Hidden Valley Sale
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hockeydave
September 30, 2005
Member since 06/30/2004
769 posts
Today's the final day to submit bids for the ski operations (and other assets) @ Hidden Valley. I'd be interested to hear from fellow DCSkiers who they think might bid on the ski operations.... I for one, am clueless on this one (but that's the case most of the time).
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
September 30, 2005
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
My guesses are as follows:
-Seven Springs
- James Hardy
-The investment group that bought the 850 acres next door
- Snow Time
- Some other resort operator who we don't know
- remember the guy who won the bid for Laurel Mt owned a mortgage company. Of course he died 2 weeks after he won the bid
- And of course since Kettler is probably expecting a big windfall, they may reject all the bids
JCHobbes
October 1, 2005
Member since 09/12/2005
94 posts
I've heard rumors of Jim Hardy buying it too.

I honestly don't care who gets it, as long as the mountain opens and the person has enough capital to make necessary improvements.
wolverine
October 1, 2005
Member since 08/26/2005
113 posts
It's OCTOBER!
Say Sianora to LM and HV. Too Late to get ready for the ski season! Maybe '07?

HOW BOUT' THOSE WOLVERINES!!!
SORRY CAVs
DCSki Sponsor: Canaan Valley Resort
JCHobbes
October 1, 2005
Member since 09/12/2005
94 posts
Just wanted to correct my own mistake. It's Joe Hardy that would be interested in buying HV not Jim.

I really hope he didn't submit a bid (and I really doubt he did) because Nemacolin/Mystic Mountain is really a 5-star resort (with crap skiing) and I don't think he'd want HV because he probably realizes that he couldn't make anything huge out of it, and if he did put in a bid, and he does get it, that would be bad, cause I think he'd be alienating a lot of customer base who go to Hidden Valley because it's small and not crowded.

That being said, Hidden Valley said they'll open this winter even if they don't sell.

I think a bigger threat is the possibility that they do sell it, and the new owners being unable to reorganize in time for the ski season.
Heather
October 1, 2005
Member since 02/24/2005
170 posts
I heard the deal with Joe Hardy is a done deal! Cannot confirm, although I was still holding out hope that he would still be interested in LM! Guess we'll have to wait and see!! HV will definately open (I believe) due to the number of seasons passes they have already sold. The new owner would have to refund a ton of money in the event that they failed to open, that lose of money right off the bat would disourage anyone from closing for the season.
hockeydave
October 2, 2005
Member since 06/30/2004
769 posts
Sorry to disappoint you, Wolverine, but HV is all but certain to open this year, with or without the Kettler Bros.

However, you might be right about LM. I give it less than a 20% chance of opening... and if it doesn't open, it will be a loss to many skiers, especially those very fond of the place (e.g. Heather, LMV, me, etc.).

But don't lose all hope, fellow LMers, the opening for the '04-'05 ski season @ LM wasn't announced until early November '04. But as each day passes by w/o word of LM's future, my hope is fading fast, at least for '05-'06.
wolverine
October 2, 2005
Member since 08/26/2005
113 posts
Like other businesses/ industries, consolidation occurs and the best one stands.
Starbucks outdid the other guys.
Western PA will have ONE top notch ski resort (a real 4 seasons resort with water park, nice real estate etc.) Years from now at that resort will be SEVEN SPRINGS
wolverine
October 2, 2005
Member since 08/26/2005
113 posts
After all, the hiddenvalleyresort.com website boasts its claim to fame is "located next to Seven Springs resort."

Funny, the Seven Springs site doesn't even mention Hidden Valley
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
October 2, 2005
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
Wolverine:
You seem to think it is a good thing that we may only have one choice. What's so good about that? There's room for other resorts. Hidden Valley attracts enough skiers to make money. The problem was with the folks who were running the place. I doubt the current owners could run a snow ball stand much less a resort . However the father of the current person running the resort was well respected and was the visionary behind the land planning at the resort. The quality of the real estate at HV is far above Seven Springs which caters to the bus loads of rowdy Steeler fans who love the place. While the skiing at HV might not measure up to 7Springs, the atmosphere is a whole lot better.
wolverine
October 3, 2005
Member since 08/26/2005
113 posts
The quality of real estate at 7S is better.
The villages, and if you haven't heard the Southwind project will have luxury townhomes (over 100 sold already!) and an upscale condo/hotel that are all ski in/ski out. Nicer than anything HV has.

I don't want less "choice", I'm just predicting consolidation in the industry. Just like the "oil" companies need to change to "energy" companies to survive. 7S is the only western PA resort to have a great plan for a 4 seasons resort (emphasis on winter skiing), but with tons of non-skiing activites, now focusing on a water park, not just trying to survive as a "ski" resort.
Mack
October 3, 2005
Member since 12/19/2004
34 posts
"After all, the hiddenvalleyresort.com website boasts its claim to fame is "located next to Seven Springs resort."


It also boasts of being "Pennsylvania #1 Famliy Ski Resort." (With the typos)
hockeydave
October 3, 2005
Member since 06/30/2004
769 posts
Wolverine, if you're not busting my chops and you're serious about previous posts regarding LM & HV, consider yourself in rarified air, because you might be the only member of this discussion forum wishing for less ski areas instead of more in the Mid-Atlantic region.

Assuming HV & LM don't survive, (in the case of HV, it almost certainly will), please go to the end of the complaint department line when 1/2 hour lift lines are the norm @ 7S and lift ticket & season pass prices are out of sight.
wolverine
October 3, 2005
Member since 08/26/2005
113 posts
No doubt that LM closure and eventual HV demise will bring more folks to 7S, already working on better lifts for North Face and mark my words, better service everywhere. Most resorts make $$ from things other than lift tickets and 7S today and in the future is more concerned about competing with Wisp and Snowshoe than HV and LM.
hockeydave
October 3, 2005
Member since 06/30/2004
769 posts
I can't argue about anything you said w.r.t. 7S. I hold a mid-week pass there, but avoid it like the plague on weekends because of the crowds. 7S management operates a top-notch resort, but no skier/boarder wins if there is 1 less ski resort in Western PA.
jb714
October 3, 2005
Member since 03/4/2003
294 posts
Dave:

My initial belief was that the group that bought the hunting preserve in Bakersville (the Buncher Group, I believe) would be a likely buyer. I read in the Tribune-Democrat that Buncher has plans for 10-acre estate properties, and I think that property backs up against HV. Who knows?

Wolverine: How can you call yourself a skier/boarder at the same time that you gleefully (complete with a Smiley-face) predict the demise of a local ski area? You're entitled to your opinions about HV, 7 SPrings, etc but if LM closes, we all lose in the long run.
wolverine
October 3, 2005
Member since 08/26/2005
113 posts
I never claimed to be a boarder.

1-I never go to 2 ski places during the same trip. 7S for a few days or SS or Wisp. From Northern VA, I drive 3.5 hours to 7S and stay a night or two with my family and don't think it's worth the effort to go to another slope by car.

2-I'm tired of the listening to the LM wishful thinkers or even anyone trying to convince me I should ski HV INSTEAD of a day at nearby 7S. I think that a LM and HV demise will make skiing better at 7s due to my theory that more skiers=more money for things like snowmaking/ high speed lifts and I admit I'd like to see a Tremblant-like village at 7S (in the works) or Wisp (Not thinkable at HV or LM). Which would go a long way in convincing my wife to spend more time at the slopes during ski season.



GO REDSKINS
BushwackerinPA
October 3, 2005
Member since 12/9/2004
649 posts
No ones trying to get you to go anywhere, just saying you want another resort to go down is ludicris. Are you 16 or something? I know your not but you are acting like it. 7springs is the nicest resort in the area yes, but you dont have to go there to have fun or become good.

Josh who wants all three to stay open.
Heather
October 3, 2005
Member since 02/24/2005
170 posts
Maybe you have a misconception of what having three local resorts means to our small corner of the world. Jennerstown, Ligonier, somerset, etc. reap the benefits of having three resorts close by. Mom and pop's store stay open by selling snacks and beverages to the teeners who are traveling up for the day, Local gas stations can hire another person for busy season while selling 10 gal of gas to Joe Skier, and local watering holes cash in when skiers/boarders gather to replay the best air of the day. When two of these local resorts close, businesses and communities suffer. Do you know what happens when business suffers? People lose jobs, businesses close, people need to choose between fun stuff and necessary stuff. If locals don't have money to keep 7S bank roll from shrinking, you weekenders will pay the price.

I can agree that 7S will see more skier visits for the first few years, but the FAMILIES that actually keep resorts running WILL get p!ssed waiting in longer lift lines, longer lines for overpriced food, longer lines for essentially everything that goes with a ski trip. Local business, 7S, local communities, property owners we all lose. Maybe you can see where this is going, but I feel 7S will lose more than it will ever gain by being the only fish in a great big pond we like to call PA
LMV
October 3, 2005
Member since 06/1/2005
60 posts
wolverine - What a Wal-martonian view, but now I get it. You are just a "tourist" to our area. In that case I totally understand. You see we too make our yearly visit to Holiday Valley. When we go to New York we're the tourists. We've never gone to Kissing Bridge or Tamarack, but I've never wished that they would close so Holiday Valley could get more "high speed lifts". Thats just so ridiculous. We don't really miss the "Tremblant-like village". It's not about that - it's about the mountain, and it doesn't take much convincing to get my wife to spend more time at the slopes, she is there to ski, not to get her hair done or buy a new sweater. Sometimes, I call it a day before she does. See, that's the difference, some of us are there to ski, some of us are on vacation. That's fine, that is what seven springs is for. They truly are the best in the area, if that is what you are looking for.

I'm not real big on HV, but I do know many people who own property there. A few of them even live there. I think if you invested a thousands of dollars on your own little place at the slopes you would feel differently. To some of us it's not just a hobby, or a fun weekend get-away. It's our way of life. I had to choose weather to live close to work, or close to skiing. I chose skiing. I drive to work so I can ski every day. Growing up in western PA, I've spent time at all the local slopes. I worked at 7s for 3 winters in the early 90's it really is a great place. I had some great times there. Maybe I'm just getting older but, now days it's more about the snow, not the "scene". I guess that's why my home is at LM.
hockeydave
October 3, 2005
Member since 06/30/2004
769 posts
Since you think having one ski resort is a such a great thing, and in case you never attended a high school economics course, I've pasted a link to Microsoft's online Encarta that has a very complete, yet understandable desription of a MONOPOLY...

http://encarta.msn.com/encyclopedia_761567422/Monopoly.html#s1

History has proven that these things called monopolies are not such a good thing for the huddled masses. Unlike the statements declaring 7S would improve things with more people skiing there, you might find if both HV and LM close shop, 7S might start adding to the price of goods and services and subtracting from the quality of service they currently provide because it would be the only game in town. Think about it before wishing and hoping away HV and LM.

Proof: Without the invocation of the very low season pass price offered by HV several years ago, what do you think 7S season pass would be currently? I could be wrong (someone correct me if I am), but I believe a 7S season pass was at least $500 before the low price HV season pass was offered. Because of the HV pass, one can now buy a 7S season pass (before June) for $350. I rest my case....
wolverine
October 4, 2005
Member since 08/26/2005
113 posts
Hey Hockeydave,

Thanks for your pot-shot about my intelligence. As I mentioned before, 7S is competing against SS and other "bonifide" city-dweller destinations, not HV or LM. Unless Wisp, SS and others go under, don't worry about 7S monopolizing anything.
Weren't you the one who over a month ago told us that we would be hearing some breaking news about 7S ownership? I don't think my public high school in Michigan offered high school economics. Can't all be as smart as you native Easterners
BushwackerinPA
October 4, 2005
Member since 12/9/2004
649 posts
7springs stays cheap due to HV offering discounts not due to the other "destination" resorts.

There passes would still be 500 plus if it wasnt for Hidden Valley. If Hidden Valley and Laurel Mountain Go down 7springs will pay big time. In the long run. THe weekends there will be hell with every skier from pittsburgh skiing here.

They will not get my (weekend)business, i would be applying for job at Blue Knob or Timberline, Before i went to there. 7spring is much to crowded on weekend and the terrain is expansive but not interesting IMO.
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
October 4, 2005
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
Wolf - you need to expand you 'city slicker' horizons. Maybe 'Dollywood' will develop a ski resort.
DCSki Sponsor: Canaan Valley Resort
JohnL
October 4, 2005
Member since 01/6/2000
3,509 posts
Except for the skiing, Seven Springs is a pretty nice place.
LMV
October 4, 2005
Member since 06/1/2005
60 posts
Quote:

Except for the skiing, Seven Springs is a pretty nice place.



I guess that is what I was trying to say!
JCHobbes
October 5, 2005
Member since 09/12/2005
94 posts
People from out of the area (cough cough, Wolvervine) coming to our area to ski undoubtedly go to 7S, because it is a nationally known resort. In fact, alot of people even from the city of Pittsburgh go to 7S just because they're not really aware of their options.

Those of us who actually live in the area, AVOID 7S BECAUSE it is nationally known and BECAUSE all the people from outside our area flock to it.

If I could have 7S all to myself and maybe 200 or 300 local resiidents, than I would LOVE it, but seeing as that on any given day there's several thousand people on that mountain instead of several hundred, I really can't stand it.

My example is this. I love Snowshoe. I've been there twice, and both times I loved it, it's been like a pilgrimage for me, even with it only a few hours away. I would love to live in the mountains of West Virgina some day. If I lived somewhere near Snowshoe, I would definately hit it several times a year, but I don't think I'd get a pass or even become a regular. I don't think I'd like being the local ski bum skiing with all the out of state yuppies.

The same thing applies for 7S on a much less grander scale. Personally, I don't like it, because it's crowded and when I go there, I feel like just some random ski bum among a bunch of tourists.

Going to Hidden Valley or LM, 90% of the time, the people are locals that I can connect with if I strike up a conversation on the lift.

Comparing Seven Springs to either of the other mountains in the Laurel Highlands just isn't a fair comparison. Think about putting the local community college football team up against the football team at a Big10 school like PennState. They're both good teams in their own league, but there's just no fight between them. Really only locals will be coming to see the community college team, but Penn State regularly has fans in attendance from all over the country. The same concept applies to ski resorts. Comparing the resorts doesn't work, they have entirely different customer bases. Locals visit the "community college" ski resorts and occasionally visit the "big ten" resorts" wheras tourists generally just go to the "big ten" resorts.

Tourists can go ahead and take the "Big Mountain" that is 7Springs, just leave "little" Laurel Mountain for the locals.

Sorry if I sound like one of the bitter local ski-bums who hates tourists coming to my resort. I'm not, I've just had this exact same conversation with my own friends so many times, it's not even funny.
gizmosnow
October 6, 2005
Member since 10/6/2005
269 posts
never posted before but came across this forum of interest...Own two properties and luv HV year-round. As far as HV goes in general, the 'top' of the mountain which is 'controlled' by the homeowners, blows-away 7Springs for a year-round, relaxed, family atmosphere -- the party goers can have 7Springs.

NOW for comments regarding the pending sale:

First, sale or not, it is apparent that the Kettlers plan on opening the slopes this seaso -- they've installed new snow blower heads and have been repairing noticably repairing others where needed as well as cutting the slopes in preparation for snow. Of course, we all know that maintenance is bear minimum, which is a shame.

AS FOR potential buyer rumors, here goes (and these are 'rumors' I've heard, not my guesses:
1. Boyne Resorts -- potential good fit. Operate smaller N.MI ski resorts in additon to Big Sky.
2. Booth Creek - Widely publicized that several yrs ago they were negotiating intensely with 7Springs - fell thru last minute due to Depree family squabbles.
3. Lincoln Properties -- LET'S HOPE NOT! - A big national property development & mgmt Co. with a Regional Office and agressive SR VP of aquisitions/development located in PGH. They are developing condo's/townhomes by PNC park -- have no experience in running resorts.
4. Joe Hardy has always been a obvious, convenient rumor but I've not heard any substance behind it.

If anyone has any comments, insights to these, I's like to hear!
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
October 6, 2005
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
Hello Giz - I too own property at Hidden Valley and agree with your assessment. I am hoping that a company that knows how to run a resort buys the place. I think that Kettler is expecting an arm and a leg, and no one is going to pay that much. Thus I think we'll be stuck with these amatuers.
gizmosnow
October 6, 2005
Member since 10/6/2005
269 posts
I can add a small bit more insight - based on known/verified fact, not rumor:
Prior to the current open/advertised bids that were due 9/30, the kettlers received bids from a small, select grp of bidders in 8/05. these were primarily 'investor' grps- one was out of FL which I know nothing about. Another was PGH-based and includedprinciples from northwood realty, pgh.. these offers were apparently below kettler expectations and thus the soicited/advertsed bids of 9/05.
The Buncher grp (which purchased the game reserve property bordering HV) is very 'anxious' to acquire the golf course (parts of hich border their property) and the water/sewer treatment facilities -- which, by the way, may be one of the more valuable pieces of HV. Apparently, DEP (Dept of Environmental Protection) is currently very restrictive on issuing new water/sewer permits in the area and I am told HV obtained several thousand permits as part of their original 'master plan' when they first built the treatment facilities. Buncher needs permits to develop their land!

While this doesn't mean squat with respect to what ultimately happens, if you hadn't heard this before I figured you might find it of interest.

We'll probably just have to wait several more weeks before official word gets out. But the way these things usually go, some info should start leaking soon so if anyone hears anything, please post.
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
October 6, 2005
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
It would be a very bad thing if the resort is broken up for greed's sake by Kettler. I hope that one entity buys everything - the ski area, the golf course, the conference center, the developable land, and the water/wastewater system. While the water/wastewater system maybe valuable, the Kettler's have an agreement with the DEP to make repairs and improvements to the system. Knowing how poorly they manage all the other facilities, I am sure that the facilities are going to require a significant capital investment. I would say that the ski area is the only facility that operates fairly well, with exception of maintaining the facilities.
JCHobbes
October 8, 2005
Member since 09/12/2005
94 posts
I was chatting with my mom today, and Hidden Valley came up. I mentioned how surprised I was that there hadn't been any announcement regarding the bids that were due a week or two ago.

She said she read in the paper that they had recieved 6 bids, and that they were going to take a few more weeks reviewing them.
gizmosnow
October 9, 2005
Member since 10/6/2005
269 posts
Heard (reliably) 2/3 legitimate (acceptable to kettlers) bids received -- all for the entire resort, not for pieces. Apparently (but not confirmed) all from 'smaller' investor grps, not from hardy or large resort operators. Would not be surprised to learn (but do not know for fact) if one or more of these investor grps included one or more hv homeowners. Announcement anticipated on or about 10/21. If this is true, in my opinion, more upside for hv then dwnside. To enhance value of the real estate for development would make sense to improve amenities (ski, golf, restauratnts, etc.)
gizmosnow
October 9, 2005
Member since 10/6/2005
269 posts
I'd like to generate everyones feedback on what you think future new owners, whoever they may be, should do to improve hv for vacationers, day skiers and homeowners.. Be reasonable but substanitive and specific. who knows, a potential 'new owner' may be ease-dropping !
JCHobbes
October 10, 2005
Member since 09/12/2005
94 posts
First of all, finish the new slopes/trails that have been on the maps as "planned improvements" for several years now.

After that, maybe put some money into the lifts. Replacing the two doubles on the one side with a quad (preferably high-speed detachable, but that's not important)

And the lodge could definately use work. I don't think I'd like it if there were a big hotel built, but I mean, it just needs renovation and stuff to look nicer...
wolverine
October 10, 2005
Member since 08/26/2005
113 posts
Just got back from 7S Autumnfest. Fun for the whole family. 7S is always packed because they have so much going on. This allows them to have capital improvements. All of you HV and LM fans (I admit I've never been to either) can't have it both ways ("soul" and financial stability). Either make a resort a true destination place for all with tons of activities or make it a private slope like The Homestead in VA or a private meeting place with stuff to do like Rocky Gap in MD. I still predict (not want)...go ahead and give some cheap pot shots about my ignorant predictions... both a soon LM demise followed by a HV demise unless someone can think outside of the box
hockeydave
October 10, 2005
Member since 06/30/2004
769 posts
Wolverine, you'll get no cheap pot shots from me. I'm actually glad you clarified your position. I and others were under the impression you were wishing for the demise of HV & LM, not predicting it. You're predictions may come true and it's perfectly acceptable to express your predictions, but I'm just glad to know that you're predicting the demise, not wishing for it, because no avid skier would wish for the demise of any hill, unless there is some bias against that hill.

I totally agree with you on SS... a top-notch 4 seasons resort. I won't even argue that point. However, I'll debate that HV has all the amenities of SS, except on a smaller scale (homes, lodging, golf course, X-Country skiing, mountain biking) but definitely not as well maintained as SS. All HV needs is someone to operate the resort in a more professional manner and give it some TLC. In my opinion, the real estate at HV is just as nice, if not better, than SS. I honestly believe someone or group will step up to the plate and run HV in the proper manner.

As far as LM goes, it has a ton of potential, but just needs some in flux of money. I think I've beat that drum plenty of times here before, so I won't do it again.
Heather
October 10, 2005
Member since 02/24/2005
170 posts
Wolverine, I just don't understand something, and I am hoping you can help me with that. 7S is a great place to go if you are into that scene. I for one am NOT. When I ski with my family, including my 10 yr old son, 7S makes me extremely nervous (due to large crowds). Is there any place that is conducive to skiing with children at 7S. In all my years skiing, I have not found one! HV is nice, but needs some serious TLC. Maybe a cleaning crew that actually cleans. I was at HV on sunday and was helping out with a patrol thing. I was advised by a local HV Patroller not to kneel on the floor, due to excessive grease/dirt build up... now that is just gross. So my choice in the event of LM's demise would be leashing my child so I can keep track of him, or at HV where I may need to carry Lysol if things keep going in their current direction. Which would you choose? As far as your belief that "soul" and financial stability are mutually exclusive, I would like you to explain that further please! I am not against upgrading LM, as it stands, it is not competition for the other local resorts, and it NEVER WILL BE! With building restrictions, H20 problems(perceived anyway), and cash flow problems, LM has no where to go but up! HV has great infrastructure ie.lodging, convention center, etc...but does it compare with 7S? NONONONO. anyday of the week No! My next thought is a strange one, but do these 3 resorts NEED to compete? I don't think so as they all target a different market. 7S targets vacationers/weekenders. HV targets families with children learning to ski. LM targets everyone that doesn't fit into either of the other two molds. Come ski LM with me this year please and then tell me it doesn't have soul.

In the words of PAPA MUNZ "Laurel (bull) Mountain, DON'T GO CHANGING!"
BushwackerinPA
October 11, 2005
Member since 12/9/2004
649 posts
LM is IMO my favorite place to ski outta of the three in the highlands. Yes it does have a "soul". I still prefer Blue Knob better though because the access to LM sucks for me. I can get to HV in 50 min from my house south of pittsburgh, vs 1 hour and 30 to LM. Route 30 sucks to drive up. BK is hour 2 hours drive for me from Home or 1 hour from HV. Anywho i dont what my piont was i was just rambling. I hope to get a chance to ski Laurel this year if they open.

Heather by any chance you know a Nicole Kovack? I think she lives in the village year round now.

Back on to HV, number one suggestion is to Meet with multiyear season pass holder(many are familys), Patrolers, and intructor and ask these people what they want.

Somethings that Irk me about this place. The inablity of to double lifts to run slow(causes tons of stops). the dirt and filth thats all over the place(note kinder ski was always spotless due to hard working instructors). closing nearly every year with snow on the ground.(I have many more suggestions avaiable for PM or AOL IM scn JDMCivicSm21)

One last thing kinda of a FYI.

Iwan Fuchs(SSD) moved back to Europe, the new SSD is Joy Meyer(former Director of kinder ski). Lots of instructors are coming back that left in the past few year after Cabes left and Fuchs took over.
RobertW
October 11, 2005
Member since 10/14/2004
199 posts
I haven't been to HV in a few years (It is the place where I taught my daughters to ski) but I agree with the lack of cleanliness there. On our last trip there (during the week), my youngest daughter refused to use the restrooms in the lodge. I had to find "alternate accomodations" for her and I was not too happy with HV management that day. The regulars also used to pile up all their stuff underneath and on top of the cafeteria tables, to save a seat I assumed which made it inconvienient to get a seat in a mostly empty cafeteria. This was a big deal with 2 kids, 3 lunch trays, and ski boots on a wet, slippery floor. If I were a passholder, I would also be ticked off about their early closing in the spring.

I don't know if I like being refered to as "being into that scene" ...I am a passholder at 7SP. I have been skiing Laurel since the early 70's and again after reopening and I love it. I took advantage of the $50 pass upgrade and had probably my best day of the season skiing there last year, a wonderful sunny Friday in January where I shared the whole mountain with about 20 people. Laurel is a wonderful diversion, but I just don't see how it can be viable with only Broadway and Wildcat as the only 2 slopes you can count on being open. The Catch 22 is that in order to attract more revenue and pay for the much-needed improvements, the resort must become more 7 Springs-like. You have all said it yourself...more snowmaking, trails, glades, lodging...will this then reduce the soul?
BushwackerinPA
October 11, 2005
Member since 12/9/2004
649 posts
At both HV and LM there are glades cut all over the place they just arent on the map like springs;).

Yeah the small lodge is issue at HV, before I got job there. The goal was to get there early to "claim" a table for you and your friends. People still do this althought the main cafe area is normally clear. Up in the fireplace room there are dozens of familiy that are there every weekend cooking on george foremen grills and in crockpot. It is almost like a community by it self. I know why they close, after march first most people in the burgh, dont think about skiing and the only was there at the end of the year are passholder, in fact i would say 50+ percent of Hidden Valley skiers are passholder any time of the year.

Josh who is just spitting out random information and is sure one of these days it will all fit together.
Heather
October 11, 2005
Member since 02/24/2005
170 posts
Adding essentials IMHO will not take away form the soul of LM, rather it will remain the same. LM is the kind of place that NO MATTER who runs, changes,or expands things, the real beauty and soul cannot be altered, divided, or conquered. The mountain itself has evolved from the early days of skiing for a reason. The same reason that it can evolve now...for the joy of skiing. In your mind, is LM any different feeling now versus early 70's skiing? I can image that the answer is no. By using the word "soul" , I failed to express all that I meant. Nostalgia, heightened sense of awareness, appreciation for simpler times, and I could go on and on, but I will refrain. I feel as if I have beat this horse to death.
RobertW
October 11, 2005
Member since 10/14/2004
199 posts
Nah...If you're passionate you can never hit that horse enough

Most people forget that people first skiied at 7Springs in 1934. There was a lot of "soul" to be experienced there in the sixties before they became the Megladon that they are now. The bunkhouse on the second floor of the original ski lodge. The quirky, sometimes homemade lifts. The weird trails (Do you remember the Boomerang trail next to Avalanche?) The original snowmaking system. Most of this soul is still there, just covered up by what goes on in the hotel.

You are exactly right...this is why I want Laurel to survive. I could do without the 70's nostalgia though. The thin cover with rocks and the grass that someone forgot to cut poking through. Getting on the chair at the old trecherous mid-station loading ramp (because the lower mountain was closed) after trudging through grass and straw to get there. And trying to carve turns on Lower Wildcat on the hard wind-blown ice that was there when they did open up the lower half...
JCHobbes
October 11, 2005
Member since 09/12/2005
94 posts
Josh

Iwan Fuchs is the close relative of a colleague of my mom's. I met him once or twice, he seemed like a nice guy.

But I get the impression you didn't like him?
BushwackerinPA
October 12, 2005
Member since 12/9/2004
649 posts
I liked him,alot of people did not though. I thought he was really nice guy to, just he had favorites. I spent alot of time skiing with him on weekdays, and am really grateful for how much he helped me. Without him I would not be planning on taking my L2 this year.

I will be honest and was treated alot better by him, than he treat some of the younger instructors. Wheather i desevre that or not is nto for me to decide.
gizmosnow
October 16, 2005
Member since 10/6/2005
269 posts
Just some interesting speculation to pass along re: Sale of HV --
I had heard (almost 2 wks ago) from a 'low-level' HV employee that Pgh Pirates/PNC Park were bidding on HV -- put absolutely no credence in it.
However, I recently heard rumor of a well-to-do WVA investor placing a bid.
Think Ogden Nutting, the current (some believe) majority owner of the Pirates (surpassing Kevin M). Nutting is also, apparently, an avid skier -- Denver Post article on internet dated 9/26/05 talks about a "wealthy 70-yr old by the name of ...Nutting who runs a chain of 38 Newspapers from his home in WV and has managed to visit nearly 500 ski areas....since 1988."
Also, articles on the internet about how he has participated in reopening Ogelby ski area. Nutting, by the way , has very deep pockets -- publishing empire said to be worth between 600-700 million.
BushwackerinPA
October 17, 2005
Member since 12/9/2004
649 posts
How about this Middle level people at HV have no clue what going on, lower upper level people have no clue whats going on. There will be a ski season this year at HV that is for sure at this piont, but we wont know if kettlers hung on or sold to(supposely end of this month). I will be the first to let you know who/what/when and where on the sale.
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
October 18, 2005
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
Quite frankly, I think the cheap bastard was expecting far more than the resort is worth. They haven't spent a penny on maintaining the place for 5 years. If the don't sell the place, it's time for the HV community to read him the riot act.
JCHobbes
October 19, 2005
Member since 09/12/2005
94 posts
While I am no expert in high-priced real estate, I'd have to say that I think the appraisal listed in the Tribune Review a month or so ago seemed fair.

$36 million wasn't it?

Hey, if I won the power ball, I could buy the resort, and buy 9 more just like it.


That's an idea. I say we need to get someone to rig the powerball so a dcski user wins. Then they'll buy Hidden Valley, and Laurel Mountain, and make the necessary improvements at both, and they'd probably still have enough money to buy us a large part of Stowe or Killington.
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
October 24, 2005
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
Quote:



AS FOR potential buyer rumors, here goes (and these are 'rumors' I've heard, not my guesses:
1. Boyne Resorts -- potential good fit. Operate smaller N.MI ski resorts in additon to Big Sky.
2. Booth Creek - Widely publicized that several yrs ago they were negotiating intensely with 7Springs - fell thru last minute due to Depree family squabbles.
3. Lincoln Properties -- LET'S HOPE NOT! - A big national property development & mgmt Co. with a Regional Office and agressive SR VP of aquisitions/development located in PGH. They are developing condo's/townhomes by PNC park -- have no experience in running resorts.
4. Joe Hardy has always been a obvious, convenient rumor but I've not heard any substance behind it.






