot of the same talented faces you are used to seeing, and you will receive the same great service you have come to expect from our world class shop.

As far as the suggestion of having more of the professional bootfitters and technicians from Ski Chalet on your discussion board, consider me in. I am happy to share any knowledge I can in this forum.

In the words of Glen Plake - "If I had a magic wand and could make the skiing industry any way I wanted, I would make it like it was before snowboarding."
twin58
March 19, 2005
Member since 04/1/2000
198 posts
Quote:

In the words of Glen Plake - "If I had a magic wand and could make the skiing industry any way I wanted, I would make it like it was before snowboarding."




Oh, yeah? Well, maybe I'll just run him over. That'll teach him to diss boarders.
Ullr
March 19, 2005
Member since 11/27/2004
531 posts
Hang tough DC customers good news is coming. I cannot say what at this time, but I got some inside info that another chain is looking to enter the DC market. I don't think anyone is going to take over the Ski Chalet business because it is just blood red at this time, but they are looking at expanding into your market with the closing of the stores.........
brownterd
March 19, 2005
Member since 03/19/2005
2 posts
WOW, what a crazy last 4 to 5 months at the chalet. Everything that we never thought was going to happen did! So most of us just thought WTF! It's a shame that the responibility of the company was handed to somepeople that must have been eating retard sandwichs for breakfest, lunch, and dinner. I know i would not have let such a great company just get thrown away. Even if everything does workout none of the vendors would even think to have a phone conversion with any of our buyers after all of this Bullshit. Well after so many of great ski chaleters have lost there job with no later then a 1 hour notice or even none at all, it looks as if the doors will be closing soon. Looks like the McBays will soon get what they want a nice home in Aspen to retire too! Well my final thoughts are that i see ski chalet like this..... kinda feels like my last terd, hurt like hell on the way out but feels great now that it is all over!!!!!

Team Lift Represent, I'm Out
KevR
March 19, 2005
Member since 01/27/2004
786 posts
My friend, a more eloquont missive has never before graced this space...
skibum56
March 19, 2005
Member since 03/19/2005
3 posts
What's really sad is how at Employee Apprication day at wisp the ouwner didn't even tell the turth about the sale. She even assured everyone that they would all have jobs with Peter Glen. This was totally unfair to the loyal employees. People may have passed up job opertunities thinking that they would have jobs on Monday and then when Monday came the found that they had no job.
comprex
March 20, 2005
Member since 04/11/2003
1,326 posts
Ah, more new posters than ever before? Good thread.
skibum56
March 20, 2005
Member since 03/19/2005
3 posts
Has anyone heard how Matt's professional rugby career is coming along and will the McVay's going to have the guts to show up for the SC aspen ski trip.
ScotS244
March 21, 2005
Member since 01/29/2004
122 posts
Nope, I don't know too much about Matt's aspirations to go pro in Rugby but I wish him well. As for any of them showing up in Aspen, well, I'm not sure how many of us really care. I'm going to ski and party ballz off with the people I worked with so if they show up, I hope they're ready for some jaeger shots and car bombs. Most of us are upset simply because it feels like a big family has been ripped apart and there is nothing we can do about it. The good news versus bad news scenarios have been played out and theorized by all of us. Guess what? We're still theorizing. It would be good news to some of us if another ski related company was thinking of moving into the area, but it probably wouldn't be the same. To all the SC lurkers out there I wish you all the best and may you land successfully on your feet! See you in Aspen for the tidal wave of angst and final throwdown of the '04/'05 season.
MadMonk
March 22, 2005
Member since 12/27/2004
235 posts
So is SC still open? I called and got a recording that sounds like they are still open, but somewhere above I thought I read that if the doors were supposed to be locked last Friday.
skibum56
March 22, 2005
Member since 03/19/2005
3 posts
Yes they are still open. I talked to them yesterday. For how long no one knows.
comprex
March 24, 2005
Member since 04/11/2003
1,326 posts
Bad time to try to order spare bits through them?
Jim
March 24, 2005
Member since 11/22/1999
317 posts
They're still open and I would expect them to be open for a while (i.e., a few weeks if not months). The reasons for my speculation are that they still have a lot of inventory to clear - not just winter merchandise, but the spring patio furniture as well. I was at the Tyson's store yesterday and it looks like they just got in a bunch of patio stuff. As a result, they are going to want to clear out as much of the inventory as possible. Even after declaring bankruptcy, this won't necessarily shut down the stores immediately. As part of liquidation, they will try to continue to sell as much stock as possible. Sales to consumers, even at steep steep discounts, almost always generates more revenue than liquidation through other methods.

