Hidden Valley Resort
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Scott - DCSki Editor
October 10, 2006
Member since 10/10/1999 🔗
1,139 posts
Hello,

Earlier today, a rumor was posted in the DCSki Message Forum that Pennsylvania's Hidden Valley Resort had been sold.

The owner of Hidden Valley Resort contacted me tonight to indicate that there is no basis in truth to these rumors. He indicated that Hidden Valley Resort has never heard of the alleged buyer.

Although DCSki promotes open dialog on a wide variety of subjects, it is also our responsibility to ensure, as much as possible, that information shared on DCSki is accurate. This means I have to step in from time to time and exercise editorial control in the forums.

To ensure that DCSki can continue as a resource for mid-Atlantic snowsports enthusiasts, I must ask all of you to respect this and exercise some judgment in the comments and opinions you post. It is not appropriate to bash individuals or resorts, and great care must be taken in spreading rumors. If you come across a rumor about a resort but aren't sure as to its authenticity, please don't hesitate to contact me directly; I am happy to investigate further and post the item as a news story if it's verifiable.

Thanks for listening,

- Scott
Scott - DCSki Editor
October 11, 2006
Member since 10/10/1999 🔗
1,139 posts
Snowsmith asked that I post the following note from him:

Quote:

The post indicated that the story was unconfirmed, although the headline could have been misleading. Actually, I was contacted by a newspaper reporter about the story who indicated that his source was very good. My opinion - I have little faith in what the resort says, to be honest.

I see that you have removed all of the post concerning Hidden Valley from the message board. Obviously, this was an important subject since it generated 50 pages of comments from many people. Many resorts are critisized on this forum, and if you will ask most of the posters on this subject I am sure they will agree that the criticism of Hidden Valley is deserved. Many of us are big fans of Hidden Valley - we care abou the place more than the owner does. It is a great place and the Kettlers did a great job developing the resort. This thought has been repeated many times in this forum.We are very upset by what has happened to the resort.This subjest has been on this forum for a year and much speculation occured as to what was happening at the resort. Yet no story was ever forthcoming from DC SKI. I enjoyed your website but this will be my last post so you won't have to worry about any 'resort bashing' (i.e.honest opinions) from me anymore.




Some of my comments are below.

There were a number of posts intermixed with the thread that caused concern, and my only option was to remove the entire thread to respond to reasonable concerns raised by the resort. I do not make these decisions lightly. If I had time to go through each individual post, I could try to do a finer-grained edit (and I'm not discounting that possibility), but as many of you know, DCSki is a "spare time" effort for me and I make a huge sacrifice to keep the site running, viable, and as up to date as possible.

It is absolutely my desire to keep the DCSki Message Forums as open as possible to debate and opinion. That is the point of them, and in my experience, there isn't a single resort in the area -- not a single one -- that doesn't appreciate and benefit from reading constructive negative feedback. (They're happy to read positive feedback, too!)

But sometimes these posts go too close to the line. Criticizing specific individuals at resorts is too close to the line. Posting "specific" rumors that are false (even when disclaimed as unverified) is too close to the line. These rumors and attacks can have a real impact on resorts, their employees, and stakeholders. When I am contacted by a resort or individual, it is my responsibility to take appropriate action. My comfort level for where "the line" is might be more conservative than the New York Times. (I'm sure they have a team of lawyers on retainer; I don't.) It might be more conservative than many readers feel comfortable with. But as I have the most invested in the site, it has to be something I'm comfortable with.

Those of you who have been around know that I try to take a "hands off" approach and rarely intervene in the message forums. But please understand that I don't step in because I like exercising control -- I do it for a very good reason, and solely with the long-term interests and health of the site in mind.

As to why DCSki has not had a story covering a potential sale of Hidden Valley Resort, the reason is simple: I have not had any verifiable facts to report. My editorial policy has always been to get things right, not necessarily first. I think we've had a good track record of that in the 900+ news stories we've published.
Frederick
October 11, 2006
Member since 07/26/2006 🔗
79 posts
I found all the posts on this subject to be a great grass roots collection of people who have come together to express concern of a place that has so much potential. The poor communication and management of the resort have created this backlash of comments. The comments were and are constructive. The absence of information drove the cause. It should be a learning lesson for future management and ownership. The phone call yet again illustrates the problem. Hidden Valley should embrace the comments, these are the people that spend their hard earned money to enjoy the beauty and thrill of the place. Its much more than just a buisness. Return to the promise and mission when it was purchased in the 80s. Make it a place people want to come back to. What happened to the great ideas of slope expansion? Where did all the dreams and visions go? The prosperous real estate? The true classic four seasons resort. You didn't buy the resort with the intent of making it a tax deduction. Is there no incentive or payoff thats worth doing the right thing? Or in the least a compromise that makes people happy and meets the fiscal responsibilties of the buisness. Please if there are good things taking place at the resort, make us aware of them, people want to be excited each season about things going on at their resort.

Snowsmith, please continue to keep us informed of the happenings. I appreciate the insite and ideas. This forum provided a virtual recreation of the resort with many of your ideas. Hopefully, we will see some of them in the future.
Scott - DCSki Editor
October 11, 2006
Member since 10/10/1999 🔗
1,139 posts
Frederick,

I appreciate the comments, and the majority of posts on the subject were OK. I, too, hope that Snowsmith remains engaged in the discussion, but that is his decision to make. There's nothing wrong with constructive criticism. The fact that this grass roots discussion has been going on for so long without complaints from the resort shows, I think, that they value constructive criticism and feedback too.

But I think you can understand their concern when there are rumors posted that indicate the resort has been sold. Even though the body of the rumor indicated that it was unconfirmed, a lot of readers will take the rumor and run with it. And in the case of the latest rumor, a specific individual was named as a buyer. That individual, as well as the resort, have a legitimate right to question the posting, and I have a responsibility to address a concern when it is raised. I also do not think it is appropriate to make attacks against specific people. To point out that a web site has a poor design, that the ski lifts need painting, that a resort gets crowded on weekends, etc., is fair criticism. To question the competence of an individual by name is not constructive. Again, there's a fine line in these types of things and it's not always clearcut. I'm just asking people to try and use their best judgment, and to respect the fact that I will need to occasionally come in and exercise editorial control.
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Leo
October 11, 2006
Member since 11/15/2005 🔗
279 posts
So HV's response to their inability to sell a resort (unrealistic asking price) or run it properly (poor management) is to squash free speech.

I don't know how much more I will be posting or reading here my self. And certainly will consider a pass at 7S next year, where progress is embraced.

Boo.
nic223
October 11, 2006
Member since 02/21/2006 🔗
90 posts
The rumor about the sale of the resort was started by the so called buyer himself. This guy has been running around for weeks stating that he is in the process of purchasing the resort. Yesterday he stated that the purchase of the resort occured on Monday. Why in the world would anybody make these comments in public?
pamurchu
October 11, 2006
Member since 10/11/2006 🔗
26 posts
I am a first time poster here. We full time, and those part time, homeowners at the resort are crying out for verifiable information about a sale. When that information is not forthcoming from the ownership or other vested sources, rumors begin to flow. If and when any good information is given to those of us who have subsidized this resort for years by spending hard earned money on residences, et al., maybe then the rumor mill will stop grinding. We are totally frustrated with the prospect that this resort is slowly going under. I watch it die a painful death, little be little, every single day. Please do not deny us the one place we could come and exchange information, just because a few posts could not be verified. I appreciate the time and effort you put into this site. However, we then must demand information from the sources that have it. Even though this post has resulted in my registering to comment, I have been voraciously perusing this site for over a year for any type of information that could help us take comfort in the fact that much of our life savings may not be going down the tubes at this resort which is still beautiful and that we love deeply. As we painfully watch our resort falter and die, we also watch our neighbor ski resort, (and our new neighbor real estate area), receive headlines AND Somerset County money, (MY tax money), and thrive in the process. And as a result, most of us are now spending our money over "there," not here. Please reconsider your deleting of an entire post just because of a few unacceptable, according to the guidelines, comments. Please do not cave in to the powers that be. Perhaps if more information were coming to US from the owners, instead of to random posting boards, then we would not have to resort to coming here for it. Thank you for your time and attention.
pamurchu
October 11, 2006
Member since 10/11/2006 🔗
26 posts
Oh, and one more thing, Snowsmith, please come back!! We need ya, baby!
BushwackerinPA
October 11, 2006
Member since 12/9/2004 🔗
649 posts
Hey guys scott and dcski's reputation was on the line....

if you everyone wants a place to discuss anything freely I suggest to go to TGR...make sure you learn about self moderation prior to visting. Or make your forum but its not your forum it not for you to decide what can a can not be said.
pamurchu
October 11, 2006
Member since 10/11/2006 🔗
26 posts
I am the new one here. What is TGR and how can I get there? Thanks!
nic223
October 11, 2006
Member since 02/21/2006 🔗
90 posts
Bushwacker

I don't feel the thread should have been taken down due to the fact that the person that claimed he had purchased the resort introduced himself in public as the new owner of Hidden Valley. I agree that this guy may be full of it. Would you post "Hidden Valley is sold" if you heard it from someone claiming to be the new owner of H.V. The fact remains the thread needs to remain. We have the right to discuss the past, present, and future of this resort, no matter what form we have recieved our info. As stated previously, the info in the post was not verified. This means that infomation may or may not be true. How can anyone be harmed from that info? Furthermore, DCSki can not be held accountable either. Also if you read the top of the page it states "The views and opinions expressed in the DCSki Message Forums are strictly those of the authors and have not been reviewed or approved by DCSki"
Leo
October 11, 2006
Member since 11/15/2005 🔗
279 posts
Exactly...and I don't think anyone is holding it against Scott/DC Ski. It would be the someone who leaned on him to pull the thread that we have the problem with.

