Intrawest interested in Canaan Valley SP
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tgd
June 19, 2006
Member since 07/15/2004 🔗
585 posts
Intrawest was one of 3 companies that responded to the recent RFI issued by the West Virginia DNR looking for firms interested in partnering with the state to renovate and upgrade the facilities, including ski area, at CVSP. No detail in the article about what Intrawest actually proposed, but I think its pretty easy to imagine the type of improvements/changes they might offer.

http://www.dailymail.com/news/Business/2006061623/
fishnski
June 19, 2006
Member since 03/27/2005 🔗
3,530 posts
I hope the powers to be don't waste the time & money to build these "Mini" lifts to get to the main slopes.Start all over...level or use what you need of the old infasructure & bring everything down! Trying to save the recently renovated lodge would be like saving a dollar that would eventually cost you a $100! This Mountain is very scenic with a lot of potential!....Just got back from the keys & Bahamas & even though the trip was tropically beautifull....IT WAS HOTTTTTT...Let it Snow!!!!
Clay
June 19, 2006
Member since 04/11/2006 🔗
555 posts
Reading the article, it seems like the upgrades are several years off at least (after an act of the WV Legislature). Still, anybody want to speculate what it would mean for Timberline if this went through?

Clay
yellowdog
June 28, 2006
Member since 10/18/2004 🔗
45 posts
For TL, its gonna mean big pressure to redevelop or die. I could see an outfit like Intrawest wanting to buy out not only TL but also White Grass as well and tie the three resorts together in some way (anyone want to say "synergies?").

One thought, if that happened, would be that some or all of WG would be converted into a housing development or village between the slopes of CV and TL. That's where they would make their money back for upgrading the slopes.

Anyway it goes, the face of CV is going to change. A lot.
DCSki Sponsor: Canaan Valley Resort
gizmosnow
June 28, 2006
Member since 10/6/2005 🔗
269 posts
The curious thing is that several months ago Intrawest publicly announced that they were investigating pursuing the sale of many of their ski resort properties ( in order to concentrate on their other resort (warm weather) destinations). Haven't heard much about that since.
bawalker
June 29, 2006
Member since 12/1/2003 🔗
1,547 posts
Thats what I thought Intrawest was doing too, selling off a few resorts to better dedicate themselves to the resorts they have.
dmh
June 29, 2006
Member since 12/11/2003 🔗
127 posts
It makes sense for Interwest to move now. There are two factors at play. First, Canaan Valley has inherent qualities--snow, climate, natural beauty, etc.--that makes it perhaps the best location for a Mid-Atlantic four season resort. Second, and the one that probably moves them to action now rather than before or later, is the near term prospect of Corridor H opening. I don't think one can understate the effect this is likely to have. If I can currently drive from Arlington to my house in CV in a little under 3 hours, CH will reduce that trip by at least 30 minutes. If the trip is 2 1/4 hours or so (probably no more than 2 from Fairfax westward), many many more people will be willing to invest in CV and to view it as a resonably accessible destination. CV, even without a fully opened CV, has seen explosive growth during the last 5 years. I think Interwest sees this and thinks it will only go up with the opening of more of CH.
bawalker
June 29, 2006
Member since 12/1/2003 🔗
1,547 posts
True, but as we know, CV is extremely limited with little or no onslope building for homes. If a resort destination was to be built, it'd have to be off park land with the resort being a self contained community. Then having shuttles or something to the slopes. Buying out WG for that is an idea, but I definately don't want to see that happen. I also don't see the state spending years mired in political BS debating whether or not to allow commercial building/development on state park land.
tgd
June 29, 2006
Member since 07/15/2004 🔗
585 posts
Folks: WV is not looking to sell Canaan Valley State Park - they are looking for a management company willing the invest in upgrading the park facilities, run the park, and share the revenue and profits. I believe the $$ figures being floated are in the low 10s of millions ($20M I believe), Intrawest has invested well north of $300M in Snowshoe.

The idea is to upgrade the facility, add additional attractions and amenities, upgrade the marketing in the hopes that many more people will come to the resort and be willing to pay more for the pleasure of being there. The trick is finding the sweet spot where there is sufficient return on investment of the $20 or so mil put in over a sufficient period of time that both the state and the management company (be it Intrawest, Guest Services, or someone else) earn enough revenue and profit to make it worthwhile.

In the end, West Virginia owns the park and all the improvements made by its management partner. If they build slopeside accomodations at the ski area - West Virginia will retain the deed for those properties. That's what makes the term of the contract so important to any potential bidder. It's going to take time for them to make back whatever they put into the resort, plus the 40-50%+ margins they would normally expect if they had put that money somewhere else.