In addition, I've heard that there are discussions ongoing with several other potential buyers that would allow the stores to continue to operate - albeit under other names. In any event, the rumor is that regardless of what happens, the Tyson's store will close. Apparently, the land on which that store sits is owned, not leased. Accordingly, sale of the land will reap huge returns given recent real estate value increases over the past several years.

As for custom ordering parts, I would make sure that the parts are in stock in a warehouse versus having to order them from a manufacturer. If its the former, then you're likely okay, if the latter, there's more risk.

For now, keep supporting Ski Chalet and hope for the best!
kwillg6
March 24, 2005
Member since 01/18/2005
2,020 posts
Hmmmm.....seem like the perfect time to really entertain the idea I've always had to open a small, full service shop which does all the things many of us went to SC for; mounting, high end tuning, base prep/repair, boot repair, specialty items, etc... One must crawl before one can walk and walk before run. A couple of investors and... Stay "tuned."
Ullr
March 24, 2005
Member since 11/27/2004
531 posts
Quote:

In addition, I've heard that there are discussions ongoing with several other potential buyers that would allow the stores to continue to operate - albeit under other names.




I have heard the same thing. The Richmond store will also not be part of the deal, but there is a local player looking at the other side of the river. I have heard that Willie's is one of the big names looking at DC, but I do not know anyone in that organization to confirm this.
Jim
March 25, 2005
Member since 11/22/1999
317 posts
Stopped by Tyson's store earlier today - there's a "FOR LEASE" sign at the edge of the property. Looks like the future of the Tyson's store is pretty certain - it will be gone. This really bums me out as I've come to really rely upon one of the ski techs there for tunes. He always does fabulous work. A good ski tech is a lot like a good mechanic - hard to find, but once you do, you want to stick with them! Hopefully, the ski tech will be picked up quickly by another store.
jenski
March 25, 2005
Member since 03/22/2005
1 posts
I do not believe most of the rumors posted on this thread.

Generally, there seems to be a correlation between the accuracy of spelling and the accuracy of rumors in the comments. Hacks have been using this blog to take cheap shots. The bitterness on this site is disgusting and misdirected. The comments seem to range from concerned, to naive, to ignorant, to cruel.

I am proud to be a former employee of Ski Chalet and consider the McBays to be my friends. As I understand it, they have been trying to do everything they can for Ski Chalet during difficult times -- just as they always have. On the other hand, most in the ski industry know that Peter Glenn Florida Corporate chain "plays dirty". I certainly hope (for the sake of the employees) that Peter Glenn does not buy Ski Chalet. Have the DCski posters even considered that for various reasons Ski Chalet management cannot disclose all that is happening?

Working at Ski Chalet was great for the most part -- it never felt like "just a job". The staff at Ski Chalet knows that the company foots the bill for the good times -- parties, free skiing, demos, staff trip -- The management was very successful in creating a fun culture at Ski Chalet -- however, this laid-back attitude does not usually translate into commercial success in the business world. Apparently, Ski Chalet had some major financial problems and big personnel problems that run deeper than this warm winter. I hear the ski industry in general is hurting financially.

Few family businesses survive the death of the founder. This may be the case with Ski Chalet. The real tragedy here is the passing of Wilbur. It's amazing to me that his awful death garnered only a few comments on this site. Yet, there is a tirade of rumors about changes at Ski Chalet. I can only hope that both the staff and the customers can put things in perspective.
ScotS244
March 25, 2005
Member since 01/29/2004
122 posts
jenski,
Thanks for posting your thoughts. The chatter on this board about Ski Chalet began when "THE SALE" started a couple months back. 50 to 70 percent off EVERYTHING, no restocking, no refunds. That created a ton of specualtion and rumors from customers and why not? I believe that much of the bitterness you might have read from certain posters here emerged from being kept in the dark while being able to do nothing or say nothing as the store was sold off in front of their eyes. To finally be told by the owner that soemthing was officially going to happen took a lot of strain off, but then we find out that, "No, the deal fell through". Frustration? Hell yes. Whether people are told things officially or unofficially, it hurts to be told one thing and have the very opposite happen. Certainly there has been some stupid and misguided things said which in the grand scheme does little to help the situation even if help can't be given. Some things are better left unsaid even if you're posting at a small internet ski forum behind a psuedo-name. Only cowboys post real names!