Maybe they think all the truth mixed in there with one rumor is hurting their chances of selling the resort cause most people would "google" a resort before buying it, in which case they would have quickly found the old HV thread. Which was mostly true, as verified by the countless posters agreeing...when do people agree on the internet?? VERY RARELY....
TerpSKI
October 11, 2006
Member since 03/10/2004 🔗
167 posts
If the Washington Post reported something that was not true, they would run a correction as soon as they found out. I don't think they would expunge the story from the record as if it never existed, i.e. erase it from its database. Why not just post a correction and let the thread live? Although I don't think anyone has a right to post here, free speech really is the essence of internet forums and its what makes them vital and interesting.
hockeydave
October 11, 2006
Member since 06/30/2004 🔗
772 posts
It's a sad day for me to see my thread die... I was the original poster who conceived the Hidden Valley Sale thread. I watched him grow from a tiny toddler of a thread to the bare knuckles, scrapping heap of a thread that stirred many emotions, interesting comments, and was by a wide margin, the most viewed thread in the history of DCSki. All who posted comments were those people who truly cared about Hidden Valley. I hope this reincarnated thread can be a forum for proactive discourse about what hopefully will be a bright future for a once thriving resort.

I hope the words "once thriving" don't offend any of the current HV management, because that definitely is not a rumor, but fact.
tromano
October 11, 2006
Member since 12/19/2002 🔗
998 posts
There have been too many hoaxes and cases of extreme misinformation in my experiences online. I applaud Scott for his comitment to getting the facts straight. I also think that the liars who created this hoax should be properly admonished.

Personally I am glad the thread has died. The scope of the thread was far beyond the normal DCski topic. The thread needed to be broken down into many distinct subthreads just to be readable. In fact it really deserved its own forum. I would suggest that the HV residents and concerned parties start their own forum to discuss this issue. It would not be hard to do. --Tim
Frederick
October 11, 2006
Member since 07/26/2006 🔗
79 posts
I am disappointed with the phone call and not the actions that have to be taken by the forum to protect itself.
The post was speculation and opinion as is almost every post on this forum. What do we have to do.. wait to see the deed? Who knew the resort was even for sale anymore? Who knew the resort was even operating? No actions speak louder than words. Unfortunitly, no one knows anything and that can't be positive for anyone, even the resort owners. I can't even imagine living in the community and not knowing whats going on in it. It is not a good situation when you have people mad at you whether your trying to revive the resort or even sell it. It has to decrease the value. I'm not going to buy a place here because I have no clue where this place is going. That shouldn't sit well with possible new or current owners. Communicate, make people happy, and sell the resort for what it is really worth. Don't blame the people that want to contribute to the success of the resort, its all you have left. The people are the value because without them all you have is land. It flies in the face of good buisiness. If I was in charge, I would be at every HV foundation meeting letting these people know that you are trying hard to do the right thing, even if you have hit some bumps in the road.

A false about the resort sale is better than no word at all. Score 50 for the people and 0 for the owners yet again.
casey
October 11, 2006
Member since 11/21/2005 🔗
37 posts
Free speech in this country is quickly dying. What could the "owners" of Hidden Valley have possibly sad to make DC eliminate the whole thread. That was a rediculous action. I have been following this thread from its inception and found everything to be quite reliable so if this question is allowed.....Is there any truth to the RUMOR? And maybe we should start our own site. I am pretty stupid when it comes to such things so if anyone is computer savvy, let's give it a try. and snowsmith please come back
Frederick
October 11, 2006
Member since 07/26/2006 🔗
79 posts
Tromano,

There is a difference between always having to state the facts and being free to talk about speculation and assumptions. I don't think the comment was posted to be hurtful or in an intential lie. Snowsmith was simply posting what he/she experienced and having a place at Hidden Valley makes he/she is good point of contact for things going on at the resort. Snowsmith was only putting two and two together. Snowsmith has always presented the posts in a form where the reader understands that it was heard through a third party or assumptions are made because of an action or a siting was made (people in suits). I appreciate all assumptions and speculation presented on this forum. The statement was presented as being unverified. The statement true or false provided hope that something was actually going on. It is actually nice to know that someone on the HV management is reading this forum.
KevR
October 11, 2006
Member since 01/27/2004 🔗
786 posts
Free copy should mean free speech. In other words, we post comments on the forum which brings people to the website, and we are not payed in any way for this work.

From this the website sells ad space to skiing related businesses -- they do this based on their traffic numbers and perceptions about readership.

For work unpaid we should get something in return, right?

What can we get for this free work we provide to the website?

One thing is that we could be payed with free speech. Other things come to mind but that's one principle thing right?

Otherwise we are just suckers -- if we provide free copy and get nothing at all. We should get something.

But free speech also means community standards come into play? Right?

Was the post in question outside of "community standards" -- the bulk of the community so far seems to say no.

Sometimes newpapers completely retract a story but due to the nature of print media, they don't go around "erasing the story" from history.

More often a newspaper will issue a correction, but sometimes even they completely retract a story, and i have certainly heard that in some cases other websites will remove content -- that's not without precedent either.

On the other hand, this place is not a newspaper. We are not journalists, and we are not PAYED directly for what is written here - at least in this forum.

Does that mean different rules apply? Does that mean the "editor" of the site, even the owner has limits on to what they should do related to the content of the forum?

I think it does myself, otherwise I would have charged for this post...
OrionsBelt
October 11, 2006
Member since 10/11/2006 🔗
4 posts
Post deleted by OrionsBelt
Frederick
October 11, 2006
Member since 07/26/2006 🔗
79 posts
OrionsBelt,

Excuse my inability to understand what you are suggesting. Can you please elaborate? Do you work at Hidden Valley? Are you suggesting that the rumors are coming from within? I'm not sure I understand the difference in mangenment level between who has control and who is calling DCSki?
Edgar
October 11, 2006
Member since 08/28/2006 🔗
33 posts
Deleting this entire post is something I would expect perhaps in China, but not from an organization based in the capital of the free world and the free press. This is a sad, sad day for DCSki. I respect the volunteers who devote their time to this board and ultimitely it is their call. This has obviously been an important forum for those who have invested heavily in HV in one way or another,and if DC ski isn't up to hosting it perhaps we need to take it somewhere who will.
Why not a notice to the effect that the opinions and views are those of the poster, not of the hoster? Why not encouragement to HV management that if they disagree, they can certainly post what is really going on and set things straight. As has been noted earlier, any false rumors are a result of the lack of any information coming from HV management.

Truth be known, I was the one who forwarded a copy of the post to the reporter who then contacted HV management and asked him if he knew if it was true or not. His response was that the rumor likely came from him....since he was hearing the same thing prior to the post! And now with the news that someone has been going around claiming they bought HV, it is no wonder where that came from. So you see, the rumor did not start here on DC ski at all. It is a real shame that HV management would lean on DC ski for simply carrying a post of what was already out there, and I suspect that had more to do with the gleeful response by the dc skier community that they had finally washed their hands of the current management.

At this point I would ask/suggest if somehow the thread could be relisted perhaps with the exclusion of the post in question, as well as provide the management of HV an opportunity to join the thread with a post to set the record straight and interact with their DC customer base, ...the very customer base which is the best hope of their long term success. Otherwise I will be joining snowsmith and moving on as well.
Frederick
October 11, 2006
Member since 07/26/2006 🔗
79 posts
Edgar,

I applaud you in taking action to resolve the issues at Hidden Valley.
OrionsBelt
October 11, 2006
Member since 10/11/2006 🔗
4 posts
Post deleted by OrionsBelt
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gizmosnow
October 11, 2006
Member since 10/6/2005 🔗
269 posts
Clearly, it appears that hv management was directly involved in the demise of this (former) thread.
As with everything else they have done over the past 1+ years, it simply defies common sense and business logic. They could have simply requested that a 'denial' be posted on their behalf or, they could have simply done nothing and the whole thing would have blown over as an absurd rumor in a matter of 48 hours.
Instead, they have managed to create more outrage, hostility and ill-will for the resort than one could have imagined possible with so little effort!!
As such, the reputation of the resort in the eyes of it's customers continues to deteriorate to a new low (and the financial value of the resort to a potential investor likely slides right along with it).
Scott - DCSki Editor
October 11, 2006
Member since 10/10/1999 🔗
1,139 posts
Disabling the thread was my decision. I am not pleased that the entire thread had to be disabled, but that was the only option feasible to me at this time because the alternative would be going through each individual post (in the 50-page thread). I simply did not and do not have time to do this. I was already up until 2:30 a.m., which was not how I wanted to spend my night.