Anybody here anything at all. These guys keep a better secret than Dubyah. The quote above taken from a one time poster seemed interesting.
gizmosnow
October 24, 2005
Member since 10/6/2005
269 posts
Update - what I believe to be (somewhat) accurate:
- Boyne did submit a bid but did not make the first cut.
- The 'Lincoln" group that submitted a bid was not Lincoln Properties but another 'Lincoln', possibly out of VA and who may still be in the running
- Ogden Nutting is one of three still in the running but probably not in the lead.
- There is also a group from 'down south' apparently making a strong play..
-Harding never in it.
The positive news is that it appears that a deal will be struck and, whoever gets it, you have to believe HV will be better off than with the kettlers..
More ought to be known by the end of the month. However, bear in mind that any deal of this size requires a 'due-diligence' process. Although a letter of intent may be signed it will likely take months before the deal actually closes.
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
October 24, 2005
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
Giz - thanks for your insight. Who ever gets it, I hope they know how to run a resort. I think we need to give Clarence Kettler credit. The land planning at the resort is very well done. He should heve never turned the place over to his son who ran the place into the ground. It would be great if the Outback expansion finally comes to fruition and they dump the Boston Culinary Group who does not do a good job with the restuarants. Hope to see you at the resort - I also own real estate. Please keep us posted with any updates.
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
November 1, 2005
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
The latest that I heard is that the Kettler's are negotiating with one party and that party is questioning their accounting practices. Hopefully that party has deep pockets.
gizmosnow
November 1, 2005
Member since 10/6/2005
269 posts
I've heard similar. In fact, over the past few weeks I've heard that the various bidders have been calling low-level hv employees (i.e., front desk clerks) asking them questions because the Request for Proposal and info provided by kettlers has been so vague and uninformative so, what you say makes sense.. Also, many of the HV workers (including even the Boston Concession employees) were told to expect an announcement on this past Friday - and it did not happen -- again supporting what you say. Let's just hope that the whole deal doesn't fall through as that is probably the worst scenario. I'm still under the impression that the last two remaining bidders were from VA (which included a homeowner) and from FL -- don't have a clue which is in final negotiation.
gizmosnow
November 2, 2005
Member since 10/6/2005
269 posts
Some interesting new articles in the johnstown tribune-democrat.. Oct 28th article says "the owners of hv are weighing several substantial offers to purchase the resort....the process is quickly getting narrowed down.
Also, several articles recently regarding the Buncher grp which purchased game reserve surrounding hv. apparaently sewer authority has tentatively agreed to extend sewer lines to bakersville to support their development. public hearings are being scheduled and it is anticipated this would also spur substantial comercial development along 31 (between hv and somerset). buncher has not submitted any plans for the development however it is believed to be high-end 10-acre estate homes. also, several articles re: the somerset comprehensive plan in development in which hv is recognized as an important part of the local economy and several comments by local officials re: the importance of maintaining and growing hv as a ski resort (not that the politicians have any real power to make this happen). alos, interestingly, comments about the significant influx of somerset professionals, doctors and lawyers who now reside at hv year-round in addition to the vacation homeowners. not htat any of this matters or provides much insight into what may happen but i found it interesting just the same.
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
November 2, 2005
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
I recently noticed that the sewer lines were extended a mile or two west of the Italian Oven on Route 31. Bakersville would be a long way and many millions of dollars. Hidden Valley has their own sewer and water system with excess capacity supposedly. The Buncher group is supposed to covet that capacity. However, you don't need a sewer system to place houses on 10 acre lots. Who ever buys the resort will have to undo the last 5 or 6 years of you know who's incompetent management.Father should have never turned the place over to son. Hopefully the new owner knows how to run a ski operation and a resort operation. I anxiously await the news about the new owner. Please keep us posted.
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
November 6, 2005
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
Hey Gizmo - what's the latest? Is it the Buncher group?
gizmosnow
November 6, 2005
Member since 10/6/2005
269 posts
all i can say right now is that the SUN was shining this weekend at hv and the Kettlers BURST onto the scene on Friday...apparently a deal is close at hand...it definitely is not the buncher grp...i believe it is the VA/Lincoln grp in the drivers seat however, surprise, Lincoln was just representing another Company (not from VA)!!! From what i hear it should be good for hv...the Co likely to acquire hv is in the 'hospitality' business.
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
November 7, 2005
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
OK Gizmo - you can tell us, an annoucement is immenent anyway. Who is the new owner?
hockeydave
November 7, 2005
Member since 06/30/2004
769 posts
Is it also possible that this HV sale announcement might be tied in to a pending LM announcement (hopefully today or tomorrow)?
wolverine
November 7, 2005
Member since 08/26/2005
113 posts
I second the motion for halting speculation of all announcements if there is no announcement for LM today!
LMV
November 7, 2005
Member since 06/1/2005
60 posts
I almost hate to tell you. There is supposed to be an announcement about all of the mountains tomorrow.
hockeydave
November 7, 2005
Member since 06/30/2004
769 posts
Do I have permission to continue speculation if there is announcement tomorrow ?

All kidding aside, if there is not an announcement soon regarding LM from either 7S, DCNR or Somerset Trust, I think we all can agree that all 3 are being irresponsible for not informing the public LM will not open this year, if in fact LM will not open. I'm sure some people are making plans to rent homes in the area around LM for the Holidays and I'm sure their assuming LM is going to open... the LM website is still up as well as a link on the DCNR website.
wolverine
November 7, 2005
Member since 08/26/2005
113 posts
7S also seems just as content to keep people in the dark about announced projects that don't seem to happen as they say. My family was excited about the new waterpark (announced to open Summer '06) and badly needed renovations in the lodge/hotel, but it doesn't seem like anything has been done since!

I think Wisp may be the straightest shooter in the area (call it South Laurel Highlands)!
gizmosnow
November 7, 2005
Member since 10/6/2005
269 posts
o.k. -- but just don't count on it as the deal ain't done till the ink drys....
It is my belief that the lead contender for HV is a co. out of MD called Sunburst Hospitality -- they own/operate some 30 hotels in 16 states. Being a privately held Co (as a result of a LBO by mgmt several yrs ago) there is little useful info on them on the internet. (However, I did find that in Oct 05 they purchased a 'golf course community/development' in Arkansas and plan to develop homes/condos----however this is entirely out of their normal element of running mid-price range, limited service hotels. However, they apparently pride themselves on being
an opportunistic Co -- buying distressed/undervalued properties, fixing them up and selling properties at full-value. HV falls within this realm. If they get HV, I would expect them to build a hotel(nothing large or extravagant,perhaps 100 units or so) ASAP. I would also expect them to accelerate the development of condos/twnhomes -- a good first project would be to expand the Summit (very possibly adding another homeowner pool). I would not be surprised if they considered expanding the golf course to 27 holes (maybe even working out a deal with buncher). But the big unknown, of course is their ability to run a ski resort !!! However, you have to believe that the value of HV is in the property for future development (ie, condos) and that they want to enhance the value of the property to recoup their investment (they don't want to build and sell a condo for $200k when 7springs can build and sell the identical condo for $500k!) To enhance the value of their undeveloped property(which is a limited resource) they first need to enhance the amenities so I would hope and think their first priority is to enhance and expand the ski, golf, restaurants and marketing of HV.
But, anyhow, what do I know? Please understand these are only my personal thoughts.
But here is an interesting tibit: I do not have any inside info I just speak to alot of employees
and others from HV and (purely for the fun of it, no other reason) try to discern what is going on. What I have found amusing (I do have somewhat of a twisted sense of humor)is that alot of people, such as low-level employees, have known a good bit about what has been going on but they are TOTALLY UNaware of the relevance of what they know! I've just had fun trying to piece together what several individuals have had to say. Anyway, probably FIVE-WEEKS ago, a hv employee told me of a well-dressed individual riding around HV in a lamborghini asking alot of questions and saying he was from a Co. called SUN(something)...the HV employee could not remember the full name of the Co.! At that time, I tried to narrow it down but could not.
Anyway, sorry for the rambling but you caught me at a point of boredom. Hope you find this of interest and lets just hope that a deal does go through soon.
I've heard nothing by the way (at least not positive) re: LM opening this season.
nogoodnik
November 8, 2005
Member since 11/7/2005
49 posts
If a new owner of HV were to work out a deal with Buncher... I'd like to see a new ski area at HV using part of the golf course and featuring a ski run starting at the 12th hole on top of the mountain and meandering through Buncher property all the way down to Bakersville. I'd trade my 7S season's pass for a HV pass in a heartbeat. And I'll bet a lot of others would also.
gizmosnow
November 9, 2005
Member since 10/6/2005
269 posts
nogoodnik---I don't know about that idea although I would gladly endorse....however, I'm wondering if anyone has ever had the opportunity to see the HV mstr plan or topos???
I haven't but, if the Summit is built-out in accordance with the mstr plan (put together by old man Kettler) I've been lead to believe this would include the expansion of the slopes to rte31/Outback Park with the add'l lifts. Can anyone confirm???
By the way, I was told by a friend who is up at HV today that there was a lage influx of "SUITS" at HV today...read into it what you may.
shearer519
November 9, 2005
Member since 07/12/2004
149 posts
On an older trail map that was put out a few years back Hidden Valley put out a trail map that showed the new trails. But I also remember reading over the summer at one point that this project was never going to happen. Maybe the new owners would bring the project back to life. Here is the trail map with the proposed expansion.

nogoodnik
November 9, 2005
Member since 11/7/2005
49 posts
Gizmo there is a bas relief map in the HV Conference Center that shows a lot of planned residential development but I haven't looked at it for a long while. Some forest clearing has occured over the last year or so near the 3rd, 4th and 8th golf course holes off of Gardner road. Whether for houses, townhouses or the kettlers just raping HV for some timber $ before selling, I can't say. I hope a new owner has the vision and capital to fix up the resort and expand the ski area, either reviving the plans shown on the old trail map or some kind of pipe dream like I talked about. The old adage about taking money to make money couldn't be more true than at HV right now. As you mentioned earlier, there is a lot real estate development $ to be made if the property value gap with 7S can be narrowed.
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
November 9, 2005
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
I ran into Old Man (Clarence) Kettler last winter at the Inn at Georgian Place. He was having dinner with his high maintenance looking wife. I talked to him about the expansion and he said the skiing industry was kind of depressed and also mumbled something about the banks not wanting to loan him any more money. Thus I assume that meant that that he didn't have the money to do the expansion. He also said he turned the operation of the resort over to his son, Jim, but was working on master planning a new development in the South Ridge area of the resort. Clarence was the visionary for the land planning which is very well done.
However, it would seem to me that having the ski area visible on Route 31 would bring in more skiers and 600+ feet of vertical from the ridge top to the Outback area. Additionally, if you look at the model in the conference center, you'll see there is alot of undeveloped land in the area. Unfortunately some of the land on top of the mountain is currently used for spray irragation of the sewage plant effluent (i.e. this is a way of disposing of the treated sewage). The logging was done last spring because the Kettler's needed the cash. Many folks were not happy about that. Actually, if you ski the last slope all the way over to the Outback side ( I think the slope is called the Outback slope) you will see where they started to clear for the new slopes. The Outback slope is quite steep, but short lived. Imagine if it went all the way to the top and all the way to bottom along Route 31, it would be a nioe slope.I think an annoucement may be made this weekend at the HV Board meeting.
BushwackerinPA
November 10, 2005
Member since 12/9/2004
649 posts
Quote:

I ran into Old Man (Clarence) Kettler last winter at the Inn at Georgian Place. He was having dinner with his high maintenance looking wife. I talked to him about the expansion and he said the skiing industry was kind of depressed and also mumbled something about the banks not wanting to loan him any more money. Thus I assume that meant that that he didn't have the money to do the expansion. He also said he turned the operation of the resort over to his son, Jim, but was working on master planning a new development in the South Ridge area of the resort. Clarence was the visionary for the land planning which is very well done.
However, it would seem to me that having the ski area visible on Route 31 would bring in more skiers and 600+ feet of vertical from the ridge top to the Outback area. Additionally, if you look at the model in the conference center, you'll see there is alot of undeveloped land in the area. Unfortunately some of the land on top of the mountain is currently used for spray irragation of the sewage plant effluent (i.e. this is a way of disposing of the treated sewage). The logging was done last spring because the Kettler's needed the cash. Many folks were not happy about that. Actually, if you ski the last slope all the way over to the Outback side ( I think the slope is called the Outback slope) you will see where they started to clear for the new slopes. The Outback slope is quite steep, but short lived. Imagine if it went all the way to the top and all the way to bottom along Route 31, it would be a nioe slope.I think an annoucement may be made this weekend at the HV Board meeting.




slope is called Charger, the pitch actually stay nice above it(i have skied the tree there before, it really needs another lifts to make it viable for everyone. The long travese out sucks for skier that dont how to skate and just go ass fast as possiable to get there, and boarders have issues all the time.
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
November 10, 2005
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
Yes, it is called Charger. I kind of like the way the steep part ends at a narrow trail going through the woods. I never had a problem with the run out since I'm going pretty fast at that point. I think they should add a lift from the bottom of the North Summit area to the top of the ridge at the Outback area. There would be some decent blue terrain to be gained along this side of the mountain. They could then add terrain and lifts on the Outback side of the hill when they start developing the area along Route 31. They have the old trout pond to provide water for snow making in that area.
gizmosnow
November 10, 2005
Member since 10/6/2005
269 posts
Thank you for the info...I agree that expanding skiing to rte 31 would provide (new) owner with opportunity to draw 'local' season pass holders away from 7springs.
At this point I am also expecting (or should I say hoping) that an announcement will be forthcoming by as early as this weekend.
I heard again today that HV was swarnming with 'suits', i.e., businessmen -- apparently ironing out final details.
Based upon what I am hearing, I stand by my prediction that the new owner will be Sunburst Hospitality out of Silver Springs.
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
November 14, 2005
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
Post deleted by Scott
Taylormatt
November 14, 2005
Member since 12/3/2004
339 posts
Post deleted by Scott
Heather
November 14, 2005
Member since 02/24/2005
170 posts
Post deleted by Scott
BushwackerinPA
November 14, 2005
Member since 12/9/2004
649 posts
no comment
Scott - DCSki Editor
November 14, 2005
Member since 10/10/1999
1,095 posts
Hi folks,

I'm appending a message below I've had to write in the forums in the past; it's applicable to this situation too, so sorry for the "form letter."

* * *

I had to edit out a couple of the posts in this thread, and wanted to explain why. I encourage open discussion on the DCSki Forums and hate to delete posts, but there are some situations where I must step in. Anytime a specific individual is named and criticized openly, that raises the risk of slander and I can't allow that. Please feel free to offer constructive criticism about area resorts when appropriate, but avoid calling out specific individuals.

A few posts in this thread began to move in this direction (although they otherwise had good content in them), so I had to remove them. This is never an easy decision because the posts are often borderline, but I err on the side of caution. To the posters -- please do not be offended by this; hopefully my rationale above makes sense, but if you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact me.
nogoodnik
November 14, 2005
Member since 11/7/2005
49 posts
Hmmm replying to a now deleted message. I'll bet it contained a bad (but appropos) word. Anyhow speaking of Scanlan...
I've been a property owner at HV for a few years now and have never talked to another owner who had anything good to say about Scanlan. Between watching the ongoing deterioration of the resort and seeing his pathetic performance at last Saturday's meeting, it's quite easy to understand. The only hopeful thing I heard in the meeting was in his reference to new owners upgrading resort buildings while refusing to discuss the Kettler's idiotic policy of letting things go to seed.
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
November 14, 2005
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
Without naming names, I think we can all agree that it is our opinion that the management of the resort is abysmal at best. They owe the Resort Foundation $70,000 in back condo fees, they owe the County about $0.5 million in taxes, the resort buildings are all falling apart, the restuarants are poorly run, they couldn't effectively manage the condos that they own so they turned them over to Resort Properties Inc., in the 2 years that I've had a season pass, I've never seen any check for lift tickets, etc.Good ridance!
Taylormatt
November 15, 2005
Member since 12/3/2004
339 posts
No news of any kind. The announcement that we are targeting opening next Friday sort of overshadowed everything else. Now I just hope the weather cooperates starting Thursday through next weekend.
Leo
November 15, 2005
Member since 11/15/2005
265 posts
Hi all. Long time reader, first time poster, interested party. I have followed the rumors on this board as well as other places because I genuinely care about what direction HV heads. A friend of mine, who is a CPA, told me a few days ago that he had heard in "professional circles" that it was still a possibility that Springs, Laurel Mt, and HV would be merged and sold to a national corporation as a single entity. Has anyone else heard anything similar?? It's the first that I have heard this in a while, but he seemed fairly confident in his source.

Irregardless, as has often been expressed here, I have confidence that the right person/entity can make HV a first class operation.
LMV
November 15, 2005
Member since 06/1/2005
60 posts
THANK-YOU!

This is what some of us been saying for a while now. It's good to hear it from another source.
johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
November 15, 2005
Member since 07/18/2001
1,914 posts
Leo:

Welcome to DCSki. I hope you continue to post more messages on the forum. I like your optimism!!!!! THE GLASS IS HALF FULL.
JCHobbes
November 15, 2005
Member since 09/12/2005
94 posts
Snowsmith, one of the things you said raised a really good point:
"in the 2 years that I've had a season pass, I've never seen any check for lift tickets"

I've had a pass for three, possibly four years, and skiing there for two or three years on top of that. I instinctively just hold out my pass so they can see it if they like. Only once has someone ever even checked it, and that just a patrol candidate, who I'm assuming thought it was his duty to do it.



Anyway, moving on. I got some interesting information. It can be interpretted multiple ways though, so take it with a grain of salt.

My dad works with a few people who have houses at the resorts and live their year-round. One person lives up at 7Springs, another at HV, and the third in Laurel Mountain Village.

Apparently, all three of them have reported seeing high-end cars (BMWs, Lincolns, and Jaguars) with out of state plates that they've never seen before driving around the resort.

This could give some more truth to the thoughts that all three resorts would be merged and run by one large corporation. Of course, like I said, I would take it with a grain of salt, as it could mean nothing, and so far, there isn't really any connection between the sightings, none of them have described cars exactly the same. But it's just an interesting coincidence that I thought might be taken into consideration.
Leo
November 15, 2005
Member since 11/15/2005
265 posts
Glad to be here. I have skied at HV my whole life and also worked for the ski school for many years when Joseph and Nancy Cabe (sp?) ran the ski school. As someone who loves skiing, golf, hiking and biking, it has been tough to watch the general downward trend of the resort, but I am confident that can be reversed and, in fact, it could become an even better place than it ever was years ago.

One thought I have always had (if any powers that be/to be are reading this ) is that they should go forward with developing the back side of the mountain and use some of the frontside (i.e. upper rambler, stingray, possibly continental, etc) to create the best terrain parks in the area. At this point, I think that would be a great way to attract younger skiers/boarders and therefore families. So long as it was done correctly and segregated from plenty of pure skiing areas I think it could work well. Of course, my jumping days are over, but I know I would have appreciated it 10 years ago....
Skihead
November 16, 2005
Member since 11/16/2005
30 posts
I'm new to this forum, and have found it to be intresting especially since I just bought some property very close to HV. My take is that with the exception of slopeside at SS, the area is undervalued and has lots of potential. Between the sale of HV, slots, possible sale of SS, possible integration of the 3 resorts, and the planned widening of rt 219 to I68, something has got to give soon that will propel this area to the next level.

From asking around, it would appear as if a deal is done at HV. Hopefully now they are pulling together the details to make an announcment that has some real vision to it, rather than just announcing a sale.

In regard to the rumor on Sunburst, I have no data on that, and although anything is better than current HV mgmt, I would have to say that I think HV deserves better. From what I know Starburst they are into managing low to medium end hotels, and offer no resort mgmt, moreless ski area experience. I would be much happier with someone with deeper pockets like Marriott, or other ski resort operators being involved. Of course if they are smart and realize that, they might want to bring in a ski mgmt firm either from out of the area ...or in conjunction with SS, thus the rumors about that. My take is that something is underway in that respect.

It would in fact amaze me if the SS, HV, and LM resorts were not brought together under one ticket. It only makes sense and with all the expansion going on at WISP, they had better think long and hard about what that may mean in terms of pulling visitors away.

Here is what I would like to see happen long term:

- All 3 resorts marketed as one. Shuttle busses between them for now and eventually a gondola connecting HV and SS?(it really isn't that far)

- Expansion in ski area at HV to include run down the back side of the mtn thru the Buncher property to Bakersville This would add needed vertical, and what better way for Buncher to add value to their development.

- Introduction of slots to provide something that you can't get at WISP or in WVa. (hey, it works in Tahoe)

- Some action by the the local and state gov to do something to identify and take steps to clean up the immediate area. If you look at the area around WISP, they have a plan and they are executing that plan. From what I have seen of PA government, this may be the most unrealistic to ask for.

Just my .02
nogoodnik
November 16, 2005
Member since 11/7/2005
49 posts
I'm glad to see others mentioning the back side of HV for ski development and having an arrangement with Buncher. It's just over a 2.5 mile drive from the bottom of Gardner road at Bakersville to the top of the mountain in HV at Snowfield. I'd certainly start skiing at HV again with A 2.5 mile run down the entire eastern slope of Laurel Hill. What other resorts have a run that long?
Heather
November 16, 2005
Member since 02/24/2005
170 posts
All I can say is WOW! You put some thought into that last post! Thank you! I would agree with all of your comments except that it would NOT be unrealistic to ask PA Govornment for assistance, just unrealistic to expect it to come to fruition. Thanks for your great input and welcome aboard!
Skihead
November 16, 2005
Member since 11/16/2005
30 posts
Yes, I agree with you that it seems obvious to do something on the back side with a long cruiser. Whatever it would cost, Buncher would easlily make back in property value alone and the additional skiers it may attract would be a bonus. Apparently they have tentative sewer extension approval, and as someone very astutely noted earlier in this thread, "you don't need sewer if you are doing 10 acre lots". The sewer capacity they are looking at dwarfs the needs for little Bakersville so go figure.

There are lots of good suggestions on this board. I suspect that some of the decision makers doing their "due dilligence" look at this board and take notes. Let's face it, the Balt/Wash skier represented by this board is exactly who they need to intice to this depressed corner of PA to stay for as long as possible to throw away their $ in their slot machines. To do that, they need to take a whole new look at what would attract and keep someone here. New Slopes, Water Park, etc
nogoodnik
November 16, 2005
Member since 11/7/2005
49 posts
Regarding Buncher & the sewer line... I've been told by another HV resident that some of the Bakersville septic systems are old and leaking into the local streams (which wind up in Laurel Hill Creek). The environmental powers that be are concerned and were making it difficult to get new septic permits for the area. If Buncher couldn't access the sewer system at HV, then extending the new sewer line now going into Lavansville may have been their only real option to give them the flexibility to do whatever development they are planning. I've heard the rumors about the 10 acre plots also but there may also be some commercial development as well. I don't think anyone knows at this point.
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
November 16, 2005
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
I can tell you this, they ain't going to build houses on 10 acre lots with 200,000 gal/day of sewer capacity. They've got bigger plans than that, you can be sure.
SpringsRegular
November 17, 2005
Member since 10/14/2004
153 posts
Quote:

All I can say is WOW! You put some thought into that last post! Thank you! I would agree with all of your comments except that it would NOT be unrealistic to ask PA Govornment for assistance, just unrealistic to expect it to come to fruition. Thanks for your great input and welcome aboard!




Heather, check you PM's.
rdytooski
November 22, 2005
Member since 11/16/2005
40 posts
Has anyone heard any further news with what might be going on? How about have they fired up their guns yet?


Ok you can get up off the floor now

Thanks
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
November 22, 2005
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
We await further news if there is any. No snowmaking from what I've heard.
Taylormatt
November 22, 2005
Member since 12/3/2004
339 posts
They just don't have the snowmaking efficiency or ability of other areas. They never turn them on until the cold is here to stay, usually opening around December 15th give or take a few days. You *usually* won't see them on for another 2 weeks or so.
rdytooski
November 22, 2005
Member since 11/16/2005
40 posts
I know over the past 5 or 6 years it seems like they are behind 7S by two weeks although a few times I have skied Thanksgiving weekend.

Thanks for the info about the guns being in hibernation
Taylormatt
November 22, 2005
Member since 12/3/2004
339 posts
*IF* this snow actually hits over the next few days, it might give them the jumpstart needed to turn them on sooner.
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
November 22, 2005
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
The last 3 years they were open by the first weekend in December. However, since they are broke and ready for bankruptcy if the sale doesn't go through, I am wondering if they are really going to open. No sale, no open - is my prediction.Gizmosnow has not responded to any of these posts and he has been our main source of reliable gossip on the sale. Lately we have heard nothing, so I am starting to wonder if the lunkhead owners thought they were going to make a killing and rejected all bids.
Taylormatt
November 22, 2005
Member since 12/3/2004
339 posts
According to a friend of mine who is a permanent resident and on the board of something or other (I forget), they will operate this year because of all the passes sold. No way around that according to him. When they open and to what capacity, is another story. The last few years we also got some nice snowstorms in Early December which they rely on heavily. Their snowmaking relies on natural assistance moreso than say 7S who could theoritically operate all season without any natural falling. With their current financial status, I'd guess the snowmaking may run even less than normal due to cost.
gizmosnow
November 23, 2005
Member since 10/6/2005
269 posts
Been traveling on business and unable to keep up but just logged in and also somewhat disapointed that there is no real new news re: sale. I haven't heard much of substance however, I passed thru hv briefly a couple days ago and people i spoke with still believe negotiations are actively ongoing -- have not broken down. from personal experience, i don't think this is that unusual -- there are typically a great many details that need to be resolved from the signing of a LOI to a Definitive Agreement (and therefore, also a lot that can go wrong). Separately, i also was told that hv is planning opening day to be December 15th, weather permitting -- a bit behind the 'others' but I suppose acceptable (if they are willing to turn on the blowers to make it happen ?!?).
Interestingly (and this has been discussed in another forum) I was also told that there are strong rumors of 7 springs about to announce a change of ownership. This wasn't from someone necessarily 'in the know' but this individual is generally 'responsible' and not one to spread pure gossip so it did catch my attention. And, by the way, this individual did mention the possibility of a single purchaser acquiring both hv & 7springs -- a rumor that i, personally, refuse to believe only because it would be quite a coup/accomplishment for any indivdual buyer, big or small, to be able to simultaneously coordinate a hv & 7springs deal!. i'm just hoping to be on the slopes somewhere soon.
JCHobbes
November 23, 2005
Member since 09/12/2005
94 posts
I have to agree with TaylorMatt.

They've undoubtedly sold a good number of passes (between my family, and my friends, I can think of at least 20 passholders)

If they don't open, they'd have to refund all that money. I don't think they'd miss the chance at making a last bit of money before selling out.
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
November 23, 2005
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
I was leary about buying a pass since they owed so much tax money, I was afraid they might pay the bill and screw us. I know of other folks that felt the same way. I think they are hoping to turn over the resort before they need to spend the money to make snow.The last three years they made the snow necessary to open by the first weekend of December. In fact, in 2003 they were open the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Now they want us to pay $425 for a season pass. No way Jose!
nogoodnik
November 25, 2005
Member since 11/7/2005
49 posts
Speaking of HV owing tax money...
This is from the Tribune Democrat in Johnstown:
Published: November 24, 2005 11:56 pm

Hidden Valley taxes overdue again

By KIRK SWAUGER
kswauger@tribdem.com
Somerset -
Hidden Valley Resort again has failed to pay its county hotel taxes, a disturbing development with a major tax deadline just three weeks away, records show.

County commissioners said they learned this week that the resort did not remit $6,837 in hotel taxes due for the July 1 to Sept. 30 quarter.

Officials said the missed hotel-tax payment stirs concern the resort will not be able to turn over $205,000 in county real-estate taxes by a Dec. 15 deadline that allowed Hidden Valley to avoid a sheriff's sale two months ago.

As part of the settlement, the resort agreed to pay the taxes by that date or when it is sold, whichever comes first.

"I'd like to see them keep up their end of the bargain," Commissioner Jimmy Marker said. "We'll have to see what happens. I need to see something concrete from them that they're moving ahead with the sale of the property."

Resort spokesman Keith James said he was unaware of the delinquent hotel taxes.

Hidden Valley's owners, the Kettler family from Washington, are weighing offers from six undisclosed companies to buy the resort.

The Kettlers have said they want to sell the ski area, golf course, sewage and water systems and other property, either separately or as a package.

"They've been going through a review of multiple bids they received - several of which had significant substance - and they're pursuing several of the parties," James said.

He added the resort is preparing for the season ahead.

"What we're really focused on is getting ready for the slopes to open," James said. "We're running full-steam ahead."

In September, Hidden Valley barely beat a deadline to pay its delinquent property taxes before it was scheduled to be auctioned at tax sale. The resort paid the county $500,000 cash and signed the agreement to turn over the remainder no later than Dec. 15.

Hidden Valley owed $704,570 in back taxes for 2002 and 2003, and $1.14 million overall for the past three years, records reveal.

It is the second time within five months the resort has not paid the hotel taxes it has collected.

In early August, Hidden Valley turned over three years of delinquent hotel taxes after the county threatened legal action.

The latest figures show the resort owes hotel taxes for 78 rooms occupied for 98 days.

"They collected it from people who stayed there," Commissioner Brad Cober said. "I don't know how they can say they don't have the money to pay it."

Hidden Valley is the second-largest resort in southwestern Pennsylvania, behind only neighboring Seven Springs.

Marker said he is worried about Hidden Valley's financial situation.

"It causes me concern, just from the standpoint that this is a business that isn't doing well," he said.
gizmosnow
November 25, 2005
Member since 10/6/2005
269 posts
was unable to make it to hv myself this holiday weekend so loaned my place to a friend who has reported to me that hv was making snow! This would certainly be a promising sign re: their committment to support the ski operation. Has anyone else been up and able to confirm? Has anyone else heard that 12/15 is their targeted opening date, or otherwise?
BushwackerinPA
November 25, 2005
Member since 12/9/2004
649 posts
HV was making snow and plan to open rambler on the 3rd, I have no clue how they can pull it off but that is their plan.
rdytooski
December 1, 2005
Member since 11/16/2005
40 posts
Has any more news come out on the scene at HV regurading the sale? I am sure their taxes will be due again on December 15th.

We gave up and purchased passes for 7S this year. being leary of having to drive 4-5 hours and not have a place to ski. See you on the slopes next weekend
nogoodnik
December 1, 2005
Member since 11/7/2005
49 posts
I was at the HV ski lodge yesterday and saw some activity along with a bunch of portable snow making equipment scattered around the slopes near the lodge. When they get some natural snow, they'll probably make some as well and open at least a few slopes. If a sales agreement takes place, the ski operation will probably be run normally and passholders should be fine. Otherwise passholders can bid on the resort along with everyone else at the next tax sale.
Skihead
December 1, 2005
Member since 11/16/2005
30 posts
Things are very quiet re: the sale. I was to HV Thanksgiving week and the word among the locals was that the sale is done, just not announced.
gizmosnow
December 1, 2005
Member since 10/6/2005
269 posts
been traveling(on business, not pleasure) and haven't had the opportunity to check the posts much or give my opinions. Have a few minutes, and spent a couple days at hv this past week, interested or not, here's what i'm thinking:
Those who do not buy hv passes STRICTLY out of fear that they may not open are being far too negative/pessimistic. I don't think there is any doubt but that they will open this season and that they will operate and make decisions, i.e, re: snowmaking, in a similar manner as they have in prior seasons. In fact, they had made a considerable amount of snow during this past weekend -- much of which was victim to 60 degrees and 2 inches of rain midweek. I spotted a poster announcing December 10th Opening Day and asked about it in grp sales and was told that they anxiously want to make a 12/10 opening and were hoping for a limited opening on 12/3 (which now seems unlikely).
* By the way AND THIS IS IMPORTANT, I also learned from grp sales that if you have a current full-time student ID they will sell you a season pass for $249 - this is an unadvertised promotion, not over the web,don't know how long it will last!
* RE: the tax deadline -- this is just a formality (details to resolve to the tax mans satisfaction in the 12th hr have probably long been negotiated)-- too many people, e.g., Somerset Trust, etc. have to much to lose to allow a sheriff sale.
* RE: HV SALE: Not hearing alot of substance re: who the buyer may be-- pretty much sticking by my previous posts. but i am hearing that the mood and ACTIONS of many presumably from the 'inner circle' (including past 'DELETIONS') are very positive and upbeat. If the deal goes thru, HV future is likely to include a modest hotel ajacent to the ski lodge,expansion of the slopes to outback park and more aggressive development atop the mountain.
* finally, here's what else i'm thinking- and this is based on personal experience---it is not unusual for there to be significant delays and a lack of information in a deal of this type. just because announcements have not been made does not mean things are going poorly. my GUESS is that a Letter of Intent/MOU has probably been signed. Due diligence and negotiation of definitive agreements can take 60 - 120 days. Closing can take another 60 - 90 days. A formal announcement can be made anywhere along that timeline or not to the very end. Things can be going very well and a public announcement may not be forthcoming until after the ski season is over! ((having said that, though, the deal ain't done till the fat lady skis and a deal-buster can arise anywhere along the process)).
So, i guess we all have to be patient but i would encourage a bit more optimism.
sorry for the length of this post
rdytooski
December 1, 2005
Member since 11/16/2005
40 posts
Yes i do agree that what ever change will happen will be for the positive. Unfortunatley for me getting out to HV is not always an easy task so for this year we decided on the 15 minute car ride over 7S and so my 4 year old can pass by me as we go down Stowe. his 3 season on skis. (thank his pop pop for that)late this season hoping for my 20 month old too.

Looking at the other posts YEAH is SNOWING!!!!!!
nogoodnik
December 2, 2005
Member since 11/7/2005
49 posts
One thing that I've been trying to figure out is whether or not Kettler Brothers are really broke or have just neglected HV for the past several years because they have been getting a better return on their other real estate developments. Kettler Brothers web site shows them building 4 residential communities in several states with homes ranging from the $200K to $900K range. Kettler Forlines website (a separate company started by the father and a partner) shows that company building 10 residential communities. So how broke can the Kettlers be? Yet here they are negotiating a deal worth tens of millions selling the resort and looking like complete idiots coming within an hour of losing the place to a tax upset sale (this past September) and then showing that they can't even come up with a lousy $7K in hotel tax last week. Damn strange! I certainly hope that negotiations have progressed to the point where there is some contractual obligation to maintain the ski operation to a decent standard until a closing. Personally they are way to uncaring and unpredictable to be trusted.
Leo
December 2, 2005
Member since 11/15/2005
265 posts
Nogoodnik,

I am a little rusty on my financial knowledge, but I believe that passive income can only be offset with passive losses. And likewise, passive losses cannot be used to offset ordinary income gains.