Interesting insight on the Peter Glenn chain. I think specualtion as to what will happen with Ski Chalet is natural and can't be stopped. Some people say they know something "but can't say what it is yet". Hey thanks for that update - real helpful, eh? There's been plenty of warm n' fuzzies about how great it was to work for Ski Chalet and all really anyone who did/does work there wants to know is "what's next?". The full timers have it the worst. The part timers can bitch and moan til the sun goes down but at least they have other jobs to fall back on. It's a testament to anyone who is STILL working at the stores right now because they could be out looking for a new job, skiing or anything else, but instead they're hanging on hopes that they'll still have a ski industry job down the road with someone.

Finally, if you've been around DC Ski for a little while you'd know there was discussion on the passing of Wilbur. It was low key at the time because it happened during the "off season". Whether we believe it or not, the mourning of losing Ski Chalet is a direct correlation to losing Wilbur. He was definitely the anchor and the reason things stayed on a steady course. Is it any coincidence then that the his loss is now being followed by the loss of Ski Chalet?
Bottom line - I think many full and part time employees of all the stores would jump at the chance to continue working for a ski store if one were to take over, buy out, or simply move into the area and set up shop so long as the atmosphere doesn't have that big chain flavor. It just SUCKS to not KNOW what is or will happen.
brownterd
March 25, 2005
Member since 03/19/2005
2 posts
Post deleted by Scott
ScotS244
March 25, 2005
Member since 01/29/2004
122 posts
Now all we need is one of those fancy-schmancy Crystal Glide machines. Hmmm, wonder where we can get one of those?
Scott - DCSki Editor
March 25, 2005
Member since 10/10/1999
1,091 posts
brownterd: you posted a message that I had to delete because of profanity.

In your message, you posted:

"Remember freedom of speech... i can say words like [words deleted], whenever i feel like it, so hahahahaha..."

Actually, no. The First Amendment states that Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech. However, DCSki is not run by Congress. It is a private enterprise, and the ability to post on DCSki is not a right. You have no right to use whatever words you want on DCSki. I do have the responsibility to make sure that discussions are clean and respectful.

DCSki is a family site, and although I encourage open discussion, I cannot tolerate that kind of language -- there are young children who read DCSki regularly. Don't mean to be a curmudgeon, but this is a point I feel strongly about.

- Scott (DCSki's Editor)
MangyMarmot
March 26, 2005
Member since 12/25/2002
183 posts
Well put Scott. As a professional journalist I STRONGLY believe in free speech. However years of court decisions and interpretation of the First Amendment have established that freedom of speech only applies to government censorship. No one seems to get this.

Also, our ability to engage in open exchange of ideas comes with responsibility to engage in real debate... not some silly infantile vomit of profanity and insult.

I think you do a great job of guiding the site.