What I would recommend is that people try to create separate threads for specific topics, and not let threads run on forever and ever. That way, in the rare occasions when it is necessary to redact a thread, it can be done in a much more localized fashion. I think we can all agree that a 50-page thread is a bit unwieldy, and begs to be broken into multiple, separate topics, as tromano suggested earlier.

Also, it is very easy to set up an on-line community to focus on a specific interest. LiveJournal is one way to do that (www.livejournal.com). It might make sense for homeowners to get together and start their own LiveJournal community to discuss certain topics. I understand that many people are passionate about this topic; there are many venues available to you.

I have tried to explain why it was necessary for me to take the action I took, and while I appreciate reading this dialog, there's not much else I can do. It is my responsibility to make decisions that will best preserve the ability for the DCSki Forums to remain a place for open and vibrant discussions, to include reasonable criticism of resorts. I also feel that it is my responsibility to try and protect forum contributors (when they're posting to DCSki), who perhaps use rhetoric or language under the cover of a pseudonym that they wouldn't feel comfortable using if their real name and address were attached to the message.

In ten years, I can only recall exercising editorial control on perhaps five occasions -- and there have been 28,790 posts made to DCSki's forums and 2,658 comments posted to news stories. I do not think that is unreasonable, and I think readers have had (and will continue to have) ample freedom to share opinions, even controversial ones. Within those 28,790 posts, there are plenty of candid criticisms directed at ski resorts. In many cases, I have been contacted by resorts who felt the criticisms were unfair, but I let them stand, as I felt they were warranted and made in good faith.

As I tried to explain, there are some instances where posts cross a line -- and while that line is fuzzy, the best guidance I can give is to try to substantiate what you post and do not make direct attacks against individuals, and to please respect my judgment. To do otherwise is to open the potential for libel lawsuits. When I am contacted by an individual, resort, or company with specific concerns, it is my responsibility to investigate those concerns and to take action if I feel it is warranted. I am ALWAYS going to err on the side of caution because that is the prudent thing to do.

DCSki has NOT been threatened with a lawsuit, but I am not at all prepared to push the bounds and invite the possibility. I have poured years of effort and money into the site, to share my passion of skiing and provide a central point for mid-Atlantic skiers to get and share information. Trust me, DCSki isn't lining my coffers -- advertising revenue barely covers fixed expenses. I donate my time, and DCSki's excellent columnists donate their time, to try and offer a useful resource.

I do not think I have made unreasonable demands, and I think DCSki has an excellent track record of promoting free and open speech. To protect the interests of DCSki and ensure that it can remain a place of lively dicussion, I have to occasionally make these tough decisions. I do not expect everyone to agree with them, but it is not very rewarding to me to read endless debate on the decision, when it's not a decision I made lightly or without considerable thought.

A lot of opinions have been expressed here and I appreciate and understand all of them. I'm not sure what else can be added.
Tucker
October 12, 2006
Member since 03/14/2005 🔗
893 posts
Sounds like you should charge more for your advertising...why not just have told whoever called you to get on and post themselves...if you are going to remove posts that are incorrect and nasty then you have a lot of work ahead of you...good luck...if you want I can get you started with a few that were aimed at the position I held at a local resort or how about the comment about timberline made on the most recent snowshoe article...or you could just let people get on this forum or article comments and dispute them themselves if they don't like them...but if you just pick and choose to pull stuff then in a way you are giving the goahead or approving off ridiculously false comments by not pulling them when you are pulling other stuff...atleast that is how it appears to me, maybe it's just me?
gizmosnow
October 12, 2006
Member since 10/6/2005 🔗
269 posts
I, for one, think it is time to 'let up' on Scott.
Even if you personally believe his actions were wrong, we all make mistakes.
The bottom line is, if too many mistakes were made in the operation of the site, people wouldn't find in useful and it would cease to exist (sounding like I'm talking about hv there??!!)
Anyway, I personally want to thank you, Scott, for your efforts in maintaining this site which I have found interesting, helpful, and enjoyable to participate in.

Now that's not to say that we can't continue to discuss our opinions and concerns of hv here. Let's just all consider this a lesson learned (for better or worse) and move on -- even snowsmith, hopefully, who will continue to post.
SeaRide
October 12, 2006
Member since 03/11/2004 🔗
237 posts
Scott,

Thank you so much for deleting that thread. I have been in so many different forums over the years. When it comes to freedom of speech or press, many people do not really fully understand how it works in this country.

Others,

Let me briefly explain in a simple way.

1) A speaker in front of the crowd in public can talk freely about "all women in the other town are all whores".

2) In front of a crowd in public, a speaker declare that she's a whore by fingerpointing to a innocent woman walking by.

Example #1 is what freedom of speech is all about.

Example #2 is what libel, inflammation, slander, harrassment, humilation etc is all about. Have you heard of lawsuits? All you have to do is point out a person by name and say something untrue.

For deeper elaborate details, read up on the law yourself.
wolverine
October 12, 2006
Member since 08/26/2005 🔗
113 posts
Scott did the right thing and even if you disagree, it's his "baby". So either start your own "NoVa Ski" or move on.

How about discussing Wisp, 7S, Blueknob, Massanutten, Wintergreen, Timberline or anyplace that folks may actually ski at this season. Unless you live at HV, I doubt any of this thread matters for this ski season and with the 100" of snow for the mid-atlantic resorts (if we're lucky) I can't imagine why anyone would go to HV over the other options.
Frederick
October 12, 2006
Member since 07/26/2006 🔗
79 posts
Searide,

The example you provided fits a general case and doesn't fit well with this case. Don't generalize every comment in that 50 page post. I think people do understand freedom of speech. You obviuosly haven't been to Hidden Valley recently. People are simply showing pride in something they value. We can directly point to either management or owner's of Hidden Valley where the decisions are made. The line stops there. People own and have invested thousands of dollars in the community at Hidden Valley. Are you suggesting that people don't have the right to confront wrong doings that they see with there own eyes? They may not know what exactly what stinks but they can definitely smell it! The anger is being directed to the people that are in charge.

If you buy bad food at a store, you are going to go to management and let them know that the food is bad. Hopefully, the management takes action and tries to provide you the best service possible. We are in a tough case here, because we as customers are getting horrible service but we don't want to stop being customers because we want Hidden Valley to survive.
pamurchu
October 12, 2006
Member since 10/11/2006 🔗
26 posts
Quote:

Scott did the right thing and even if you disagree, it's his "baby". So either start your own "NoVa Ski" or move on.

How about discussing Wisp, 7S, Blueknob, Massanutten, Wintergreen, Timberline or anyplace that folks may actually ski at this season. Unless you live at HV, I doubt any of this thread matters for this ski season and with the 100" of snow for the mid-atlantic resorts (if we're lucky) I can't imagine why anyone would go to HV over the other options.




Not so sure why you directed your "MOVE ON PLEASE" (all caps shouting yours) comment to just me. I posted one time expressing my opinion, did not run it into the ground, was respectful and appreciative to the moderators and the rules, did not name names, tried to write in proper English so others could actually understand what I was trying to say, etc. I do live fulltime at Hidden Valley and thus have a vested interest that many on this board do not have. However, if this is the way you treat newcomers , telling us to "Move on" after only one real post, perhaps we do need to move on to another board whose veteran members tolerate respectful discussion and disagreements. Just because others have been posting here for years does not prevent those of us who just happened to join recently from expressing our opinions. Perhaps others who repeat themselves again and again telling us to "Move on" should be directed to move on as well.
Scott - DCSki Editor
October 12, 2006
Member since 10/10/1999 🔗
1,139 posts
pamurcha, I am sure wolverine's subject was not directed to you -- when you hit reply to reply to a thread, it automatically lists the last author's name in the title. I think wolverine was just expressing a desire for this entire thread to settle down as valid points have been made on all sides, and there might not be much new to offer at this point.

Myself, and every veteran DCSki poster I know, welcome new posters and opinions to the forums. It's really not that common for this kind of debate to rage on. Over the years the DCSki forums have been among the most civil internet forums I've seen, and that's saying something!