Because of the type of business that the Ketler's do, i.e. developement, it has often been suggested that they were intentionally creating passive losses with HV to offset their passive gains with other developement projects. I always have a little trouble understanding how it can be beneficial to create losses, but I am told that the tax benefit of doing so, in some cases, outweighs the actual loss.

To make a long story short, it has always been my understanding that this is what "became" of HV.

THINK SNOW.

Leo
gizmosnow
December 2, 2005
Member since 10/6/2005
269 posts
It is even more 'complex' than that (not to say that this is applicable to HV or the kettlers) but bear in mind, a 'loss' does not necessarily mean negative cash flow. Especially on realestate investments where depreciation and amortization expenses can generate 'paper' losses to offset other income/profits and you can still have a positive cash flow. Also, if your investment appreciates in value you can sell at the end for a capital gain at a very modest tax rate of 15%. So a realestate investment that does not generate ordinary income/profit can still be attractive if it generates a capital gain.. Again, don't know that any of this applies to hv.
Taylormatt
December 2, 2005
Member since 12/3/2004
339 posts
I heard some lifts failed inspection which will likely throw a few wrenches into opening day plans. Now, before anyone asks me, I overheard this in the lift line today, don't know who it was or how credible they are. Just what I heard.
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
December 2, 2005
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
That doesn't surprise me. The chairs have not been painted in several years and nothing looks like it has been maintained in a while. I won't give those SOB's a dime of my money for a season pass!
BushwackerinPA
December 2, 2005
Member since 12/9/2004
649 posts
Something from my boss

FYI - unfortunately the rain we had earlier this week took us almost back to
ground zero. Snowmakers are runing at full capacity & we have received a good
6-8" of natural snow, however the resort will not be opening until next Friday.
See you then,

Joy Meyer
Ski & Board School Director
gizmosnow
December 2, 2005
Member since 10/6/2005
269 posts
Thank you for the 'inside' update ! What's the mood among the ski school staff this season with a new person in charge. I have always felt the ski school was one of the highlights of hv. have recommended many 'newbies' to the beginners package over the years and all have had a blast and couldn't wait to come back(once of course the pain of their first time on ski's wore off). i've been thinking about taking a snowboarding lesson this season (i am a bit 'older' -- would be a very atypical snowboarder but i've spotted other gizer's on boards before) -- any particular instructor you would suggest or, should i just stick to skis?
BushwackerinPA
December 3, 2005
Member since 12/9/2004
649 posts
Ill Pm you the info tomorrow, one thing that should be noted is that they had power problem, but are still able to run some of the guns. I would rather not talk about staff changes publically at this time, especially when it is among 2 people I greaty respect
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
December 4, 2005
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
Gizmo- you won't be 'gizer' on a snow board, you'll be a 'gray on tray'.
Bushwack- I also am a long time skier and I am contemplating buying a used snow board. What should a old double planker look for when buying a board to become a first time boarder.
And finally, the incompetence of the HV management has finally come to roost. The place is falling apart from lack of maintainance. The folks who work at HV must be demoralized. The local business schools could make this a case study in poor management.
Taylormatt
December 4, 2005
Member since 12/3/2004
339 posts
"power problem"? Like oweing over $50k to the power company in past due electric bills? Yeah, that's a "power problem" alright, lol.
BushwackerinPA
December 4, 2005
Member since 12/9/2004
649 posts
Well that is 2 questions about snowboarding, and FYI I dont snowboards havent in 5 years and never plan to again.

As for the staff I will speak for myself and various other at ski school. We have one of the biggest overacheving ski school in the areas. Are numbers have been good regardless of the condition of the resort. The staff is happy and well motivated, and will be out teaching this saturday I hope. In the past Hidden Valley Instructors go on to fill important postitions at much bigger resorts. We are skiers, we are workers, and we go out everyday cause we do love it. "We're Ski School and we're better than you"
Heather
December 4, 2005
Member since 02/24/2005
170 posts
Hey,Bush! Take it easy before you hurt yourself!
BushwackerinPA
December 4, 2005
Member since 12/9/2004
649 posts
tongue in cheek heather, congrats on the write up:)

You know one of those former instuctor at Laurl, I am sure of it:). FYI that quote isnt mine.
casey
December 4, 2005
Member since 11/21/2005
37 posts
My first post. Have a place on slopes at HV. All the guns were making snow all weekend until early sunday morning. They were turned back on sunday afternoon and many workers were attending the slopes as well. Hope things work out. Love HV
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
December 4, 2005
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
Heather - are you the new ski school director at HV. If so, I wish you luck for the upcoming season. I think eveyone associated with HV is hoping the the new owner will turn things around. It's a nice little ski area with a great atmosphere. All we need is someone with a little brains who knows what a resort operation is all about. With dedicated staff like Bushwack, you can't go wrong.
Heather
December 8, 2005
Member since 02/24/2005
170 posts
No, I am not the new SSD for HV. I do know her and wish her the best of luck. She is hard working and dedicated to the ski school at HV. She will be very successful for years to come!
BushwackerinPA
December 8, 2005
Member since 12/9/2004
649 posts
Quote:

No, I am not the new SSD for HV. I do know her and wish her the best of luck. She is hard working and dedicated to the ski school at HV. She will be very successful for years to come!




Joy is alot of my motivation, shes is very positve but at the sametime dead honest with us all the time. I cant wait to ski wiht my "Mom" tomorrow night:).
hockeydave
December 12, 2005
Member since 06/30/2004
769 posts
Now that HV opened Friday afternoon, what impression was left on those that skied there? I understand after speaking to a couple of property owners that took to the slopes this weekend that the slopes were in excellent shape, lift operators looked like they knew what they were doing, etc. etc. They also were led to believe that sale was complete but employees were not allowed to talk about the transaction. Any comments?
rdytooski
December 12, 2005
Member since 11/16/2005
40 posts
I didn't get to ski at HV but was up and scoped out the slopes. They did look in good shape. Heard from a good source annoucment was pending. We should hear "soon"
hockeydave
December 12, 2005
Member since 06/30/2004
769 posts
All of those that own property (not me) or ski (me) @ HV look like they have something to be very happy about. From the sounds of it, the new owners (who are probably operating the ski operations already) really want to make the HV skiing experience on par with 7S. They may not have the terrain that 7S has, but an upgrade in service and grooming will definitely put the owners in good graces with the regulars.
BushwackerinPA
December 12, 2005
Member since 12/9/2004
649 posts
the impression is yes the lifties are much improved. we had imperail open opening night. The lights are all working(most were not last year), the snow guns working better than ever, expect every trail on the front and some on north summit to open next weekend. Also the shuttles were running already, things are looking up. As for the sell..... lets just say that people who ski the laurels could be in a real treat on season passes next year.
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
December 12, 2005
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
Bushwack - is there some kind of hidden message there. What do you know?
BushwackerinPA
December 12, 2005
Member since 12/9/2004
649 posts
that was a hidden message, and its going to stay that way untill its for sure.
nogoodnik
December 12, 2005
Member since 11/7/2005
49 posts
The current owners have a property tax payment of $205K due in a few days (Dec 15). I'll be surprised if we don't see an announcement by then.
JCHobbes
December 12, 2005
Member since 09/12/2005
94 posts
We went up Saturday morning to pick up our passes. We had plans for the day so we didn't get to stay too long.

Ended up skiing for about two and a half hours.

It was really very nice. They were training patrollers and instructors, and so there were several large groups of people on the mountain, but other than that it was very much uncrowded.

As someone else mentioned, the lift operators seemed a lot better than in years past. I remember several years ago, a woman the chair in front of me fell off Lightning lift right where it starts to go up from the loading area. She was out of the way of the chairs going up, but it took probably a dozen people yelling to get the operator to stop the lift and go out to help her.

But overall, it was nice, and the snow was good. There were a few spots where it could have used an extra pass with a groomer and maybe even a little snowmaking, but there are no complaints from me.


Josh, if you wouldn't mind, I'd love it if you could PM me with the information you have. Even if it is just a rumor, I'd love to hear what you've heard being an employee.
gizmosnow
December 12, 2005
Member since 10/6/2005
269 posts
Was out this weekend as well (on the slopes at 4pm friday - their official opening) and wouuld agree that they had their act together at least as well as and probably better than prior few years -- especially last year (although, to my recollection, last year's early season weather was not as cooperative). The only minor detail i noticed was that they did not have all the ski racks out. Coincidently, i was out last year, possibly the first day they had opened Lightning Lift, my wife and i were getting on and the operator forgot to put the seat down. My wife fell off at the start, i jumped off just as it was starting to rise and the operator never stopped the lift or seemed to know what to do. About an hour later i bumped into my son and his girlfriend and they relayed the almost identical story that had happened to them probably 20 minutes after my wife and i! I hope the operators are better trained this year!!!

RE: the sale -- i haven't heard alot that is new and substanitive but i still believe the most likely buyer is Sunburst Hospitality. I'm thinking that 'due diligence' is going slower than anticipated because there is not alot of information forthcoming from the kettlers but i don't think this will necessarily sink the deal - it will just take longer; while SBH has no experience with a ski resort i believe they are committed to expanding the terrain to outback/rte 31; they will definitely expand other services -- add hotel/lodging, improve restaurants, etc.
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
December 12, 2005
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
Bushwack, Bushwack, Bushwack - don't tease me. How about a PM for me also!!
BushwackerinPA
December 13, 2005
Member since 12/9/2004
649 posts
Gizmosnow's info is correct I just wasnt going to be the one to say it.

BTW snowsmith no one got PMs;). Give it alittle jay and you will be the one of the first to know.
hockeydave
December 13, 2005
Member since 06/30/2004
769 posts
Quote:


As for the sell..... lets just say that people who ski the laurels could be in a real treat on season passes next year.





Hey BWinPA, are you referring strictly to HV with the above quote or is there something else you're hiding from us w.r.t. LM and/or 7S?
gizmosnow
December 13, 2005
Member since 10/6/2005
269 posts
Being that you work for HV you understandably have to be a bit more discreet --- I am not an employee and pretty much everything i've said here is based on what i've discerned from bits & pieces i've learned from many different sources so i don't really feel as i've violated anyones confidence.

Thank you for your confirmation as i couldn't really be sure that i wasn't totally off base. i definitely feel days will be brighter at hv if this deal goes thru.
Skihead
December 13, 2005
Member since 11/16/2005
30 posts
I was at HV on Sunday and yesterday. It snowed pretty much the whole time, so several inches of new powder even though this wasn't an official storm.

As far as the sale, I spoke with some employees but they honestly didn't seem to have any info, although the theme of Sunburst and a common pass with 7S has kept coming up.
hockeydave
December 14, 2005
Member since 06/30/2004
769 posts
From 12/14/05 Somerset, PA newspaper...

Resort officials negotiate with bidder


By MICHELLE GANASSI
Daily American Staff Writer
Wednesday, December 14, 2005 12:19 AM CST



Hidden Valley officials are in negotiations with a potential buyer for the Four Seasons resort property.

The property is owned by the Kettler family of Washington, D.C.

"Negotiations continue between the two parties to complete the sale," said Hidden Valley Spokesman Keith James.

Hidden Valley officials opened the resort up to a bid process in September. Hollywood Real Estate Services LLC accepted the bids, which were due Sept. 30.

James said officials went into negotiations with one bidder.

"It was sometime after the Sept. 30 bid submission deadline," he said. "To my knowledge right now the sale has not been completed," he said.

He cannot release any other information on the sale.

"We have a private transaction that's ongoing," he said. "The two parties are working to solidify the transaction."

Bureau Solicitor Nate Rascona said in an a different story, the resort owes $205,000, which is scheduled to be paid by the end of the year or when the resort is sold.

"The tax issues have all been arranged to be cleared and taken care of in some fashion," James said.

The resort continues to move ahead through the bid and possible sale process he said.

"We continue with business operations as we always have," he said.
Skihead
December 16, 2005
Member since 11/16/2005
30 posts
So the question is: Was the Tax Bill Paid this week as required, and if so who paid it?
nogoodnik
December 18, 2005
Member since 11/7/2005
49 posts
Now a Johnstown PA newspaper is publicly speculating about the HV buyer.
url http://www.tribune-democrat.com/local/local_story_351234146.html /url
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
December 19, 2005
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
Looks like Gizmosnow's reporting was dead-on-balls accurate. I spoke to the bartender at the Snowshoe Lounge this weekend and he said 2 guys from Sunburst were in there last week drinking martinis. He speculated that an anouncement would be made in April.
Looks like they made just enough snow to open the major trails and have been blessed with a good amount of natural snowfall. Trails without snowmaking were open and had good cover. We'll see what happens with the anticipated warm up later this week.
nogoodnik
December 19, 2005
Member since 11/7/2005
49 posts
Yes a tip of the tossle cap to gizmosnow for some fine detective work early on and a good call. I was up at HV briefly on sunday just before noon and very few people looked to be on the slopes. Maybe everyone was more interested in the Steeler game but it looked to be a sad turnout for a weekend. Hopefully things picked up later in the day.
GaryEsq
December 20, 2005
Member since 12/20/2005
54 posts
Do any of you insiders know who I should contact? Im an attorney at a large firm in Pittsburgh, but Im trying to get into resort operation/management .....a lifelong goal of mine. With this sale, I figured they might need some extra hands, but I don't know anyone to contact. If anyone can give me a hand, please do either on here or email gesabo@gmail.com

Thanks so much
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
December 20, 2005
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
A snowboarding Attorney! Wow, kind of scary! ...just kidding. I suggest you contact the new owner, Sunburst Hospitality (do a Google search for their web address).

If you get the job, don't forget us double plankers.
GaryEsq
December 20, 2005
Member since 12/20/2005
54 posts
Quote:

A snowboarding Attorney! Wow, kind of scary! ...just kidding. I suggest you contact the new owner, Sunburst Hospitality (do a Google search for their web address).

If you get the job, don't forget us double plankers.




Heh, it is rare, but I think you'll see more snowboarding attorneys as we get older. I ski too btw. Yes, after that Johnstown paper named Sunburst, it took me about 10 minutes to get a letter together, and I send out to their CEO. It's just that I've been looking for this opportunity for a few years now, and from what I've witnessed, people aren't that willing to talk to people basically cold calling them. Everyone says its a tough industry to get into. So that's kind of why I was asking some of the members here, if they might know someone on the inside I can speak directly to. THANKS!
Skihead
December 21, 2005
Member since 11/16/2005
30 posts
Wish I could say that I was excited about the idea of Sunburst as the buyer, other than the fact that it is someone other than the Kettler's. Sunburst is in the business of managing lower end hotels, and not certain how that qualifies them to run a ski resort, moreless turn one around that has been on the slide for several years.
gizmosnow
December 22, 2005
Member since 10/6/2005
269 posts
Your concerns are certainly valid with the following caveats:
- they run 'limited-service/amenity' hotels however, if you look at their properties on their website many of them look to be in 'high-end' areas. Also, they bought many of their hotels 'in distress' and (supposedly) turned them around. Finally, i found an article on the web about a golf resort community they acquired in AK -- i do not know if this is the only such venture they currently have as they are a privately held Co. and there is little about them available. Even the article on AK was buried deep..
nogoodnik
December 23, 2005
Member since 11/7/2005
49 posts
Sunburst is also doing condo development in Arlington VA with a subsidiary called First Choice Properties Corp. When you look at the real estate development potential of HV and how hot the resort property market is in the Laurel Highlands, they stand to make a ton of money once the resort is fixed up and they get some marketing going. I'm wondering if one of the reasons it's taking so long to hammer out a sales agreement is that the Kettlers still want the rights to be the builders since that is primarily what they do.
hockeydave
December 23, 2005
Member since 06/30/2004
769 posts
I spoke to a guy last nite who is a close friend of the inventor of the HKD. He told me that 7S might (and I underscore might) still may be a player in purchasing some aspect of the HV operation.
Skihead
December 23, 2005
Member since 11/16/2005
30 posts
Hope that is the case hockeydave, and maybe that's part of this drawn out process that appears to be taking place. It would be smart if Sunburst realizes they don't have the ski management background and somehow 7S takes over that part of it and merges it under one. It also minimizes the issue of "competing" against 7S just a few miles away.

Of couse then there is the rumor that 7S itself is very much for sale. With 7S being well positioned to get slots, they are also at a crossroads that will require lots of investment and experience in an area they have no experience.
hockeydave
December 23, 2005
Member since 06/30/2004
769 posts
Wouldn't it be great if all 3 Laurel Highlands ski areas (7S, HV, & LM) came under the 7S umbrella. Skiers and boarders throughout the region would be giddy if this took place. Just wishful thinking again.
JR
December 23, 2005
Member since 01/1/2003
276 posts
and blue knob too? I'd wet myself if Extrovert was opened by Dec 10th every year.
Skihead
December 23, 2005
Member since 11/16/2005
30 posts
Let me make some speculation here:

The game has changed and it's not about sking anymore, it's about slot machines and real estate. Slot applications are due by end of this month and 7S is definitely making a bid. See
http://www.tribune-democrat.com/local/local_story_344232627.html

The resort slot licenses will go to those who can show the most revenue to the state per machine. 7S should be an obvious winner since they have more visitors than any PA resort. If 7S is "extended" and thus includes yet some more traffic such as what we now know as HV, then that may make their application even more intresting. I wonder if the slot applications will be public record?
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
December 23, 2005
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
Quote:

Wouldn't it be great if all 3 Laurel Highlands ski areas (7S, HV, & LM) came under the 7S umbrella. Skiers and boarders throughout the region would be giddy if this took place. Just wishful thinking again.




I personally DO NOT want Hidden Valley to be turned into another 7Springs. However, if we could have a joint season pass that would be awesome.
Heather
December 23, 2005
Member since 02/24/2005
170 posts
It seems to me that we have had this same discussion before wrt LM, HV, and 7S. If any of this info becomes a matter of public record, I for one will jump for joy as should any skier of the Laurel Highlands. After being toyed with for a better part of a year, I find all of the speculation painful. What happens is gonna happen whether we (DCSkiers)like it or not! Heck I am still hoping that somebody will open LM again. Maybe HV would become more "stable" if there was some information that could be confirmed and released to the general public. People have told me that with the bad news surrounding HV recently such as back tax issues, they were unwilling to put out their hard earned money again to a place has such an unsure future. All I am suggesting is that an exchange of info needs to happen sooner rather than later to insure the public that "things" are moving in the right direction. If there is gonna be a sale of HV, I welcome the new owners and suggest that they become aware of who their "TARGET AUDIENCE" is. Sorry if this comes across as me being short, but I am extremely frustrated with "no news is good news"! I feel that we are being fed sh!t and some of us are beginning to enjoy the taste!


Anyway...happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year and all that stuff!
nogoodnik
December 29, 2005
Member since 11/7/2005
49 posts
If application weight has any bearing on being granted a slots license, then 7S should be in good shape coming in at a hefty 400+ lbs. url http://www.tribune-democrat.com/local/local_story_362234851.html /url
I wonder if each gaming board member gets a forklift for their copies.
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
December 30, 2005
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
Heather - I couldn't agree with you more. I know folks who didn't buy a season pass because of the financial uncertainty surrounding the Kettler's. They are continuing their Neanderthalian management techniques that ran the resort into the ground in the first place. I was at HV during the Christmas holiday and if it wasn't for the generous natural snowfall that the Laurel's have been blessed with this year, I would say that half the terrain that is open would not be open. They had a good crowd on Wednesday and if you were there on 12/26 during the mini-blizzard, you got do some powder skiing in untracked powder.
Back to the subject at hand, it's time for someone to provide some substantive news to the property owners and skiers who frequent the resort.
SpringsRegular
January 9, 2006
Member since 10/14/2004
153 posts
This is interesting. Not sure if it is related but I think it is the old hunting preserve right along 31.

http://post-gazette.com/pg/06009/635113.stm
hockeydave
January 9, 2006
Member since 06/30/2004
769 posts
If it's along the Bedford county line, then it's 10's of miles away from HV
LMV
January 9, 2006
Member since 06/1/2005
60 posts
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control
Board today announced that it has received 25 application submissions for
licenses to operate gaming facilities in the Commonwealth.

Scroll down and check out the "associated applicants" under 7Springs
license application

hmmm....
Heather
January 9, 2006
Member since 02/24/2005
170 posts
Appears 7S will get slots after all! Apparently 7S feels that LM is still viable considering the formed a limited liabilty corporation. Will have to wait and see!
hockeydave
January 9, 2006
Member since 06/30/2004
769 posts
I noticed prior to LM's website being taken down that 7S had formed a LLC as The Springs at Laurel Mountain LLC. I never noticed it on the LM website prior to the announcement that 7S would not operate LM this year. Not quite sure what it means wrt the future of LM. As usual, my fingers are crossed.
JCHobbes
January 10, 2006
Member since 09/12/2005
94 posts
Quote:

This is interesting. Not sure if it is related but I think it is the old hunting preserve right along 31.

http://post-gazette.com/pg/06009/635113.stm




This place really holds no bearing on the development of any of the resorts. Apparently, it's just going to be a breeding ground for elephants and training ground for elephant trainers for the Pittsburgh Zoo.

It's not going to be open to the public.

It's good to see that Seven Springs is still looking at running Laurel Mountain again as a possibility.

Let's hope for a fun, ski season 06-07 with three resorts (and not just one, or two) operating in the laurel highlands...
jb714
January 10, 2006
Member since 03/4/2003
294 posts
Quote:

Apparently 7S feels that LM is still viable considering the formed a limited liabilty corporation.




I have long wondered whether 7 Springs truly has believed that LM is a vialbe business proposition; or if they have simply taken their actions as a way of throwing a bone to the state in an effort to increase the chances of securing a slots license. I know that's cynical, but I still wonder.
hockeydave
January 10, 2006
Member since 06/30/2004
769 posts
I have echoed that sentiment in the past also, JB. I know 7S lost upwards of a quarter million dollars at LM last year. I believe 7S will run LM again next year, but I am relatively certain that they will have an agreement in place with Somerset Trust and PA whereby ST & PA will pay 7S to operate the facility, thereby guaranteeing that 7S will make money operating LM, and the state and ST will incur any operational losses if they occur. The Dupre family is not in the business to do anybody any favors unless it can benefit them.

As an aside, maybe someone who has more knowledge of the property owned by the Dupre family can answer this question. Assuming 7S does get a slots license, where are they going to build a hotel that can house 500 slot machines, since this type of license requires that only people who are lodging can actually play the slots? (I'm assuming they will build a seperate complex).
jb714
January 10, 2006
Member since 03/4/2003
294 posts
Quote:

where are they going to build a hotel that can house 500 slot machines




Dave: It would seem to me that it would have to be built adjacent to the hotel, but I think they have the waterpark planned for the area between the hotel and Stowe/Avalance/Tyrol/Goosebumps. I think that to get a waterpark in there will be a squeeze, so to do another building in that area would seem to be very tight. I'm not familiar with how much land they have to the skier's right of the Village trail....maybe they'll go over there?

Is there enough room up top to build a NEW hotel, complete with slots facilities? THat would take advantage of the view, but would require new parking, and thus a new road, which would probably have to come in from the Middlecreek Twp side.
hockeydave
January 10, 2006
Member since 06/30/2004
769 posts
Since 7S included "The Springs @ LM LLC" in their slots application, and there's plenty of real estate over near LM, could it be 7S just may be considering placing the slots hotel over there. Hmmm....

BTW, getting back to the thread's subject, has anybody heard anything about the HV sale... that subject has been really, really quiet.
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
January 10, 2006
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
Gizmosnow has been our best source on this subject. I have heard that Sunburst Hospitality is still considered to be the new owner. I hear that an announcement will come in April.
Heather
January 10, 2006
Member since 02/24/2005
170 posts
I sure hope not!
jb714
January 10, 2006
Member since 03/4/2003
294 posts
As a property owner in Middlecreek Township (does that make me a 'Middlecrickian'? ) I have mixed emotions about the slots going to 7 Springs.
hockeydave
January 10, 2006
Member since 06/30/2004
769 posts
Why?
jb714
January 10, 2006
Member since 03/4/2003
294 posts
Quote:

Why?




I'm concerned that it could very well lead to a fairly dramatic change in the peaceful character of the area. Not all of my concerns are due to the slots - Buncher's plans in Bakersville, and the extension of the sewage line play into it as well. I don't want to see a bunch of poorly planned strip-mall businesses strung out along Rt 31. I'm fond of hearing the wild-turkeys when I wake up in the mornings, and I don't want to lose that.
bawalker
January 10, 2006
Member since 12/1/2003
1,547 posts
Don't forget, with slots comes the 81 year old bulemic grandma's each with her own 5 gallon bucket of quarter smoking 6 packs an hour with a voice that sounds like the undead. Is 7 springs sure they really want that? heh
Heather
January 10, 2006
Member since 02/24/2005
170 posts
If her chain smoking, coin dropping behavior provides the means for 7S to operate my beloved LM, I am all for it. I may even seek employment at 7S sweeping up the ashes of the 6 packs she smoked while contributing to the delinquency of skiers. As for slots being placed at LM, I think it is unlikely due to the lack of infrastructure on top of the mountain. Anywho, if anyone has a female family member who is approx 81 years old, smokes like a chimney, and collects coins for her casino trip, send her to the Laurel Highlands were we can cash in and keep her money on the slopes (right where it should be!)
bawalker
January 10, 2006
Member since 12/1/2003
1,547 posts
I need to make it up that way sometime and ride in PA. I have a cousin who lives in Wheeling and he always takes I-68 upto Rt 40 through Washington PA. Now that I have a vehicle I need to visit him this winter, check out Oglby park and hit up anything else nearby

I want a personal tour from you if I"m up there. :P
gizmosnow
January 10, 2006
Member since 10/6/2005
269 posts
I've heard about the same -- negotiations still ongoing with Sunburst, expect an April announcement. Finding out who the bidders were was relatively easy as that info is pretty superficial. Finding out details on the negotiations requires a true inside source and that I do not have. I did hear that one issue is whether or not hv can support a hotel year round ( i personally feel they can easily if they go back to marketing weddings and small business conferences as they did just a few short years ago -- they went from 7 'event planners' to just one over the past two years). also, i hear that although alot of effort is going into trying to close the deal both parties still have the option to call off the deal with little at stake.
rdytooski
January 10, 2006
Member since 11/16/2005
40 posts
I am sure HV can support a year round hotel conference center. Like you said on a short time ago they had a full time operations. Even now during the ski season the Snowshoe (hotel bar) opens at 4 during the week and usually has only one person running the show. Even during the "busy" Christmas-New Years week she\he was working thier tail off to keep afloat.

If recall correctly they had the nice resturant above the Snowshoe and a little "coffeshop/snackbar" right outside Snowshoe's door that was always the kids favorite spot for a sugar rush and nachos and mine for the quick cup of coffee in the mornings. For the past 3-4 years we have made the trip over to 7S if we wanted breakfast or back into Somerset.

If you know of another place for some good breakfast on the first morning up before the trip to the grocery store, that is always welcome.
shearer519
January 11, 2006
Member since 07/12/2004
149 posts
There was a article recently in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette that recently mentioned that both Seven Springs and Nemacolin will get the resort slot license since there were two available and they were they only two resorts to apply. The same article also said that the casino will be a part of the main lodge and go in by the convention center. They also have plans to build more hotel rooms by the convention center few years down the road but after the slots are up and running. If Laurel Mountain was included in the application I wonder if people who stay at Laurel will be able to gamble at Seven Springs. If so then maybe they view Laurel as worth will since it will increase the bed base for the casino to draw from.
Taylormatt
January 11, 2006
Member since 12/3/2004
339 posts
It's my understanding that the casino will be built along with a new lodge up on top at lake Tahoe in the Southwinde project.
hockeydave
January 11, 2006
Member since 06/30/2004
769 posts
From today's Johnstown, PA Tribune Democrat newspaper...


By KECIA BAL
The Tribune-Democrat
CHAMPION -

At Seven Springs Mountain Resort, the hills are busy with skiers this season. But, with the potential for slot machines looking bright, resort officials have development on their minds.

"Spring, summer and fall are our real opportunities for growth," said resort President Scott Bender. "That's one of the reasons we have sought a license all along."

Seven Springs is one of two resorts in the state that have applied for two available $5 million licenses designated for resorts. If both prove eligible, each should gain a license.

Already, the resort and areas around it are poised to evolve, with more job opportunities and increased traffic that a casino would bring.

For the resort, slots would mean new jobs and an expanded facility.

Initial studies have shown that a slot-machine casino would create as many as 350 jobs, more than 40 percent of the resort's 800 current off-season positions. The jobs would center around maintaining and managing a casino and related amenities.

Though resort officials won't release many details about their plans, a license would call for a centrally located casino.

But a 500-slot-machine casino - the maximum allowable under the resort license - wouldn't overwhelm Seven Springs, Bender said.

"It wouldn't be the hub, like at a typical resort-casino," he said. "One of our best features is that everything is here under one roof. But, another thing we are very mindful of, is the guests who want us to maintain our family environment.

"The plan is to keep it all under one roof, but situate the casino so guests who don't want to won't have to walk through it," Bender said.

Bender said he didn't know and couldn't speculate how much money a casino would generate for the company.

"We just don't know about the revenue at this point," he said.

County officials said that, from a financial standpoint, a boost for Seven Springs' business means a benefit for the county.

"If it attracts tourists and creates more jobs, the county will have a net gain," Commissioner Chairman Jim Marker said.

Direct tax benefits - about a third of revenues - are marked for state coffers, though legislation that created the licenses in 2004 would require Seven Springs to direct 2 percent of revenues to the county or county authorities for economic development and community improvement projects.

Based on conservative slot-machine numbers for surrounding states, state Department of Revenue officials estimate that each slot machine at a resort would garner at least $150 a day.

For a casino with 500 slot machines, that's $75,000 a day or more than $27 million annually, making the county's share nearly $550,000.

"We were trying to be conservative all around," department Press Secretary Steve Kniley said, adding that restaurants and other features would multiply casino revenues. "That's just for the machines. There are certainly other things at play."

Increased visitors alone would bring in extra businesses and more money to existing destinations, said Ron Aldom, executive director of the Somerset County Chamber of Commerce.

"We are already a tourist destination," Aldom said. "This would bring more people to the county, and a different group of visitors.

"For economic development, it has to be a good thing. Once we get visitors into the county, it's much easier to get them to other parts of the county."

Road work

But along with growth, the need for better roads and traffic patterns becomes more apparent.

Route 601 and the turnpike's Somerset Borough interchange could see increased pressure on already congested byways. State and local officials have identified both as traffic tangles.

"I think the real pressure is going to be put on the turnpike intersection," said Somerset Township Secretary Jack Biancotti. "There will be continued pressure on the 601 corridor from visitors coming from Route 219."

Turnpike officials have announced plans for a $3 million to $4 million reconstruction of the intersection just past the turnpike interchange.

The turnpike commission's preferred plan calls for a 32-inch-tall barrier between opposing traffic from the toll booths to a traffic light, where a relocated Laurel Crest Road would meet the turnpike access road, along with a connector to Water Works Road. The new pattern would replace an open area where five roads intersect as motorists enter and exit the turnpike.

And the borough, township and the state Department of Transportation are working on an aptly named 601 Congested Corridor Study.

But a connector from the interchange to Route 31, which leads to Seven Springs, would be ideal to ease snags in the borough, Biancotti said.

"Local folks have learned to use side roads, and so a lot of traffic has remained on those side roads," Biancotti said. "That's a need the township has tried to meet by upgrading the side roads, but developing a connector would be a big benefit.

"Everybody knows traffic is bad in Somerset," he said. "This could complicate things."

Traffic to and from the resorts is heavy even without slots, Biancotti said.

"Both Hidden Valley and Seven Springs have become all-season resorts, but the allure of slots will certainly add to the traffic complexity," he said.

Both Seven Springs and Nemacolin Woodlands Resort 30 miles west in Fayette County have applied for slots licenses, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board announced Monday.

Board spokesman Nick Hays said the board received more than 600 boxes of paperwork from 25 applicants for the 14 available licenses. Of the licenses, two are earmarked for resorts, five for stand-alone parlors and seven for horse-racing tracks.

Pittsburgh is to receive one of the five stand-alone licenses, with two going to Philadelphia.

Hays said board members have not set a timeline for awarding licenses, except for the horse-track category. Those licenses could be awarded in midsummer, he said.