Thanx,

mm
The Colonel - DCSki Supporter
March 26, 2005
Member since 03/5/2004
3,060 posts
Amen, and thanks Scott.
The Colonel
skitech
March 31, 2005
Member since 03/17/2005
12 posts
JENSKI
I THINK I KNOW EXACTLY WHO U ARE AND I AM NOT SURE IF U WERE AN EMPLOYEE OR JUST A SIDE LINER GOING TO SCHOOL AND GETTING A PAYCHECK FOR NOTHING SORRY TO BE SO BLUNT BUT AT A TIME LIKE THIS WHEN I HEAR THAT 5 OFFERS HAVE BEEN SHOT DOWN BECAUSE OF THE WORST BUSSINESS DECISIONS I HAVE EVER SEEN OR HEARD OF JUST SO SOME ONE CAN FATTEN THERE POCKETS REALLY MAKES ME MAD WHEN ALL THIS MEANS IS THAT I AM OUT OF A JOB TICKS ME OFF TO KNOW END SO I REALLY HOPE THAT SOMEONE COULD PLEASE TELL ME THE TRUTH ABOUT SOMETHING OTHER THAN A REPORTER FROM THE WASHINGTON POST ABOUT THE BANKRUPCY FILLINGS ON MARCH 24TH AND TO ALL THE MCBAYS IF YOU CANT TELL YOUR EMPLOYEES THE TRUTH OF EVEN THAT YOUR REALLY APPRECIATE THE HARD WORK AND STICKING AROUND WHEN U FIRE EVERYONE ELSE THEN MABYE MORE RESPECTFULL THINGS WOULD BE SAID BUT UNTILL U CAN CANT BE HONEST WITH YOUR LOYAL CUSTOMERS AND EVEN MORE YOUR DEDICATED EMPLOYEES HAVE FUN SITTING IN ASPEN AS YOUR COMPANY SO TO RUINS

*THINK SNOW*
Elite421
April 1, 2005
Member since 02/4/2005
6 posts
Agreed...Jenski, You can believe what you want. All that i posted was what i heard from my friends that still work at Ski Chalet, some may be true so may not, hence why i called them rumors. If the McBays would be more respectfully of there employees and tell them the TRUTH then there would be no rumors .Im sorry the spelling was bad but im not about to sit here at work and proof read and spell check something that is up on a local forum. Where everyone understands what im saying. I have more important things to do. It almost seems as though you really arent the person you give hints to who you say you are. To me it seems like you maybe a insider or a girlfriend. The thing is that the McBays were respected, but i think they have lost most of that respect with how they are treating and handling this situation. And I have also heard that they have been trying to Skimp on current employee's pay checks. Not paying them for all the hours of work that they worked. But after a argument he got his pay check in full. You think this is right, Jenski? Should a employee not get payed for the hours he or she put in? And this is NOT a Rumor. The way I see it they continue digging deep and deep...

Spell Checked just for you

sorry forgot im the "cowboy"
Alex Helms
shredsticks
April 4, 2005
Member since 03/16/2005
2 posts
Well, just read and article in the Washington Business Journel about the Ski Chalet Bankruptcy. Figured I'd give the forum a heads up, it was friday's biz journal. Looks like a lot of the rumors were just that, rumors. Article says the McBay's aren't getting any money from the sale of Ski Chalet it all goes to industry creditors...
Says that the stores are gonna be around, except Tyson's, said it was closing... They are being sold, but would stay ski stores just under new management.
Ullr
April 4, 2005
Member since 11/27/2004
531 posts
I'm betting that they become Willie's, but my friend who works at the Richmond store still says they will be Peter Glen's. We'll see.................
Inverski
April 8, 2005
Member since 04/8/2005
3 posts
As a person who has had an offer in to buy one of the Ski
Chalet locations, I would have to say that the McBays really didn't lie to their employees, they just spoke too soon. A few times. Ski Chalet was sold, but negotiations broke down before the final contracts were signed. Shoot, at one point I thought I had bought it, but the lack of communication has gotten so out of control, everyone is totally fed up. I have thought about pursuing the negotiations further, but I have about given up. If anyone has any money to invest, It can be bought... or so they say... but things would have to start moving... yesterday
jenskic@aol.com (not the same jenski that posted before)
ScotS244
April 12, 2005
Member since 01/29/2004
122 posts
Did closing the deal mean you had to incur any of the debt Ski Chalet owes to its many vendors? If so, I can't blame any of the potential investors for backing out. After spending the past week in Aspen with many of the loyal employees, ex-employees and friends/family of both it was easy to see the angst that has built up. As we've been saying all along, we just want an answer already!
Inverski
April 12, 2005
Member since 04/8/2005
3 posts
After a call to the Chantilly store the other day, it is still evident that the lack of communication has really taken its toll. Everything should be ironed out next week, but that is what I thought in the beginning of March!
Graham
April 17, 2005
Member since 04/17/2005
1 posts
Hi all. Can anyone fill me in on what IS known for sure? After reading this forum its difficult to figure out what is going on.