At the end of the day, I understand why some people are upset, but I stand by and take full responsibility for my decision. I can only ask that you trust my judgment and know that I took this action in an effort to *preserve* the ability for people to have candid and open discussions on DCSki, and not to limit it.
gizmosnow
October 12, 2006
Member since 10/6/2005 🔗
269 posts
Truly the last thing I want to do is create continued controversy or turmoil however, I think forum participants will find it interesting to note that the same 'individual' was at hv today 'boasting' to many people that he had purchased hv and that his claims will be substantiated by actions which will occur tomorrow. As far as I am aware, everyone, myself included, are taking these claims with a HUGH 'Grain of Salt' and will continue to do so unless something major ocurrs tomorrow. On the other hand, if these are just false rumors, this individual is working hard to create them and, unfortunately, this forum was just snared in a web of deceipt.
snosnugums
October 12, 2006
Member since 04/10/2006 🔗
126 posts
I find it very unfortunate that Scott choose to pull the 50 pages of comments regarding Hidden Valley. I haven't posted in a while but I would say that Snowsmith was fooled like the rest of us. Regarding the rumored resort sale,I think the guy who is spreading this rumor is dilusional. But who knows, maybe he did buy the place.
Those 50 pages of comments are a wake up call to Resort Management. Unfortunately, I think they are still asleep, otherwise they would have posted on their own defense. I don't see the place improving much unless the sell the place to someone with some business savy and the creativity necessary to properly promote the place. Has anyone seen the adds they have on their website for the new condominium development. Someone took a photocopy of the condo floor plan, laid it on a table, photographed it (crooked no less) with a digital camera and then stuck it on the website with another photograph of the $250 sign they planted next to the condo site. Now you tell me, who the hell is going to get excited or want to pay top dollar for a condo with this kind of marketing effort. If I charged one of my employees with developing the marketing package to sell these condos and thats the best they could, they would be looking for a job the next day. There seems to be no accountability within the management ranks of the Resort Management.
Several years before I bought my condo, we tried to get a room at the HV inn on a weekend and the place was fully booked. Now the inn is closed.
The conference center was allowed to fall into disrepair and they just kept loosing business. The haven't put a nickel into the place since I would say 1993. Same with the ski lodge. If you can't run an inn and conference center why not lease it out to someone who does know how to run it, rather than let the buildings sit there and rot while paying taxes on them. Take a look at the "Sports Center" they used to lease space to a hair dresser and had spa type services. They moved out. The excerzize room equipment looks like it may have been used by John Travolta during the Saturday Night fever era. Why not replace the equipment. They used to have a very active tennis program. I don't remember what the guys name was who ran it, but the program was successful. Once he left, it took them 6 years to replace him and the tennis courts just sat there with minimal maintenance. The tennis courts across from the inn which I used to play on have been left to return to nature. Think about what the investment was to build those courts. To let them fall apart is just absolute stupidity.
The pool at the inn is literally falling apart as are the boat dock and gazebo at the lake. The ski lift equipment has not been maintained for a long time. The lift shacks are falling apart and the chairs are rusting so badly that some may need to be replaced rather than just painted. I have heard that they will be painting the lift towers and chairs soon. But with the start of cold weather, I'm not sure how much they'll get done. Why not have this work done during the summer months?
Why would the Resort aleinate their customers by logging larges wooded areas adjacent to residential areas? Why would the resort manager tell the residents of the resort at a community meeting that it was "none of their business" how they run and operate the resort?
How could someone be so oblivious to such poor management and business practices? How is that the resort manager has not lost his job? Look at all of the successful ski resort operations in our area, an area with marginal weather once you get east of the Alleghany front. HV should have no problem being profitable if properly managed.

Scott, these are the reasons that there were 50 pages of comments. It was a wake up call to Resort Management. It was the frustration of resort residents with Resort Management's obliviousness ( a word?) to the pleas of the folks who love Hidden Valley that generated those 50 pages of comments. If they would only have responded and treated their customers with respect, there would not have been need for those 50 pages of comments.
Edgar
October 13, 2006
Member since 08/28/2006 🔗
33 posts
Well said snosnugums; Could not agree with you more.
Frederick
October 13, 2006
Member since 07/26/2006 🔗
79 posts
Snosnugums,

That sums it all up! At every level the resort is falling apart. Well put. Again, what is going on there? Does anyone know? This just seems so crazy. This place has so much potential.
BushwackerinPA
October 13, 2006
Member since 12/9/2004 🔗
649 posts
"What do you think? I could be one of the bidders, you never know! "

I got this about a year ago from a PM, I think that maybe now he wasnt kidding. To the person in question if you can give us hard sustiable facts about your purchase of the resort, or hell even just me. That would be greatly appreciated.
Frederick
October 13, 2006
Member since 07/26/2006 🔗
79 posts
If the resort was bought in 83, I would assume that it is pretty close to being paid off. With all the success and development in the last 15 years (excluding the last few), the resort must of generated some money. The Kettler's probably contributed company funds from other pots of money as well. So why is the resort not being in the least maintained? The money to paint the lodge and fix a few things is minimal. If it is for sale, I would assume that a reasonable price would satisfy, the Kettler's will make money and recoupe more than their initial investments. Unless there are money issues and they used the equity in other projects. I still can't figure out why they are going to build new condo's and not fix up the place first? Why not secure loans for both maintenance and building new condos? Why is it taking so long for anything to happen? What are the hold ups? If they are using it as a tax shelter, that doesn't mean they can't put some effort into maintaining it. They may be losing money on the ski resort and can justify the tax deduction but they can make more money off the development if the place was just spruced up. The more time passes the more it will cost to fix or replace the things that need fixed. Why are they going to paint the lifts, no one sees that first. Paint the lodge.

I am also not sure why anyone would want to buy it right now, the timing is bad. There is not enough time for new owners to get the word out, to advertise, to change things around for this season. They are going to take a huge hit.


You got what a year ago from a PM?
Leo
October 13, 2006
Member since 11/15/2005 🔗
279 posts
Most of the skiers at HV in the past few years, however, are loyal season pass holders and probably homeowners...and the value of the passes sold for this season should be figured into a purchase price (i.e. discounted from). So really, it would not be impossible for someone to take over now and run the resort in a "transition" year. I think that some signs of progress this season would really help regenerate interest in the resort from people who are not loyal homeowners.

However, I will concede that it would be a daunting task to take over now and have any success this year in bringing skiers to the resort other than those who have already purchased season passes for this year.
pamurchu
October 13, 2006
Member since 10/11/2006 🔗
26 posts
Scott,
Thank you for your nice reply. However, I felt it was personally directed at me because he went back three pages and found my post, and it was no way directly above his. Even though I have only been posting a day or two, I have been reading this thread for over a year. In any case, I vented, am over it, and looking forward to reading more information here in the days and weeks ahead. Once again, thanks for providing this opportunity for those of us with a true, not just passing or casual, interest in what is best for Hidden Valley, to voice our concerns.
tromano
October 13, 2006
Member since 12/19/2002 🔗
998 posts
I admit that whoever made the first HV thread, really wins at the internet. Thanks to this thread with its amazingly clearly written and helpful information it is now common knowledge that Hidden Valley is the worst resort with the most pissed-off clinets in the MidAtlanticand. But as you those no good low lifes in resort management will never improve both in their performance and as humanbeings unless they accept their true and utter failure as well as the manhood shrinking humiliation of it all. This is in fact the only way they will become true winners in the Oprah Universe. Becuase to quote our region's greatest political figgure (Marrion Barry), "It is only after you ahve been in the dakrkest Valley, that you can enjoy the high mountain top".

And with that I have to honestly ask if there is anythign else to say that wasn't said in the 50+ pages of the old thread. Becuase one thing not yet covered is to really need to discuss these issues down the very minutae. For example how many different brands of sugar substitute should be available in the caffeteria and the whole forescent vs. Incandescent bulb issue in the hotel rooms. And if we are really on fire we cna discuss the issue of sessemeseeds on the hamburger buns, how many do we need? Or is it better to jsut drop the issue and go seedless? This is perhaps the true definign issue for a great ski area, you need to get it right!!!

pamurchu
October 13, 2006
Member since 10/11/2006 🔗
26 posts
Quote:

I admit that whoever made the first HV thread, really wins at the internet. Thanks to this thread with its amazingly clearly written and helpful information it is now common knowledge that Hidden Valley is the worst resort with the most pissed-off clinets in the MidAtlanticand. But as you those no good low lifes in resort management will never improve both in their performance and as humanbeings unless they accept their true and utter failure as well as the manhood shrinking humiliation of it all. This is in fact the only way they will become true winners in the Oprah Universe. Becuase to quote our region's greatest political figgure (Marrion Barry), "It is only after you ahve been in the dakrkest Valley, that you can enjoy the high mountain top".

And with that I have to honestly ask if there is anythign else to say that wasn't said in the 50+ pages of the old thread. Becuase one thing not yet covered is to really need to discuss these issues down the very minutae. For example how many different brands of sugar substitute should be available in the caffeteria and the whole forescent vs. Incandescent bulb issue in the hotel rooms. And if we are really on fire we cna discuss the issue of sessemeseeds on the hamburger buns, how many do we need? Or is it better to jsut drop the issue and go seedless? This is perhaps the true definign issue for a great ski area, you need to get it right!!!







Try reading the positive thread about our resort! We love it here!!

Loved it--"Oprah Universe!"
Edgar
October 14, 2006
Member since 08/28/2006 🔗
33 posts
Quote:

I have to honestly ask if there is anythign else to say that wasn't said in the 50+ pages of the old thread. Becuase one thing not yet covered is to really need to discuss these issues down the very minutae. For example how many different brands of sugar substitute should be available in the caffeteria and the whole forescent vs. Incandescent bulb issue in the hotel rooms. And if we are really on fire we cna discuss the issue of sessemeseeds on the hamburger buns, how many do we need? Or is it better to jsut drop the issue and go seedless? This is perhaps the true definign issue for a great ski area, you need to get it right!!!