Must be clean

Seven Springs and Nemacolin will have to prove their credibility, reputation and financial standing, Hays said.

"The basic criteria is that it has to be safe, enjoyable and profitable," he said. "They have to have clean criminal histories and financial histories. They have to have the financial wherewithal to operate a casino successfully."

Officials from each resort hand-delivered hefty applications Dec. 28, the deadline to apply.

"We are just waiting and hoping," Bender said.

Nemacolin spokesman Jeff Nobers said the company will not release details, except that a casino would be separate from the resort's existing properties.

"At this point, it's still a little premature to announce anything," he said. "Certainly, it will require jobs, but we just can't say yet."
Skihead
January 16, 2006
Member since 11/16/2005
30 posts
Was at Hidden Valley this weekend and it was very uncrowded, perhaps in part due to the Steelers Game keeping the Pittsburg folk home.

It really got me thinking that if this is the best they can do on a holiday weekend in January, then the new owners have better come in with a different business model because the current one isn't working.
casey
January 16, 2006
Member since 11/21/2005
37 posts
We were at Hidden valley also. It is a delightful place to ski. It is definately a diamond in the rough and a new owner could turn it into a great year round resort. It could be marketed as a resort for families as opposed to the party atmosphere at 7 springs. The 2 resorts could complement each other and make the laurel highlands a year round vacation destination
Skihead
January 17, 2006
Member since 11/16/2005
30 posts
Quote:

It is definately a diamond in the rough and a new owner could turn it into a great year round resort. It could be marketed as a resort for families as opposed to the party atmosphere at 7 springs.




Would agree with the diamond in the rough analysis. HV is designed quite well but needs to be upgraded. As far as being marketed to families, that really was the strategy over the past years and unfortunately that alone does not seem to be paying the bills. 7s also claims to be marketing to families, and they have the bowling and mini golf and now even talk of a water park, all which appeal to at least some families. With slots, they now will also have a place to park grandma while the kids ski.
I'm certain plenty of folks on this thread will have their opinions and it would be good to hear from them: If you were to be the one buying HV, what would you do to turn the place around?

As far as my vote, When I was there, I couldn't help thinking that they need go higher end to differentiate themselves while keeping a family focus..ie a small version of Beaver Creek or Deer Valley with top knotch food, impeccable grooming within driving distance of DC. However to do so, would take serious $ and vision on part of the new owner.....
BushwackerinPA
January 17, 2006
Member since 12/9/2004
649 posts
MLK Weekend was are lightest weekend so far this year, conditions were actually pretty good monday with groomed man made all over the place. It skied fast and soft.

I think it was do the game and Hidden Valley crowds come primialy from the Home owner base, which goes on skiing in other part of the country that time of year. Most Hidden Valley skiers are season pass holder that own property there just ask around(at least the one i meet).
gizmosnow
January 17, 2006
Member since 10/6/2005
269 posts
i personally don't think it requires all that much 'innovative or outside the box" thinking to make hv a viable year round resort (again). Its as simple as getting back to the basics( which have largely been ignored over the past several years).
As an example, I first learned to ski (at hv) three seasons ago when i learned of their (excellent) 6-week adult ski program. Signed up for Tuesday mornings and that first season over 60 people showed up, on tuesday mornings, for the package. I even met some neighbors from home who i did not expect to see and who told me that they had been coming out, on tuesday mornings, for several seasons. The following season, maybe twenty people showed up, excluding my neighbor. When i bumped into my neighbor i asked why she and her group did not join that year and she said that they did not receive their usual mailing/announcement re: the program and so they assumed it had been cancelled. Last year the number had dwindled to maybe 8-10 participants. This year it is up only slightly due to a homeowner-promoted group. Its the lack of basic promotion and advertising (as well as basic upkeep!) of the resort that has caused the decline. A new owner just needs to get down to basic princples of good management and hv can thrive.
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
January 17, 2006
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
I agree somewhat. I think it takes some imagination to keep ahead of the competition and to keep customers interested. Take for example the mall near my office, Hunt Valley Mall. We used to call it Death Valley Mall because there were may empty stores and few customers. Along came a new owner who replaced the enclosed mall with a 'main street' type shopping center. The place is now mobbed with people and there are no vacant stores.
Hidden Valley does minimal marketing, the web site is pitiful, the facilities in poor condition and the service is even worse, thus eliminating repeat customers.
I think what they need to do is build on what is right - the nice golf course, the well done land planning, the ski school and kiddie programs and then improve what isn't right:
- expand the ski area and upgrade the ancient lifts (complete the "Outback" expansion and tie it into the North Summit slopes). This will open up a large area for land development
- increase the commercial activity with a new hotel and restuarants and then spend some money on marketing them.
- I would build a hotel over looking Lake George including having the restuarant over looking the lake.
- Add retail (perhaps a convenience store or deli) at the Outback Barn
- Upgrade the ski lodge
- Replace or upgrade the Conference Center
-Replace or upgrade the indoor pool and athletic club
- Expand the tennis center to include indoor courts and agresively market a tennis program
- Consider some kind of unique ski development that incorporates the ski village concept similar to Mt. Tremblant, Quebec and other western resorts that are trying to give their resorts some character (although manufactured)
- Negotiate with the quarry owner to provide a landscaped berm to screen out the ugliness of that facility
- Add 9 holes to the golf course
- Work with the Buncher group to develop compatible development on the 850 acres that they own
- Web cams for the ski area and get someone who actually knows how to market with a web site
- Advertisements in local Pittsburgh, Cleveland, DC, and Baltimore papers for the resort and real estate developments
casey
January 17, 2006
Member since 11/21/2005
37 posts
The new owners need to hire you. Excellent ideas. Lack of marketing and upgrading their facilities, I think, have been their main downfall, but all of your ideas can be easily attained within the resort itself. It can easily become a premier resort
gizmosnow
January 17, 2006
Member since 10/6/2005
269 posts
Excellent post, great ideas! And, I agree with you and casey that all are realistic and attainable (with the exception perhaps of buncher -- who the heck knows what they are up to?).
But I would also add that they need to more actively go after local/day-trip & season pass holders to enhance the viability of the ski operations -- need to expand the ski base beyond homeowners and resort guests. Expanding the skiing territory/terrain parks is essential to winning back a share of the 7-springs crowds.

I am curious though -- beyond the outback expansion already shown on some hv maps, does anybody know if hv has any more 'developable ski mountain'???
BushwackerinPA
January 17, 2006
Member since 12/9/2004
649 posts
The terrain parks are being brought back to life by a very passionate skier by the name of Mike Ambrocik in ski school. Early season we had 3 tables , and 2 rails up in the exsisting park. Expect more rails, contest, and eventually Wrangler slope being split into 2 with one side for another park, this year. Halfpipe may be junked if we get no access to a pipe dragon, in favor of a bigger park. This is something that will be change with more cold weather this year. Anyone kids who skied there early season probably noticed the better park I hope.

As for terrain expansion, on the front side alone, thinning the trees out more and making gladed runs(which benifit from manmade and much more natural snow than BK,7s, or wisp) would be a step in the right direction. I have been doing this since 03 but one man can only do so much, and the runs are not yet "official". The lift line under lighting lift would be yet another perfect trail and is already skied on after every storm.

Also they need to let something bump up, we havent had bumps there since 03 and there are some people who like bumps(ME!!!).

So far there is no word to the staff of the any change in ownership, manangerment is still the same, yada yada.
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
January 19, 2006
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
What would you do to improve the ski area? Well we can't improve the vertical, but hopefully, we can add variety and challenge. Here is what I'd do:
-Create a trail under the Thunder lift. Just need a little grading and snowmaking
- Add snowmaking under the Lightning and Blizzard lifts (Road Runner trail). I would leave this trail ungroomed.
-Replace the Lightning and Blizzard lift with a quad lift (would make more room on the Road Runner trail).
- Extend the Charger, Outback and Wrangler trails to the top of the mountain and install a lift from the base of the North Summit trails to the top of the Mountain
- Expand the Outback trout pond to create a large snow making lake. The lake could also be used for recreation and for adding value to the real estate development.
- Hire Sno Engineering, Inc to evaluate the entire snow making system. Make incremental improvements as the budget allows as recommended by Sno Engineering.
- Construct the Outback trails and lift with emphasis on making these trails as challenging as possible.

What would you do? Anybody have any suggestions?
WPABoarder
January 20, 2006
Member since 01/20/2006
22 posts
Abe and Wags latest update indicates that Buncher has moved forward securing sewage to their site. While they apparentally are not ready to release any plans, what do you think they could do that would best compliment the operations at Hidden Valley?
gizmosnow
January 22, 2006
Member since 10/6/2005
269 posts
Golf Course. Apparently, at one time buncher was interested in acquiring the hv golf course (which borders their property in areas) to support their community development. Perhaps the best synergy would be for the two communities to join forces on the golf course, add 9 (18 may be a bit optimistic) holes and upgrade the condition of the course. This may or may not be beneficial for hv homeowners depending on where green fees would go but the course, as with the rest of hv, can definitely benefit from improved maintenance. Don't know if there is any realistic opportunity for buncher to get directly involved with the ski operations however, they certainly could provide indirect benefit if their community is large enough and adds to the base of season pass holders ( all they'd really need to do would be provide shuttle transport).
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
January 23, 2006
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
It has been reported that Buncher intends to build luxury homes on 10 acre lots and commercial along Route 31. I thinkg the luxury homes on 10 acre lots is baloney. You don't spend $1.5 million on extending sewer to the site to build houses on 10 acre lots. I frankly don't understand why the County would allow the sewer to be extended to their property withour knowing what they are going to build. How would they even know what size to make the sewer without knowing what they are going to build. This whole thing smells funny to me. This sewer extention will open up a huge area for development (Somerset to Bakersville). While I don't think the demand is there, eventially we'll have wall to wall Walmart from Bakersville to Somerset considering the lax zoning in the area. I am hoping that if Buncher proceeds with developing the property, it will be developed in harmony with the surrounding area which is a beautiful area. I frankly don't see any demand for anything other than a resort oriented development. I understand Buncher tried to buy the HV water and sewer company which has capacity available and was unsuccessful.
Skihead
January 23, 2006
Member since 11/16/2005
30 posts
You bring up some good points Snowsmith re: why the county would approve the extension without knowing the Buncher dev details, other than how many thousands of gallons of poop it will create. Certainly they must be happy Buncher will finance a fix for Bakersville's ills, but either they know what's up or are willing to look the other way. The sewer deal gives Bakersville just a fraction of the capacity of what Buncher would get; Not certain how many strip malls this portion of the capacity will support?

It would hurt Buncher or HV to have unactractive development leading into theirs. If anything, you would think they would be motivated to clean up what is there now, which could use help.
I would add to my list of suggestions for the new HV owner to put together some initiative along w/Buncher and the county to help clean up rt 31 in the immediate area. It is in everyone's intrest to make this area more fitting for a resort.
gizmosnow
January 30, 2006
Member since 10/6/2005
269 posts
so, it appears to me, from what i am hearing and, moreso, from what i am not hearing, that there may be some stumbling blocks with respect to the negotiations with sunburst. however, way-back-when, i was lead to believe that the 'second in line' bidder would be waiting in the wings in case a deal could not be struck with sunburst.
Anyone out there hearing anything new?
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
January 30, 2006
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
The bozos that run the show were expecting big bucks for facilities that they were too cheap or too stupid to maintain. Sunburst probably realized how much money they would have to spend and started to play hardball. Management then probably had their dream of retiring rich busted and they wouldn't budge from their position, thus an impasse. Of course this is just conjecture. Anyone looking for a rundown ski resort with lots of potential? But not cheap.
BushwackerinPA
January 30, 2006
Member since 12/9/2004
649 posts
The offer was 20 million it was turned down, I have no clue whats going through their heads.
casey
January 31, 2006
Member since 11/21/2005
37 posts
Are there still on-going negotiations?
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
January 31, 2006
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
$20 Million!!!!!!!!!!!!! The haven't even went to the Walmart and bought a can of paint to paint the ski lodge or conference center since the buildings were built and they expect someone to pay $20 million for these facilities. What idiots!
hockeydave
January 31, 2006
Member since 06/30/2004
769 posts
If Sunburst still wants to enter into the ski industry at a fraction of the cost of the $20 million pricetag HV was asking (I'm assuming this number is correct), I know of a bank that currently owns an unoccupied lodge and ski resort equipment that would be very interested in hearing from them ... and it's only about 10 miles north of HV.

I know, I know, there's a snowball's chance in PA in January 2006 that that is going to happen.
Skihead
January 31, 2006
Member since 11/16/2005
30 posts
If this is all true, I"m less blown away by the price then by the fact it has taken these clowns this long to not be in agreement on it. One would think the price would have been a clear component of any offer...so why the surprise now? Must be more that came up in the details, or another offer, etc etc

As expressed earlier, I wasn's that thrilled with Sunburst anyway, because I viewed them more as a property flipper than someone who understood the ski biz and was going to make the investment to take this place in the direction it needs to go.

One thing is for certain: This continued uncertainty is not good for business and the Kettlers' must be taking a nice bath this season. How much longer can this place go with without paint?
hockeydave
January 31, 2006
Member since 06/30/2004
769 posts
I would also think with back to back ski seasons being far from optimal and given the current state of the infrastructure, the Kettlers might be a bit more reasonable in their asking price... unless there are a lot more suitors than any of us are aware.
gizmosnow
January 31, 2006
Member since 10/6/2005
269 posts
Clearly, Skihead, you are right -- the offering price would have been the key component of the bid wpon which the 'seller' established/selected the 'winning' bidder.
But, the offer would have been contingent upon due diligence and the buyer's ability to verify the facts presented by the seller and upon which the offer was based..
If anything, i expect it is the buyer (sunburst) backing off the offer price($20 million or whatever it was) rather than the kettlers refusing to accept it.
hockeydave
February 1, 2006
Member since 06/30/2004
769 posts
From today's Johnstown Tribune-Democrat

Plans detail upscale community

By KIRK SWAUGER
The Tribune-Democrat
BAKERSVILLE -
A former game preserve nestled in the rolling hills near Hidden Valley and Seven Springs resorts will become an upscale golf community with hundreds of homes, an equestrian center and commercial outlets, plans reveal.

Blueprints submitted to the Jefferson Township supervisors offer the first substantive glimpse into the Buncher Co.'s plans for creating an exclusive gated community in western Somerset County.

The 763-acre parcel will have an 18-hole private golf course and related facilities, 267 single-family lots, more than 50 townhouse and condominium units, nearly 70 golf cabins and other amenities.

"That would be an immense project," said Brad Zearfoss, director of the county Planning Commission. "If it's 270 homes, that would be the largest subdivision we've ever had in Somerset County."

Most of the housing lots range in size from half an acre to 2 acres.

They would be marketed as seasonal mountain retreats and second homes for people from Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Washington.

Construction could begin next year, after sewage and water is in place, company executives said.

"Those 200 homes might take 10 years to achieve," said Ed Very, Buncher's vice president of leasing and property management.

"We're hoping the Laurel Highlands market stays vibrant. We think it's a nice community. We wouldn't have invested in it as heavily as we have if we didn't enjoy the area."

Buncher specializes in offices, warehouses and industrial parks in the Pittsburgh area. It would be the company's first venture into a residential development.

"We want to be good neighbors," said Bill Doring, the company's treasurer. "We're not there for a short-term fix. We're there for a long, long time.

"Our intent is to make that community prosper."

The plans are contingent on approval from the state Department of Environmental Protection for Buncher to extend sewage lines from Lavansville, four miles away.

Buncher wants to provide about 200,000 gallons of sewage a day to the development, with additional capacity going to Bakersville.

Company executives said plans for commercial development have not been finalized, but Doring said "we envision something along Route 31."

The homes would be laid out on cul-de-sacs with the main access off Jim Town Road, the plans show.

Township supervisors were not immediately available for comment Tuesday.

Zearfoss said the planning commission has not received a subdivision application, "so we're not sure at this point what exactly is being proposed."

Just up the hill from the preserve, the proposed sale of Hidden Valley remains uncertain.

Hidden Valley's owners are negotiating with Sunburst Hospitality Corp. of Silver Spring, Md., to sell the resort, but no formal agreement has been disclosed.

Homeowners at the resort are "in the dark right now," said Greg Baker, director of the Hidden Valley Foundation Homeowners' Association.

"They have no idea what's happening," Baker said.

"They're running on assumptions. That's upsetting homeowners to some degree."
Skihead
February 2, 2006
Member since 11/16/2005
30 posts
Great info, and certainly on track with predictions thus far.
Intresting that they would build an 18 hole golf course as part of the community when there is a golf course at the top of their property in the resort? ...of couses this creates the best lots for them to sell.

So here we have a company that recognizes the potential for the area and is looking to invest the $ over the long term to make it happen and build from ground up, while the resort next door with existing ski and golf and land to develop can't even paint the place and close for $20M.
gizmosnow
February 7, 2006
Member since 10/6/2005
269 posts
Well, I believe I may have been the first to speculate on Sunburst as likely buyer of HV...
Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your perspective), I am going to be the first to report that the deal with Sunburst is OFF the table, at least for the moment. From what i've heard sunburst pulled their offer off the table for 'technical' reasons (i'd rather not say just yet) however, it sounds more to me like they may have used this as an excuse to pull out of the deal. Have heard that there is an interested party waiting in the wings and willing to move quickly on purchase -- don't know if hv would be better or worse off than had the sunburst deal gone through.

On a positive note, just returned from a long weekend at hv and they have all snowblowers on and are working hard to get mountain in shape (it actually was in great shape this morning!) --- Have to give them credit when credit is due!.
RidelikeaRhino
February 8, 2006
Member since 01/31/2006
42 posts
Good to hear that they are making snow. Well too bad about Sunburst. Seems to me like anyone else would be better than the way things are currently. Too bad, I remember when that place was packed with activity. It was a great place to take mum, grandma, and the kids for a ski day. It sure is hard to understand how you could bury a gem like that. Don't feel too bad though. Word is that the golfers and other mountain users (bikers, hikers and other outdoors types) have the same bad vibes. A group of x-country guys told me they used to like to stop in after a day out at Laurel or Forbes. Now they go elsewhere. Not that anybody has been doing any x-country this January.
Skihead
February 11, 2006
Member since 11/16/2005
30 posts
So does anyone have an idea who the runner-up bidder was behind Sunburst? I had heard something about a Florida firm that was being represented by a Pittsburgh broker, but have nothing more than that.

Also, FYI intresting that on Abe and Wags latest newsletter it mentions continued rumors re: potential sale of 7S. Of course have heard this before, but now with a virtual guarantee of a slot license, it is a whole new ballgame.
gizmosnow
February 14, 2006
Member since 10/6/2005
269 posts
You are correct re: the second bidder. It is a firm OR individual(s) out of Florida (and I believe there may also be a NY connection) that is represented by a PGH realestate broker (who also has connections with HV). I have nothing solid to base it on, but I have always had the 'impression' that this bidder included one or more homeowners.
I have also heard, by the way, that some discussion has also been reestablished with Sunburst. Having a second bidder willing to close a deal on a fast track (as i'm told the FL grp is) will hopefully at least force sunburst to sh*t or get off the pot. By the way, I heard several rumors as to why the discussions with Sunburst broke down:

(1). There was a problem with clear title on the 'outback' property along 31. This would seem to me to be more of an excuse for SB to pull out of the deal (or get a price reduction) as clear title is always a contingency in a realestate deal enabling a buyer to get back any hand money. (2). The kettlers were insisting that SB keep JS and sidekick W on the payroll. Seems unlikely to me that Kettlers would let a good deal fall thru to protect anybody! (3). there is a problem with the water treatment plant. Don't know about this one although i have heard that it can cost several million to move the sludge spray area inorder to open up the outback slopes.
In any case this was by far the busiest ski weekend of the season at HV. Conditions were great from Friday thru today (Tuesday)!
Skihead
February 16, 2006
Member since 11/16/2005
30 posts
Wish the details of the 2nd bidder were more exciting. Once again no obvious ski area or resort mgmt background is apparent, but of course details appear limited. It's just not as exciting as some early rumors that companies of the likes of Disney, Booth Creek and Boyne were browsing in the area.
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
February 17, 2006
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
HV uses spray irrigation to distribute treated waste water. This is located in a wooded area to the south of the tennis club.
The Outback property was swapped with the quarry owner for the property across Rte 31 now being quarried for aggregate.
Keeping the current bozzo management team on the payroll would be a major mistake.
The Kettler's are milking this place of every dime they can - deferred maintenance, continued logging, minimal snow making, poor service, lack of staffing, etc. What assholes!

I'd be happy if Al Queda bought the place.
hockeydave
February 17, 2006
Member since 06/30/2004
769 posts
SS,

So how do you really feel about the Kettlers ?
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
February 17, 2006
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
Since I own real estate there, I can get kind of passionate about the subject. Hope you understand.
hockeydave
February 17, 2006
Member since 06/30/2004
769 posts
I understand. I know home owners there also, and they are justifiably upset about what's going on @ HV.

I own property in LM Village, so forgive me in advance, because I will eventually rant & rave about what's happening (or more accurately, not happening) @ LM.
RidelikeaRhino
February 20, 2006
Member since 01/31/2006
42 posts
Snowsmith ... I thought they made that swap with the quary folks so that they could develope slopes and housing back along that way. If I remeber there was even some early advertising. Have you heard what happened with all of that? That was not soo long ago. I gotta believe something deeper than taxes or milking the place is going on. Rumor has it that the Kettlers really liked that place. The early web sites suggest that as well. Kettlers market themselves as quote: "Kettler Brothers remains committed to improving the quality of life for every family that calls a Kettler built house their home". Cerainly it seems like they have lost sight of the fact that people just don't by real estate they buy "the mountain experience". Anyway The amount of money they would have to spend at HV vs earning potential seems like there would still be a payoff. Plain good business unless the springs and NW is putting too much pressure on the place. Then too... he who wants the mountain experience doesn't want to stare at logged forest and a quarry. That place behind them along fire tower has potential.
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
February 20, 2006
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
Yes, I also understand that they swapped the property across Rte 31 for the Outbak (trout farm) property. I have been thinking about this for a while. I believe that the founder of the project, Clarence Kettler, had a vision for the resort, while the rich (Daddy's money), spoiled brat son is a right wing Republican type who only cares about the almighty buck and his vision stops at the end of his nose. He has no vision except "how can I make some money without spending any". Thus the development over the last few years has taken place where the infrastructure costs are minimal (i.e. the infill townhouses at the top of the slopes). Now they are raping all of the forests on the site to squeeze the last few bucks out of the place.
By the way, I spoke to a board member who actually spoke with a rep from Sunburst Hospitality who confirmed that they have pulled out of the bidding.
nic223
February 21, 2006
Member since 02/21/2006
90 posts
I thought you guys would also like to know that some of the "fine" existing management at H.V. have been buying units and flipping them as the prices continue to rise. I doubt they would be buying units if there was not some deal in the works.
RidelikeaRhino
February 21, 2006
Member since 01/31/2006
42 posts
Isn't that illegal? Certainly it is not ethical. So we have guys that are running the place flipping deals on the side? I think you have just explained the whole show. Have the homeowners considered a class action lawsuit?
warren
February 21, 2006
Member since 07/31/2003
485 posts
Rhino,
I agree with you. It almost sounds like insider trading. They can buy the units, then control the rumors "leaking" out in order to drive an investment furvor, then sell the units based on the hype.
If not illegal, certainly cheesy and unethical!!

-Warren-
Skihead
February 21, 2006
Member since 11/16/2005
30 posts
Of course the investment furvor hasn't exactly taken place. If anything prices have been restrained due to all the uncertainty. This is not to say that property flipping by mgmt is a good thing, but they wouldn't have made a killing unless more is to unfold here.

Meanwhile across the valley, SS is moving forward as per this article on Sunday. Think about it, $100M for this project alone makes HV look like a steal at $20M for the whole place:

Seven Springs plans pricey condos

By TED POTTS
The Tribune-Democrat
SOMERSET -
Seven Springs Mountain Resort unveiled plans Friday for an exclusive condominium hotel complete with a restaurant and bar, convenience store, exercise room and meeting space.

The Lodge at Southwind will be developed as part of Southwind at Lake Tahoe, a $100 million townhouse complex being constructed atop the slopes overlooking the resort.
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
February 21, 2006
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
As they say, you have to spend money to make money. The Kettler's are so tight (or so poor) that they can't afford the investment or worse yet, no one will lend them the money. If the sale isn't completed soon, look for a foreclosure auction to happen. And the younger Kettler has no vision what so ever, unlike his father.
gizmosnow
February 22, 2006
Member since 10/6/2005
269 posts
I had heard scuttlebutt re: mgmt buying up units but never new whether or not to put credence in it. My understanding was that they were holding units to flip after sale of resort ( a positive sign for homeowners if not totally ethical). Realestate records are public info however if you buy under an LLC or LLP it is difficult to discern the 'individual' owner.

So, do you also happen to know anything re: the 'white-knight' bidder out of FL (if there really is one) ?
nic223
February 23, 2006
Member since 02/21/2006
90 posts
The management is buying under an LLC. They have already bought and sold some units, and some are currently on the market. To make the story better one of the alternate board members from the homeowner association is a partner in the LLC.
RidelikeaRhino
February 23, 2006
Member since 01/31/2006
42 posts
Wow seems like the carrion fowl are gathering. You would think Kettlers would be troubled by the whole affair since it seems like their bones are going to be bleaching in the sun. Seems like a conflict of interest to me. Let's see I can make money for Kettler or... I can make money for me... Hmmm even the best folks would be walking a thin line. A foreclosure auction implies debtors. I didn't think they owed any money. Maybe just operating AP. Kettler Bros seems big enough to manage even without the ski or golf course making a ton of money. Not the most ideal situation but ... or am I just assuming?
rdytooski
February 23, 2006
Member since 11/16/2005
40 posts
I was up with my family last weekend and the stripping continues... All along Gardner back behind Alpine Woods. Next thing you know once the ski season is over they will work on the areas between the slopes!!!
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
February 23, 2006
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
I urge all of you who care to contact Kirk Swauger at the Johnstown Tribune Democrat and ask him to publish something about what is going on at the resort. His e-mail address is kswauger@tribune-democrat.com. They are raping the place of every last dime they can. It is truly disgraceful.
hockeydave
February 24, 2006
Member since 06/30/2004
769 posts
Also, a potential receptive ear on this topic may be Larry Walsh of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.

His email is lwalsh@post-gazette.com and phone # 412-263-1488. I've never had success contacting him via email (address probably incorrect) but I have spoken with him on the phone regarding other issues. He is definitely someone who is concerned about the environment on and around ski areas.
RidelikeaRhino
March 9, 2006
Member since 01/31/2006
42 posts
Buying stuff the other day and heard some scuttle... I guess the manager of the resort also has a large say in the homeowners association. Nice way to tie up all avenues of information and control. More to the point though. Rumor has it that some other folks toured the resort two weeks ago. No word on who they were but sources say the current owners and managers were out in force. First time this season some say. Anyway , just a whisper on the wind. Take from it what you want. See it pays to hang out is ski shops.
Skihead
March 14, 2006
Member since 11/16/2005
30 posts
What a dramatic comparison of vision: Buncher is willing to build a new fire department to clean up and add curb appeal to their community that isn't even built, while up the mountain HV management seems to think that logging is what people look for in a resort:
Builder donates roomier fire hall:
Every Saturday night, Bakersville firefighter Tony Musto takes his place at the 50-year-old fire hall to call bingo and cook.

But the firefighters have outgrown their quarters, and it would take years of bingo, truck pulls and other fund-raisers to compile several hundred thousand dollars for a new building.

Thanks to a Pittsburgh company that is planning an upscale development for the area, the fire company will have a new station - more than double the current size - possibly by year end.

"It's a big relief," fire Chief Willie Walker said at the site Monday. "We would not have been able to do this on our own."

The Buncher Co. and the Bakersville Volunteer Fire Department have entered an agreement in which the company acquires the department's current property, a 7,000-square-foot building on 11/2 acres along Route 31.

In exchange, Buncher will build a 15,000-square-foot facility on a 3-acre site, purchased from resident Ed Holliday, off Bakersville-Edie Road.

"Essentially, it's a trade," said Mike Boland, a fire department building committee member. "Buncher has bent over backwards to be a good corporate citizen."

The Buncher Co. has purchased 763 acres, which wraps around the current fire hall on three sides. Buncher is planning to extend sewer lines from Lavansville to its proposed development, giving Bakersville residents the option to hook onto the line at the supervisors' discretion.

The former game preserve near Hidden Valley and Seven Springs will become an upscale plan with hundreds of homes, an 18-hole private golf course, an equestrian center and other amenities, according to the company.

Boland said the Pittsburgh company is not releasing an estimated value of the fire department's new property.

Construction on the building, which is to include a large social hall and commercial kitchen as well as a larger parking area, is to begin this spring.

Walker said many new fire engines will not fit inside the current building.

"We have had a little trouble looking at new equipment. The newer trucks wouldn't be able to back in," Walker said.

"The building is sort of pieced together. It's been built onto four times. There's no more space to build."

The department is launching a drive to raise $150,000 to pay for kitchen equipment, landscaping and furniture. Letters are to be mailed to residents within a month, and firefighters have designated a phone number for information about the project: 445-1978.

For firefighters, the news remains a shock.

"This will be the biggest development we ever taken on," Musto said. "It's so exciting. Who gets a brand new fire hall out of nowhere?"

Walker said the department has been working out a deal with the developers for about eight months.

"I still can't believe it," Walker said. "I won't believe it until we back the trucks into it."

A company executive said Buncher wants to establish a good-neighbor relationship.

"Volunteer fire departments around the country are staffed with true heroes in every sense of the word. And we are glad we can show our support to the Bakersville Volunteer Fire Department in this manner," Executive Vice President and Treasurer William Doring said in a release.

"We look at this exchange as being mutually beneficial for both organizations."
gizmosnow
March 14, 2006
Member since 10/6/2005
269 posts
Re: the logging at hv, i agree it is a shame -- the nature and serenity of hv is what makes it special and i hate to see any portion of the resort being logged. However, in an attempt to be more realistic and objective --- in my opinion, it is nothing compared to 7springs development. Living in a condo at 7springs you may as well be in the 'suburbs' -- yet, folks are willing to pay alot of $$ for 7springs! I was complaining to a mgr at hv last week (i'll call him Mike) re: the logging. He told me that he had seen an updated mstr development plan for hv and, for the most part, logging is occurring in areas designated for future development, for example, along the golf course.. It will change the nature of the golf course for sure but we must face the fact that, whether it is the kettlers or a new owner, the value of hv is in land development. Only if the (new?) owner can make $$ on land development will we see them put the necessary $$ into upgrading and maintaining the golf course and the rest of the resort. It's a 'catch 22'. let's just hope that a new owner, if ever there is one, will make 'balanced' and sensible decisions!
nogoodnik
March 15, 2006
Member since 11/7/2005
49 posts
Yes the golf course perimeter was always slated for future development but the logging was just James kettler continuing his rape of HV by sucking every last dollar out of the resort. This was a butt ugly diameter cut that had nothing to do with future housing. Also the logging crews seem to have damaged an awful lot of small trees in the process of taking out the large ones.

It's also a pretty safe bet that making $$ from land development as incentive to put money into resort upkeep will never happen as long as kettler owns HV. Selling HV land to a strip mine, deferring all maintenance for years, the disgusting logging etc etc are not indicative of an owner who gives a damn about the resort at all.