My 2 cents. I met some great people at Chalet and had a lot of fun. Sad to see it go. It is unfortunate to see the things that are happening and have happened to the full time employees. Its also bad to see some industry people seriously hurt by the debt that isn't getting paid.

Cheers,

Grahamimal
Inverski
April 29, 2005
Member since 04/8/2005
3 posts
After a trip down to the DC area, and a visit to Chantilly Ski Chalet, I can guarantee that nobody knows what is going to happen. As a former Chalet employee, it is really sad to see the way things have deteriorated.

Through the grapevine, I have heard that there are bids for single stores, for the name, mailing list, fixtures, someone put a bid in for the inventory apparently.
There probably will be a chain or two opening in the DC area, and they will probably pick up some of the extra employees.

The creditors and suppliers are definately taking a hit, and they will probably receive cents on the dollar, if anything. It is very sad since the ski industry is a huge family, and it is like a sister went completely bonkers and kicked everybody in the balls on her way out the door. The most unfortunate thing, is that the consumer will ultimately pay for it.
snowcone
April 29, 2005
Member since 09/27/2002
589 posts
Sad to add .. a great many of the wonderful people we have dealt with over the years at Ski Chalet are moving on to greener pastures; most of whom are leaving the DC area for the call of the wild West .. some to resorts, others to ski shops and still others just pulling up stakes and heading into the sunshine. We are truly going to miss them.

Judging by the number of Ski Chalet people we know who are leaving DC [a good 1/2 dozen at last count], I would venture to guess that any ski company intending to set up shop in the area had better do it quick before all these talented individuals leave for good.

Dang! ... Just ticks me off .. it really does!
johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
April 30, 2005
Member since 07/18/2001
1,914 posts
This strand is a DCSki record breaker--over 3,000 views. I guess that number alone demonstrates how much people care about Ski Chalet and its people.
songfta
May 25, 2005
Member since 05/10/2004
40 posts
The whole Ski Chalet mess is typical of what's happening in many metro areas: ski shops being bought and sold, employees left in limbo. The sports retail industry is not as healthy as it once was, and Ski Chalet - through its over-extension into summer patio furniture and over-expansion of high-rent locations - caught the worst of it.

Now I wasn't the biggest fan of Ski Chalet, but I wasn't part of its target audience (former FIS-level racer, my main local shop is Ski Center in NW DC). But I appreciated the fact that they brought quality selection and decently-trained staff to the DC-area masses. The fact that predatory pricing from other, more national retailers (e.g. brick-and-mortar outfits Dick's and REI, and mail-order/online dealers like Sierra Trading Post, GearDirect and the like), as well as a general economic downturn, put Ski Chalet into a non-recoverable nosedive is terrible.

I hope that the good techs and salespeople from Ski Chalet stick around, band together, and make something that works. If anything, a small local shop can prosper in this area. All they need to do is maintain a high-quality shop with an emphasis on customer service. Keep working the relationships you made at Ski Chalet and you'll have an instant clientele.

Good luck!
SCWVA
May 26, 2005
Member since 07/13/2004
1,049 posts
Quote:

Ski Chalet - through its ....and over-expansion of high-rent locations




I don't know what kind of rent Ski Chalet was paying in some of their locations, but Wilbur owned the building in Chantilly and Arlington. I understand the he owned (with some partners?) the entire block in Arlington with no debt. He also owned several other buildings in the Chantilly area. Ski Chalet might have had some big debt, but Wilbur (or his LLC's) were not hurting at all.

Generally, Ski Chalet's apparent closings sucks for the employees and skiers/boarders alike.
songfta
May 26, 2005
Member since 05/10/2004
40 posts
Quote:

Quote:

Ski Chalet - through its ....and over-expansion of high-rent locations




I don't know what kind of rent Ski Chalet was paying in some of their locations, but Wilbur owned the building in Chantilly and Arlington. I understand the he owned (with some partners?) the entire block in Arlington with no debt. He also owned several other buildings in the Chantilly area. Ski Chalet might have had some big debt, but Wilbur (or his LLC's) were not hurting at all.