Tromano: If the length and detail of the post bothers you, there was nothing forcing you to spend your time reading it. I actually think it's great that this thread evolved into a vitual town hall meeting where everyone was free to speak their mind. Yes some was repetitive, but from from that repitition one can see a consensus forming such that the 50 pages that have been deleted from this board represented the very best feedback and way-forward any current/future owner could have.

Too bad that current HV management didn't see it that way...
hockeydave
October 15, 2006
Member since 06/30/2004 🔗
772 posts
Quote:

Tromano: If the length and detail of the post bothers you, there was nothing forcing you to spend your time reading it. I actually think it's great that this thread evolved into a vitual town hall meeting where everyone was free to speak their mind.




Edgar... I couldn't agree with you more. There are many more threads that I don't read than I do read, because, quite frankly, I'm just not interested in their content and wouldn't want to waste my time. But I won't critique a thread that poses no interest to me because I'm sure there are plenty of others who find the posts useful and/or entertaining. However, none of us should be reading a thread just to police the contents as to whether a thread is too long or has too much repetitive material. If one is doing that, one has way too much spare time on one's hands, and should consider a more productive pursuit of one's time.

In the past, I have made many posts about the state of Laurel Mountain which I'm sure the vast majority of DCSkiers have zero interest in. But this forum is a great way to communicate to others who are interested.

As can be seen by the number of views on the previous HV thread (over 27000), there was and still is plenty of interest in the future of HV. So for those of you who don't care about HV or LM, here's a simple tip... check the subject title and if you're not interested, DON'T READ IT!!!
Frederick
October 16, 2006
Member since 07/26/2006 🔗
79 posts
I was talking to a home owner this weekend at HV and was slightly confused by the responses. I asked about the resort situation. I was trying to get a little inside scoop. The response that I received was that there was no worries and the resort sale was pending. That the new owner of 7Springs was going to buy HV and connect the two with a lift. Her response scared me and I was amazed that she thought that this was a serious option? Does this sum up the thoughts of other home owners? Maybe this is why I don't feel there is much concern coming from the HV foundation and the community?
Leo
October 16, 2006
Member since 11/15/2005 🔗
279 posts
I have heard that idea floated, but never as "it's going to happen."

Who knows, though. If I were the new owner of 7S, I would want to divest a little and wouldn't purchase two resorts that essentially compete. Also, while it would be possible, the feasibility of connecting the two resorts with a lift seems somewhat daunting. Right of ways, cost, etc....
SkiBoarder
October 16, 2006
Member since 05/22/2006 🔗
44 posts
Hope her response was sarcastic or that is some strong stuff she is using. Kind of in the dark, even with some of the Somerset/Jtown locals providing me with the latest rumors. Have not heard that one though. I wish I had more time to be involved at HV, but I only attend 1 or 2 of the board meetings a year.
casey
October 18, 2006
Member since 11/21/2005 🔗
37 posts
Gizmosnow..Is the "individual" still boasting about purchasing HV or has he disappeared? On another subject, I have seen more activity getting the ski slopes ready this year than the last two years combined.
snosnugums
October 18, 2006
Member since 04/10/2006 🔗
126 posts
Connecting 7Springs and HV is not feasible, economically or physically. They are much to far apart. Who ever came up with that one is on medication. There has been activity including, yes - believe it or not, painting the chair lift chairs. I also heard they are supposed to paint the clock tower.
LMV
October 19, 2006
Member since 06/1/2005 🔗
60 posts
new article about 7s & Hidden Valley

:: LINK ::
SkiBoarder
October 20, 2006
Member since 05/22/2006 🔗
44 posts
Not sure if I would like this. Even as a owner it would allow more rentals, I like HV as a family type of resort. Though I do understand thet it would be a benefit for Somerset and local counties - jobs and increased tax revenue.
Edgar
October 21, 2006
Member since 08/28/2006 🔗
33 posts
It would be a real change of fortune for HV if someone swooped in, took a run at the slots license, and completely turned around the current situation. Although I am certain lots of folks would't be thrilled, at least it might stir up some interest from potential buyers who could make a fortune turning this around.
Frederick
October 23, 2006
Member since 07/26/2006 🔗
79 posts
Will the hotel open up for guest during ski season or will it remain shut down like in the summer?
nic223
October 23, 2006
Member since 02/21/2006 🔗
90 posts
My understanding is that the Conference center and inn will remain closed. No Snowshoe, no hotel, etc. Roo's and Dundee's will be open.
Frederick
October 25, 2006
Member since 07/26/2006 🔗
79 posts
It looks like Hidden Valley has revamped the website a little. It flows a little better than before. Some nice new pictures as well.
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
October 26, 2006
Member since 03/15/2004 🔗
1,363 posts
After saying I would never post again and it has been a while since I posted on this subject, I reconsidered. I missed the dialog and being obsessed with skiing, I had to satisfy my jones until ski season started. So I am back posting again. I hope I am not thought as a hypocrit. Anyway, read the restuarant section on the website. There are many conflicting statements. It even refers to the "2003/2004 season". I guess no one in Management at the Resort reads the website.
I've heard they are working on the chair lifts which is good news(if true). Dundees, Roos Pub and Glaciers Pub will be opening for ski season.Additionally, I understand that the Koala Cove Wine Bar will be open on Friday nights.
Interestingly, I found an old HV brochure from 1996. It mentions a Deli, The Hearthside Restuarant and another place which I can't remember as being open year round.
I find it interesting that they have not had one promotional event (car show, concert, craft show, wine tasting, etc) for many years. They don't seem to comprehend or don't want to draw outsiders to the resort it would seem.
Last year, winter came early and 7springs was open the day after Thanksgiving. HV opened the next weekend. Hopefully we'll have a repeat of the early winter this year.
Nice to be back.
gizmosnow
October 27, 2006
Member since 10/6/2005 🔗
269 posts
There is a HV Steering Committee MTG tomorrow (SAT>) morning at 9:30 am.
I'm hoping to attend.
Anyone else planning on being there??
casey
October 27, 2006
Member since 11/21/2005 🔗
37 posts
Definitely, We will be there. Complaining only gets you so far. People need to come together to assure HV becomes the great place it once was. I hope everyone that is able to come will be there and will offer some constructive ideas.
Frederick
October 27, 2006
Member since 07/26/2006 🔗
79 posts
I'll be the first to say that I missed you. I have only been posting for a few short months and I found your posts on this subject great to read. It was great to see all those people that posted for the first time that had been reading the posts because they too didn't want to see the history go. As always thanks for the insight on the resort.

Although, I don't have a home there yet, I have been seriously looking at the investment but will not make any moves until something positive happens that in the least suggests a move in the right direction.

I am as confused as ever with the resort situation. If management/owners have committed to sell the resort, than in the least try your best to sell the resort. If they are going to hold on to the resort than make the best effort in making it successful. It always seems to me that in every case or every direction the least amount is being done. If I have a house and I want to sell it, I am going to do the best I can to make it presentable and sell it for every dime its worth.

Here is one, why did Nutting spend millions of millions of dollars on 7 Springs when he could have purchased Hidden Valley for a quarter of the cost and dumped a few million into making it even more amazing? I would have thought that Nutting would love the thought of basically designing from scratch? Something is fishy?
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
October 27, 2006
Member since 03/15/2004 🔗
1,363 posts
Fred - if you want cheap real estate, I would suggest that you buy now. Once there is a new owner, I believe prices are going to go up.
I actually sent Nutting an e-mail about purchasing Hidden Valley. He said he could not comment but indicated that he too felt there need to be some management changes at Hidden Valley. I think the Nuttings have enough on their hands with 7Springs. He cannot comment on it because any person bidding on HV had to sign a confidentiality agreement. I believe he looked into it. I also beleive the Buncher's investigated buying it. Given all the legal issues with liens, titles, etc. it could take a while just to get a deal completed.
I was planning to go to HV this weekend and attend the Steering Committee meeting, however, the weather does not look good so I may not be going.
Edgar
October 27, 2006
Member since 08/28/2006 🔗
33 posts
Yes, it doesn't make lots of sense other than if Nutting really thought they were getting a slots license w/7S, in which cas a major misjudgement has occured. 7S with a slots license would have a whole different valuation than without, and the timing of the sale to put that at risk is really odd.

Otherwise you are right; It would seem to have more upside to buy HV and build on the family theme there.
Leo
October 27, 2006
Member since 11/15/2005 🔗
279 posts
What's most bizzarre about the slots thing is that it appears 5 mil was left on the table...according to the article about no slots at 7S, it was a non-refundable 5 million dollar application for a slots license. Surely this had to be figured into the value of the resort and surely Nutting knew he would not be able to get around the MLB rules...or maybe he thought he could. In any case, if I read the article correctly, someone left 5 mil on the table, which is more than the asking price of HV, I believe....strange.

Have a good weekend, all.
Frederick
October 27, 2006
Member since 07/26/2006 🔗
79 posts
Snowsmith,

I agree that real estate prices will go up with a new owner. However, I believe there will be some lag time during the first year or so. I think people will evaluate the new owner first thus holding the real estate prices steady for a little. This happened at Snowshoe, Intrawest had purchased the resort but prices didn't sky rocket until you actually saw some new development and changes at the resort. The risk in buying now is that the resort closes for good.