One thing that will be interesting is whether or not the ski operation remains viable if Kettler still owns HV by next ski season. It needs a large cash infusion from what I've heard and you can only keep the equipment running with chewing gum and bailing wire for so long.
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
March 15, 2006
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
Nogoodnik - you hit the proverbial nail on the head. The logging has been done indiscriminantly, with out concern for the community. I was given the same bull by JK himself, that they are developing these areas. They developed other areas and did not do whole sale logging. They are just milking the place of every last dollar that they can get out of it. Thus anyone who buys the place must be interested in investing in the Resort.
The sad part is the the HV Foundation Board's response to the community is, "The trees will grow back". And they are supposed to represent us?
nogoodnik
March 15, 2006
Member since 11/7/2005
49 posts
Snowsmith per the HV covenants, the developer controls 5 of the 9 seats on the Foundation board of directors with homeowners electing the other 4. The resort manager (Scanlan) is also the board president. Thus a board sanctioned protest or action against Kettler will not happen. There is a board meeting this Friday the 17th which could be somewhat entertaining.
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
March 22, 2006
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
I was not able to attend the Board meeting, but the Resort confirmed that it is still for sale. They also said they were finished logging ( I guess so- there no woods left to log) And they said they would keep developing property until the resort is sold. Thus they will still be milking the place without investing a dime back into the place.
We seem to have fallen back into a black hole of no news about the sale. Gizmosnow - are you there?
gizmosnow
March 22, 2006
Member since 10/6/2005
269 posts
Sure- you can entice me to give my 2 cents although the 'bits & pieces' of info i've heard recently are not all that valuable. (unfortunately, one of my most informative sources is no longer associated with hv).
However, i've heard that discussions with sunburst continue however at a much reduced sales price.
i've heard that the FL grp is also pursuing discussions and, if given the nodd, are prepared to close a deal quickly.
And, i've also heard rumor that the 'third runner up' has re-expressed an interest ( I believe that would be Ogdin Nutting, Pirates owner).
All parties, however, are discussing sales prices much below the original Sunburst bid which, i imagine, may be an 'issue' for the kettlers. However, if a deal does go thru (at a reduced price) it would be positive for the resort as the new owner would have additional capital resources for investment.
By the way, i've always heard that resort development has been and continues to be very profitable (making purchase of the resort at the right price attractive to a buyer). The problem is/has been (and i don't know if this is accurate) that because of debt/liens against hv even when kettlers close a profitable realestate deal they walk away from the table with little in hand (i.e., profits from the sale of properties go towards liens). Of course, this would mean that the kettlers would have to get a price high enough to cover debt/liens and would desire to have some left over to bank. I have been (mis)lead to believe that this can be achieved, even at the reduced sales prices currently under discussion -- which would make sense or they would probably just let it go to foreclosure. As for the concerns/rumors of possible sheriffs sale i'm thinking this is not likely -- even chapter 11 would likely be more viable!
I know there is not alot here (other than additional runmor and speculation) but if anyone can substantiate any of this the rest of us would sure be interested to know!

As a side note, for those who own property at hv (as i do), i still believe hv is undervalued and that additional appreciation in realestate values is probable.
What do others believe?? Hold or Sell?
RidelikeaRhino
March 22, 2006
Member since 01/31/2006
42 posts
Well, I'm not a property owner but I have been going to HV for many years. My children and I spent huge amounts of time on the slopes laughing and playing for hours. The children have grown and we (wife and I) get around more these days but the place is like an old sweater. It's comfortable and warm and every corner is full of memories. I remeber when the placed absolutely rocked. I believe the real estate thing is a product of blinders and a lack of imagination. The "ammenities", as they are refered to by folks with real estate blinders on, is the pie filling. I don't want a house. You can get those anywhere. I want fun, friends, and memories. The house is just something to cover my bones in the meantime. For example, My parents have owned a place on Lake Erie for years. They and I could give a poop about the house. The beach fires with friends, the community corn roasts, the adults against the kids softball extravaganza, warm nights on the boat, the late nights playing cards. Priceless doesn't even come close. Lets face it. You can by a house right now on RT 31 and get as much out of it as you can a place on the resort. So what is the point of owning in the resort? HV has some great features. My old aunt Tilly has more get up and go. Some (more than one) beginner terrain parks, with hardware and snow features, a paint job, some service, and for God sakes some fun (contests, a band, funny hat day) would go a long way. How about an outdoor (ice in the winter, inline is the summer) skating rink, mountain bike races, marithon hiking events, maybe a waterslide. Then you could fill a motel or sell a condo. If they have managed for whatever reason to get themselves in a positon that they are only making debt service then I feel sorry for them. but ... big but... you can sit an cry or get up off your dead arse and push. What I find so appauling is the preceived complete lack of effort. Would it take that much to set the clocks to the right time? So I gotta say. If you want a house buy at HV and go to the springs for some life. Oh hell buy down the hill it's cheaper. If you want an experience buy somewhere else. Me I'm thinking of going west. Sorry to rant. I guess it just hits a nerve sometimes.
nogoodnik
March 23, 2006
Member since 11/7/2005
49 posts
Scanlan did say at the recent Foundation Board meeting that talks are ongoing with the number 2 and 3 bidders from last fall. Personally I don't take anything he says at face value but your info seems to confirm that.

Long term I see HV property values definitely rising. There could be a temporary rough patch ahead if James Kettler continues to run the resort into the ground to the point where say the ski area closes. Then you could see selling from homeowners dependent on rental income. Even then people need to remember that HV will remain a very nice planned community in an excellent location within the beautiful Laurel Highlands. While Kettler has control over the Foundation Board, he can't touch the Foundation's money. That comes from homeowner assessments and is legally earmarked for the community and homeowner concerns. The Foundation does a very good job of maintaining the homeowner common areas and amenities under its control (like swimming pools, tennis courts etc)

Given the potential we have all discussed at length, it is just a matter of time before a new owner comes along and builds the resort back up. Speculate all you want on the timing and path that leads to a new owner (sale, bankruptcy etc). The point is it WILL happen and homeowners should benefit in the end. In the meantime, there will always be all kinds of things to enjoy year round in the Laurel Highlands using your HV home as a base and nothing the fool Kettler does can affect that at all.
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
March 23, 2006
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
Nogoodnik and Rhino - you are both correct. We have an undervalued resort that just needs some TLC to blossom. In the mean time, there is still plenty to offer in the Laurel Mnts and in the resort to give us some good memories.
Skihead
March 26, 2006
Member since 11/16/2005
30 posts
Yes, certainly undervalued.

Abe and Wags has their March newsletter out:
www.abeandwags.com

Significant things are:

- Homes in HV are going for half what they are in 7S
- Recent communication from 7S indicates the water park will be built this summer
- There is a link to the development plan submitted by the Buncher Group.
wolverine
March 30, 2006
Member since 08/26/2005
113 posts
The abe and wags newsletter says 1000 units are to be built after the current southwind project at 7S also in the beautiful highlands. I'd get out of HV and into one of the 1000 planned units (or existing units) at 7S where you don't have to worry about the future of skiing/ snowmaking (hv may turn out great and undervalued or there could be a firesale and closure of skiing).
hockeydave
April 1, 2006
Member since 06/30/2004
769 posts
I spoke to a family who owns a beautiful home on the slopes @ HV. They have been told nothing as to the sale or the future of HV.

Wolverine, I know you could care less about the future of HV & LM and I've pointed this out to you before, but if HV would not open next year or subsequent years and LM remains idle, have fun standing in your half hour lift lines at 7S, because all of that HV weekend skier traffic is heading in your direction.
wolverine
April 1, 2006
Member since 08/26/2005
113 posts
As you may remember, I have complained about poor lift ability on North face and seems they are actively going to put a high speed up there slots or no slots. My take is slots may mean opening of the West sooner than later.
RidelikeaRhino
April 3, 2006
Member since 01/31/2006
42 posts
So maybe I'm hopelessly out of touch... what are the plans for the western slopes. I haven't seen anything plastered up on walls so I was wondering.
nic223
April 5, 2006
Member since 02/21/2006
90 posts
Just wanted to let you guys know the latest rumor on the Mtn. is the Sports Club and Conference Center are going to be closing within the next few weeks. Know wonder HV property is undervalued. It is time for everyone to quit bitching about the management and step up and do something about what is happening or should I say what is not happening. We deserve answers on the future of the resort. Everyone needs to start showing up at the Association meetings and question these a**holes till we run out of breath. I am not blaming the association, that is the only way we can talk to management of the resort where they have no where to hide.
casey
April 5, 2006
Member since 11/21/2005
37 posts
I agree that we need answers, but the next meeting is not for a month. Why do you think they are closing? Maybe they have sold it or is that just wishful thinking.
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
April 5, 2006
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
It is closing because they don't want to spend a dime on these places. As they said at the last Board meeting, "they're finished logging (nothing left to log), they're not going to make improvements and they are going to continue to make money off selling real estate".They are scum bags. We need to run them out of town.
nogoodnik
April 5, 2006
Member since 11/7/2005
49 posts
I've heard that the sports club was closing but are you sure about the conference center?. The HV foundation website is showing a water company meeting scheduled for May 9th at 2:00pm at the conference center. Of course this could always be rescheduled to the ski lodge if they can find a room where the plaster is not falling off the walls.
rdytooski
April 5, 2006
Member since 11/16/2005
40 posts
I could not agree with your more about the spending money part that hasn't happened for 3-4 years now. Unless you count the 10 new flags they put up coming in the main entrance. Just like the new carpet promised by a certain party in the hotel lobby 2 years back at one of the Foundation meetings. The food contract with Boston is also expired or close to expiring so that would mean having to hire someone on thier payroll to run the Snowshoe. So only one more reason for them to close the doors. Still it would be hard to convince me to purchase property at a "4" Seasons resort were everything is closed.

Does anyone know who officially runs the Tennis/Golf is is the Foundation or HV Resort?

Need to find someone with 7S money willing to use thier pocket change for buying and refurbing HV
nic223
April 6, 2006
Member since 02/21/2006
90 posts
The resort runs the tennis and golf. I can't imagine closing golf. Who in their right mind would by property with no amenities.
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
April 6, 2006
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
Tennis is not run by the Resort. Someone leases (forget his name) the tennis facility. Are you kidding, Kettler and Co. running a tennis club? They couldn't run a snow ball stand. I am told that the golf course is going to shit also. I don't play so I couldn't tell you.
hockeydave
April 6, 2006
Member since 06/30/2004
769 posts
I interrupt this thread for an important announcement.. this is the 1st DCSki thread that will break the 10,000 view barrier and I am the proud father !!!!

And now, back to the thread.
gizmosnow
April 6, 2006
Member since 10/6/2005
269 posts
So, what exactly is a view? Is it the number of 'hits'? Whatever it is, 10,000 is alot! It just goes to show the incredible amount of interest there is in the future of hv. It just boggles the mind to think that there isn't someone out there who recognizes the true potential of hv and is willing to take the ball and run with it! (It also boggles the mind to think that the kettlers would allow an asset with such potential value to decline to the extent they have!)
nogoodnik
April 6, 2006
Member since 11/7/2005
49 posts
There probably are some buyers right now for HV. But seeing how Kettler operates, they may be patiently waiting for the resort go belly-up first and pay a lot less. The place is so run down already, maybe that's now the smart move.
nic223
April 7, 2006
Member since 02/21/2006
90 posts
The conference center is closing Monday. All calls are being taken by Mtn. Resort Properties, if you call 1-800-458-0175, they will answer. I have not heard when the Sports Club will be closing. The next chapter of the downfall is about to begin. What a bunch of a**holes.
Skihead
April 8, 2006
Member since 11/16/2005
30 posts
This has to be the beginning of a bigger decision that has been made. Possibilities are:
1. They really are stupid and think any money saved by shuttering the resort will not adversely affect their sales prospects.
2.They have reached a peliminary deal with a buyer and don't want to invest a dime more in anything.
3. Their liabilities are so high and offers so low that they are just going to let it go to foreclosure.

I just hope that whatever they are up to that they get on with it. Otherwise, it's just a matter of time before the same logic is applied to ski and golf. Will be intresting to see what happens when their next tax payment is due. Anyone know when that is?

With all that said, I still believe now is a good time to buy in HV for the right price, not sell. With Buncher investing significant $ to build next door, 7S planning such huge developments, slots in the neighborhood, etc, whether it is through auction or purchase, someone is going to buy from these fools, add some creativity to fix it up, and make a pile of $.
gizmosnow
April 9, 2006
Member since 10/6/2005
269 posts
nic223 (or anyone else), i'm curious if you know....are they closing down just the conference center(i.e., the front desk)or, the entire 'hotel' operation including the resort-owned efficiency units behind the conference center that hv rents out as hotel rooms (i.e., is mntn resort properties just taking their reservations for them?). I find this interesting, as well as sad, in that just a couple years ago hv bought-back about 85 of those efficiency units which, at one point, were mostly privately owned. At that point it seemed as if hv had a clear plan to expand their hotel/resort operation -- maybe even eventually acquire all the units to knock down and build a multi-story hotel (although, in my opinion, a hotel adjacent to the ski lodge is an ideal location). It is sad to see how just two short years of mismanagement can result in such a negative turn of events as compared to the growth of 7 Springs and the commitment of the buncher group.... nic 223-- do you have anymore insight on this turn of events?
casey
April 9, 2006
Member since 11/21/2005
37 posts
There was a big ad in the Pittsburgh pg today about HV golf including packages etc. I called the golf course. They answered and said they were opened. I have also thought that the smart money is waiting for foreclosure. But I agree that with all the developement in the area, Hidden Valley has no where to go but up. Smart investors realize the potential, but also want the best price and right now I think the ball is in there court, not the Kettlers.
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
April 10, 2006
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
The Resort owned about $70 or $80k in condo fees to the Foundation for the Seasons units that they own. As far as I know this has not been paid. I have heard nothing about the sale except what Scanlan alluded to at the recent Board meeting. For the buyer, they may need a substantial investment since the facilies have not been maintained. I agree that a hotel should be built near the ski lodge overlooking the lake.
nogoodnik
April 10, 2006
Member since 11/7/2005
49 posts
It is my understanding that liens have been filed with the Somerset County Recorder of Deeds on each property owing the HV Foundation their share of Four Seasons condo fees. The idea is to (hopefully) get paid when each property changes hands so that the buyer gets clear title.

When the Conference Center closes, the Snowshoe will close along with it making HV essentially a foodless resort. Now there's an inducement to attract guests!
hockeydave
April 10, 2006
Member since 06/30/2004
769 posts
Before I go any further, I just want to say that I really, truly do hope the mess @ Hidden Valley gets settled for all involved... homeowners and skiers alike.

But based on the happenings at HV and not to mention LM, I'm beginning to wonder aloud whether there is enough of a consumer base in Western PA to support 2, let alone 3 ski resorts (and I'm not even counting Blue Knob). If there was such a demand, I have no doubts that a smart investor would step up to the plate to swallow up HV and/or LM, both of which could probably be had for a bargain. (I also agree that waiting for HV to be foreclosed or go to auction may even be smarter for an investor).

If you talk to long time skiers and those people in management @ 7S, skier traffic over the past several years has been trending downward. Could be for many reasons, but I'll list a few here:
1) Population loss in Western PA over the past 25 years and a less than stellar economy resulting in not as much disposable income for those with jobs here.
2) Easier and cheaper access to resorts out West.
3) Whitetail opening making day or weekend trippers from Wash/Balt less likely.
4) Lack of snow at lower elevations over the past 10 years (if there is no snow here at low elevation, there can't be good/any snow up there either... I know web access should dispel those things, but you'd be surprised how people will find other stuff to do if there is no snow on the ground at their domicile.)

I don't think 7S would risk losing business from families who don't want to be around a gaming facility if their business was booming. Ergo, their business mustn't be booming (although sales of new real estate are).

In closing, I hope HV gets fixed and soon. Someone with some relatively deep pockets can fix that mess fairly quickly. I want to believe Western PA can support 3 resorts, but my belief that it can is waning.
snosnugums
April 10, 2006
Member since 04/10/2006
126 posts
I have skied there and there seemed to be enough skiers there to pay the bills. Of course that was on a weekend. I think midweek is a problem for ski areas like Hidden Valley. Since it's only an hour to Pittsburg, they need to attract night skiers. There are 4 major metro areas they can draw from: Pittsburg, Cleveland, Baltimore and DC. That's alot of people. You just need some marketing strategy. A ski/golf resort without a restuarant is not a good strategy.
GaryEsq
April 11, 2006
Member since 12/20/2005
54 posts
Quote:

I have skied there and there seemed to be enough skiers there to pay the bills. Of course that was on a weekend. I think midweek is a problem for ski areas like Hidden Valley. Since it's only an hour to Pittsburg, they need to attract night skiers. There are 4 major metro areas they can draw from: Pittsburg, Cleveland, Baltimore and DC. That's alot of people. You just need some marketing strategy. A ski/golf resort without a restuarant is not a good strategy.




Good point about Pittsburgh night skiing, I know from experience, a major problem is the terrible state of traffic on the parkway east...Unless you can leave before 4pm, the traffic prob makes an hour and 10 min trip to the mountain, more like 2 - 2 and 1/2 hrs.
himihon
April 11, 2006
Member since 12/28/2004
20 posts
It takes me 1 hour and 20 minutes leaving from the South Side of PIttsburgh at 530 in the evening to get to Seven Springs. By 7pm I am on the slopes for 3 hours of skiing. Defiantly get a good amount of skiing in, I don't know about it being worth the 28 dollars they charge for night skiing though.
jb714
April 11, 2006
Member since 03/4/2003
294 posts
Quote:

Population loss in Western PA over the past 25 years and a less than stellar economy resulting in not as much disposable income for those with jobs here.
2) Easier and cheaper access to resorts out West.
3) Whitetail opening making day or weekend trippers from Wash/Balt less likely.
4) Lack of snow at lower elevations over the past 10 years (if there is no snow here at low elevation, there can't be good/any snow up there either




These are all very valid points Dave.

However, my opinion is that there is sufficient demand to support 2 (although perhaps not 3) local ski-resorts. I think that for HV to compete successfully with 7 Springs, they need to do one of the following:

- portray themselves as a less expensive and less-crowded (and offering fewer amenities) alternative to 7 Springs.

- or, find an owner who is able and willing to spend enough money so that HV can make a legitmate effort at competing on something approaching an equal footing with 7 Springs (I'm very skeptical of this happening). THis would mean additional terrain, and the snowmaking so that they could actually open the terrain; and it would mean additional lifts as well.

When I was growing up (in the late 70's), my buddies and I skied HV probably 80% of the time, primarily because the tickets were less $, and also because it was much less crowded. In Jan '05 I skied HV one day (for the first time since the early 80's) - the lift tickets were $1 or $2 more than 7 Springs, and the place just reeked of poor management, deferred maintenance, etc.

I actually think that LM may be better positioned to be seen as offering a viable alternative to 7 Springs. LM has a throwback/retro/serious-skiers-only feel to it ("the only mountain with a soul" as Heather so aptly describes it). If the Dupres (or someone else) can work a deal that includes expanded snowmaking, and perhaps some type of low-key lodging, I think the place can make a go of it.
nic223
April 11, 2006
Member since 02/21/2006
90 posts
Gizmo I am not sure of the arrangement of the hotel rooms with Mtn. Resort Properties. I would assume that the will be handling reservations and so on. Also I am curious to who will be handling any of the weddings that may be booked for the summer. I have not heard whether the Snowshoe Lounge will be closing with the conference center. I know the contract with Boston Concessions expires at the end of the month. What I don't know is if has a self renewing clause, or if Boston is willing to stay. Would you?
RidelikeaRhino
April 11, 2006
Member since 01/31/2006
42 posts
I'm thinking the song you hear is the fat lady. From all that I have read here there seems to be some intention working. Group sales were stopped, The ski school was absorbed, conference sales people we let go last year, food service contract is ending, ... so consolidation, reduced liabilities... these folks are pulling out guys with or without a sale.
snosnugums
April 11, 2006
Member since 04/10/2006
126 posts
Rhino -your missing the boat here. The Kettlers are trying to milk every last dime out of the place while still trying to sell the place. I hear they are planning to build 54 condos adjacent to the Summit complex. And they just finished the Westridge townhouses and logged every undeveloped wooded area left in the resort. Thus they have no incentive to accept a low price as long as they can keep getting revenue from real estate sales. And since they are not investing a dime back in the resort, what ever real estate they sell, it's all cream off the top. They are essentially screwing the HV community and no body is doing squat about it.
gizmosnow
April 11, 2006
Member since 10/6/2005
269 posts
Yes, you are correct about the development plans BUT...speaking with the northwood realty folks, i'm told sales (new and existing units), which had been brisk under the 'sunburst sale rumors', have come to a screeching halt. Few will buy under existing conditions. And, as for intentionally allowing the resort to decline and 'pulling out with or without a sale', that just doesn't make good business sense UNLESS, that is, you owe more in debt/liens than your highest offer price - in which case you might consider bankrupcy or just 'walking away' and permitting foreclosure. Even so, kettlers can only 'walk-away' if their other holdings and personal assets are well protected from debtors/lienholders on hv. Don't know about that one just that it is common for banks to attach personal assets to commercial loans whenever possible.
GGNagy
April 12, 2006
Member since 01/5/2006
426 posts
In the late 80's, didn't HV have 4 and 8 hour tickets, when 7 springs only had the day (til 7pm) and night ticket? Thoe only other thing I recall about the time was boyce was less than half the cost of the other places and alot quicker to get to. Yeah, I said Boyce.
RidelikeaRhino
April 12, 2006
Member since 01/31/2006
42 posts
Well, It just seems to me that they have layed the ground work for a tidy exit from operations. There is almost no sales staff, all of the independant business units have been purchased or the contract has expired, there is no active marketing... even for the real estate. If you were going to close down an operation over a period of time these are all of the things you would do. Including taking whatever revenue was left before the big door swing. For all intent, third party interests have been excluded by stake holders in key positions. Foreclosure would make a tidy exit with a legal blanket against suits. It seems to me the only thing left is a quick sweep around the room to see if anything might have been missed.


Ask the folks at Center Ski what they think about what's going on at Boyce. You can sign the petition. I'm hoping Laurel has some promise. I'm don't have a problem with 7S slot license per se but I am a little apprehensive about the impact. Where the H** did I put that crystal ball? I've been around casinos and I'm having trouble reconciling the picture with the whole ski thing... New movie .. Chevy Chase at 7 springs...
casey
April 12, 2006
Member since 11/21/2005
37 posts
snosnugums-What do you think the homeownwers at HV should do about the situation?
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
April 12, 2006
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
I don't know about Snosnugums, but here is what I would do:

1) I think we need to band together and meet with our County Commissioners. Explain that the current owner has run the resort into the ground. they are still selling real estate and not investing money back into the resort. They are not paying their taxes on time and have logged large areas of the resort with out regard for the property owners. We want the County folks to hold up or delay approval of any new development at the Resort until Kettler comes up with a financial plan for turning the resort around.
2) Contact Governer's office with the same complaint.
3) Get the HV Board to actually take some legal action against Kettler Bros. due to gross mismanagement.
4) Put pressure on the County to get them to pay their tax bills.
5) Encourage Kettler (as outlined above ) to accept an offer that they don't consider ideal for the sale of the Resort. We need to get these folks out of here.
Look, the chair lifts are not being maintained, so I assume that none of the snowmaking equipment is maintained. It's probably held together with spit and bailing wire. Basically, they haven't even bought a can of paint to spruce up the lodge or conference center. Yet they are still selling houses.
Where is this money going. They also owe in the neighborhookd of $80k in fees for the Season condos that they own.
wolverine
April 12, 2006
Member since 08/26/2005
113 posts
From today's HV website:

http://www.hiddenvalleyresort.com/Real-Estate-Pennsylvania-Pines.htm

"Hidden Valley New Homes for Sale! Three Projects are Currently Under Construction - You Can Be a Homeowner at Pennsylvania's Top-rated Mountain Resort and Enjoy Our Fun Year-round.

Phase 3 of construction has begun! Phase 1 and 2 are sold out. Buy now while interest rates are low - our homes offer great value and all the exciting amenities of Hidden Valley Four Seasons Resort."

..............HV sounds like the place to be and invest!!
nic223
April 13, 2006
Member since 02/21/2006
90 posts
Phrase 3 of the pines is already completed. There is only one unit available for sale. Just goes to show you how great the marketing efforts are on their part.
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
April 13, 2006
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
The web site is maintained as well as the physical facilities are. In fact the web site looks like a high school computer project.
casey
April 13, 2006
Member since 11/21/2005
37 posts
I think instead of constantly complaining, maybe we should follow snowsmiths suggestion. Does anyone else have any suggestions? Perhaps a meeting with the Kettler org. At the very least we should know what their plans are.
nogoodnik
April 13, 2006
Member since 11/7/2005
49 posts
Here's my suggestion to speed up the process of getting rid of Kettler. Stop patronizing Hidden Valley while he owns it! I know a lot of people will not like that idea. It will be inconvenient for homeowners to golf or ski elsewhere. If skiing shuts down, there are a lot of good folks associated with the ski school who could be hurt. If all amenities get shut down, property values could even take a temporary dip despite the proximity to 7S and the slots. So is the cure worse than the disease? Everyone can decide that for themselves.

If Kettler keeps getting golf & ski money to play with while he waits for a buyer to overpay for the resort, you'll see the resort in a perpetual state of decay while he continues to put every dime into more homes.

Cut off the flow of funds and he is forced to consider selling out at a lower price or let the resort go to bankruptcy (where potential buyers await a bargain). Either way the Kettler cancer finally ends and HV gets off to a long awaited and much deserved fresh start.
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
April 14, 2006
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
Casey - a meeting with Kettler or his personal Rasputin (Scanlon) would do absolutely no good. I spoke with Jim Kettler about the logging and he said they were doing becuase they were going to develop the area. What BS!!!
These guys either don't care or don't have a clue. I haven't yet figured out what. We need to get tough with these guys and put some presure on them or it's going to be status quo. It absolutely amazes me that they can't even put a coat of paint on the chair lifts or the lodge. These are (were) nice facilities that they are letting fall apart! Gross mismanagement!
rdytooski
April 14, 2006
Member since 11/16/2005
40 posts
Unfortunately I think there plans are all well to know. Take HV for every penny its worth, and try to sell it for top dollar.

Again find me someone that would purchase a $200k townhouse it a resort with no restaurant.
They even seem unable to run Roo's and Dundee's correctly as far a service. Not once have I had a good experience there as far as service goes. The food has been ok but the service nothing but horrendous.
Rich
April 14, 2006
Member since 11/30/2000
194 posts
...and being so pro-Snowshoe - I'm the bad one !?!?!?!?!?

At least Intrawest drops 1 million quicker then they drop a dime !
wolverine
April 14, 2006
Member since 08/26/2005
113 posts
You don't even need Intrawest.....Wisp and 7S seem to be able to draw $$$$$ and spending $$$$$ on the resort without big name management!
casey
April 14, 2006
Member since 11/21/2005
37 posts
Well snowsmith, how do we go about organizing something?
gizmosnow
April 15, 2006
Member since 10/6/2005
269 posts
so, here's the thing....
the homeowners board is controlled by the kettlers, via scanlon. Taking a stand at a homeowners mtg. probably gets you nowhere. (Was even reported herein that one of our fine and trusted homeowner board members was in cahoots with scanlon to flip properties). So, using the homeowners association to initiate constructive discussion regarding homeowner involvment in future of hv is probably not viable.

There is, however, a homeowners Steering Committee that is totally seperate from the association. I went to a meeting of the steering committee this past fall and there was a good turnout. However, the 'elected' officials of the steering committee were far more interested in planning recreational events than in becoming 'pro-active' on the impending sale of the resort. It is a shame because this is the ideal vehicle for mobilizing homeowner action but I think the current 'leadership' of the steering commiittee is lame in this regard. I don't know how many homeowners it would take for a 'coup' and I don't know if there is widespread interest and committment for such.
Several weeks ago, my wife 'drug' me to a saturday coffee gathering (because we had run out of our own coffee) and there were several, but not many, homeowners there dicussing the current state of affairs. Several were year-round residents. I was amazed at how complacent most were I was told that there are about 350 year-round families at hv and i can't understand how it is that they are not more aggressive at rallying the troops. For those of us who are just 'weekenders' it is more difficult, logistically, to lead the battle!
nogoodnik
April 15, 2006
Member since 11/7/2005
49 posts
Forgive me but I'm going to play devil's advocate re homeowners fighting Kettler.

1) As far as I can tell, Kettler has broken no laws.
2) Property rights are not to be messed with lightly in Somerset County.
3) All HV homeowners have seen the value of their homes increase substantially in the last 2 years. (Partly at the prospect of getting rid of Kettler, but the point is homeowners have not suffered any economic loss.)
4) Kettler is on record as actively trying to sell HV.
5) Any property owner in PA can perpetually stay in arrears on property taxes for the most recent 2 years as long as they pay the tax and penalties on anything older.
6) HV hotel taxes going forward are going to be negligible at best since the idiot mgmt has reduced the resort to nothing more than an ill maintained ski area and golf amongst the logged trees.

So given all of the above, what exactly do you think county commissioners, county tax authorities, the governor (there aren't enough votes in all of Somerset County to get his attention in an election year) or any other official is going to do to Kettler? Anyone up for a lawsuit? Great...on what basis?...at what cost?...to drag on for how long? Think Kettler will listen to some homeowner plea? It's totally obvious he could care less. Think the HV board can do anything? Kettler has the board stacked 5 to 4.

As far as I'm concerned, Kettler is vulnerable in only one area, his wallet. Everything he's done to date reeks of financial weakness. Homeowners comprise his largest customer base. They have the power to be rid of him if they could just bring themselves to golf and ski elsewhere. Given how far gone the resort is already, it would probably take 1 season or less before he would be forced to accept a realistic offer or just walk away from his debt.
gizmosnow
April 16, 2006
Member since 10/6/2005
269 posts
You are absolutely correct and I agree with you entirely!!
However, I think, with some leadership, there is the opportunity for homeowners to be more proactive and better prepared for certain improbable events. For example, foreclosure and sherifs sale: There are enough (approx 1200??) homeowners where we ought to be able to pool enough resources to make a credible bid on the golf course,for example, in the unlikely event that opportunity presented itself. The chance of this situation arrising may be small but, if homeowners aren't organized and prepared for it in advance they'll just be watching from the sidelines!
nogoodnik
April 16, 2006
Member since 11/7/2005
49 posts
gizmo: It isn't the golf course we should be worring about. The priority should be the water company! The resort, water co and Kettlers real estate arm are all separate limited partnerships owned by a common general partner which is another Kettler corp registered in PA. (I have the names but not handy at the moment.) Anyhow the point is that if Kettler should take the water co into bankruptcy along with the resort, what happens? Is there a PUC fund that keeps the water co operating or do HV residents have to cough up money? With the rate increase granted last summer, the water co should be self sustaining and thankfully, they finally seem to be complying with PUC reporting requirements established last summer. But any contingency planning has got to address that issue.
casey
April 16, 2006
Member since 11/21/2005
37 posts
I find it hard to believe that with all the developement in the area; fern mtn, bucher group, donegal hglnds, and with the infrastructure in place, that HV isn't worth something. The ski and golf area make it unique among the other dev. Does anyone know if anybody is actively interested in purchasing HV. And why did Sunburst back out
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
April 16, 2006
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
Nogoodnik -change your name to Yesgoodnik! $$$ is the only control we have at this point. The Board has been useless and there is basically no leadership on this issue. But we have to make it finacially difficult for Kettler to sustain the status quo. No one should buy a 2006/2007 season pass, don't patronize the golf course or restuarants (if there are any). But we have to mess with the real estate development. Call the Pittsburgh paper to get them to do an artical on the demise of HV...bad publicity for real estate sales. I have been bending Kurt Swauger's (Johnstown Trib/Dem Newspaper) ear and I finally convinced him to do an article on the logging. We need to make it difficult for them to sell any more real estate. It may hurt some of us who own real estate in the short run, but if we get an owner who is willing to invest in the resort, we will all benefit in the long run. Here is my plan:
1) contact Pittsburgh, Somerset and Johnstown papers to do an artical on the demise of the resort
2) I still think we should at least try contacting the County commissioners and the Governer's office. You never know what might happen. At least Kettler will hear about it and it may make them think about their strategy for selling the resort
3) Contact the Steering committee to see if we can get some support for taking action. Get the e-mail adresses of all HV residents and send out e-mails to them to let them know we are ready to kick some Kettler ass (sorry, I had to say that one)
4) We form something like the "Hidden Valley Action Committee" and let folks at HV know who we are and what we are trying to do.

It's not much of a plan, but there aren't many options as Nogoonik pointed out. If all of you are HV residents, perhaps we should get together one evening (Snowshoe Lounge still open?) to have a stategy session. Please PM me if you agree. Any other suggestions would be appreciated.
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
April 16, 2006
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
I wanted to add something...wouldn't is seem like the Bucher Group's new development would benefit dramatically if they had a ski area and gold course attached to it.I know this is a long shot, but why don't we e-mail Buncher at let him know about our feelings and suggest he take a look. I know this is a long shot, but what the hell.

And Nogoodniks comment about our real estate values increasing is only half correct. Look at 7Springs! Values of houses there are twice what they are at Hidden Valley.
wolverine
April 17, 2006
Member since 08/26/2005
113 posts
You may want the newspapers to report on all of the Highland resorts HV, 7S, LM, +/- Wisp.