That's not surprising - looks like the family decided to cut off anything that was losing money and leave the Ski Chalet employees swaying in the breeze.

However, I still think that the business was over-expanded, given the current economy. The smaller chains and single, mom-and-pop skiing retailers fight a fierce battle with the regional and national chains. The successful ones have resisted the urge to over-expand, offer top-notch (often personal) service and advice, and tend to own their own building.

Adding more misery to the mix in the greater-DC area is the fact that it's not really in ski country, so the mindset of the greater public is not to seek out a specialty ski retailer. Is this a bad thing? I tend to think so, if only that having properly-trained ski salesmen and techs can make a huge difference, both in terms of enjoying the sport and safety.

So we'll see what happens. As such, it's best to continue to support the local guys whenever possible, even if it means paying a little bit more.
snowcone
June 21, 2005
Member since 09/27/2002
589 posts
I guess it must be pretty much officially non-official: Ski Chalet is really out of business. Driving back from Dulles last night, we noticed a big 'For Lease' sign on the Chantilly building.

Bummer.
SCWVA
June 21, 2005
Member since 07/13/2004
1,049 posts
Snowcone,

Don't put the fork in Ski Chalet as of yet. There's still some hope. Hopefully we'll hear some more news (good) in the next 2-3 weeks.
freddy
June 24, 2005
Member since 06/24/2005
1 posts
i heard Willie's is opening a store this fall in Fairfax. My friend works for them and told me they signed a lease.
johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
June 26, 2005
Member since 07/18/2001
1,914 posts
Quote:

i heard Willie's is opening a store this fall in Fairfax. My friend works for them and told me they signed a lease.




That could be a good thing from a demo perspective. One could conceivably demo skis at 7 Springs and then buy them at Fairfax.
Ullr
June 26, 2005
Member since 11/27/2004
531 posts
Quote:

i heard Willie's is opening a store this fall in Fairfax. My friend works for them and told me they signed a lease.




See my post above on 4/4/05. This was a done deal back in April.
ScotS244
August 1, 2005
Member since 01/29/2004
122 posts
The Ski Chalet era officially ends today. Apparently it was going to remain open until 8/8/05 but "someone" decided to shut 'r down a week early to save on further loses - i.e., paying the employees another week. Nice.
The three locations will be closed for the week and may reopen as Sun & Ski as early as 8/8/05. I don't have any word at this point on how they plan on running the stores. Maybe they'll keep it as a specialty store as a branch of their main stores? I don't know what lines of skis and boards they carry but I've heard comparisons to Galyans, ect. which might not be good news. I'll try to keep the info coming.
skibiz
August 3, 2005
Member since 07/28/2005
5 posts
All-- By way of background, Ski Chalet was officially sold via court auction on July 26 to an outfit called Sun & Ski Sports , out of Houston. As one of the parties who have been pursuing the purchase of Ski Chalet since January, this marks a point to turn the page and move on.

For me and others, this has been an arduous, frustrating (and expensive) process. I don't feel discussions with the sellers and their representatives have been on the "up and up" most of the time, but those I feel most for are the management (not owners) and employees. They have been lead down the "rosey" path much of the time-- ultimately--only to be left out in the cold.

I did not know Wilbur McBay well, but I can say that his legacy was not left proud by those who followed him. The manner in which those who handled the sale of Ski Chalet (and it is not just my opinion but also shared by others involved) was not worthy of Wilbur's reputation as an honest person who cared for his employees and his store.
SCWVA
August 5, 2005
Member since 07/13/2004
1,049 posts
Hey skibiz,

What are the chances that Sun & Ski's financials won't meet the Courts/banks/lease requirements? I know it's a slim chance, but you've got to hold out a little hope.

I know the three of you put a lot of effort and money into this deal, just to have some out of towner come in and out bid you. For your sake (and the other Ski Chalet employees), I wished there could have been a different outcome.
skibiz
August 8, 2005
Member since 07/28/2005
5 posts
SCWVA, That possibility has been in the back of my mind since I learned about S&S. I guess it could happen but if it did and the sale to S&S wasn't approved, we would all be back to square one.