Leo, I thought I had read that HV was being valued in the $30M?

If Nutting bought 7 Springs for many times that amount...I just don't understand why he wouldn't take HV and put another $30M into it? I know I'm talking about millions like dollars right now, but it seems to me that a more logical decision would have been to take the depreciated HV, than build it and they will come. I am only making assumptions but when you have money like that the real thrill in life is creating and building from the ground up. 7 Springs is already created. There is limited room for improvement, different ideas, different approaches and growth. 7 Springs is probably close to its peak.
wolverine
October 27, 2006
Member since 08/26/2005 🔗
113 posts
"7 Springs is probably close to its peak."???
Seems that the Nuttings will add value to 7S more than any other resort I can think of.
HV may have been not a problem for the Nuttings to buy, but they have a risk of a losing money year after year from a dying resort. 7S does well in spite of no heavy marketing. HV may be a bet for the Nuttings for Slots and all that comes with it, but not as a money making ski resort.
Edgar
October 27, 2006
Member since 08/28/2006 🔗
33 posts
What ever happened to the guy hanging around HV who claimed that he bought it and would be proven correct shortly.
Frederick
October 27, 2006
Member since 07/26/2006 🔗
79 posts
Wolverine,

7 Springs is very successful as it stands. Sure, the new owner will make some improvements here and there but it isn't a place that will need to be recreated. Its all already there and it is done well. It will be tweaked a little. The ideas will only refine what is already there. They are already building beautiful new condos and a lodge. They already have great restaurants and shopping. They already have good skiing. They already have great events each season. I am sure the new owner will add some great improvements but there is only so much that can be done that isn't already there. For example, they aren't going to tear down the hotel and ski lodge to build a brand new village like at Snowshoe when they just paid millions and millions of dollars for the place. At Hidden Valley, the possibilty to start from scratch and build a brand new village with shopping and restaurants is feasible, economically and land wise. The ability to add more slopes on the north summit that would sweep right down to Rt. 31 has to be intriguing. The amount of undevelop land for vacation properties. The access right off the Turnpike. The Buncher Group has the idea, they see the potential in the area and must be thrilled about the prospect of planning every inch of their new development.

My post was about opportunity and challanges. It was about taking a risk and buying Hidden Valley and reinventing the place. It was about Nutting seeing potential in a place that he could see grow before him. It was about the 84 lumber guy buying land in the highlands and creating Nemocolin out of the ground. It was about the ability of an individual to see all the ideas and knowledge that he has gathered over the years from visiting other resorts build one of his own.
wolverine
October 27, 2006
Member since 08/26/2005 🔗
113 posts
My point being that HV could be an avenue for the Nuttings to have slots and associated elements and revenue at an arms length from the "family resort" at 7S.

It would be illogical for the Nuttings to buy and to re-build a resort with a lousy reputation in order to compete with themselves.
Frederick
October 27, 2006
Member since 07/26/2006 🔗
79 posts
I was refering to the decision to buy 7S over HV in the first place not buying them both. My inquery was about rationalizing Nuttings decision. I was trying to get some answers to expalin Nuttings thought process as an individual and why he decided to go with 7 Springs instead of HV. My understanding is that Nutting bidded on HV first, what was the hang up? He must have believed the resort had potential but decided in the end to spend much much more on an already proven resort.
snosnugums
October 28, 2006
Member since 04/10/2006 🔗
126 posts
Fred - Wolverine is a nasty version of Mountain Masher. Thus he tends to be a little negative and obnoxius, but means no harm. He may one day learn that communication is more effective when your not trying to insult the person your responding to.
I believe that Nutting once considered buying HV all the while he was trying to close the deal on 7springs. I was told by someone familiar with the sale process, that HV has not been very forthcoming with the information that potential buyers have requested. Who knows why. I guess they were trying to put as much posiive spin on the place as possible. After closing the inn and conference center, I can't imagine that increased the sale price.
Frederick
October 29, 2006
Member since 07/26/2006 🔗
79 posts
Snosnugums,

Thanks for the answer. That was exactly what I was thinking........It seems that the issues at Hidden Valley have carried over into road blocks for the furure purchaser.
gizmosnow
October 29, 2006
Member since 10/6/2005 🔗
269 posts
It is interesting to speculate on why 7S over HV (and that is all it is, speculation).....
Certainly, it depends on the buyers objectives:
If Nutting was seeking an opportunity to 'park'(i.e., invest) a sigfnificant amount of cash with the goal to acheive a fair, proven, steady return (i.e., income) with a modest amount of risk and some potential for long-term capital gain, then 7S may have been ideal.

HV probably is not that. HV likely requires ongoing investment (and losses) over the short term and substantially higher risk. However, the potential roi for HV over the long-term is far greater IF one is able to acheive 'success'. The investor in HV has to be a true 'HV Believer' (even a visionary like Clarence Kettler) and has to be willing to sustain short-term pain.

However, the potential for HV, to me, is a no-brainer (anyone out there willing to loan me $15-20mil??).

On land development alone, I've heard that the HV master plan allows for the development of some 1,500 to 2,000 additional units. Spit-shine the resort and there is no reason why a developer can't earn a minimum of $30k/unit profit on 500 units over a 10 year period (using sales at 7S as a comparison). This alone would recoup a $15m investment in HV or, put another way, represent a 10% annual return on investment. <%This is an overly simplistic, ballpark analysis, I know, however, I do believe HV offers a tremendous opportunity for the right investor -- it just may not have been Nutting who may have had other financial/investment goals).
Frederick
October 29, 2006
Member since 07/26/2006 🔗
79 posts
Gizmosnow,

I agree with this assessment. It depends what Nutting was thinking. Its all a mystery. This whole process is a little funny.
Edgar
October 29, 2006
Member since 08/28/2006 🔗
33 posts
It is interesting to go back to June 20 to a Pittsburgh Post Gazette article published just shortly after the sale at 7S:
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06171/699589-85.stm

"Robert Nutting, chief executive officer of West Virginia-based Ogden Newspapers and a member of the Pirates' four-man voting board, said there won't be any legal issues preventing the family from owning both a baseball team and a casino.Instead, he said, the family will deal with an "image issue." But he assured fans of both the team and the resort that Seven Springs will be in touch with league officials and the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board to make sure the resort's casino bid passes muster with both entities."

It would appear as if he was way off on this issue and thus the premise that he bought 7S.
Frederick
October 30, 2006
Member since 07/26/2006 🔗
79 posts
Edgar,

Interesting. More to come for sure. I wonder how all this stuff is going to work out down the road.....
bawalker
October 30, 2006
Member since 12/1/2003 🔗
1,547 posts
Why do I get the feeling that whether or not Scott removes a 50 page thread or 100 page thread... it's just going to grow right back even larger? So far 3,000+ page views and growing faster than any other threads on here. And we thought the untopic was a uncontrollable beast....
BushwackerinPA
October 30, 2006
Member since 12/9/2004 🔗
649 posts
if someone can tell me what one of these threads solves, or helps I would see a piont to them.

yes i posted in the first one...then stopped posting cause its solves nothing.
Leo
October 30, 2006
Member since 11/15/2005 🔗
279 posts
I believe the point is to facilitate the sharing of news and ideas.

I personally appreciate hearing other people's thoughts, insights, or observations about the resort.
Leo
October 30, 2006
Member since 11/15/2005 🔗
279 posts
If I wanted pointless, I would participate in the "Untopic" debacle.


----STRIKE THAT-----

I don't want to be hypocritical and bash other threads.
Edgar
October 30, 2006
Member since 08/28/2006 🔗
33 posts
I also appreciate hearing different views. If it is not of interest to some viewers, then they certainly have the option not to read it.
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
October 30, 2006
Member since 03/15/2004 🔗
1,363 posts
For a lot of us, there is more to this forum than happy talk about tree skiing. Yeah, I think we had enough negative things to say about the resort. I think they are starting the make improvements. But, we are not part time ski instructors, we all work hard to pay for our real estate investments at Hidden Valley, something which at this point in your life you don't understand. We all want to see HV prosper as you do. You are one of the good things about HV. I am sorry you won't be teaching skiing at HV this season. This forum gives us a place to whine and complain about the situation and hypothesize since we have all been puzzled by the actions of the Resort. But, you know I think I may have figured it out....THEY HAVE NO MONEY TO INVEST IN THE RESORT. I think they started running into financial difficulties several years ago for what ever reason and they have been hanging on by a thread since then. Anyway I digress...however, I don't see this subject as pointless.
Frederick
October 30, 2006
Member since 07/26/2006 🔗
79 posts
I agree. This forum provides more than just simple talk. Skiing just isn't about the hill. I actually think that a lot of great minds use this thread to talk about the ski and resort industry. It may not ever reach the owners/managers but it provides something internal to the people writing and reading. It is good to be passionate about a subject like this. Unfortunately, Hidden Valley has become the root of the discussion but deservingly so. Hidden Valley has become a case study. It will continue until something drastic happens. Hidden Valley to me is becoming a conspiracy theory. Just the history of the place and the beauty make it intriguing. This is the only outlet to discuss the history and theories of its demise and hopefully rise.