That said, since WV polled industry for ideas, it is possible that a bidder could have suggested a deal where there is some transfer of land at the resort to a private concern in return for investments in the existing park. That could provide more fuel for the overall park improvements while removing the contract term as an issue. A company would not need 25 years to recoup the investment if they can develop and sell slopeside property transferred from the park. They could probably make the improvements and recoup their costs in 10 years or less.

Certainly returning public land to private ownership would be popular with many in Tucker County, but I'm not sure how keen the state would be on that idea.
myrto
June 29, 2006
Member since 10/4/2001 🔗
259 posts
I love the valley the way it is with all underachieving lifts and entities.
I hope we can preserve what is so incredibly unique about the area. I hope it never becomes a cash cow for developers and investors. I hope the politics and preservation passion continues to prevent interested parties from ever "snowshoeing" CV. It is as close to perfect as it needs to be. Baby steps of improvements is all we need. The beauty of CV besides the obvious is that if you want ritz and glitz and high speed this or that Wisp is an hour north and Snowshoe is 90 minutes south.
In the middle is paradise and montain state brewing company.

What more could one ask for in this life
tgd
June 29, 2006
Member since 07/15/2004 🔗
585 posts
I hear you and agree 100%. I fear that in these days when no one wants to pay taxes and politicians don't want to stop spending our money that we are on the way to seeing jewels like CVSP and many other parks and properties owned by the public sold off to pay for giveaways to the greedy and needy.

Personally, I am greedy and needful of powder snow - something no amount of taxes or corporate welfare can help. (gratuitous skiing tie-in).
Tucker
June 30, 2006
Member since 03/14/2005 🔗
893 posts
Underachieving is a good description.

Yeah it's nice to have a layed back careless atmosphere at both these mountains or atleast anticorporate anyways. In a way that is why I choose to live in Canaan Valley. But at the same time it would be nice for someone to take over one of these downhill resorts who had just a little bit of an idea of how to run a business and actually knew the ski industry. The way these mountains are run really drives the tourism economy in the valley positively or negatively and directly effects the people who live in the area. I have worked in the ski industry in the winter for ten years and I build houses in the summertime so I am strongly affected by the well being of these resorts as are all the businesses and people who live here. The unleashed potential at both these places is huge and for the most part it is a no brainer for anyone who knows the industry or has any bit of ambition. Although it might result in a change of atmosphere I would welcome any company to move in that might bring more people to the area, actually make the skiing product a priority and begin to compensate their knowledgeable employees fairly. It's a matter of time and in my opinion can be a good thing if planned well. These two resorts are lacking in management when in comes to knowledge of the industry, creativity, basic business know how and customer service. My two cents anyway.
yellowdog
June 30, 2006
Member since 10/18/2004 🔗
45 posts
I don't want to see CV change any more than most of the people who read this, but DAMN! When the bean counters and big developers see a place like CV (I mean the entire valley) that is so pristine and old fashioned, they probably want to howl at the moon with the thought of how much money they could make in "snowshoeing" Canaan.

As I said, if they could tie the three slopes together (whether through outright purchase or leasing), they could capture the income stream from more people skiing there--at higher prices, of course--plus the revenue from real estate sales.

Just look how much Winter Haven lots are selling for! It wasn't that long ago when homes were going for that sum. Now people are willing to pay that just for the dirt!!!

I agree that WV is or soon will be entertaining proposals to sell some of the CVSP land for development. It's money in state coffers now and a big boost in tax income for years to come. As they say--a win-win situation.

The only people against this will those who love the valley as it is and we all know how far that will go...
tgd
June 30, 2006
Member since 07/15/2004 🔗
585 posts
It hit me a couple years ago, driving down Timberline Road on my way home (on a monday, hee hee) after a long wonderful ski weekend. Just as Y-dog wrote - you see how pristine and beautiful, quiet and remote, and above all else REAL the place is and I'm thinking wow this is too nice it can't last. CV has all the stuff (minus a big lake) that marketers of resort living promote. The image in my mind of the valley in ten years is completely different than it is now. The main thing I'll like about it is that I got many years of enjoyment out of it before the explosion - and I bought in early! My feeling is that we are currently experiencing an ebb in the real estate market - particularly for 2nd home - brought on for a number of reasons (mostly high prices and rising interest rates). The market will recover, and my bet is the next boom takes the valley with it.

Still, I like Tucker's thoughts - what if someone could step in who knew the mountain sports business - skiing, hiking, mountain biking? They could make CV the place to go. Just too much to offer.
johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
June 30, 2006
Member since 07/18/2001 🔗
1,918 posts
It would be nice if a company like Intrawest made a major investment in CV. It might even force Timberline's owners to sell out because there's no way Timberline would be able to compete with a greatly improved CV. The best-case scenario would be for Intrawest to buy both resorts and run them on a single ticket with an effective shuttle system running between the two resorts. In return, the state should consider allowing Intrawest to build-up the base area of Canaan Valley a bit. I know this is heresy to some but how else could they justify a 15 million investment? There are other examples of ski resorts being able to build housing on government property, why not CV?