The biggest problem, as it has been all along, is dealing with the SC principles and their reps. I'm afraid everyone is so soured on the prospect, that at this point I don't think I could corral the investors for another shot. Generally, people who are looking for an investment, don't like dealing with those who waste their time.

PS I may not be the party you think I am....I was teamed with another group. We put in several offers to buy the place, spent a lot on legal fees dating back to February, but it didn't work out. It certainly was frustrating as we never got a straight answer from SC on what was happening.

My team is looking at other options now.
MadMonk
August 8, 2005
Member since 12/27/2004
235 posts
One possible area of invesment might be real estate at this place. If they get the go head this area will have more vert than Whistler.

http://www.skibitterrootresort.com/
SCWVA
August 11, 2005
Member since 07/13/2004
1,049 posts
Quote:

I may not be the party you think I am....




I guess you can't tell who's hiding behind these online user names.

I was helping out one of the groups that was trying to buy SC. They echoed your same comments in regards to how the whole transaction went down. The people (now former SC employees) I was helping, had a lot of respect for Wilbur and always had good things to say about him. Having done some business with Wilbur in the past, I always found him to be very fair and forthcoming. It's unfortunate, that the SC Principles did not learn or pick up on his business ethics.

What's worst is that some out of towner came in at the last moment to out bid you guys.
comprex
August 11, 2005
Member since 04/11/2003
1,326 posts
Nagasaki Day is over and gone. Anyone seen a grand announcement yet?
ScotS244
August 11, 2005
Member since 01/29/2004
122 posts
Ski Chalet is returning. In name only however. I saw some signs up at the Arlington shop indicating something about a grand re-opening and a big sale to go off in September. Aside from what I saw with a quick glance at the signs in passing, I don't know much else. I believe a few of the remaining staff will still be working at their old stores. I'm guessing by the fact that they are keeping the ski chalet name that snow sports will continue to be the focus. I'll see what else I can find out. Screw it, I may even hit them up for another part time gig.
DexRutecki
August 24, 2005
Member since 08/24/2005
1 posts
S, I'm surprised that your construction co. was involved in the attemptd purchase. It might have been cool to build a new board store. Was that yor plan? Oh well.
Irish44j
September 14, 2005
Member since 09/14/2005
3 posts
New user here...I was a Ski Chalet employee for the last eight years or so, and wanted to give an update on the latest (from what I've heard).

The "dilly" sale will be going on as usual, this weekend. Not sure what to expect...but I will be working nonetheless.

As to the company, from what I hear it will retain the Ski Chalet name, at least for a few years and then we'll see what happens. The "old" staff is all automatically re-hired from what I can tell, and at their former salaries (good for us more senior guys).

I'm not sure what happened with upper management, but Rich Steidl is back at chantilly as manager and Dan (or manager last year at chantilly) is managing at Shady Grove store I think. I'm going to give it a go this year (part-time as usual) and know of several other Chantilly staff who will be coming back. from what I hear, it will run alot like the old ski chalet, with a few "tweaks". Sun and Ski apparently carries most of the same major brands SC did, so hopefully we will have familiar product to work with.

I, like all SC-ers, was sad to hear that the ex-employee (Kelly/Sean) attempt to buy the company didn't work out, as they are both great guys and would run a great company....but I guess we all have to go on to "what's next" here. If it works out for the best - great. If not - there's always Willie's I guess (or for most of us part-timers, there's always "no more weekend/night job" and we'll have less beer money to spend
ScotS244
September 15, 2005
Member since 01/29/2004
122 posts
Welcome Irish! Glad to have an additional SC'er posting updates, especially from the Chantilly branch. By the way, if you're religious at all DON'T look at your member number. Anyhow Beezelbub, I guess we'll both be in the trenches this weekend so I'll see you at the Dilly.
skibiz
September 15, 2005
Member since 07/28/2005
5 posts
Just for information purposes, Peter Glenn Ski & Sports is opening in Richmond in the space formerly occupied Ski Chalet. The plan is for an early to mid October opening.
kennedy
September 15, 2005
Member since 12/8/2001
792 posts
Irish, just how Irish are you exactly? because for the past few years I've been holding down the board on my own. It'd be good to shed a little of that responsibility.
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