Snowsmith,

It is money mismanagement. The last few years have been a huge boom in the resort industry. The last few years real estate has sky rocketed. There is something wrong when a place with so much potential can't find a way to be succesful during these last few years. If the Kettler's were building homes in the last 5 years they are making money! Otherwise something is really wrong. New homes in the DC area doubled if not tripled in value.

How does a place with 7 wedding planners, weddings, conferences, banquets, golf, tennis camps, skiing and 1200 homes not make money. This place was probably paid off 10 years ago. The RV campsites in the highlands are more succesful. I saw people RVing all through Oct. right next to HV. There are definitely enough people in the area for success.

It cost forty dollars a month to run a nice website. Bid out the web page to a local highschool IT department. It is mismaganement and lack of thoughts and ideas what is going on. When you start losing money, change things! Freaking offer new ways of purchasing lift tickets. Snowtime Inc. created the 4 hour flex ticket and the discount cards! Brilliant! This place should have never been losing money in the first place. Start offering new programs to intice people. This is ridiculous. Can someone tell me how many signs are produced for new homes by the Kettler's? Why can't one of those signs be for Hidden Valley?

Who the heck is in charge at HV? They need someone in there to prioritize. They need someone to work good deals. Develop relationships. Again, why is there word about painting the ski lifts? who cares about that? I am pissed off when I drive up and see the lodge in shambles. How many men and time does it take to paint the lodge over the spring and summer, hire some college students! Take 5 full time employess and go paint the resort signs on the roadways, make a weekend out of it. Hire some retires to plant flowers every weekend. How much does it cost to reface the chalet next to the lodge in some cedar. It would cost more to build a shed in my backyard. This is nuts. Out of all the new home construction sites that the Kettler's have, you are telling me they don't have any left over wood to reface the chalet next to the lodge. Those upgrades will make money in return. Get the ass ugly road blocks out of the parking lots. Take 3 men and one day, use wood posts and rope, make it in the least visually appealing. Work with the HV foundation to repair the road barriers, the homeowners use the roads as access. Tear down the crappy looking shacks on the slopes, don't rebuild them now until you have more money but don't let them stand and rot. They are an eye sore. My freaking city and parks organization does a better job in making the green areas appealing to come to. It is all in the presentation.

I don't care if HV has 5 dollars or 500k. If I'm paying peoples salaries, those people are going to be doing work to make that place great and everyone will benefit. This may offend some people but the managers at HV should have every full time employee working on the visual appearance of the resort. Nothing else matters now. They should have a focus meeting every morning on the tasks they are going to accomplish, if doors need painting, everyones painting, even managers.

What gets me the most is that if you could have a company with all the resources to run, maintain, and manage a resort, it would be the Kettler's building company. You need an advertising plan, they do it all the time with their new homes (nice web pages, newspaper, commercials, signs). You need a builder, for vacation homes and general resort upgrades and maintaince (upkeep, painting etc.) Whola, they are a builder. I don't understand why the same buiness philosophies that are used for the building of new homes isn't being used at HV? This is not brain surgery. It has been done before.
nic223
October 30, 2006
Member since 02/21/2006 🔗
90 posts
Quote:

if someone can tell me what one of these threads solves, or helps I would see a piont to them.

yes i posted in the first one...then stopped posting cause its solves nothing.



Bushwacker
Obviously you are intrigued enough to keep reading and posting. Hopefully that helps solve your question.
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
October 30, 2006
Member since 03/15/2004 🔗
1,363 posts
Remember at one time they owed more than a million dollars in back taxes. They still have a few liens filed against them. I have often thought the same way you do, however, if you have no money to invest in the resort, what do you do. Put it this way, if they have money and run the resort the way they do, then they must be brain dead. On the other hand they don't have the capital to invest, what are they going to do?
Frederick
October 31, 2006
Member since 07/26/2006 🔗
79 posts
At some point in the last few years you either devise a plan to get yourself out of debt or sell the resort on good timing. If what you are saying is true and HV is broke, than what does that say about the future of the resort? You can't actively attract people to the resort in the shape it is in. It doesn't appear that a plan is in place to actively get the resort out of debt? It has got to the point where the resort needs a tremendous amount of updating and maintenance and I think that is affecting any potential buyers. The amount HV will make from the new condos will be limited and I am not sure at this point that any of the money will go back into the resort.

Here is my take again, when HV applied for a contruction loan for the new condos, why didn't they pull out some additional funding to spruce up things? What are we talking here 75K and some elbow grease to get this place somewhat ship shape? The justification to the bank would be the increased potential gain in the real estate value of the new condos. Again, as a consumer, I would be more willing to buy a condo at a higher price if they just kept the status quo (Just spruce it up). It is real risky to buy a condo at a much lower price now and not even know whether or not the resort is heading in the right direction.

So where did all the money go with all the successful years that HV had? Not back into the resort for the future.
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
October 31, 2006
Member since 03/15/2004 🔗
1,363 posts
Fred - you raise some very valid questions. When a business is in trouble where does the money usually go - to pay off debt first, the lawyers second and everybody else is third to last. None of what they have done in recent years makes business sense to me. However, I enjoy my HV home and we're all praying for the savior to come down from the mountain with a bounty of cash to rescue the Resort and return it to it's past glory. I decided a long time ago that the resort would never prosper with the current ownership/management.
gizmosnow
October 31, 2006
Member since 10/6/2005 🔗
269 posts
I had hoped to make it to the HV Steering Committee mtg but was unable.
However, spoke with someone today who did attend.
Bad news is that the turnout was fairly low.
Good news is that the committee focused on the current ill-state of affairs at the resort and how homeowners can/should organize and take a proactive stand in the future of the resort (whereas the prior mtg I had attended focused on coffee and dougnuts for saturday morning get togethers).
I was told the committee is looking for volunteers to help organize homeowners, raise funds, hire independent legal councel, etc. to protect the interests of homeowners in the sale or, non-sale of the resort.
I was given a contact email. Anyone interested in getting involved, pm me and I will pass along.
tromano
November 5, 2006
Member since 12/19/2002 🔗
998 posts
Quote:

If I wanted pointless, I would participate in the "Untopic" debacle.


----STRIKE THAT-----

I don't want to be hypocritical and bash other threads.




Don't player hate. The untopic is the kiddie table of the DCSKI discussion forum. Without the untopic posters like myself, RogerZ, jimmy, crush and occasionally JohnL would be continuously infesting other threads in a search for off topic discussion. The untopic solved all that and gives us kids a place to play.
snosnugums
November 6, 2006
Member since 04/10/2006 🔗
126 posts
My experience so far with the Steering Committee has been"all talk and no action". What have they accomplished?
nic223
November 6, 2006
Member since 02/21/2006 🔗
90 posts
The "Steering Commitee" is not even sanctioned by the foundation or the board members. How can they be effective if they are truly not recognized.
Leo
November 6, 2006
Member since 11/15/2005 🔗
279 posts
Tromano -- yeah, that's why I struck my comments from the record. Even though I have never posted there, I actually do read the "Untopic" from time to time and often find it hilarious.

My response was misdirected anger at the people who can't understand why some people want to have ongoing discussions about HV...

So my apologies to any untopic posters.

So as to not inadvertently hijack this thread...I was at HV yesterday. Pretty quiet. In this case, something tells me no news is not necessarily good news.
gizmosnow
November 6, 2006
Member since 10/6/2005 🔗
269 posts
To the contrary, I believe the ONLY way 'a' homeowners committee can be effective is if it is completely independent of the HV foundation & Board because those are controlled by kettler.

The question is whether or not this steering committee has (or could have)the resources and fortitude to organize homeowners independently of the foundation and represent the True best interests of homeowners as opposed to the minority vote of the homeowners on the foundation (i.e., via legal actions, etc.).
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
November 6, 2006
Member since 03/15/2004 🔗
1,363 posts
Unfortunately, the community foundation representatives have to maintain a relationship with the Resort. So while some of the Board members may be a little too cozy with the Resort, they're job is to run/administer for the HV residents. And they do a good job at that. All the ones I spoke to agree that HV management is not good. But they really are powerless to do anything about it. If the Steering Committee had any kahonees, they would have done something long ago. It took them 5 months to reschedule the meeting that was cancelled in June. A time when everyone was angry about the logging and much support could have been generated. We need someone to be aggresive if there is anything we can do. And I am not sure what anyone can do except generate 50 pages of negative comments and hope that we can beat into the brains of Resort Management that they are not doing their job correctly.
Frederick
November 6, 2006
Member since 07/26/2006 🔗
79 posts
Can someone please tell me what HV management's job is anyway these days? Is it to get the resort sold or is it to attract customers for future revenue?
Frederick
November 8, 2006
Member since 07/26/2006 🔗
79 posts
Thank you Mr. Kettler. It is always good when the words come from the top. Looking forward to a great future at HV. I'll be buying a condo if things continue in this direction. But now I'm not going to have anything to complain about!
nic223
November 8, 2006
Member since 02/21/2006 🔗
90 posts
Frederick

What words did you get from the top?
Frederick
November 8, 2006
Member since 07/26/2006 🔗
79 posts
Nic,

Check out the article on Scott's interview with Jim Kettler on the main page.
wolverine
November 8, 2006
Member since 08/26/2005 🔗
113 posts
Thanks for the interview Mr. K. It makes skeptics like me think twice about bashing a resort when we hear some words from the top that he "gets it". The interview has given me more respect for HV. I think the Nuttings have provided an opportunity for Mr. K to think slots as an attractive economic possibility for HV.
nic223
November 8, 2006
Member since 02/21/2006 🔗
90 posts
Thanks I have the main forum page set to my favorites and did not see the article. Also thanks to Scott and Mr. Kettler.
gizmosnow
November 8, 2006
Member since 10/6/2005 🔗
269 posts
My 2-cents worth....
At least Mr. Kettlr appears 'thoughtful' with respect to a stategic vision for the resort. Up to now, the impression given by onsite mgmt (and, Mr. Kettler vis-a-vis his silence) was that they did not give a darn about the future of the resort.