In return for this concession, Intrawest could forego any development around WG and perhaps eventually buy the farm and turn it over to the Wildlife Refuge, which surrounds it on two sides. Of course, the Wildlife Reuge would have to guarantee Nordic skiing on the new aquisition.
myrto
June 30, 2006
Member since 10/4/2001 🔗
259 posts
yellowdog
July 10, 2006
Member since 10/18/2004 🔗
45 posts
Quote:

In return for this concession, Intrawest could forego any development around WG and perhaps eventually buy the farm and turn it over to the Wildlife Refuge, which surrounds it on two sides. Of course, the Wildlife Reuge would have to guarantee Nordic skiing on the new aquisition.




Having a developer keep WG as is would be a critical factor in maintaining some semblance of the Canaan we all know and love.

Unfortunately, the reality of how developers function is a little different, from my experience.

A large company will not be content to make only a "modest" profit. They will want to maximize every opportunity to generate $$$$$$. I bring up the threat to WG because it is so "underultilized" that it practically begs to be redeveloped. Something that is so wonderfully offbeat, lowkey, and colorful does not fit in with a developer's business plans.

Exactly what it would be replaced with would depend on how much the company could get away with in the face of community/environmental/regulatory opposition. They might donate some portions for the wildlife preserve but it will almost certainly be a token gesture purely for PR purposes.

While bringing in outside entities to bring CV more up to snuff with current skiing sensibilities can be a good thing, I am very afraid it would quickly bring an end the CV as we know it. And that, dear friends, is something I am not looking forward to.

I used to ski every year in Colorado from the early 1980s to 2003 and I see a lot of similarities between the Colorado I knew in, say, 1990 and WV today. The same population/development pressures are out there and even a recession or two along the way won't stop the same thing from eventually happening in CV.
tgd
July 10, 2006
Member since 07/15/2004 🔗
585 posts
The Whitegrass ski operation is only a tenant on a working farm owned by the Reed familty (I believe). Its fate is really dependent on the current (and future) landowner's disposition. Most family farmers don't have sons and daughters enamored with the idea of continuing the family business. In many places, the farm itself is the family's 401K, so there comes a time when the family may need/want to cash out. It is hard to get angry with someone trying to maximize the value of the legacy they will pass on to their children and grand children. Happens all the time - just look at Loudon County.
yellowdog
July 10, 2006
Member since 10/18/2004 🔗
45 posts
I didn't know that WG only leased its land! Damn! That means if Intrawest gets the CVSP contract, you can bet they'll come a knockin' on the Reeds' front door pretty damn quick with an offer none of us could refuse.

That means I'd better get a lot of snowshoe time and eat plenty of that vegetarian chili while I can. Then again, maybe I'd better go a little easy on the chili...
johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
July 11, 2006
Member since 07/18/2001 🔗
1,918 posts
The other issue is easements. There may be a conservation easement on the land, which would make it difficult to develop in the future.
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
July 11, 2006
Member since 03/15/2004 🔗
1,334 posts
Are you folks content with the under capitalized, rinky-dink ski operations in the Mid-Atlantic? Look at Timberline (painfully slow lifts), Blue Knob (slow lifts and needy snow making), Laurel Mountain (no investors to open the resort), Hidden Valley (no money/no management)and of course Canaan Valley (one, bottle-necked trail - Canaan Curve that leads to all trails on the mountain). Now let's look at the resorts that are well capitalized - Wisp (expanding trails and lifts), Seven Springs (amazing snow making system and room to expand), Snowtime Resorts (Liberty, Roundtop and Whitetail ( these guys know how to operate a ski area in marginal weather conditions), even Wintergreen ( 6 pack lift and 1,000 feet of vertical). And then ofcourse there is Snowshoe, the largest ski operation in the Mid-Atlantic, a INTRAWEST resort. Skiing is a for profit operation (although there are a few non-pofit resorts in the US, by choice). Unless your a communist, what is wrong with making a profit and investing back into the resort.Intrawest has a track record of investing in and improving the resorts they operate. They really can't develop Canaan since it is within a state park. They could improve the ski area, or the motel-like inn at Canann which is in poor condition and they have a ski area management team a few hours away. So it would be efficient for them to add Canaan to their family. So stop complaining unless you want rinky-dink.
johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
July 12, 2006
Member since 07/18/2001 🔗
1,918 posts
Quote:

They really can't develop Canaan since it is within a state park.