May get more interest?
nogoodnik
April 17, 2006
Member since 11/7/2005
49 posts
Snowsmith I just posted a message on the HV Foundation message board about the idea of not patronizing the resort. The topic is "Speed up getting a new owner" I'd like to invite you and all the other HV homeowners on DC Ski to start paralleling our discussion over at the HV board. If anyone doesn't have their id & password, call the Foundation office. That board has been little used so far but could be an excellent vehicle to start getting the attention of other homeowners. Please anyone post there ideas over on the HV board to hopefully get folks there thinking about what is possible. It would be nice to get Steering Committee and Foundation Board members checking out the messages as well. Unfortunately, non homeowners can't get in that section of the Foundation web site to lurk.

I'm not sure we need another committee. I'd rather participate in the Steering Committee since it is established and people know it. Although I agree with gizmosnow that it has been rather ineffective thus far. I think the key is just to get homeowners involved in a discussion. If any ideas are good, they should sell themselves.
shawnwalt
April 17, 2006
Member since 04/17/2006
2 posts
Does anyone know how much Kettler was asking for the resort in the negotiations with Sunburst or any of the other parties??
JCHobbes
April 18, 2006
Member since 09/12/2005
94 posts
I seem to remember the rather arbitrary number of $36 million being tossed around.

Of course, that might have been Laurel Mountain.

You know, if someone around here were to win the Powerball, they could scoop up both resorts real easy and build an empire.
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
April 18, 2006
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
Other than Nogoodnik and I, there are no other messages posted on the HV Foundation website forum. Thus I assume the rest of you are too chicken to express your opinion.
rdytooski
April 19, 2006
Member since 11/16/2005
40 posts
I was doing a little digging during a spare moment at work and came across this article about the kettler builders screwing up another of the properties

http://www.gazette.net/stories/090705/gaitnew204446_31894.shtml
nogoodnik
April 19, 2006
Member since 11/7/2005
49 posts
I did a quick web search and found that the golf course develomnent in Montgomery Village was called off.

Speaking of Montgomery Village, that was a huge successful planned community built by Clarence Kettler and his brothers back in days of yore. I was loaned a book about its history just last week. It was actually the model in many ways for HV, including the structure of the HV Foundation. In Montgomery village, the developers built up amenities, planted trees, took great care in the design of community subdivisions and basically did things right across the board. Clarence did a lot of good things at HV especially the design of the subdivisions of homes. Unfortunately once Clarence's son James got control of HV, the contrasts couldn't be more vivid.
The Colonel - DCSki Supporter
April 19, 2006
Member since 03/5/2004
3,061 posts
Sometimes good triumphs over evil....as in the article cited by nogoodnik in the 11:45 post just above this one. Every HV homeowner should read this and the previous article, and then think whether letting the owners of HV do whatever they want without a fight is a good idea! Destroying the golf course at Leisure World would have violated the rights of all the thousands that live, lived or will live there. It is hard to believe that any firm, except for one that on longer plans to do any business in the mid-Atlantic area, would stoop so low.
The Colonel
Skihead
April 20, 2006
Member since 11/16/2005
30 posts
There was a link to this on the 7S Slots thread, but thought would be good to include here for all intrested parties to see.

Hidden Valley still on the market


By MICHELLE GANASSI
Daily American Staff Writer
Thursday, April 20, 2006 1:11 AM EDT


A simple news release from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board turned heads Wednesday when it stated that Hidden Valley Four Seasons Resort had a new owner.

The gaming board released a press release saying a venue for a slots hearing was changed because of a ownership change at the resort - a statement Hidden Valley officials said is far from the truth.


"That's absolutely not correct," resort spokesman Keith James said. "There has been no change of ownership of Hidden Valley; no transaction has been completed. As of today, not true at all."

Nick Hays, gaming board spokesman, said weeks before the hearing scheduled for May 3, the board tried to contact Hidden Valley officials to confirm plans. When board representatives spoke with Hidden Valley staff, they were told the person handling the event was no longer working at the Hidden Valley and the resort could not accommodate the hearing, Hays said.

"We were told this is because of a change in ownership," he said. "That is the information we were given."

James, who did not comment about the specific event, said Hidden Valley is honoring all booked events.

"Hidden Valley continues to honor any meetings, weddings and functions that are on the books," he said. "If someone has a function booked here and plans change, they can cancel."

Hidden Valley officials started accepting bids for the resort last fall. Since the bid deadline ended on Sept. 30, owners have been in negotiations to sell the resort. James said the resort will be sold after the negotiations are completed - however long the process may take.

The names of interested buyers have not been released.

//
Yes, not to worry about a thing if you have a wedding planned at HV. Pay no attentiion to the fact that the gaming board meeting had to be changed to the Quality Inn.
snosnugums
April 20, 2006
Member since 04/10/2006
126 posts
Ah, if it were only true! "The lunk heads have moved on" should be the title of the DCSKI thread when the events actually happen.
I predict the new owner will be the Buncher Group.
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
April 21, 2006
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
Keith James is the Scott McLelland of Hidden Valley. What ever they tell him, he repeats like a trained parrot.
Skihead
April 28, 2006
Member since 11/16/2005
30 posts
I happened to be by one of the taverns local to HV and heard that the staff to maintain the ski lifts and slopes, which used to be 14 people, has now been reduced to just one. Any truth to this? If so sounds like no skiing next year unless there is a sale.
Ullr
April 28, 2006
Member since 11/27/2004
531 posts
I am just curious, with all this up in the air right now, are you seeing and increase in homes going on the market at HV? If so, have you seen a decrease in the value of these homes?
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
April 28, 2006
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
If you check Realtor.com there are many more listing then there were when the sale was thought to be happening. I guess the sales are not happening. Everyone is afraid to buy with the idiots that are running the place now.
gizmosnow
April 30, 2006
Member since 10/6/2005
269 posts
So, i've heard that boston catering may be willing to step up to the plate in the interim---they are considering opening the clocktower restaurant/bar and/or expanding service with entertainment at mulligans. i guess with the conference center closing they are moving their offices/operations to the ski lodge to support weddings booked for this season.
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
May 1, 2006
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
I have asked about the layoff of the ski area maintenance personnel and the fact that the HV website has nothing about 2006/2007 rates and the Resort's response was...lift passes will be available in August.
Thus I guess we won't see any paint covering the rust on the chair lifts and lift towers; the lift buidlings will continue to fall apart and the ski lodge will continue to deteriorate.
On another note, I spoke with someone who is somewhat familiar with the sale progress and they said one reason that the sale was being held up was that HV management was not providing the information that they requested to complete the sale. The group from Florida is still interested and Buncher may now be interested.
gizmosnow
May 1, 2006
Member since 10/6/2005
269 posts
That's interesting because I did hear, from someone who has good insight into the situation, that there is a 4th interested party pursuing discussions with kettlers re: acquisition of hv. Perhaps that is buncher who, by the way, i heard or read somewhere had acquired another parcel of property across rte 31 -- not quite sure exactly where but in the vicinity of hv and bunchers existing property. buncher is apparently prepared to invest in the development of the area.
At least it appears there is some reason to be optimistic that hv will sell to someone -- let's just hope it is in time to rescue next ski season.
nogoodnik
May 1, 2006
Member since 11/7/2005
49 posts
That other parcel of property across rt 31 sounds like the land for the Bakersville fire hall Buncher will be building.
Skihead
May 2, 2006
Member since 11/16/2005
30 posts
Yes, they have a sign up where the new fire house is going which Buncher had purchased and donated. Its's just beyond the Co Go's on the Barkesville turn off from 31, so it would be on that side.

On another topic, in my travels I ran into someone in the timbering business who claimed to have lost the bid for the job at HV. The intresting thing was that he said the terms of the deal were for maximum extraction with no clean up. Apparently there are various different services in the timbering trade and the net to the landowner will vary depending on how slective the cut is and to what condition you leave the mess that was made. Apparently the only concern the Kettler's had was to exract the maximum cash value.
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
May 3, 2006
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
This is how they treat the people who spent their life savings to buy real estate from Kettler Bros. and who have spent their hard earned cash skiing and eating at the resort facilities. Pretty disgraceful in my book.
casey
May 7, 2006
Member since 11/21/2005
37 posts
We were at HV this weekend. They are closing the snowshoe lounge. The employees were told to make a schedule on Wednesday and then on Friday were told that they are closing. I was told that Boston Cul wanted to open Dundees and were told no by Hidden Valley They are operating out of the clock tower to honor weddings. It seems to me that a sale is imminent and that the Kettlers are not willing to invest one more dime in it. As far as making it financially difficult for the Kettlers to keep the status quo, I think that they have done that to themselves. Anyone have any thoughts on this or heard anything?
nogoodnik
May 7, 2006
Member since 11/7/2005
49 posts
Yes the Snowshoe is history. There is a notice at the HV post office about a Mothers Day dinner at the Clock Tower. Mulligans at the golf course is the only thing I've heard will be open for any food service on a regular basis. I've also heard from a few people that some electric boxes have been removed from the ski slopes. Why I'm not sure, but it's no secret that HV resort had a $750K lien filed against it by the electric co. last August.
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
May 7, 2006
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
From the Johnstown Tribune Democrat:

BAKERSVILLE - As uncertainty swirls around its ongoing sale, Hidden Valley has stopped booking conferences and meetings indefinitely.

But the resort will honor any previously scheduled activities at the conference center, a spokesman said.

"The conference business and meeting business isn't what it used to be," Hidden Valley spokesman Keith James said.

"This is no different than what Hidden Valley has done for years - constantly adjusting its business."

The conference center's closing leaves a void in Somerset County, said Ron Aldom, director of the Chamber of Commerce.

"It's definitely not a good thing," Aldom said. "We've had calls to the office already about it.

"We don't have an abundance of conference space available in the county. Hidden Valley was a destination."

James confirmed Dundee's Restaurant has been closed since the end of ski season, while homeowners and employees say the health spa is scheduled to shut its doors May 18.

James stressed the closures are temporary, and the amenities are expected to reopen as ski season approaches.

"There are many elements to the businesses at Hidden Valley, and Hidden Valley has lots of seasonal variances," James said. "We open and close those elements all the time, and have done so for years and years and years."

Hidden Valley's owners, the Kettler family of suburban Washington, D.C., said last year they want to sell the resort, and received six bids for the property at the end of September.

Sources have said Hidden Valley began negotiating with Sunburst Hospitality of Silver Spring, Md., but those discussions stalled and their status remains unclear.

Resort officials have declined to reveal the names of those interested in buying Hidden Valley.

Where the resort now stands with the sale is uncertain.

"I haven't heard much about it lately," James said.

Greg Baker, executive director of the Hidden Valley homeowners' foundation, said his association has no control over what is happening at the bottom of the hill by the main lodge, conference center and health spa.

"There's nothing I can do to change the conditions that are going on," he said. "My main focus is the day-to-day operations of the foundation."

Baker said the foundation had brief discussions with the resort's owners about taking over operations of the health spa, but "that would be too much of an overhead for us."

Aldom said the uncertainty surrounding the resort is troublesome for tourism officials.

"It's tough," he said. "We don't know what's happening."


"...years and years and years". What a bunch of BS. Disgraceful.
nogoodnik
May 8, 2006
Member since 11/7/2005
49 posts
>"The conference business and meeting business isn't what it used to be," Hidden Valley spokesman Keith James said.

With 2nd rate conference facilities, poor food service and a run down resort over the last several years, gee what a surprise the conference and meeting business has tailed off! If there was a Darwin award for resort management, HV would have it locked up.
casey
May 8, 2006
Member since 11/21/2005
37 posts
I think everyone that loves hv feels the same frustration. I think HV itself has taken care of the plan to not financially support it since there is nothing left to spend money on. I think the negative rumors have crushed there real-estate sales. so maybe we should take a more positive route. Like forming a group of homeowners for the preservation of HV. Showing a new owner that we are ready willing and able to work with a new owner to make HV what it once was. Get some positive publicity so perspective owners see that we are excited about new ownership and want to work with them. Perhaps even try to court new owners.Any thoughts?
RidelikeaRhino
May 15, 2006
Member since 01/31/2006
42 posts
FYI,

May 12-18th issue of Pittsburgh Business Time featured an article on Buncher's plans for development. Apparently the biggest residential subdivison in Somerset. Largest of it's kind in SW PA. The first residential for Buncher. Supposed to rival Nevillewood, and Seven Fields. Still not close to Treesdale. 270 single family units, 50 town haouses, 70 golf cabins, and the golf course. As reported earlier the trick is the sewer line. 4 Miles of new pipe must be laid large enough to support future plans etc.
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
May 15, 2006
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
Isn't it amazing that Buncher can build a firehouse and a 4 mile long sewer line, while the management at HV can drive to Dougherty's Hardware and buy a can of paint to paint the ski lodge. The latest news has the power company filing an $800,000 lien against HV for non-payment of their electric bill. With the restuarants closed, the conference center closed, the sports center closed, how will they generate income to pay the bills. What a stellar business plan?
hockeydave
May 16, 2006
Member since 06/30/2004
769 posts
Hate to be a wet blanket, but if these places were making money, they wouldn't be closing. On the flip side, the most likely reason they're not making money is because of a lack of upkeep.

"In order to make money, one needs to spend money."

The Kettlers need to sell, preferably very quickly. I'm just hoping their is a taker willing to spend some $$$ to turn HV into what it once was.
nogoodnik
May 20, 2006
Member since 11/7/2005
49 posts
Hidden Valley residents voice concerns

By TIFFANY WRIGHT
Daily American Staff Writer
Saturday, May 20, 2006 12:58 AM EDT

HIDDEN VALLEY - The South Ridge Community Center was crowded with a roomful of homeowners and Hidden Valley Foundation, Inc. board members Friday night.

Many of the homeowners who attended the meeting had questions and concerns for the board of directors during the 30-minute residents' time.

One major concern homeowners had was with regards to recent logging that occurred near the residents' housing.

Mauvaleen Jones, a homeowner, said when the Hidden Valley Four Season Resort hired the loggers, they came too close to homes and made the area look "shabby."

"They cleared a lot of the trees and woodlands and that devastated a lot of the area," Jones said. "The logging was on resort property, but it affected many of the homeowners."

Jones, along with other homeowners who attended the meeting, claimed the logging was a result of the resort's decision and did not even ask residents their opinions.

"A lot of people don't like it and wouldn't allow the logging," Jones said.

She said she thinks the resort cleared the area mainly because of the money to be made in the timber industry.

John Scanlan, president of Hidden Valley and Hidden Valley Foundation, said he expected homeowners would have concerns.

"People are sensitive if you destroy the environment," he said. "They have a very emotional reaction to it."

"The focus is on real estate, water sewage and the ski resort," he said. "It's a good business to be in."

Scanlan said the Hidden Valley Foundation is a real estate business, and the homeowners are their customers.

"That's the only way we are going to move Hidden Valley forward," he said.

The board said Hidden Valley Four Seasons did have to shut down certain parts of the real estate.

While this was another concern for homeowners, Scanlan said he did not think the lack of facilities open at the resort should even be a concern to the Homeowners Foundation. "That doesn't affect the homeowners at all," he said.

Pete Bowman, a homeowner, was concerned with maintenance to resident property. With some of the facilities closed at the Hidden Valley resort, Bowman said he was worried the resort would not keep the grass cut. He said this would potentially be dangerous if rats and pests would scavenge to residents homes.

The board assured that would not be a problem and the resort was planning on keeping up on the maintenance of the property.

Jones said she thinks closed facilities at the resort may have some affects on homeowners, but could also improve many of their services and facilities.

Scanlan said he was meeting with the owner of Hidden Valley Four Season Resort today in Florida to discuss the ski resort business. He said it is a managers meeting to discuss the mountain resort property and how it is moving along.

"We have two major projects in front of us for 2006-2007," he said. However, Scanlan would not elaborate on any of the details.

"The resort is still in litigation, and it is close to being over," he said.

While the board agreed that progress was being made to Hidden Valley, homeowners who attended the meeting mumbled concerns that nothing was getting done.

The Hidden Valley Four Season Resort has been for sale since last year.

(Tiffany Wright may be contacted at tiffanyw@dailyamerican.com.)
gizmosnow
May 20, 2006
Member since 10/6/2005
269 posts
I attended this mtg -- my first ever, so here's some additional details:
Scanlon insisted that ski business is profitable and will continue to operate. Said, hv is no longer in the "meeting" business because it is declining (let's forget about the fact that 7springs continues to do 1000 conferences/conventions per year!).
Said they have plans for renovating ski lodge including painting chairlifts(maybe back to red), building renovations (paint exterior, new carpeting, etc.) even as they continue to mkt.resort to potential buyers. (However, he kept referring to their plans for
"twenty-zero-seven-and-eight" which would seem to ignore the upcoming 06/07 season. I wasn't sure if he was being intentionally cunning (i.e.,sleazey)here or if it was my misunderstanding. Would have liked to ask but did not get the opportunity.) Scanlon talked about plans for major real estate development to get underway with the 'North-Summit' project and inferred that they need the ski operation, which, by the way, he claimed to be profitable, and the golf operation, to support realestate sales.
(By the way, $3m was thrown out (not by Scanlon) as the annual operating budget for the ski operation -- it was not clear as to the accuracy of this number.)

On a totally separate note, there is a hv homeowner, out of pgh, who is supposedly in the real estate business, who has made the claim to several individuals that he/she is aware of information that a deal (either a signed loi or agreement of sale) was reached at the end of april.

If this is the case, purely my speculation is that it could be buncher.
WPABoarder
May 20, 2006
Member since 01/20/2006
22 posts
The word I got is that it is not Buncher. They apparently are going to focus on their property in light of their recent acquisition.

Perhaps an alternative would be similar to the Tyringham Ridge acquisition of Haystack from American Skiing Company. Create a community based organization to purchase Hidden Valley Resort and make it a semi-private resort. You could approach Buncher to "buy" a number of units for sales in its development with its units. You would also need to get current Hidden Valley owners to jump on board as well to keep the price down. Once acquired, you could require all future new unit sales to include membership since the community group would be the one selling the lots to developers. The proceeds of which could be used for capital improvements or "dividends" to owners.
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
May 21, 2006
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
That has got to be the biggest bunch of bull malarkey that has ever come from Scanlons mouth. The owe close to $800,000 on their electric bill and they're going to fix up the ski lodge. I'd bet a years' salary that everything that Scanlon said is total bull.
gizmosnow
May 22, 2006
Member since 10/6/2005
269 posts
I get your drift>>>

My 'speculation' of Buncher is purely that--unsubstantiated speculation which is contingent upon the rumor that a pgh real estate 'guru' has inside knowledge that a deal has been struck. Being that the other contenders are: sunburst/MD, Nutting/WVa, and a FLorida Group, i figure that the only one a pgh'er is likely to have inside info on is buncher. Again, this was purely a guess AND, it is likely that the rumor upon which it is based is not even true!
Skihead
May 22, 2006
Member since 11/16/2005
30 posts
Last fall in the earlier stages of the bidding, had heard that the Florida group was working through a Pittsburgh brokerage agent. Could this mean it is the Florida buyer? More speculation here....
gizmosnow
May 22, 2006
Member since 10/6/2005
269 posts
Very good point however...
I can tell you, with absolute certainty, that we are NOT talking about the same real estate agent (as I know the names of both but will NOT divulge).
However, is there a possible connection between the two? Maybe, but doesn't seem plausible.
For everyones benefit, though --don't get overly excited about the RUMOR of a deal as it may be only that!
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
May 22, 2006
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
Scanlon said he was going to Florida to discuss the ski season and ticket prices. That could be a very strong hint. Buncher would make sense since they own the adjacent 780 acre parcel that they are going to develop. This would provde investment money for the ski area!!
Skihead
May 22, 2006
Member since 11/16/2005
30 posts
One way or the other HV and the future of Buncher's development next door are going to be tied together, and you would think they would be very aware of that. Consider 2 possible outcomes:
1. Buncher has trouble selling property since the market is driven down by all the sellers at the mothballed former HV resort next door. Potential buyers wonder if the Buncher development will fall into the same state as HV after they buy in.
2. The 2 areas are combined and marketed as a larger resort area of critical mass(even if they are separately owned), with 2 golf courses, skiing, horse center, shuttle busses throughout, renovated facilities at HV, heavily marketed to the DC (very important $$), and appreciating property value for all.
Which will it be?
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
May 22, 2006
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
You know, I am sure that the Kettlers would have loved to buy the hunting preserve property. They are in such a poor financial position that I am sure they could not afford to buy it even though it was purchased I believe for less than $2.0 million. That's not much more than your typical overpriced DC McMansion.
Several months ago, I sent an e-mail to the CEO of the Buncher Group pleading with them to reconsider their position on the purchase of the resort. I noted the obvious reasons for purchasing HV and combining the two properties into one resort and how they would benefit each other. received no response. Of course I e-mailed Sunburst Hospitality and received no response from them either.I agree that if HV goes belly up, it will have a negative effect on the sale of resort property at the Buncher development. The adjaceny of HV to the Buncher Development will help market the development just as any resort development that is near a major ski is marketed. In short, I agree totally with your assessment. I hope number 2 comes to fruition.
nogoodnik
May 22, 2006
Member since 11/7/2005
49 posts
<Potential buyers wonder if the Buncher development will fall into the same state as HV after they buy in.

This will be the first residential development for Buncher and they will be doing everything from scratch with a lot of capital. There is no reason to think there would be any parallel whatever to the penny pinching incompetence of HV ownership and mgmt. I'd be shocked if Buncher has any trouble at all finding buyers for their homes regardless of what happens at HV.

In the rumor dept, I've heard that Buncher has drilled a few test wells for water supply and the results suggest a lot of expense for water treatment. One can only hope they would find the HV water utility as a viable option to their water supply and buy the whole resort while they are at it.
SkiBoarder
May 24, 2006
Member since 05/22/2006
44 posts
I attended the meeting also. Sounds like they are moving money for the cosmetic end (definitely needed) like repairing the roof, new paint, and Scanlon's statement (paraphrased) "and don't be surprised if there is new carpet". The 3 million dollar number did get a gesture from Scanlon that looked like it was in range, but what range is the question.

Walked what used to be the mountain bike course near the Summit Condos. Might not be biking there in the foreseeable future, though the obstacles could be fun. It might make some interesting skiing if cleared properly and had a lift or tow.
Skihead
May 24, 2006
Member since 11/16/2005
30 posts
$2M would have been a great deal for the game preserve. It is rare to find that size parcel in a spot with such potential. If course they will need to spend much more to develop it. Beyond the sewer, as Nogoodnick noted, the water in that area is bad (very high iron) so maybe that begs for some cooperation with HV.

Yes I hope it is #2 as well. In a strange way I believe the fact that both properties are in play right now could be a good thing in that it may promote such cooperation to think bigger than would otherwise be the case.
LMV
May 25, 2006
Member since 06/1/2005
60 posts
New article about Hidden Valley. Heather you should get a kick out of this one.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/cityregion/s_455387.html
Heather
May 25, 2006
Member since 02/24/2005
170 posts
When HV falls into disrepair, just call Service Master. They can rebuild anything!
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
May 25, 2006
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
Here is a post from the HV Foundation website:

"I now know why everyone was telling me that the resort owner and manager have no decency or intelligence. I went to the foundatin meeting to hear what Scanlon had to say. He said that the sports club was open. The next morning I took my little girl down to go swimming only to find a cold pool full of algae.

I just don't understand why they can't do business with just a little bit of integrity. They can't manage without being deceptive. That is obvious! Hidden Valley can do some serious business with real leadership, someone who knows what and how to promote with the right timing. The current management always seems to try NOT to do business.

After watching Scanlon snicker and laugh under his breath at homeowners' questions, I understand we need a change."

It says alot, doesn't it.
jb714
May 26, 2006
Member since 03/4/2003
294 posts
Quote:

"and don't be surprised if there is new carpet"




Everytime I read that 'new carpet' quote, I get an image of a guy in the classic used-car-salesman garb: the checkered jacket, smoking a nasty cigar, etc. Given the degree of disrepair at HV, that statement is beyond ludicrous.
RidelikeaRhino
May 26, 2006
Member since 01/31/2006
42 posts
Mental exercise #1

$3M over 14 weeks is about 215K per week at $45/ticket (ignore season passes etc) and ignoring income from vendors and parking that is about 4700 tickets - lessons /week. Snowtubing is ??? The electic bill is pretty stunning. Maybe they should keep that red light on the parking hut turned off.
SkiBoarder
May 26, 2006
Member since 05/22/2006
44 posts
More evidence of the business ineptitude of the management. The website has expired and is pending renewal or deletion. Anybody want to back order a website name, squators opportunity.
mountainman
May 26, 2006
Member since 04/17/2006
7 posts
According to the following article in today's Johnstown Tribune-Democrat (http://www.tribune-democrat.com/local/local_story_145233534.html), Hidden Valley Resort does not even count as a Laurel Highlands attraction.
gizmosnow
May 30, 2006
Member since 10/6/2005
269 posts
During recent foundation mtg, Scanlon referred to a 'lawsuit' that was close to being settled -- he used it as an 'excuse' for not directly responding to various questions. I recently heard that a lawsuit has been settled with 'owners of the Seasons units(?). Does anyone know anything about this? Is settlement of this suit an indication, as was suggested to me, that Kettlers are cleaning up loose ends in preparation for a sale?.
wolverine
May 30, 2006
Member since 08/26/2005
113 posts
Quote:

During recent foundation mtg, Scanlon referred to a 'lawsuit' that was close to being settled -- he used it as an 'excuse' for not directly responding to various questions. I recently heard that a lawsuit has been settled with 'owners of the Seasons units(?). Does anyone know anything about this? Is settlement of this suit an indication, as was suggested to me, that Kettlers are cleaning up loose ends in preparation for a sale?.




sale of debt?
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
May 31, 2006
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
I think the suit has something to do with the Resort not paying their condo dues. They owe close to $100k I believe for the 70+ Season Condo units that they own.
Here's a question that I think you know the answer to:
What is going to happen to the Inn, the Conference Center and the Sports Center if they are no longer going to be used by the Resort?
casey
June 1, 2006
Member since 11/21/2005
37 posts
I think everything points to a sale. Lack of maintenance is one thing, totally shutting things down and expecting to continue to develop real-estate is quite another. They seem to be cleaning things up and not putting one more dime into the resort. I think you can sale a resort that has debt. Payment of leins and debt comes off the sale price, right?
Rich
June 1, 2006
Member since 11/30/2000
194 posts
Don't see why not as long as the equity covers it. That's how I got my place at Snowshoe: the owner quit paying the HOA fees, didn't pay any assessments, stiffed the contractors. The HOA was about to foreclose and I came in with a lowball cash offer and to close in 24 hours. I expected to go back & forth with counter offers, but they just wanted their money and took my first offer! I gave the lawyer a certified check for the whole thing, he pealed off all the back HOA fees, liens, taxes, etc., etc. and whatever was left went to the owner. Now, if my offer didn't cover all the moneys owed - I don't know how that works.
bawalker
June 1, 2006
Member since 12/1/2003
1,547 posts
A lot of times a lien is filed against the property owner on behalf of the state or organization or whomever is due a payment of cash. This means that if an owner proceeds to sell the property with a lein already filed against it, a potential customer is limited to only paying cash for the property. A mortgage company / bank will not create a mortgage or refinance on property that has leins on it by someone else, those leins have to be paid first before a mortgage can take affect. even if the lein is say $10.

With HV, this could be the case. There could be leins filed against the Kettlers already and while they are trying to sell, potential buyers may be having a hard time at getting corporate mortgages on the resort if they aren't paying cash. In that case potential buyers could be offering lowball cash offers and the Kettlers could be taking a cocky offense to it and not selling for lowball cash.

Those are just my thoughts.
cmk
June 5, 2006
Member since 06/5/2006
5 posts
I was just wondering where you could find a mansion in dc for $2 mil?
cmk
June 5, 2006
Member since 06/5/2006
5 posts
you want to try to take the domain www.hiddenvalleyresort.com???
why? other than to be obnoxious?
cmk
June 5, 2006
Member since 06/5/2006
5 posts
clarence is an amazing man. he literally put his life into Hidden Valley and I'm sure it kills him to watch it fall apart. Although things have gone downhill since Jim took over, he is not what I would call a spoiled brat or an extreme republican (not that that would be a bad thing). Clarence is a republican through and through and it was his vision that helped HV reach it's peak.
cmk
June 5, 2006
Member since 06/5/2006
5 posts
...his wife is not high maintenance. she's just young and hot. and btw makes her own income.
gizmosnow
June 5, 2006
Member since 10/6/2005
269 posts
So, then cmk...what do you think?
When Scanlon, as Kettlers 'voice' on the homeowners association, claims that they will be putting $$$'s, near-term, into needed maintenance and repairs of the chairlifts, ski lodge, etc and that they are committed to the ski business, is he being truthful??
BushwackerinPA
June 8, 2006
Member since 12/9/2004
649 posts
In response too what post was this C Maria K;).

If you guys want answers SHE'S your best source, and wants what you want. For Hidden Valley to stay open and be like it was when her and I were younger. All the good olde days....
RidelikeaRhino
June 12, 2006
Member since 01/31/2006
42 posts
I have to believe that the Kettler's have put heart and sole into HV over the years. Unless you are extremely lucky, you don't achieve that kind of success without it. The problem at the moment is a certain kind of insensitivity that I don't completely understand. People (in general) get angry when they feel a loss of control over things in their life. Certainly, the home owners and skiers at the valley are in this boat at the moment. The complete lack of information leaves them in an uncertain position, unable to make decisions about their lives, and creates a lot of hostility. This will in the end drive even the most sympatric away. For example, (easy case) If HV is not going to open then everyone effected has missed the first opportunity to save money for tickets next season at some other place. Home owners have even more at stake. If HV is in trouble it generates a certain amount of sympathy, good will, etc. etc just to pipe up and say hey this is what is going on and let people deal with it in the way that is best for them. God forbid help might even come from some quarter. The quiet seems very self centered and not good. My bet... the voice of the fat lady drifts over the hills and valleys... guessing ... there is only one reason to be so quiet.
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
June 13, 2006
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
If you listen to Mr. Scanlon's condescending lectures at the Foundation meetings, it's hard to feel sympathetic. When you look at the condition of the ski lodge, the conference center and sports club building, it's hard to feel sympathetic. When you look at the rusting chair lifts and the decreped lift buidlings, it's hard to feel sympathetic. When you look at all of the real estate that they recently sold and no money was invested back into the resort, it's hard to feel sympathetic. When you look at the strip mine across Route 31 on land that the Kettler's said would never be developed, it's hard to fee sympathetic.
Mountain Masher
June 13, 2006
Member since 03/13/2004
541 posts
With the exception of the strip-mine at HV, it sounds like you're describing Blue Knob. Of course, the new lake-bed at BK kind of resembles a strip-mine.
casey
June 14, 2006
Member since 11/21/2005
37 posts
Gizmosnow- Have you heard any more about a sales aggreement or LOI that you indicated was reached at the end of april, in an earlier post? Makes a little sense since this is when they totally shut down operations.
hockeydave
June 14, 2006
Member since 06/30/2004
769 posts
FYI: HV is doing plenty of advertising of its golf course on WEAE (1250 AM Pittsburgh - ESPN Radio).
gizmosnow
June 14, 2006
Member since 10/6/2005
269 posts
No...although I hear the individual who made that claim is sticking by their story. <I will say this, though, a sale of this nature will typically take 5-6 months if all goes smoothly. Due diligence will require 4-8 weeks. HV would likely be on the high side based on all the rumors of their books being in shambles. During due diligence, buyers/sellers usually attempt to keep things hush-hush. After due diligence is completed, 60 to 120 days is usually necessary to arrange financing, inspections, etc to close the sale> Personally, I'm suspect-- as I'm sure we all are at this point. Haven't been up to hv much (kids plans keep interfering) -- has anyone noticed a can of paint yet or any other sign of (maintenance) activity ??
mountainman
June 14, 2006
Member since 04/17/2006
7 posts
There has been some paving activity - repair of some of the really bad potholes and a curious widening of South Ridge Drive near the pool. That's about it.
SkiBoarder
June 15, 2006
Member since 05/22/2006
44 posts
We are heading up this weekend. I will look for any signs of painting or indications that the "new carpet" is going to be installed anywhere. I really want to see if any of the cut areas are being cleared of the tree cutting remnants.
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
June 15, 2006
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
The paving that you saw was done by the Foundation, NOT by the Resort. I have seen no progress what-so-ever on the maintenance of any Resort owned buidlings or facilities.
BushwackerinPA
June 15, 2006
Member since 12/9/2004
649 posts
I ma going up this weekend on saturday to go skiing at Springs Skiboarder you want to meet up and hike for some turns?
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
June 15, 2006
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
Are you using one of those snow boards with wheels on them?
BushwackerinPA
June 15, 2006
Member since 12/9/2004
649 posts
How rad those are, no...I am skiing on a (manmade)glacier.