Actually, they can. Much of the new development at Stowe falls within a state park, and there's a long history of private development on public land in the West. If the State thinks it can build its tax base and create jobs by allowing a base village to emerge at CV, it could happen....I'm in favor of an Intrawest take-over of CV. I just hope they also take-over Timberline, which desperately needs the capital, marketing, and know-how that Intrawest brings to the table..
jimmy
July 13, 2006
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
2,650 posts
Quote:

I love the valley the way it is with all underachieving lifts and entities.
I hope we can preserve what is so incredibly unique about the area. I hope it never becomes a cash cow for developers and investors. I hope the politics and preservation passion continues to prevent interested parties from ever "snowshoeing" CV. It is as close to perfect as it needs to be. Baby steps of improvements is all we need. The beauty of CV besides the obvious is that if you want ritz and glitz and high speed this or that Wisp is an hour north and Snowshoe is 90 minutes south.
In the middle is paradise and montain state brewing company.

What more could one ask for in this life




myrto, i don't know how anyone could have said this any better. I don't understand how we got from Intrawest's interest in the CV RFI into them buying the whole valley and turning it into another snowshoe.

Quote:

I'm in favor of an Intrawest take-over of CV. I just hope they also take-over Timberline,




john, really? What do you think they could do to Tline to improve the *skiers* experience. Oh a little faster lift would be nice and maybe some of those mobile homes stacked on top of each other disguised as condos. Do you really want the three ring circus that is snowshoe on the weekend brought to the valley? I don't.
Tucker
July 14, 2006
Member since 03/14/2005 🔗
893 posts
Overcrowded slopes are no fun but I'll tell you what I think is killer fun - yes lifts that allow more than three runs an hour + customer service, some varied terrain(rollers/whales etc.), terrain parks, some bumps (green, blue, and black), and hey how about some powder skiing (for God's sake why would anybody groom fresh powder). What is lacking at Canaan/Timberline is not a corporate machine, it's foresight and a basic understanding of the ski industry and what skiers/snowboarders enjoy. Yeah it's a circus at Snowshoe, but atleast intrawest knows what the product is.
yellowdog
July 18, 2006
Member since 10/18/2004 🔗
45 posts
Quote:

Overcrowded slopes are no fun




No s**t! I woud rather put up with some shortcomings at TLine and CV or bare bones facilities at WG than the mob scene at Snowshoe or some other "corporate" slope. Rocket fast lifts and well groomed slopes and terrain parks are no good when you have every high school, church, and ski club from Florida to Pennsy on the mountain with you. When I was at SS last year, I spent more timing trying to avoid out-of-control skiiers and snowboarders than enjoying myself. Not a lot of fun.

Give me TLine's and CV's shoestring operations and WG's bohemian atmosphere and friendly service any day of the week. I skiied the corporate slopes in Colorado for years and stopped because (a) it costs a freaking fortune to take a family there (b) it has gotten so packaged, planned, and antiseptic it feels like a Disneyland park for adults.

CV is unique and thank God for that!!
Tucker
July 19, 2006
Member since 03/14/2005 🔗
893 posts
Shortcomings??? = ditching the 24 hours of Canaan bike race, grooming the fresh powder every time it dumps, not a single bump on the mountain ???

But still I can appreciate your perspective, however I think there could easily be a fun middleground. ie not corporate crowded circus like yet don't groom the fresh Pow for God's Sake and let some stuff bump up. As long as there marketing consist of spray painting plywood for signage I doubt we will see an overflow of skiers/boarders that is except for boyscouts and churh groups(not to say that those groups don't deserve a chance to enjoy the wonderful sport).

My perspectibe-I guess it's a different when you ski/ride the mountains every day , not just crowded weekends. I also guess it's a different perspective when your lively hood is directly effected by the well being of the resorts and your not just visiting for a vacation(but again it's all good).

I think Whitegrass has it nailed!
Roger Z
July 19, 2006
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
2,181 posts
Getting back to a point made quite a while back- the state is looking for someone to manage the state park facilities. This is a rather different arrangement organizationally than running your own resort. Does Intrawest have any experience in this type of organizational structure? If not, what makes anyone think they'll be successful? This is DC after all- remember AOL Time Warner???
tgd
July 19, 2006
Member since 07/15/2004 🔗
585 posts
The state issued an RFI - they're looking for ideas and are specifically looking for a company to pony up at least $20 million for capital improvements. This is more than a resort services management opportunity. Since Intrawest is interested, their proposal may be quite "visionary" in terms of offering something even bigger to the state - in return for perhaps real estate to develop - a core business for Intrawest. The overall value proposition to the state would be a greatly improved facility, a higher base in real estate taxes from development, and higher tourism - all in exchange for some undeveloped slope side real estate at the park. There is certainly plenty of land to fit hundreds of condos around the base of the Canaan Ski mountain. If they are serious, you can bet Intrawest has its lobbyists roaming the halls of the state capital trying to shape the final acquisition to their favor. Looking from a purely financial point of view, using the return on investment from Snowshoe as a guide, a partnership between Intrawest and the State of West VA to develop Canaan Valley State Park to their mutual benefit is a very compelling case. Just depends how committed Intrawest is to the opportunity (isn't someone still trying a hostile takeover of Intrawest?).

The state will look at the ideas submitted by industry, and eventually turn around an RFP that will incorporate the ideas they liked the most. My bet is that if a real estate exchange is not in the final RFP, then Intrawest would not bid the opportunity.
jimmy
July 19, 2006
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
2,650 posts
IIRC Intrawest is organized in two divisions, one manages the resorts, the other develops real estate. They have been selling their interests in the more mature r/e developments. I don't doubt that ITW would be a big improvement over Guest Services as far as how the ski operation is run, as Tucker said, they know what the product is.

Do you think it's inconceivable that their interest in CV is not contingent on a r/e development deal? They can make money with operations, just not the beeg money there is in Condo's.
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
July 19, 2006
Member since 03/15/2004 🔗
1,334 posts
It is ridiculus to suggest that the state is going to allow some large scale condo development within a state park. IT IS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN. It is against state law. WV has several 'resort' type state parks including Blackwater where there is lodging and golf courses. However, they are not going to allow large scale development in the park. Period.
johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
July 19, 2006
Member since 07/18/2001 🔗
1,918 posts
Quote:

john, really? What do you think they could do to Tline to improve the *skiers* experience. Oh a little faster lift would be nice and maybe some of those mobile homes stacked on top of each other disguised as condos. Do you really want the three ring circus that is snowshoe on the weekend brought to the valley? I don't.




The place needs some $$$ badly. We need new lifts NOW. Intrawest can provide those amenities. The current owners are very nice people and try hard but trying hard is not enough. Timberline needs a major infusion of capital to bring it up to the level of other resorts in the region. It's not going to survive much longer in its present state.

Also, the condos/houses are already starting to stack up. Have you been on the Timberline drive lately?
johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
July 19, 2006
Member since 07/18/2001 🔗
1,918 posts
Quote:

It is ridiculus to suggest that the state is going to allow some large scale condo development within a state park. IT IS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN. It is against state law. WV has several 'resort' type state parks including Blackwater where there is lodging and golf courses. However, they are not going to allow large scale development in the park. Period.




Anything goes in this state. If VT has done it, WV most certainly will do it also for increased tax revenues. You can count on it. That's the only way a company like Intrawest would ever invest 20 million into CV.
Mountain Masher
July 19, 2006
Member since 03/13/2004 🔗
541 posts
I agree! You can be sure that Intrawest wouldn't be showing interest in a possible deal with Canaan Valley SP unless WVA was offering them some sort of "sweetheart" development deal. For a big outfit like Intrawest, there wouldn't be enough money in the ski operation alone, even with some improvements and expansion.
Roger Z
July 19, 2006
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
2,181 posts
You know, it just doesn't make any sense. Intrawest entering into a state-management relationship, when they have already pumped into Snowshoe $400+ million dollars of investment, at a time when they are divesting ski resorts to concentrate on their "core" business (real estate), when they traditionally aim for a diversified portfolio of resorts. What I'm wondering about is... is this a shot across the bow of Bill Bright? Are they worried an MPC development would be a threat to Snowshoe, and are therefore doing some due diligence as to how much it would cost to triangulate Almost Heaven?

Or something like that... I wonder if this doesn't have something to do with MPC (oh, come on, I had to tie in our OTHER favorite subject!). And if it's something like that, Intrawest doesn't need to make a fortune at CV. It's a question of payoffs. $20 million of upgrades at CV... can that be a better investment than $20 million of additional upgrades at Snowshoe? If there's an MPC, they could let Bill Bright dump most of the money in and just free-ride off his expenses by picking up increased day traffic at an enhanced CV resort. It might be a way of gaining a share of revenue they might potentially lose at the Shoe.
Clay
July 19, 2006
Member since 04/11/2006 🔗
555 posts
Quote:

Also, the condos/houses are already starting to stack up. Have you been on the Timberline drive lately?




John,
I haven't been up in a couple of months but will go up at the end of July. By "stacking up" do you mean that there are many for sale? I've been keeping my eye on the CV real estate sites and I've only seen a few listed there. FWIW there's a nice, Northwoods slopeside 2BR + Loft up on Timberline Realty (C6) http://www.timberlinerealty.com/properties.cfm?func=details&lstID=409 for $295,000

Clay
tgd
July 19, 2006
Member since 07/15/2004 🔗
585 posts
Quote:

It is ridiculus to suggest that the state is going to allow some large scale condo development within a state park. IT IS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN. It is against state law. WV has several 'resort' type state parks including Blackwater where there is lodging and golf courses. However, they are not going to allow large scale development in the park. Period.