About a 150 foot vertical last time my Friend CJ was sled riding on it.

pictures from last year its much bigger this year.
http://community.webshots.com/photo/367854331/1367869921058944919hyPXIu
SkiBoarder
June 15, 2006
Member since 05/22/2006
44 posts
That glacier is at 7 Springs????!!!! Thought those would have all melted away by now?

Sorry, will not be able to accompany you on Saturday - Have family-Father's day plans/commitments.
RidelikeaRhino
June 15, 2006
Member since 01/31/2006
42 posts
While you are looking for signs of paint etc. you might also look for signs of sold off snow making equipment. I heard a rumor last night that some had been sold and carted off. The source is pretty reliable but not perfect.
BushwackerinPA
June 16, 2006
Member since 12/9/2004
649 posts
Quote:

That glacier is at 7 Springs????!!!! Thought those would have all melted away by now?

Sorry, will not be able to accompany you on Saturday - Have family-Father's day plans/commitments.




yep its actually bigger this year, its there to every July 4th when they plow it down for a snow tubing course into a pond. I am under the impression that it would last all year long if they never groomed it out. It also makes me wonder why springs doesnt jsut blow all that snow on a actual slope and keep open for a long long time. They could be the last to close on the East if they wanted to be. Too bad everyone stops skiing here after president day.
gizmosnow
June 17, 2006
Member since 10/6/2005
269 posts
Made it up to HV for a couple of days to do some chores. Noticed that the Summit, toward/around the tennis courts, has been staked out for lots. Several individuals I asked about this had similar but differing stories: One said they had heard a Phiily bank had given kettlers $3m to develop the next phase of the Summit. Another said Kettler had been denied funding. The source I consider most reliable said that funding was pending but likely...that up to 72 units are to be built in multiple phases...that (this is the somewhat good news) the funding was likely but pending kettlers submission of a detailed marketing plan which must include a plan (and committment) for resort-wide upgrades/maintenance. Supporting this notion, there were multiple sightings, by multiple individuals, of J. Kettler & Scanlon throughout the resort--apparently involved in 'some' project. Also, it was pointed out to me that the slopes had recently been cut and that it is unusual for them to put effort into mowing the slopes this time of year (minor, perhaps, but interesting). Anyway, I was told that the summit project could get underway within weeks---phase two of the project(next season) could involve an additional homeowner pool complex. For me, this would at least be a positive sign that the kettlers are not completely 'boarding up & abandoning HV although, it may also be an indication that a sale is not iminent.
nogoodnik
June 17, 2006
Member since 11/7/2005
49 posts
There is not a hint of any sale that I've heard. As to a new bank lending millions more to Kettler, that might be found at the Somerset Recorder of Deeds by checking HV Resort LP mortgages if any Summit construction starts. I heard the planned Summit pool will be resort owned and maintained which means you probably wouldn't want to swim in it after the 1st year. And if by some miracle Kettler were the least bit serious about doing a 180 on maintaining the resort, finding a good resort manager would be the place to start.
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
June 18, 2006
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
In my opinion, this is more of "the money goes out and nothing comes back in" similar to "The Pines" and "Westridge". That real estate sold and nothing was invested back into the resort.
Please let the Pittsburg Post Gazetter know what you think about Hidden Valley Resort. The reporter's e-mail address is : clash@post-gazette.com
The truth shall set up free(of the Ketter's).
SkiBoarder
June 19, 2006
Member since 05/22/2006
44 posts
Did not notice any painting or repairs of buildings/equipment. Come to think of it we walked the north face and up continental and I did not recall seeing the portable snowmaking equipment. If I remember correctly, the portable equipment was usually stored in the north face ski lots. Some of the slopes were mowed.
gizmosnow
June 19, 2006
Member since 10/6/2005
269 posts
So, with the proposed sale of 7Springs to Nutting, where does that leave the future of skiing in W.PA???
Are the future of Laurel & HV more or less certain???
I know, for a fact, that Nutting was one of the 3 serious bidders for HV and, I know that he 'revisited' HV after the Sunburst deal fell through.
Certainly, the sale/purchase of 7Springs changes the dynamics considerably...I just don't know if I am optimistic or pessimistic as a result!
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
June 19, 2006
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
Good question. I think we need someone with business savy and money to invest. Look at who ran LM - George Mowl. No capital and poor marketing sunk that project. Look at who runs HV, Kettler/Scanlon, not exactly the dynamic duo.No marketing, no investment, stupid business practices have sunk these places. You are assuming the Mr. Nutting has chosen 7Springs over HV. Maybe he wants both. Maybe he got tired of dealing with the lunkheads at HV and went for 7Springs. However, I find it hard to believe that he didn't have both of these deals in the works because of the timing. There are 1100 residences at HV and enough ski business to make HV viable. With a little marketing, LM would be viable also. Look at what we have around Baltimore and Washington, 3 ski areas that have marginal weather conditions (Liberty, Roundtop and Whitetail). If these places can make it, LM and HV should be able to also.
rdytooski
June 20, 2006
Member since 11/16/2005
40 posts
casey
June 21, 2006
Member since 11/21/2005
37 posts
Like everyone, I find HV current situation both troubling and confusing. It is ashame that HV homeowners assoc and HV resort are lumped together as one. You cant take away from the beauty of HV and the way it was laid out. The pools and the tennis courts that the assoc maintains are well kept. The golf course is a beautiful course and the managment of the course does a great job maintaining on a meager budget. Took a ride thru Fern MT and found high price acreage with no utlities and what looks like no thought as to its layout. But this is considered an up and coming area while HV is considered dying. It has a long way to go to meet what HV has to offer. As a result, I find all the neg publicity troubling. On the other side, who would loan Kettlers money when there is a lein from the electric co on the property? And who would buy these new properties? As stated, the housing market has cooled off.I don't understand why the kettlers don't realize that upgrading the resort equates to much higher selling prices for their real-estate. Myself, I think that there are three options, for the resort, Upgrade, sell or foreclose. Obviously Nutting was negotiating for both properties at the same time. And hopefully, Gizmosnow is right about a LOI or Sales-agreement being reached. Sorry about all this rambling, but HV as it stands now is still a beautiful place, thanks to the homeowners assoc. And I hate to see it trashed so. Another question, why was the steering comm. meeting concerning the sell and current state of the resort cancelled?
SkiBoarder
June 21, 2006
Member since 05/22/2006
44 posts
You are correct in your observations of the HV HOA/Foundation. The community and facilities are well maintained by the foundation. The layout of the community and the relaxed feeling of the mountain are why we bought at HV. The way the resort is seen by the general public does seem to reflect unkindly on the community itself, which it in no way should be held in the same regard as the resort. But, it is that evil "guilt by association".
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
July 1, 2006
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
OK Gizmo - the silence is deafening. How about an investigative report on the supposed deal signed at the end of April. I e-mailed Nutting and he actually responded saying that he couldn't comment on the HV sale and agreed that management changes were needed at the resort.
nic223
July 1, 2006
Member since 02/21/2006
90 posts
Hidden Valley just put up a new billboard in front of the tennis courts at the summit with a rendering of the new summit condo complex. Those should sell pretty well with all the amenties doing so well right now.
rdytooski
July 1, 2006
Member since 11/16/2005
40 posts
Along with the new billboard they need to put a sign below it saying Come enjoy the beautiful Laurel Highlands feel free to think we offer any amenities. We don't!! We just want your money.
gizmosnow
July 1, 2006
Member since 10/6/2005
269 posts
Conceivably, they will sell quickly-- especially if they are priced at half (per sq. ft.) of 7springs condos. The mind-boggling thing is that if they made a modest investment into the resort they might be able to command a 25-50% higher price for the condos and that would be 'bottom-line' $$$ -- but what do I know?
As far as the rumors re: the sale, I believe I said at the time that I didn't hold those in high regard although they seemed to be persistent so you never know. The 7springs sale taught us one thing, however, in that they managed to keep it pretty quiet until about 2wks before the deal was to close.
gizmosnow
July 2, 2006
Member since 10/6/2005
269 posts
My wife spoke with some folks who are up at HV this weekend and was told that HV has released brochures announcing the sale of 06/07 Season Passes (I think they said $250 thru 7/31). Who knows, maybe they are serious about opening for next ski season!? Maybe they will even pay the electric bill!!
gizmosnow
July 6, 2006
Member since 10/6/2005
269 posts
Update -- for those who may not have noticed...HV has posted 06/07 Season Pass prices on their website...Discounts thru 7/31/06 only.
nogoodnik
July 6, 2006
Member since 11/7/2005
49 posts
Personally I hope no one buys a HV season pass this year. IMO enough people giving Kettler a chunk of money up front will only encourage him to stay longer and hold out for an unrealistic price for the resort. Also given how much routine maintenance gets deferred all over HV resort, anyone who is concerned about the safety of their ski equipment may want to contact the PA Dept of Labor & Industry, Bureau of Occupational & Industrial Safety, Elevator Division. Those are the people responsible for ski inspections for PA resorts. A general number is 717-787-3323. Ask that they do a FULL inspection.
BushwackerinPA
July 6, 2006
Member since 12/9/2004
649 posts
so are you suggesting that you rather than see Hidden Valley not open, then kettler hang on to it anymore? Yeah try telling that to hundreds of annul season pass holders and home owners who will lose there backyard ski area. to these people I bet they dont care about management they dont care about the majority of the mud slinging going on in this thread. They just what a place to go ski with there family for the winter, Thats all.

I wish CMK would chime in again on this board but I think she lost her password.
Mountain Masher
July 6, 2006
Member since 03/13/2004
541 posts
In my opinion, if you give any business to HV, you're simply rewarding their deplorable behavior, including their LOUSY for-profit logging operation. All you need to do is look at what's happened to Blue Knob. For years eveyone supported the owners, nomatter what they did; now things have gone from bad to worse at BK and it seems that they can't even find a buyer. Perhaps if people had taken their business elsewhere when the logging and bulldozing first started at BK, the destruction might have stopped BEFORE things got completely out-of-control. I personally know of several major property owners at BK who finally decided to "bail-out" and sold-out within the past year (unfortunately, it's probably far too late for such actions to have any effect on the way that the mountain is being run). I say, when a business (of any type) misbehaves, vote with your feet!
casey
July 7, 2006
Member since 11/21/2005
37 posts
Snowsmith---did nutting's e-mail imply that he is still pursuing HV or couldn't you tell?
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
July 8, 2006
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
Nutting's only response about the sale was that he could not comment. He did say that he agreed that the resort needed improvement.
As far as the new condos, they are supposed to remove 4 tennis courts to achieve thier development. I spoke with the director of the tennis program who said that if he only has two tennis courts, he cannot run a tennis program. Thus their goes the tennis program. He said that he would not be back next year anyway because of the poor condition of the tennis facilities. Oh well.
gizmosnow
July 9, 2006
Member since 10/6/2005
269 posts
For what it's worth...I hear they may be starting some painting and other much needed routine maintenance by as early as next week--if only as an attempt to help spur sale of the Summit expansion.
My opinion, and I know I am going against the tide on this one, is that I am more in agreement with Bushwacker on this one (as a patron of HV). While it may be counterintuitive, witholding business from HV is likely to make a sale less likely than more likely. Obviously, from the buyers perspective, it makes the purchase less attractive and reduces the bid price. But also from the sellers perspective (and there have been lots of psycological studies done on this one from the wall street investor to the poker player) it is very difficult to pick up your chips and walk any on a downturn -- after all, you are suppose to 'sell' high, not low and the 'next big hand' may be just around the corner. True, one hope may be that the ship sinks (foeclosure/bankrupcy) and Kettlers are forced out but, from the little I do know re:Kettlers, this is not likely--they have the means to keep the place languishing on indefinitely.
So, my oppinion is that concerted efforts to degrade the resort by witholding business strictly for the purpose of influencing a sale, are not likely to result in the desired outcome (i.e., sale). Everyone should do what they got to do because it is in their own best interests E.g., buy a 7springs pass if you prefer to ski at 7 Springs. Buy a HV pass if you rather ski HV because it is where your condo is.
nogoodnik
July 9, 2006
Member since 11/7/2005
49 posts
Of course people will ski where they want. I see some people up here who have already voted with their feet and others who are trying to decide if it's worth it, where in the past skiing at HV was a given.

IMO the key to the immediate future of HV is whether or not Kettler gets more financing ahead of this year's property tax upset sale in Sept. If yes, I agree we could be stuck with him and bounce along bottom for years. If no, I see a real incentive to cut a deal ahead of a property tax auction and just get out. He came within an hour of losing the resort last year and then couldn't get a deal done with any bidder. Now the resort is even more run down and worth even less. I just can't see him draining other Kettler Brothers resources in order to keep this thing afloat if no bank will lend him money.
casey
July 9, 2006
Member since 11/21/2005
37 posts
I thorougly agree with you. I think all the negativity makes a sell less likely. As I have said before, the community at HV is beautiful. And the things that the foundation are in charge of are well maintained. I think some positive publicity would not only improve the chances of a sell but would be in the best interest of the property owners. I am a proactive person who would be very interested indoing some positive things for the community as opposed to just constantly degrading it. I will buy a pass at HV. I enjoy skiing there. Yes it is in need of improvements, and hopefully the Kettlers have figured out that to sell properties these improvements must be made.
BushwackerinPA
July 10, 2006
Member since 12/9/2004
649 posts
I know about many people, friends of mine. whole families in some cases that will be very very upset if it doesnt open. Yes they dont like what has been going up there, but they just want to ski..

FYI If they dont open its not really going to effect me, beside my sad friends.
nogoodnik
July 10, 2006
Member since 11/7/2005
49 posts
I called the Somerset Tax Claim office and inquired about how much HV Resort would have to come up with to avoid this year's property tax upset sale. To my surprise, they paid 2004 taxes so the matter is a non-issue this year. (That's what I get for not checking first before posting 26952.) With no immediate tax pressure to sell, I don't see HV getting a new owner anytime soon. And would I love to be wrong about that!
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
July 10, 2006
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
Bushwack - if you are young and free youngster like yourself, skiing can be your only concern. If you have invested a large amount of your income in real estate at Hidden Valley, you have other concerns other than playing in the snow. Yeah, we all like to ski and I want the ski area to prosper, but I , and many others are convinced that Hidden Valley will never get any better as long as the Kettler's own the place. In my humble opinion, they don't care about us, they don't care if the ski area falls apart, they don't care if someone gets hurt on a poorly maintained piece of equipment, they don't care about the quality of the skiing. I guarantee they will only open the minimum # of slopes and they will only make enough snow to barely keep the slopes open. For all the folks at the execellent ski school and the kinder care, my hats off for working with these assholes. You ski school folks do a great job.
On another note, I noticed that Ski North has emptied their space of all fixtures. Are they not opening this year at HV?
BushwackerinPA
July 11, 2006
Member since 12/9/2004
649 posts
They do that every year kinderski and ski north are actually the same room. So yes ski north will be open and mike and vic will be very helpfull as allways.
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
July 17, 2006
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
I guess this topic is about to die after quite a long run. Thus for all you folks who are not interested in this subject, my humble apology. Since there appears to be no action related to the sale of the resort, I guess this subject should die. However, I was wondering how many of you intend to buy a season pass before the July 31 deadline for the $250 season pass?
bawalker
July 18, 2006
Member since 12/1/2003
1,547 posts
I'm just in shear amazement that this thread has gotten almost 19,000 views. That's just unheard of in almost any forum, let alone this one. Heck even the untopic seemed to die... or become mortally wounded some months back.

I wonder if it breaks the 20,000 views mark if Scott will send a certificate of achievement to the original poster?
SkiBoarder
July 18, 2006
Member since 05/22/2006
44 posts
The wife and I have been debating this for the last two weeks. I am torn because of the situation at the resort, but we have a place there and it is so easy with children to just ski at HV. So probably we will buy (a) pass(es).
gizmosnow
July 18, 2006
Member since 10/6/2005
269 posts
Great!
There is no doubt in my mind but that I will buy passes and ski at HV.
For those who have enjoyed hv over the years, 'forcing' it's 'death by boycott' in hopes of it's reincarnation as a 'better' place just doesn't make sense. (Death is more often permanent). Sure there may be some remote risk that they don't open and 'scam' your money but that is highly unlikely and life is full of risks.
For what it is worth, I am hearing more positive chatter at hv recently. Discussion of refurbishing the lodge and lifts, upgrading the water and sewer, and even renewed discussions with past bidders regarding the sale of the resort.
RidelikeaRhino
July 18, 2006
Member since 01/31/2006
42 posts
I agree I think closing would be the worst case scenario. Newton's laws of motion apply. It's a whole lot easier to keep it rolling than start over. (That is George Newton little known relation of Isaac and related by marriage to Murphy.) Any way I see signs of hope. First time in years I have received a mailing and some folks said they even spent money on some radio spots. I'm not renting a polka band yet but I am encouraged.
hockeydave
July 18, 2006
Member since 06/30/2004
769 posts
There is no doubt in my mind that HV will rise from the ashes. There is such huge potential there. Look @ the sale of homes @ 7S. Buncher is developing a very upscale community just down the road from HV. Donegal Highlands Golf Course (about 7 miles from HV) is developing an upscale community with shops (I belive it's called Eagle's Ridge). So for those of you owning property @ HV, better days are ahead. And what a bargain a ski pass is for $250. Laurel Mountain Village is supposed to upgrade their water and sewage to accomodate more housing (and maybe the ski area may open also). The Laurel Highlands is a beautiful area, no matter what season. For that reason alone, people in the metro areas (Pittsburgh, BaltWash, etc.) will always want to have an escape.
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
July 18, 2006
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
Gizmo - I hate to say it, but what wish wouldn't happen, has already happened. People have spoken with their feet and have their conferences elsewhere. Instead of going to Dundee's restuarant and getting very bad service they wait in line for mediocre food at the Laurel Mt. Inn. Instead of staying at the now closed Hidden Valley Inn, folks will be staying elsewhere. If they had the business the Inn wouldn't have closed. And since they waited till almost July to annouce their season pass, many folks bought passes at 7Springs. Stupid business practices is what drives people away. I have a slope slide place, yet I am questioning buying a season pass, not because I want to starve these folks of cash, but because I am concerned that they may not be able to pay off their $900k lien to the power company and the ski resort won't open. I am concerned about the condition of the lifts - are they safe. I have seen no maintenance what-so-ever occuring so far this year. People want to buy season passes, folks want to stay at the inn, business would like to have conferences at the Resort, residents would like to use a well maintained sports club, but it's almost as if these lunk heads don't want our business. I would love to see them turn this around, but I'm not sure they have it in them.
casey
July 18, 2006
Member since 11/21/2005
37 posts
Three ski passes will be bought by my family. Only our second year and everyone that visits us is amazed with the beauty of HV. It is great to hear such positive responses. Keep us updated gizmosnow.
snosnugums
July 18, 2006
Member since 04/10/2006
126 posts
Everyone I speak to says the same thing, HV is beautiful, but management of the resort facilities is completely puzzling. I feel the same way. I quite frankly don't understand their management philosiphy, if they have one. But I enjoy the place never the less. Thus I will most likely buy a season pass while still occasionally skiing at 7Springs, Wisp and Blue Knob. I still hope that a buyer who cares about the place and sees the potential will come forward.
wolverine
July 19, 2006
Member since 08/26/2005
113 posts
I predicted a long time ago the demise of LM and HV. Since that time I actually have visited both locations and think LM may actually have a better potential for a ski destination than HV, as I reluctantly agree it looks to have some "soul".

HV (agreed has nice scenery) is neither great skiing or a great 4 seasons resort like Wisp and 7S. Wisp and 7S (with or without slots) will have great futures. So I now think LM may actually have a better potential in the future than HV for skiing. Anyone buying season passes at HV that doesn't own property there is foolish!!! BTW Kettler Bros want all HV season pass holders to invest in Cruises on the Titanic also.
rdytooski
July 24, 2006
Member since 11/16/2005
40 posts
Well as far as where we will ski if it wasn't for this thread would not have known until 7/21 that HV had passes on sale for 2006-2007 we got our flyer in the mail. see you at 7S
nic223
July 26, 2006
Member since 02/21/2006
90 posts
Hidden Valley is finally spending some money. The golf course has 2 new Steiner mowers, and they also painted the yardage marers on the cart path. Maybe good things are just right around the corner.
BushwackerinPA
July 26, 2006
Member since 12/9/2004
649 posts
Been advertising on BobFm here in the burgh alot recently too....
Frederick
July 26, 2006
Member since 07/26/2006
79 posts
New user interested in the fate of Hidden Valley. This place has so much potential. It can surely succeed next to Seven Springs. It can provide a different niche in the resort industry. Its all there already and just needs to be refined. The lakes, the mountain, hotel, lodge, golf, bike, condos, Ski in/out, etc. If you build it, they will come! The value of the real estate depends on the upgrades and amenities of the resort. We have seen that at Snowshoe, Seven Springs, Wisp and even local Whitetail. I don't understand why the Kettler's haven't connected two and two. This place is a gold mine for real estate development and resales only if the resort maintains it's appeal. The fixes are simple, they are the things that people see. Paint the lodge, the lifts, the hotel. Keep it clean and friendly. Use some beautiful mountain landscaping. This stuff has all been said before.Why does the website advertise for everything but the resort...it is horrible. The website is my only access to see whats going on besides DCski and being there, no news updates, no events, 20 different links to get a rental or hotel room, lack of pictures, no web cam.etc....Sell me on Hidden Valley..I want to feel like a part of the resort everyday...
I would be interested in buying real estate here if I knew the direction of this resort. Lets show some progress... Why waste such great potential....
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
July 26, 2006
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
Fred - Welcome to DCSki. You said it all, brother! They can't see the forest for the trees (the ones that the logging hasn't cut down). It is a beautiful place. Not the greatest ski area, mind you. The mountain can only be as big as the great spirit made it. But, it is a pleasant place to ski none the less. Great for families. Not much going on if you single looking to get laid.
Once someone buys the resort and has a vision, you're not going to be able to afford the real estate. So buy it before it gets over valued.
Frederick
July 26, 2006
Member since 07/26/2006
79 posts
Snow Time Inc. has done a great job with three resorts right outside of the DC area. Each resort caters to some thing different. They have made these resorts successful in areas that have less snow, less suitable temperatures, and without the greatest skiing. What they do provide is a great atmosphere, weekly events, things that bring people up to the mountain. Most of all the places are well taken care of and maintained....... Hidden Valley has more potential and possibilities.
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
July 26, 2006
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
Fred - Snow Time, Inc. would be an awesome owner for HV. Unfortunately, I do not believe that they have expressed interest in purchasing Hidden Valley. They do an amazing job keeping those mountains open under marginal weather conditions.
The latest that I heard is that Sunburst Hospitality is still interested and a group from Florida is still interested in the purchase. I frankly don't think anything is going to happen this year.Next time your at HV stop by Mulligans (pub at the golf course) for a beer. You need to get there before 10:00 PM because they close the bar at 10:00. Why - they don't have any outside lighting. They can't afford to install a simple spot light, so we have to leave the bar by 10!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And it is only open on Fridays and Saturdays
Frederick
July 27, 2006
Member since 07/26/2006
79 posts
Here is the thing, it doesn't have to be Snow Time...and I can't even believe I'm going to say this but even the Kettler's can follow the models out there for a successful resort. It has been done over and over. The Kettler's don't have to reinvent the wheel. Start with simple maintaince.....than build from there....if funds are low...start small and do things that people can see and recognize....first thing I see everytime I drive up is the run down lodge and pot holes..I want to drive up and say this place is nice.
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
August 1, 2006
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
I received an e-mail from Northwood Realty for the new condos that Kettler is building. How about a 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath condo near the tennis courts, easy walk to the slopes and supposedly a swimming pool will be built. The price=$280,000. That is cheap compared to 7Springs.
gizmosnow
August 1, 2006
Member since 10/6/2005
269 posts
You are right -- that is dirt cheap relative to prices paid at 7S -- I would not be surprised if it is priced 50% or more below comparable 7S new development ( I know I've heard 7S prices of as high as $600k but I don't know the size/amenities of those units).

The bottom line is this:
-- Lets assume kettlers are making some reasonable margin on these units at $280k.
--- If they put some care and maintenance into the resort they could probably increase the asking price by at least 15% (42k/unit). This is pure additional profit.
--- I've heard they have the land to develop up to 1,000 additional units (let's say just 500, over time, for argument sake).
--- $42k incremental profit per unit X 500 units is $21m.

This is possibly why Kettlers think $20m is a fair price for the resort. However, they are missing the point that they have to invest in the resort first inorder to increase the potential value of the undeveloped land which, ultimately, is a limited resource. Developing the land first and selling the units 'cheap' does not make sense UNLESS they have a strategy to re-invest the 'early' profits into the resort so that the value of future development appreciates. Unfortunately, they've shown no signs that they are thinking in this manner.
Frederick
August 2, 2006
Member since 07/26/2006
79 posts
Exactly! This place is a goldmine if the Kettler's just fixed it up. The mystery is their strategy? Howard Hanna has the new condos listed on behalf of Northwood Realty at www.howardhanna.com, search in Hidden Valley (Tennis Court Drive).
nic223
August 2, 2006
Member since 02/21/2006
90 posts
Quote:

Exactly! This place is a goldmine if the Kettler's just fixed it up. The mystery is their strategy? Howard Hanna has the new condos listed on behalf of Northwood Realty at www.howardhanna.com, search in Hidden Valley (Tennis Court Drive).




If you go to Prudential Preferred's site you will also see them. Prudential, Northwood, and Hanna all display each others listings.
GaryEsq
August 2, 2006
Member since 12/20/2005
54 posts
Quote:

I received an e-mail from Northwood Realty for the new condos that Kettler is building. How about a 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath condo near the tennis courts, easy walk to the slopes and supposedly a swimming pool will be built. The price=$280,000. That is cheap compared to 7Springs.




I don't know, thats still pretty steep for buying into HV without a new owner....

for ex: in that range you could get a new construction 3 br, 3.5 ba, within walking distance of Wisp...and with a slope view. I wouldn't buy anything in HV now unless it was DEEPLY discounted

http://realty.railey.com/property_detail...ESC%26Page%3d16
Leo
August 11, 2006
Member since 11/15/2005
265 posts
Hi all -- haven't posted since last fall. Too discouraged by lack of progress...

At any rate, I think the fact that real estate values are staying high is part of the problem. A friend of mine just sold his condo that he bought in 2000 and he made almost 300%. Seriously, he got a great deal on it in 2000, but he sold for almost 3 Xs what he paid for it.

In one of my old posts I relayed what I have heard for years as a homeowner and ex-instructor...the Kettlers intentionally create passive losses with the resort to offset real estate (passive) gains. The irony is that if the resort goes to hell, eventually real estate values will suffer...but as long as prices of real estate stay moderately high, I don't see their strategy changing.

Hopefully someone will buy the place and make it the 4 seasons resort it (once was and) could be again.
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
August 14, 2006
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
Welcome back Leo, as the Talking Heads once said, "same at it ever was". The symbolic pile of dirt where the new condos will supposedly be built is just that...a symbolic pile of dirt. They won't start construction until there is a strong pre-sale, in my opinion. And there is a sucker born every minute, so some fool will buy one. There is a very poor marketing effort to sell the condos and they are not even mentioned on the HV web site????
I was up at HV this weekend and I must say that the weather was some of the best I have ever seen on the east coast. How often do you see blue sky all the way to the horizon. I will say that ole' Clarence Kettler did a marvelous job land planning the resort. That's what sells real estate at Hidden Valley. I am afraid that the new condo development will not use this same creative land planning practices, thus we'll have you typical, suburban, cookie cutter, max density/ acre layout.
gizmosnow
August 14, 2006
Member since 10/6/2005
269 posts
Unfortunately, I've been inundated with work and unable to get to HV practically all summer,
So, did you happen to notice any paint cans or any sign of maintenance/renovation????
In am aware that they opened the group sales office for season pass sales but that is just a tidly sign of progress.
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
August 14, 2006
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
I passed by the ski lodge and did not see any outward signs of any maintenance efforts. There are folks who are concerned that the lifts have not been maintained and may present some safety concerns. Perhaps they are waiting until October for a major push. Who knows... they wouldn't want to actually communicate with the community members, now would they. I broke down and bought a ski pass, despite the fact that I do alot of belly aching about the place. But why else would I have bought a slopeside place. I've heard rumors that Sunburst is back in the picture.
SkiBoarder
August 15, 2006
Member since 05/22/2006
44 posts
We have been up a couple times this summer and really have not noticed any repairs/maintenance. Did notice the newspaper insulation/hole repair in a couple of the ski lift huts. We will be there for Labor day and probably hike the mountain as usual. Used to bike it but the trails are shot. At least there is Forbes for riding. Miss the BC obstacles and the technical descents east of Voyager and Charger. I also bought a ski pass for the same reason, we have a place a short walk from Continental.
Frederick
August 15, 2006
Member since 07/26/2006
79 posts
I drove through this weekend and went for a run around the area. Doesn't look like there is any progress. Not only has no painting begun but the walkways are over grown with weeds. The side road barriers are all rotting away and falling down. I walked around the hotel and it is deserted and pools empty. I kept saying that this place has so much potential. The lodge and hotel are all built with the Vermont feel, stone, wood, gardens and a great layout.

It is almost unbelievable that the Kettler's would use this as a tax shelter(loss) on purpose. If they ran the resort right, the value of the real estate and new development would way offset what they would pay in taxes. Its like taking gold and trying to turn it into lead just so you don't have to pay 30 cents on the $100 dollars you have made. I am confused as to why the whole area has not taken more of an active role in making this a great place. Somerset county, homeowner's association, Real Estate agencies, local buisnesses, all have a stake in the success of this resort.
Does anyone really know whats going on? I can't imagine being a real estate agent and taking people who are looking to buy a condo in a resort and walking them by the lodge...there is no excuse for the weeds and lack of lawncare. If they don't plan on opening any of the resort amenities during summer, the least they can do is keep the weeds cut and landscape pretty.
Just driving by and seeing the camping sites and RV parks loaded with people enjoying the Laurel Highlands. The area is loaded with people. People aren't coming to Hidden Valley beacuse the place isn't maintained not because there aren't people. Clean the place up, rent out the spaces to people for weddings, local classes, events, car shows, farmer's markets, local buisnesses, etc...people stopped coming because the place is a mess not because the convention/events industry has declined. Open up the Outback side parking lot for camper's and RVs, people would love the hiking and ponds. If your going to do something do it well......
britrac
August 15, 2006
Member since 08/15/2006
1 posts
I am new member and am intrigued with the amount of dialogue on this subject. I currently have a townhouse at the Summit and am building a Spec House on Lake road, which is 95% complete. I originaly made the investment in HV and was encouraged because of how hot the real estate market was up there and compared to 7springs. However, I am completely discouraged about getting the value I want out of the spec house. I worked with 3 different Realtors and they showed my spec house to only 5 people. the consensus is that realtors, outside of Northwood realty, will show property at 7 springs before they go to HV, because of the lack of ownership participation. They do not expect things to get any better or a change in their "selling" attitude until some major change happens to the resort i.e. sale. I was just there last week and did not see any manintenace being done. Of the few things that is perplexing with HV, the passivity of the homeowners that make HV their primary residence is unusual. I have talked with homeowners at HV recently and they seem to be in a wait and see mode, for however long it takes.
Taylormatt
August 15, 2006
Member since 12/3/2004
339 posts
Quote:

We have been up a couple times this summer and really have not noticed any repairs/maintenance. Did notice the newspaper insulation/hole repair in a couple of the ski lift huts. We will be there for Labor day and probably hike the mountain as usual. Used to bike it but the trails are shot. At least there is Forbes for riding. Miss the BC obstacles and the technical descents east of Voyager and Charger. I also bought a ski pass for the same reason, we have a place a short walk from Continental.




Things are really messed up there as far as biking goes and I hope it comes back to it's former glory...

But if you are looking for good MTB'ing, check us out at 7S, lots of new trails and hopefully, more to come.