Spoken like a true governer-for-life! I'm not sure what state law you're referring to, but laws are made by legislators - whose responsibility is decide what provides the best benefit to the citizens of West Virginia and who unfortunately, also tend to cater to special interests with plenty of dollars. Sale/transfer of public property - even park land - is not unheard of. Happens here in Virginia. It's also been a major initiative of the current administration to sell Federal land for private development. Like it or not, in the current political environment - where politicians get re-elected by cutting taxes but still spend public money as if they have a bottomless treasury - my bet is that more and more public land will be leveraged to pay for the corporate and other entitlements our state and federal governments are so fond of.

That said, this is all speculation. (factual part of story) All we know is that Intrawest was one of 3 companies that submitted a response (not a bid) to the state regarding its curiosity over future management and investment options in Canaan Valley State Park. The state estimated it may take $20M in investment to accomplish the improvements they believe are needed. They actually need to change a state law to enable the state to let a long term contract (current limit is 10 years, they want to change it to 20-25 years) that they feel is necessary to entice companies to bid on the job. The rationale behind a long term contract is to give a prospective bidder sufficient time to recoup their investment and make a decent profit.

(back to opinion) Now, I didn't go to business school, but a $20M investment that takes 20 years to pay off doesn't seem to be the kind of thing a company like Intrawest would necessarily be all that interested in. My speculation is that this is an opportunity to propose something a bit "outside the box" so to speak that may offer significantly higher returns over a much shorter timeframe. As I said, when the RFP is finally released (maybe a few years from now), we'll know whose ideas were most appealing to the State of West VA. Then you can revive this thread and commence gloating. I have to agree with Johnfmh on this though - in WVA just about anything goes!
tgd
July 19, 2006
Member since 07/15/2004 🔗
585 posts
Quote:

Also, the condos/houses are already starting to stack up. Have you been on the Timberline drive lately?




I met the developer of those lots this December, waiting in line to get our season passes at Tline. He bought the land 10 plus years ago out of foreclosure - mainly because it had something like 50 sewer taps (these are like gold in the Valley). Kept horses there for years, finally made the plunge to develop it last year. He is planning some 30 units - upscale townhomes and a few SF units. Prices in the $300K-400K range. There is also a sign for another future development on the other side of Tline road. Even more evidence of the Yuppie-i-zation of the valley - last time we were up I noticed a sign and gravel drive off 32 outside Davis for a "Tuscan Ridge at Canaan" development - homesites. That name just gags me!
Mountain Masher
July 19, 2006
Member since 03/13/2004 🔗
541 posts
With or without a big outfit like Intrawest, CV is going to continue to build-up at a brisk pace. Presuming that the Mid-Atlantic climate is trending towards milder Winters, CV (with it's elevation) is going to fare much better than most other areas, with Snowshoe being the other exception. The unique climate of CV is making the area more desirable all of the time and the real estate prices are reflecting this. I think that most of the privately owned land is at risk of being developed over the next decade or so. At least there's lots of publicly owned land; however, like other's have stated here, WVA State owned land is NOT necessarily safe from development.
fishnski
July 20, 2006
Member since 03/27/2005 🔗
3,530 posts
Good thinking Professor! They are getting paronoid! Just got back from a 4 day trip up at my camp up there..Busting my butt upgrading my place up there trying to keep my place in contention for any rental money to be had up there. Getting tough though with all the build up going on up there. Especially by me using Timberline Realty to run my place & all the places springing up around Timberline I might be (out of sight ,out of mind!) By me having a place 3 min from the Canaan ski area, I welcome any improvement there...but then again With or without a vested Interest up there I would still have welcomed improvements at both resorts.....But What a GEM that whole area is!!! Got a little Hot up there so we took a stroll thru Blackwarer falls ...Is that place awesome or what!! A little enchanted forest with a hell of a scenic waterfall.....from the falls to the north to that bad ass Mount Porte Crayon that begs to come to life on the southern end.....I had a DREAM that one day......Stay tuned!!!!!!
wvrocks
July 20, 2006
Member since 11/9/2004 🔗
262 posts
Quote:

Even more evidence of the Yuppie-i-zation of the valley - last time we were up I noticed a sign and gravel drive off 32 outside Davis for a "Tuscan Ridge at Canaan" development - homesites. That name just gags me!




You are right there tgd, that name just screams yuppie to me. I suppose "Old Strip Mine at Davis" doesn't have the ring to it that they were looking for.
johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
July 20, 2006
Member since 07/18/2001 🔗
1,918 posts
Roger's theory about Bright makes a lot of sense. As Corridor H gets developed, a resort at MPC would be much easier to get to, not only for DC metro people, but southerners as well. That could potentially be a big threat to Shoe.

Another unintended consequence is Timberline. If CV improved snowmaking and installed a fast lift, a lot of people are going to switch resorts. Season pass holders at T-line (myself included) will probably forego buying passes so they can ski both resorts. Weekenders and day trippers will also gravitate to the better facilities at CV. That leaves just Boy Scouts and few die hards at Timberline, which won't pay for the infrastructure. Doc and Fred will be forced to sell but no one will buy at the price they want and the resort will go into foreclosure. At that point, we might get another investor or a COOP like MRG. The one thing about T-line is that it is now too big to fail. There's way to much money invested in housing on the mountain for that to happen, and T-line is one of the few areas in the region than can keep snow on its slopes from December to March. We may never see an operation like Whitetail but we'll have skiing on Herz Mountain.

Jimmy, the condos I am talking about are "Aspen" something or other on the Timberline road. And I know about the Northwoods unit. In 2001, units like that were selling for 75K.
DWW
July 20, 2006
Member since 03/11/2004 🔗
144 posts
I think Intrawest is just keeping an eye on the competition. If they want to invest $20 million - I think they do it at Snowshoe on the 11,000 acres they currently own - in new ski terrain - which is thier ace in the hole. With current resort occupancy at only 30% (year-around I think) they would get tremendous leverage from investing in thier existing infrastructure from higher occupancies and retail sales. They are finally getting environmental approvals for new terrain, however the Mother Ship is being stingy with thier capital allocations (possibly while they are evaluating "strategic options"). I think $20 million would go a lot further at SS than at a new venture in CV. At some point when push comes to shove (by homeowners, guests, competition) I think they will drop the Ace there.
jimmy
July 20, 2006
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
2,650 posts
Quote:

Jimmy, the condos I am talking about are "Aspen" something or other on the Timberline road.




Hey John, they were still closing those in last time i was there beginning of April. They look pretty nice compared to the "condo" i stayed in at the shoe this May. Was snowing on top on May 19th, pretty cool, summit i think is the name of the place, million $ view i'll give them that.
warren
July 20, 2006
Member since 07/31/2003 🔗
485 posts
Jimmy,
There indeed is a condo complex called Summit. They look out twords the Western Territory and the views are beautiful!
Those condos are older but as I understand it from one of the posters here, they are already or about to undergo some renovations...

-Warren-
jimmy
July 20, 2006
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
2,650 posts
Ya, new roof, siding and bigger decks on the view side. They interior layout reminds me of a mobile home; if you had adjoining units and blew out some walls you'd have something to work with.
Rich
July 20, 2006
Member since 11/30/2000 🔗
194 posts
The Summit (I own one) is about the largest and one of the only (3 bdrm/2 bath) condos at Snowshoe. Some townhouses like Loggers Run are bigger, but then they start at $659k too. You can amend the Constitution easier then a condo By-Law at the Intrawest properties (RimFire, Seneca, etc.) - but the Summit isn't one, so yes, you can indeed knock out walls. We're finishing up a $1.5 million renovation. Starting a whole new one next Spring...replacing the wood-burning fireplaces with gas for one thing. You can't beat the view, and they're quiet. The Village and slope side are the WORST. People forget that the snow guns blow all night (like living next to an airport) - and that's AFTER all the nightly snowmobile tours end at 11:00PM (like being next to a drag strip).
Mountain Masher
July 20, 2006
Member since 03/13/2004 🔗
541 posts
Although some talk continues to get kicked around concerning the possibility of new ski areas at MPC and Tory Mt., no ski area is likely to be built at either place. In fact, no addititional major ski areas will ever be built south of the Mason Dixon Line. Investors and developers simply aren't willing risk huge amounts of capital on the HOPE that Global Warming isn't happening. Now, having said that, I think that we're likely to continue to see improvements at many of the EXISTING ski areas, including the creation of alternate forms of recreation such as the new water park at Massanutten.
fishnski
July 20, 2006
Member since 03/27/2005 🔗
3,530 posts
Wuuzzzzzz...Uppp.."Skippy"???
Roger Z
July 21, 2006
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
2,181 posts
What's the difference, MM, from an investor's perspective of pumping $400 million into an existing mountain- as Intrawest has done at Snowshoe- versus pumping $400 million into a new mountain- as Bill Bright wants to do, apparently- if global warming is going to chew out either of them? And, incidentally, since people have different risk tolerances you may be *less* likely to see investment if weather patterns change, but it's not binary- as in the spigot won't just stop like you're implying. If your argument was correct, we wouldn't be seeing terrain expansion at Wisp, Snowshoe, T-line, etc. They'd be looking at "alternate forms of recreation" exclusively. They're not.
DWW
July 21, 2006
Member since 03/11/2004 🔗
144 posts
I certainly don't agree with MMs statements of "fact" (AKA opinion) about southern ski resorts. However, I also don't agree that from an investor standpoint a new investment (ex. MPC) is the same as an add-on investment (ex. expanding at an existing resort). It seems to me that the risks of expanding (leveraging) an exisiting infrastructure are much less than starting a brand new venture (and with less return per dollar). Of course there is some point of saturation (beyond which additional expansion would return less and less) but I don't think SS is there yet. They are there (saturation) at this point in time in terms of condos vs. terrain, however some new terrain would easily fix that.
johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
July 21, 2006
Member since 07/18/2001 🔗
1,918 posts
I think there are two other factors:

--The prospect of limited development or even a full-blown base village at CV. Regardless of Global Warming, real estate seems to be sure fire way for a developer to get return on investment.