We (as a whole) have (had even better before the logging) great trails from 7S, through Roaring Run to HV then on to Northwoods, across the Pike to Laurel Mtn. The only thing missing now is the good HV trails and tech stuff that used to be there. Hopefully it can be brought back after the logging is cleaned up
casey
August 15, 2006
Member since 11/21/2005
37 posts
I agree with you frederick. I do not understand why, in particular, the homeowners association does not take a more active role in the future of the resort. I hope many people will attend the meeting this Friday and encourage the assoc. to band together and get involved.
hockeydave
August 16, 2006
Member since 06/30/2004
769 posts
Is there really anything the homeowners can do that pertains to the actual resort property? It seems to me that not a whole lot can be done except expresing one's concern/anger at HV ownership. To me it's sort of like having a neighbor who won't maintain his house/yard... as long as there are no local ordinances requiring some upkeep, not a whole lot can be done.

I hope for the sake of all homeowners and skiers things change for the better @ HV. It would be sad if it turned into another Bear Rocks just outside of Mt Pleasant (see Lost Ski Areas on DCSki homepage)
Frederick
August 16, 2006
Member since 07/26/2006
79 posts
I am not a homeowner at HV, but I am intrigued about buying property here. However, it is never going to happen unless the resort makes some improvements. I assume that I am thinking along the same lines as other interested purchasers. This should bother HV homeowner's because the value of your property is weighted by the comsumer and I'm a potential consumer.

I think knowledge is power, the more the homeowner's know what is really going on makes it easier to determine the right direction. How can you have 1200 homeowners, HV employees, Somerset county, real estate companies, local buinesses that all depend on the success of the resort and no one knows what is really going on?

I would send out letters every week to all the parties involved to get to the bottom of this. Why is a successful homebuilder from the DC area (especially with the recent real estate boom) neglecting this resort with such great potential? Places like Hidden Valley with all its amenities and beauty just aren't available with such proximity to major cities. This is why the homeowner's bought here in the first place. Otherwise they would have bought a place in the woods somewhere with no amenities. Now they are watching it all disappear for no good reason.

We can debate about every reason why the Kettler's are neglecting the resort but none of them truely make any sense. If they are devaluing it for tax reasons, this can only last for so long until the place goes under. This is a no win for everyone. Especially when they can be making more money by develpoment that would offset any tax burdens (the resort and development go hand in hand). If they are trying to sell it, why not bring the value up by maintaining it? The Kettler's know how to run a buisness. Even their webpage for the home building company is way more advanced than the HV website. The signs for their new develpoments are nice and new, I'm sure they could get together some new signs for HV in a day. I'm sure they know some good landscapers. I am sure Kettler's have built relationships with many companies over the last 20 years that can provide good prices for things this resort needs. Homeowners can't make good decisions if they don't know the truth of whats really going on.
hockeydave
August 16, 2006
Member since 06/30/2004
769 posts
I agree it makes no sense to let HV fall into ruin, especially if KB have the resources to maintain it. My guess is that KB just assume they have to outlay zero capital for upkeep because no matter what they do (or don't do), they'll make just as much money.
casey
August 16, 2006
Member since 11/21/2005
37 posts
Why can't a group of homeowners form a committee to meet with the Kettlers at there headquaters and talk about the future of the resort?
Frederick
August 17, 2006
Member since 07/26/2006
79 posts
That is a good idea. I think that committee is already established, "The HOA". Homeowners are paying for it with their dues. The HOA should be doing everything to protect the interest of the homeowners.
nic223
August 17, 2006
Member since 02/21/2006
90 posts
Nobody will meet with you is the problem.

On another note Sunburst is back in the mix and are seriously interested in buying the resort. It is funny that there is new construcion proposed, and at the same time there is a serious buyer for the resort.
Frederick
August 17, 2006
Member since 07/26/2006
79 posts
I have searched all over for new news on the HV purchase. Whats the word and who are we getting it from that Sunburst is back in the hunt?
nic223
August 17, 2006
Member since 02/21/2006
90 posts
There has been nothing formally announced as far as the news goes. The director of golf for Glenwood Country Club, which is owned by Sunburst was in last week to look at the HV golf course.
Frederick
August 17, 2006
Member since 07/26/2006
79 posts
Interesting. I hope the intent isn't to just buy the golf course?
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
August 17, 2006
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
To answer some of the questions raised, there is a Committee that is supposed to be addressing these issus which is separate from the Hidden Valley Foundation. The Foundation governs the Hidden Valley Community, not the Resort and the Foundation Board is stacked with a 5 - 4 majority in favor of the Resort. Thus, there is only so much they can do to get the Resort. However, there are members of the Board who are supposed to represent the home owners which I believe are too friendly with the Resort. The Hidden Valley Steering Committee was established to address the fact that the home owner reps on the Board were not aggresively pursuing the homeowner's interest. However, due to the erratic schedule of their meetings, they never seem to develop any momentum.
I too have heard that Sunburst is back in the picture.

nic223
August 17, 2006
Member since 02/21/2006
90 posts
No it was my understanding Sunburst is interested in everything. I would think this guy needs to put a number on how much it would cost to rehab the course.
Frederick
August 17, 2006
Member since 07/26/2006
79 posts
Sunburst Hospitality selects L.E.T. Group to provide websites and hotel internet marketing services.

http://www.letgroup.com
BushwackerinPA
August 17, 2006
Member since 12/9/2004
649 posts
posting someone personal email address on a web forum is not very polite thing to do. Mods/Snowsmith take it down. Snowsmith you seem like an ok guy, I know you are bitter about Hidden Valley alot of people are, good you have his email address you cna email it but just imagine if someone did that to you.....
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
August 17, 2006
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
While I feel the management of the Resort deserves everything it gets, I understand where your coming from. One day you'll understand where us property owners are coming from. You just ski and don't have your life savings invested in real estate at the resort. One day you'll have to deal with those responsibilities (and you may need to spend money on college tuition). But you are right I will take it down.
BushwackerinPA
August 18, 2006
Member since 12/9/2004
649 posts
thank you SS for taking it down I cant delete my post though. Mods can you delete the last one.
nic223
August 18, 2006
Member since 02/21/2006
90 posts
Snowsmith

You are absolutetly right to post his e-mail address, phone # whatever you have. I feel he needs to give us all some kind of answer for the demise of H.V. If anyone has a problem with posting the e-mail address, or sending an e-mail to Jim's personal e-mail then just send a general e-mail through the Kettler Brothers website, which also list a phone #. This is public info that is available to anyone.
Scott - DCSki Editor
August 19, 2006
Member since 10/10/1999
1,095 posts
I have a problem with personal e-mail addresses being posted on DCSki without the owner's consent: please don't do it. snowsmith: thank you for editing your post. You can find official contact information through the Hidden Valley Resort web site.
Edgar
August 29, 2006
Member since 08/28/2006
33 posts
I have been reading through these posts with great interest.

Those in the DC Area, may have seen the front page article today about Deek Creek and how it is booming with A type personalities from DC looking for extreme sports. This followed a big weekend section featuring Snowshoe. Yet here is HV in it's current situation; Let me offer several observations from a DC perspective:

- The opening of I70 several years ago diverted many Balt/DC folk to Western Maryland. Prior to this it was easier to go to 7S or HV.
- The opening of Whitetail diverted skiers who were happy with a day trip.
- Western PA has been depopulating for years. It now has one of the largest % of elderly in the country. This limits growth from that perspective.
- Through good management and critical mass, 7S has done OK but from reading between the lines their skiing business has been so so. While 7S had lagged HV in real estate for a long time, they are now in the game and see this as a key part of their business. Slots and a waterpark bring even more critical mass.

With all that said, there would appear to be a huge opportunity for whoever will buy HV to pull in some of masses headed to 7S, WISP, and SS, but I believe that it can't just be based on business as usual, even if properly maintained. They really need to redefine HV to the DC/Balt market. For what it's worth, my suggestion is to create a higher end image. Obviously this can require lots of investment, but there are several lower cost high impact ways to do it. For example food and service. What would it take to serve gourmet quality food? Part of the buzz around places like Deer Valley is the quality of food for a ski resort. This image sets the tone for everything else, wich could then follow, including real estate and I am convinced they could easily surpass values at 7S by taking this approach and attract plenty of high income cityfolks.

Obviously there are other things as well such as partnerships with the developers next door who would share similar interests.

Amyway, that's my .02. Hopefuly some of the potential investors read this thread and agree, and would certainly like to hear from anyone with additional ideas or comments.
tromano
August 29, 2006
Member since 12/19/2002
998 posts
Quote:

cityfolks.




See heres where your wrong. Cityfolks--it just doesnt work. I mean I moved to the city to get away from the folks. Discuss.
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
August 29, 2006
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
Edgar - first of all, welcome to our forum. I couldn't agree with you more. HV was once describe to me as sort of a private club. And 7Springs appeals to the masses. The housing developments at HV are a cut above 7Springs. It's just the resort facilities that lag behind. However, given that their ain't many City Folks up there on Tuesday - Friday, you need those local country folks to spend some money on vittils and moonshine. Thus you can't make it too high end. I suggest you continue the family theme and add an ice rink. Folks in Somerset County would love an ice rink. Yet, we can still have some over priced gourmet food to keep the well heeled lawyers and beauracrats from DC happy. Look at how many advertisements show up in the Sunday Real Estate section for resort real estate in Delaware. Why not the Laurel Mountains?
Frederick
August 29, 2006
Member since 07/26/2006
79 posts
Welcome Edgar. If you read through the message board on this topic, you will see lots of great ideas for this resort. Snowsmith cranked out a whole page on upgrades. For the true skiers, make it harder. For the Apres, more non skiing activities. Nicer, finer, better..private maybe a combination of all.......they are all good ideas. You are right Deer Valley has created a different niche in the mass of Utah resorts. Hidden Valley can do the same. The model is out there. The problem is none of these ideas are worth crap if the owners don't see potential. Or they don't sell the place. The resort sits idle with a great community (vacation homes), lakes, Vermont style lodge and hotel, Spa, Golf...etc....basically rotting away in the middle of the beautiful highlands. The real estate alone will bring people up to the mountain, you are talking about 1200 homes (a small city). But people are going to shy away from buying the real estate if the resort is a mess. All parts of hidden Valley rely on each other for success. The mystery is why the owner's are willing to let the place go........places like this just don't rise out of the ground.....
Frederick
August 29, 2006
Member since 07/26/2006
79 posts
Here is a question. If HV is still up for sale, wouldn't it be smart to let the public/commercial world know? The more competition there is to buy the resort the better. There is no information out there. If the Kettler's are only working with Sunburst....what is the hold up?

Has anyone ever thougt of HV amd LM working as a team with one lift ticket to both?
tromano
August 29, 2006
Member since 12/19/2002
998 posts
Quote:

With all that said, there would appear to be a huge opportunity for whoever will buy HV to pull in some of masses headed to 7S, WISP, and SS, but I believe that it can't just be based on business as usual, even if properly maintained. They really need to redefine HV to the DC/Balt market. For what it's worth, my suggestion is to create a higher end image. Obviously this can require lots of investment, but there are several lower cost high impact ways to do it. For example food and service. What would it take to serve gourmet quality food? Part of the buzz around places like Deer Valley is the quality of food for a ski resort. This image sets the tone for everything else, wich could then follow, including real estate and I am convinced they could easily surpass values at 7S by taking this approach and attract plenty of high income cityfolks.




Welcome to DCSki.

I just wanted to expand on my 1 liner earlier. The numbers of DC area people coming to mountain resorts are not masses, certianly not when you consider them realative to the 4 million in the DC area. I do not even believe that 7S draws the majority of its patrons from DC, every time I meet people skiing there they are from Pittsburgh or are even more closely located.

I think that for the most part that the DC area residents are an untapped resource. These mountian resorts primarily serve the outdoor enthusiasts as described in the Post article. However the DC area is a very diverse community. It is diverse geographicly, preofessionally, culturally and ethnicly, socially, economicly, linguisticly, nationally, and with respect to religion. I think the resorts that have been most succesful have been those that have tried hardest to target other groups besides the outdoor enthusiasts. Courting these groups is not necessarily a mater of adding more luxurious acomodations or hihger quality food becuase these services may not be particualrly valued by they new group.

7Springs does this to a certain extent with the different festivals, concerts, and other events which they host year round. and by addind new facilities like the gambling, water park etc... I personally think that if HV or any resort can focus on a few different groups and provide a high quality of service then it will have cultivated a very lucrative and valuble niche to complement the outdoor enthusiasts.
gizmosnow
August 29, 2006
Member since 10/6/2005
269 posts
Just returned from vacation and was expecting to see a post re: what occurred at last weeks homeowners mtg. Anyone attend who can give us the latest JS BS?
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
August 29, 2006
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
From what I hear, nothing happened at the Board meeting except complacency.
Edgar
August 30, 2006
Member since 08/28/2006
33 posts



The numbers of DC area people coming to mountain resorts are not masses, certianly not when you consider them realative to the 4 million in the DC area. I do not even believe that 7S draws the majority of its patrons from DC, every time I meet people skiing there they are from Pittsburgh or are even more closely located.




I would agree with you that in general, the masses are really not going to any of these resorts, and there is an untapped opportunity there. My point was that for those who do go to a mountain resort from the DC area, there is nothing about HV that makes it stand out over the other options, and I believe that HV needs to tap into this market rather than trying to continue as a middle class family resort reliant on western PA.
When I was at HV on a holiday weekend last year on a perfect day in middle of the season, I was on one hand happy to find no lines at either the lift or resturaunt, but at the same time convinced that from a business perspective something has to change if this place was to thrive.

You bring up a good point that none of these places cater to diversity and I agree more could be done. On one hand larger resorts like 7S will always be able to do more events, and slots will make it even more profitable to pull visitors in. While on the other hand, due to the smaller size it would be easier for HV to change and get to be known for higher quality service and focus on such groups.

I've been focusing on the food quality as an initial front of differentiation because of it setting a quality tone, at relatively low cost to the resort. The cost is in the resort facilities and labor which you have whether you serve PA buffet quality, or something better. The difference is in the imagination of management, and the marketing of the image to the right focus groups.
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
August 30, 2006
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
Edgar - don't expect any of your suggestions to be addressed by the current management. They have no vision and they don't know how to make money with the exception of selling real estate. The current manager of the resort operation is completely clueless (confirmed by many employees)as you can probably tell. If a new owner comes along who has the vision, creativity and capital to make the resort a vibrant place, then perhaps your suggestions may become reality.
Frederick
August 30, 2006
Member since 07/26/2006
79 posts
Check it out: MOUNTAIN OPERATIONS MANAGER
Hours of operation: 9am - 10pm / 7 days a week. 28 slopes 8 lifts.
Duties include: managing and supervising lift operations, snowmaking and grooming. Position will report to Director of Property Operations. Must have minimum of 4 years experience in ski operations management. This position requires at least 50-60 hours a week.
tromano
August 30, 2006
Member since 12/19/2002
998 posts
Just to give an example of what I am talking about look at Timberline and the boy scouts. As a former scout myself (my troop actually skied wisp) I know that athe vast majority of DC areaa scouts skied timberline for their annual ski trip. Timberline provides bunkhouse accomodations that the scouts prefer. Almost every time I ski there (once a season or so) I end up meeting someone on the lift who is with a scout group or who is related to scouting in some way. That is what I mean by creating a niche market.
Frederick
August 30, 2006
Member since 07/26/2006
79 posts
Edgar. I like your ideas but you can't serve fine food in a wreck of a place. The place needs some paint/maintenance and some nice landscaping first. The place is lacking some essentials. HV can succeed by creating a different marketing approach.

Again the question is why haven't the owner's pursued any of these ideas. You would think that the Kettler's with all their experience in developing would be the perfect owner for a resort like this. They have developed relationships with marketing firms and advertisers for 20 years. They have the ability and knowledge to build and improve the lodge, hotel and other facilities. They have the knowledge of building great villages/homes on the mountain with great layouts. They have the equipment and excavating knowledge to move ground to increase the difficulty of some slopes (change the pitch or angles). The Kettler's contimue to build other communities with success but they are neglecting HV.

I still can't comprehend how they can be building/for sale brand new homes and condos and just leave the lodge in ruins. If they just put some money into painting and simple maintenance into the place, I would imagine that the values of the homes/condo would increase dramatically. More people would want to buy there as opposed to being hesitant. Real estate demand is where they are going to make their money. Get the people up to the mountain, throw in some nice ameneties, some festivals(diversity), some good food and entertainment, some good skiing, and people will buy these places that they are building for thousands more than what they are selling for now.
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
August 30, 2006
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
The problem is Frederick is that you are making sense. The management at HV is completely clueless in my opinion as you probably noticed. Otherwise the place would be fixed up and successful. Why don't you e-mail your suggestions to the Resort and see what kind of response you get.
snosnugums
August 30, 2006
Member since 04/10/2006
126 posts
Hey Frederick - do you have $22 million to buy the place. You and Snowsmith have presented some good ideas in this forum. Why don't both of you buy it. I think the potential of the ski mountain is somewhat limited. You can't get much more vertical out of it. Perhaps you can get a few upper blues if you expand the 'Outback' area. But it's never going to be much more than a very nice family mountain. No one mentions what once was the best cross country facility in the Mid-Atlantic (excepting White Grass). They just don't promote it. I like the idea of the ice rink since there are none near 7Springs or HV. It could be a year round attraction for hockey leagues and recreational skaters.
Leo
August 31, 2006
Member since 11/15/2005
265 posts
"Member" owned would be an option. Like a country club with bonds and iniation fees and dues...although, I tend to prefer concentrated, private ownership otherwise you end up with politics and bueracracy getting in the way. Of course, the Kettlers are private owners and look where that's getting us.
Frederick
August 31, 2006
Member since 07/26/2006
79 posts
The idea is to make the resort well rounded (diversified). Its not just the skiing. Many resorts are tremendously successful with mediocore skiing (this is a 4 season resort). I don't have $22M, but that doesn't decrease my consumer sense and in the end its about getting people up to the mountain. You can take any buisness that is successful and draw some conclusions about why they are successful. Its beacuse they are clean, maintained, friendly staff, customer oriented, etc.

You have a beautiful 4 seasons resort in the highlands with all the amenities in the world (lakes, skiing, golf, pools, tennis, hotel, condos, hiking, natural beauty, spa etc.) plus great real estate opportunities.....places to stay keep people on the mountain...........and your telling me its a lost cause?

People are buying $400k condos at Whitetail with only 18 trails and less cold weather. The golf course is down the road 2 miles and there are no summer activities except for people who want to fish. Bring a book and read in your $400 condo in the summer. Whitetail is successful under SnowTime. The same with Ski Liberty, limited trails, limited difficulty (we are talking 50 feet of steep) and yet this place has made a niche with conventions/meeting spaces/weddings and skiing in the winter.

I mean come on, clean the place up, start off once a month doing local car shows, some art festivals, local band contests out on the lodge patio, get the community involved, get the 1200 homeowners involved in activities(they are the core), have themed BBQs, get back into weddings and do it well, outdoor festivals, sports weekends, etc... work with the community and build long last relationships....work with Northwood Realty and throw real estate conventions, work with local buisness in Somerset.....start adding some other amenities that have been suggested....You have to start with what people see first....put in some nice log buildings as little shops or deli (like snowsmith mentioned), work with the mining company and use nice rocks as barriers and landscaping, intergrate stone walls like SS has done.

Adverstise in Pitt, DC, Baltimore, not just highlands, (I see cars at Snowshoe from Ohio and Florida, they advertise everywhere) it takes me 5 hours to get to snowshoe and I live 3 away, change the webpage, there is this untapped market that people haven't even heard of HV or even SS but want to spend weekends in the mountains.
Run the ski operation in the winter, difficulty doesn't just mean steep, designate some slopes and let them mogal up all winter long. Add more terrain parks and advertise them like they are monsters. Advertise tree and glades...."New at Hidden Valley this year The Spruce Glades........If I hear that on the radio or see it in the newspaper and I'm like I want to try that.....remember all skiers aren't experts but they still like some challanges.

Some effort is better than no effort and to add on to that, no one knows what the heck is going on..........
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
August 31, 2006
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
Frederick - You obviously have some great ideas that don't cost alot of money that will "put heads on bed" as they say. Meaning it draws people to the Resort. But what you don't get is that the people running the place don't have an original idea in their head. Look at the web site. It looks like a high school computer science project. It is obvious that they are unwilling to pay the web site guy any money to produce an interesting and exciting web site. We need to get a new owner. Period. Or nothing is going to happen.
Frederick
August 31, 2006
Member since 07/26/2006
79 posts
Snowsmith....you are right.........I guess they are clueless.
Leo
September 1, 2006
Member since 11/15/2005
265 posts
Sad to say this is in the Pittsburgh Tribune Review today:

Laurel Mountain Ski Resort won't open

By The Tribune-Review
Friday, September 1, 2006

Laurel Mountain Ski Resort, situated in part of the 493-acre Laurel Mountain State Park south of Route 30 on Laurel Ridge, will not open this winter.

Seven Springs Farm Inc. operated the 64-acre ski area, known as The Springs at Laurel Mountain, for the Somerset Trust Co. during the 2004-05 ski season. The bank took control of the resort, which offered 18 slopes and trails, in 2004 after foreclosing on a $1 million loan by previous owner George Mowl.

At this point, however, Seven Springs isn't planning to operate the slopes this year. The slopes were closed last year as well.

Various concessionaires operated the resort under agreements with the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources before the slopes closed for nearly 10 years beginning in the late 1980s. The resort reopened in 1998, when Mowl made a deal with the state to rebuild the resort in exchange for a lease through at least 2033.


Warm weather, lackluster snowfalls and limited snowmaking capabilities hurt efforts to make the ski area more of a success.
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
September 8, 2006
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
Some good news. When I was visiting Hidden Valley this past weekend, I noticed a backhoe parked on the main beginner slope next to the magic carpet lift. So they are actually doing something. Additionally, a large pile of dirt was dumped on the Imperial slope...don't know what it is for. Additionally, the indoor pool has been refurbished I understand and Mountain Resort Properties is renting space in that building. On a sour note check out the pitifull marketing effort on the HV website for the new condo development.Anyone of us could come up with something better.
gizmosnow
September 8, 2006
Member since 10/6/2005
269 posts
Yes, but...
the activity on the beginners slope is new water line -- homeowners (fees) are paying for that, not resort.
Pool has been refurbed but, it still leaks so will need shut down, again.
Dirt on Imperial has been there awhile- clueless other than a convenient dump site.
Hear discussions with Sunburst are going...but very slowly, at best.
It is getting depressing!
nic223
September 11, 2006
Member since 02/21/2006
90 posts
I heard the financing for the new Summit condo's has fallen through. How is the resort going to stay operational with no cash flow once the golf course closes?
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
September 11, 2006
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
I bought a season pass so they better stay operational. I was wondering why we did not see any construction starting. Check out the marketing material for the new condos on the HV website. A high school marketing studedt could have been more creative than this. If I'm the boss the marketing guy gets fired the next day after I see that.
gizmosnow
September 11, 2006
Member since 10/6/2005
269 posts
I've been told by a homeowner that 'JSc' was overheard saying that his sole responsibility at this point is to sell the resort and (apparently as an 'aside'), to get ready for this ski season.
Unfortunately, he may not be doing too good of a job at either!
nic223
September 12, 2006
Member since 02/21/2006
90 posts
That is a lot of responsability for some who has achieved absolutely nothing for the resort. I here that he will make a sizeable percentage if he sells the resort. Talk about a dream job. Run a resort into the ground over ten years while making a nice paycheck, then turn around and sell the mess you made and get rewarded for it. Sign me up.
Frederick
September 12, 2006
Member since 07/26/2006
79 posts
The web page stands for everything else that is wrong. It is the cover, the target, the face sheet. It is the first thing the majority of people are going to look for when seeking information about the resort/skiing/condo rentals/etc. I can't believe that the people incharge of marketing think this is acceptable? I can't believe the Kettler's think this is acceptable. Their own development web site is much more advanced. I can't beleive they don't use the same web developer for Hidden Valley? You are building these nice condos and the marketing resembles the rest of the poor website. I am surprised that they have even advertised for the condos/put them on the market without wrapping up the financing for them, is that against the law?

If the people incharge of selling the resort are doing a good job than why doesn't anyone know whether or not its even for sale? Wouldn't you think that it would be better to get the word out to the commercial industry that this place is for sale. They put one ad in USA today months ago and got several bids. Just think of the potential buyers if they made a serious effort to advertise the sale. Even if Sunburst is still in the running, it would be more of an advantage and more competitive to have other interested parties. Competition is good. It creates productivity.
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
September 12, 2006
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
Fred - your problem is that your not smoking the same weed as HV management, Hidden Valley Gold. Everything looks great after a few tokes of HV Gold..............
Man - we don't need no marketing. And maintenance on the ski lodge, we think it looks awesome with the peeling paint. And how about those 'reality' type photos we used for marketing the new condos. Cough! Cough! Sorry. When things don't work out, like the Inn, Conference Center, the Sports Center, the Restuarants, man, its just bad Kharma. And if we need some cash, we'll improve the forest by cutting those darn unhealthy trees and selling the logs. This is what we call sustainable development, except we ran out of trees. Cough! Cough! Every thing is lookin good here at HV, man.
Edgar
September 15, 2006
Member since 08/28/2006
33 posts
A few points of intrest per latest Abe and Wags Realty site:

- For the first time, more homes have been sold in 7S vs HV
- Rumor has it that the new owners of 7S want to upgrade the hotel to 4 star as part of renovations
- Majority of 7S buyers are from PA, but almost half are not
nic223
September 21, 2006
Member since 02/21/2006
90 posts
Hidden Valley started cutting in the new road on Tuesday for the new summit condo's. I guess we will see if the financing rumor is true. I suspect they are just cutting the road in so it looks like they are actually doing something productive.
Frederick
September 21, 2006
Member since 07/26/2006
79 posts
Thanks for the update. It still appears as if they are going to go into this winter season with out making some needed updates like painting the lodge. Will the hotel open this winter? Not sure why anyone would want to buy the resort and start basicallly from scratch, meaning the core HV skiers are going elsewhere and a new owner willl have to try very hard to bring them back. If they want to sell the resort for a reasonable price try keeping the skiers and visiters happy, companies would be more interested in buying a place with a solid base of customers and income flow.
gizmosnow
September 21, 2006
Member since 10/6/2005
269 posts
Actually, you may be right or wrong on that!
One significant component in the sale of an ongoing concern such as HV is a CAP(itilization) rate on current income (more correctly referred to as EBIDTA). Oftentimes, it is more attractive to a buyer to purchase a business that is 'depressed' but with good upside potential because they can get it at an attractive price (i.e., EBIDTA is low, CAP rate is high). EG., purchase HV cheap because it is run down and lost customers, throw some cheap paint on it, invest in some advertising and, with a little time, business is booming again and you make a healthy return.
The irony, of course, is that Kettler is willing to run the place down but still expects top dollar!! I think that if Kettler lets the place go long enough, eventually he will have to dump it cheap and there will be plenty of investors out there who recognize the 'upside potential' and the opportunity for a healthy profit. For those of us who want to enjoy HV now, though, it can be a lengthy and painful process.
(Just being a devils advocate here)
Edgar
September 21, 2006
Member since 08/28/2006
33 posts
I can't understand how they can open this year without paying the power bill if they still owe $500K.
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
September 21, 2006
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
They do not owe $500k on the power bill. The last time it was checked there was I believe a $90k lien on file by the power company. I do not know if that lien has been satified. What contractor was stupid enough to do the earthwork for the access road. If they check at the Somerset Court House there are other unsatified liens on file. What amazes me is the complacency of the residents and HV Board on this issue. The place continues to slide down the toilet, yet no one is lifting a finger to do anything about it. Truly amazing!
Edgar
September 22, 2006
Member since 08/28/2006
33 posts
Meanwhile things appear to be moving forward next door to HV as per Tribune Democrat:

- $1M State Grant (Wonder what't up with this?)
- A couple of ideas for commercial ventures??
- Looking to get started asap

http://www.tribune-democrat.com/siteSearch/apstorysection/local_story_262230423.html
Frederick
September 22, 2006
Member since 07/26/2006
79 posts
Interesting but if you wait too long with this strategy it could go wrong and the place could go under. High Risk, especially if they can't find a buyer in good time. I guess the Kettler's have given up hope on the resort and have decided to stay strong with the direction they have chosen......but why start building new condos if they plan to sell it? On one end they are depressing the resort and on the other building brand new homes and condos. Why such different approaches when each component of the resort rely on each other for success? It is confusing.
gizmosnow
September 22, 2006
Member since 10/6/2005
269 posts
I think, probably, because duscussions continue with Sunburst, albeit slowly, and they have to make some effort to show some forward progress/growth. I'm thinking (hoping) that, for the same reason, we may see them hit the lifts with some paint here soon (although, probably just one coat!).
Frederick
October 4, 2006
Member since 07/26/2006
79 posts
Any updates or gosip that Hidden Valley is going to make some improvements? Any word from the HV HOA? Any word on Sunburst still being interested? Its been over a year since the resort went up for sale and nothing in the form of good news has taken place. No movement at all.
Edgar
October 4, 2006
Member since 08/28/2006
33 posts
I was there last weekend and everything appears to be stalled from what I could tell.

In case anyone is interested, I saw that there is 82 acres of wooded land for sale which would appear to join the backside of HV for $299K and could be subdivided into many lots. Access is from Rt 31, but I am told that one could work out a right-of-way to Gardner Rd.

Putting things in perspective, looking through local real estate guides, $299K will buy you a not so great townhouse in Crofton.
Leo
October 4, 2006
Member since 11/15/2005
265 posts
Did you notice the repair work on Gardner Rd? If you ain't going to do something at least half right, why do it at all? That kind of patch/fill wouldn't hold up in a driveway, much less on a road in a mountain resort. I am not real upbeat about HVs prospects for the season, but I guess time will tell.
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
October 4, 2006
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
For those of us fools who purchased a season pass, I am praying that they will open since it is the only source of income that they have other than home sales. I don't expect a great season with 100 % terrain opening unless we receive mucho snow. I keep hearing rumors that Sunburst is still pursuing purchase of the resort. Dundee's Restuarant is supposed to open in December including the 'Koala Cove Wine Bar" on Friday nights. The wine bar is nice but the whole Australian Outback theme I think it stupid. Why not have a theme that relates to the area like the "Laurel Glade Inn" or something.
jtone
October 4, 2006
Member since 10/4/2006
1 posts
Edgar, could you expand on your comments about the access and subdivision. I looked at that lot and it does border Hidden Valley, but I did not see any possible right of way option from Gardner, either due to topographical issues or property lines and the subdivision option is very involved with on lot sewage. The existing access also limits subdivision options.
Edgar
October 5, 2006
Member since 08/28/2006
33 posts
Re the property by HV, I spoke the listing agent and they mentioned that a right of way was being offered by another property owner to Gardner Rd. Don't have any more details than that.
gizmosnow
October 6, 2006
Member since 10/6/2005
269 posts
So, I've been told, at least, that the inspection of the chairlifts is currently underway and that they will be painted this month -- also, that they are planning to paint the clock tower (but probably not the rest of the peeling bldg).
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
October 10, 2006
Member since 03/15/2004
1,287 posts
I heard a very strong report, although unconfirmed, from a well place source that Hidden Valley has been sold to a wealthy fellow named Tim McCormack from Westmorland County. I also heard (Oh Yes!!!) that John Scanlon has been fired. Please stay tuned.
Edgar
October 10, 2006
Member since 08/28/2006
33 posts
That is big news. Finally... I googled this guy Tim Mccormak and didn't come up with anything. Any idea as to who is is and what he has planned?
Frederick
October 10, 2006
Member since 07/26/2006
79 posts
SWEET! Snowsmith more info.........
LMV
October 10, 2006
Member since 06/1/2005
60 posts
Try Tim Mccormick
gizmosnow
October 10, 2006
Member since 10/6/2005
269 posts
Probably 2-3 weeks ago I had heard that an individual who was local (I was told either greensburg, latrobe. ligonier - can't remember but all are in westmoreland) was evaluating hv on behalf of a group of about 5 investors. But, at the time, the folks who told me 'blew it off' as not serious and so did I.
Let's hope it was real!

((I've heard that mccormack is a former hv homeowner from several years ago...if anyone happens to have an old homeowners directory lying around, you might locate him there))
JCHobbes
October 10, 2006
Member since 09/12/2005
94 posts
My mother knows Tim Mccormick, and I don't know if it's the same guy, but how many Tim Mccormick's could there be in this county. He's an attorney in Greensburg, he's the typical small-town lawyer, and does pretty much everything.

He's wealthy, enough to buy a condo, but not to buy HV. And my mom says he's not the type of guy that would be buying a ski resort even if he had the money. But it is possible that he's representing the buyer.
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