--the prospect of Corridor H day-trippers from the vast, Northern VA exburbs and the new developments in the Lost River Valley area of WV. Intrawest may be starting to recognize the value of day tripper places like Whitetail. These people rent a lot of equipment, take lessons, buy lots of food and drinks in the lodge, and then leave.
Roger Z
July 21, 2006
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
2,181 posts
You're right that a new venture is more risky for a number of reasons, but if weather is the risk factor in question it would affect all ventures somewhat equally. A new ski slope at Snowshoe is just as susceptible to global warming as a new ski slope somewhere else. It may be cheaper to upgrade an existing snowmaking system, but it may be cheaper to build a brand new one (I'm not sure on that subject) too.

I think the biggest factors regarding new mountains remain a) the increasing capital costs required to start a succesfful venture and b) the size of the market available to provide a revenue stream. Does global warming impact both? Yes, but at the margins, not as a binary outcome, and it impacts them for existing resorts as well. I'm a little more skeptical that it affects synergies to favor existing resorts, but maybe it does. Bryce, for instance, is almost certainly to be a loser relative to MPC vis-a-vis changes in weather. Guess that's a matter of personal opinion though, certainly not a "fact" one way or the other.
Rich
July 21, 2006
Member since 11/30/2000 🔗
194 posts
But, you're still thinking of the pre-Intrawest Snowshoe which was just a Ski Resort! Intrawest has turned it into a 4-Seasons resort. It's the #2 mountain biking destination in the US and Golf Digest lists it's Arnold Palmer designed golf course as one of the top 10 public courses in the country. They have a humongous convention trade all summer. And major events every weekend all summer. Go to their website and click on Events.
DWW
July 21, 2006
Member since 03/11/2004 🔗
144 posts
Sorry Rich - It's a Gary Player design and it's not a top 10 - but it's still very nice...

Golf Week Magazine 2006: "Ranked #1 Public Access Course in West Virginia" - Fifth straight year receiving this number one ranking

Golf Week Magazine 2006: "Ranked #17 in the Top 40 Resort Courses in America"

Golf Week Magazine 2006: "Ranked #84 in the Top 100 Modern Golf Courses in US"

Washington Golf Monthly 2006: "One of the 100 Must Play Golf Courses in the Mid-Atlantic"

Travel & Leisure Golf: Rated in the Top 25 of the "Best 100 Courses to Play Under $100"
Rich
July 21, 2006
Member since 11/30/2000 🔗
194 posts
Isn't Gary Player a left-handed golfer (I am)? They pride themselves on the mountain views from every tee. I thought walking the course would be great exercise, but you know - you are charged for a cart whether you use it or not!!! The whole place, Village and all, is beautiful in the Summer. They hand-planted thousands of flowers around the place and water it all every day to keep it all spectacular. I bought there at Thanksgiving and skied all Winter...now I see how great it is all year-round. Tried my first mountain biking last month. Imagine - you just ride down, the lift brings you & the bike back up. Think about biking Cupp Run!!! The also set up a "drive-in" movie in the Village on weekends...a hundred Adirondack chairs are set out. Hey, I'm using the place as much now as in ski season. And, during the big DC heat wave - 50's by night/low 70's by day there.
gatkinso
July 31, 2006
Member since 01/25/2002 🔗
316 posts
Maybe IW could buy up the backside of Wiess Knob and put in an interconnect to.... you guessed it: ALMOST HEAVEN!!!!!
bousquet19 - DCSki Supporter
February 1, 2008
Member since 02/23/2006 🔗
687 posts
Tgd brought up this thread in a discussion about CV opening, and then quickly closing, about half of its runs in late January 08.

What's the latest on the RFI for managing and investing in the skiing at Canaan Valley? (Sorry if it's been posted elsewhere and I overlooked it. Wouldn't be the first time.)

Woody
fishnski
February 1, 2008
Member since 03/27/2005 🔗
3,530 posts
That mountain would need a huge redesign to see it done right. Its a beautiful MTn with great potential but the state would only polish it up a little...We would still be humping up the Mountain to get to the lift 10 years from now. Now..Intrawest would make things sweet!

My Man Gatkinso!...Hope your still out there Buddy...DCSKI'S #1 Poster......Stop the BS & the Madness & BRING ON ALMOST HEAVEN!
yellowsnow
February 1, 2008
Member since 12/15/2005 🔗
267 posts
It will be interesting to see how long it takes for things to change drastically, development-wise, with the new public wastewater systems going into the Valley...
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