I only hope that he backs up his comments with some visible actions in the near term --e.g., paint the ski lodge exterior, pave Parke Drive!
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
November 8, 2006
Member since 03/15/2004 🔗
1,363 posts
I posted this in response to Kettler's inteview and I was surprise that no one commented on it so here it is again.
Thank you to Scott and Mr. Kettler for opening a dialog. The Kettler's have done an amazing job in developing the resort most would agree. The development of the resort housing has been done very sensitively - preserving the wooded resort environment such that even townhouse owners have their residence surrounded by woods. The ponds, the walking trails, the architecture, etc are outstanding amenities. My wife and I are considering retiring at HV for these reasons. Most of us have a strong connection to the resort, thus the passonate feelings expressed on this website by the folks who work, ski, golf and own real estate at Hidden Valley. That said, the tough questions that were expressed in more than 50 pages of Forum comments that have since been removed, were not asked by Scott. The main concerns expressed by these folks are:
1) Why are the Resort facilities not being maintained? As expressed by more than a few poster and the vast majority of HV residents, a paint job on the ski lodge, chair lifts, lift shacks is not a high cost item. Why is maintenance of these facilities being deferred?
2) During the past few months, I have attended a wine festival and a crafts festival at 7Springs. These 'promotional' type activities attract customers to the resort. Hidden Valley used to have these promotional activities. Additionally, Mr. Kettler mentions the Laurel Highlands Visitor's Bureau in the interview. Yet, Hidden Valley is not even mentioned on their website or not one add is included in the guide book that they publish. Other ski areas have more dynamic websites, webcams, etc to create interest, not so at HV. Why is there such a lack of creativity in promoting the resort?
3) The manager of the resort told members of the community at a community meeting, that it is none of our business how the Resort is run. His condescending attitude at community meetings has angered and alienated many Resort residents. Why not address residents concerns in an honest and respectful way. Given the failure of the inn, conference business, restuarants, etc, why hasn't the Resort manager been held accountable?
4) The Resort owed millions in back taxes, had a large lien filed against the Resort by Penelec for non-payment of the electric bill. Additionally, despite the success of conference centers, hotels and restuarants at adjacent resorts, Seven Springs, Wisp and Nemacolon Woods, Hidden Valley has been unable to be financially successful at these activities. The conference center has not been renovated in many years and looks shabby at best, thus discouraging conference and catering business. In short, what happened to the finances of the resort? Have you turned the corner? Why is it that these other resorts are successful at these same activities and HV is not?
5) The Boston Culinary Group has been running the restuarants at the Resort for several years. Despite the prime location on Route 31 and the continued success of the nearby Laurel Mountain Inn, they have not had a full time succesful restuarant operation.My initial experiences with Dundees were positive (had 2 excellent New Years' dinners, liked the wine bar, friendly bar), however, the restuarant service was poor and no one resembling a manager was ever present at the restuarant. The only eating place that residents have during non-ski times is a snack bar at the golf course. If the Boston Culinary Group can't get the job done, why not replace them?
6) The Buncher Group is propssing a high end resort on the land abutting HV. This will create new customers for HV, Have you been in contact with the Buncher Group to develop a cooperative and beneficial relationship to help take advantage of these opportunities?

These are some of the tough questions that I would have asked. We all love HV and don't understand why HV management is not recognizing that HV is a 'diamond in the rough' with untapped potential and not creatively pursuing profitable business oppurtunities. I am excited that we may have some new ski trails in the 'Outback' area in the not too distant future. I believe that the terrain here will fully utilize all of the verical and may also be the steepest terrain on the mountain, thus providing the additional challenge that we all crave. Hopefully this will create new opportunities on Route 31 for retail and restuarant activities.

We all want HV to be successful and look forward to an outstanding ski season.
nic223
November 8, 2006
Member since 02/21/2006 🔗
90 posts
Smowsmith

I am with you all the way on your questions in response to the interview. These are the same questions that I here on a more or less a daily basis. On a side note Boston Culinary does not operate Dundee's/Roo's. The resort operates that establishment.
gizmosnow
November 8, 2006
Member since 10/6/2005 🔗
269 posts
"....These are the same questions that I here on a more or less a daily basis.:

NIC223,
Can you explain further?
Frederick
November 8, 2006
Member since 07/26/2006 🔗
79 posts
I second that all Snowsmith. I very much appreciate Scott and Mr. Kettler for the interview.

For me, the success of any resort is getting people up to the mountain to spend money. So you have to devise a master plan around that principle. Once you get them up to the mountain you have to keep them coming back. You have to refine that plan as times change. You have to research and visit other resorts. You have to look at resort models that are successful. The state of Hidden Valley as stands doesn't attract customers. At this point, I haven't heard any good excuses as to why Hidden Valley shouldn't be successful.

Master plan in short (in sequence of importance):

1. Maintain the status quo. Take care of the resort facilities. The visual appearance detracts customers. From afar the lodge and setting is beautiful but up close it is in shambles. Put up some nice village signs on the lodge and restaurants and shops. Make people feel like they are coming to this great little classic ski village/lodge. Give it back some character. This simple feature will attract more customers.

2. Open everything back up for service. When you start closing areas of the resort seasonally, something is wrong and people react to it. Beach places don't open in the winter because they can't find enough people to work not because there aren't enough customers. Ocean City, MD solved this proplem by starting an international work program. Just find different uses to keep the facilities open. People in the community and Somerset area could use these facilities. No excuse for not being creative. Local schools, community groups, clubs, are always looking for places to hold functions. Offer discounts room rates for people holding these functions. Why would I go to Dundee's when I can get the same just around the corner? Recreate the restaurant. People come to Helen's at 7 Springs from far away because it is great fine dinning and it has much character that you don't find just anywhere. Put in a restaurant that I can't go to in Somerset like a classic family style serving or a great general store with a fine meat deli and beer/wine. Hire a coordinator for managing all resort activities.

3. Develop an advertising plan and do it well. Now that the resort is clean and maintained its ready to attract new customers and keep them.

Refresh the logo. Make it a resort brand that is recognized.
Revamp the web site and update it frequently. There is no new news. I want a web cam. I want to see what is going on at the resort when I am at home. I want to see what I could be doing. I could spend ten pages on web page format and design.
Tear down the road signs and replace. Put new signs in new places.
Advertise in the big cities and their surrounding economic bedroom communities (I have never seen an ad in DC, Baltimore, Rockville, Frederick, etc). I wouldn't even know Hidden Valley existed unless I visited 7 Springs or had relatives in the area.
Create more options for purchasing lift tickets. 4 hour flex, corporate discounts, family discounts, etc.
Develop relationships with local companies or in Pittsburgh. Ask L.L Bean to donate boats for the lake if they can advertise at the resort. Sell Glades Pike wines in your restaurants. Work with a hot tub company to get spas outside the inn. Etc. These are your advertising partners for the future. Work to do dual advertising.

4. Now that you have a steady income of customers focus on the development. This is the jackpot. The more people that want to come up to the resort, the more people that want to become part of the place, and the more people want to purchase condos, supply and demand. Focus development where it is going to be the most visual, right off Rt.31. Create a beautiful second entrance to the resort. A secondary base area is a great idea. I want to see condos that back right up to the new slopes. I want to see retail and more mixed-use facilities. Turn the white house that is next to the Outback area into a bed and breakfast. Tie the whole area together well. Focus on a theme for the resort, either make it look like you're out west or in Vermont, give the whole place a feel, a character, wood, stone, pine trees or make it trendy and modernize everything. I have notice that 7 Springs is stuck in the 80s. A real difference for Hidden Valley would to modernize everything. Make it fancy.

This all assumes that Hidden Valley has money to invest in the future and if they don't, they have to find a way to get there, a combination of elbow grease and motivation go a long way. They have to get people up to the mountain to spend money.
snosnugums
November 8, 2006
Member since 04/10/2006 🔗
126 posts
Snowsmith - you echo the opinion of most homeowners nearly exactly. I sometimes think that Resort Management thinks we're a vocal minority. If that's what they think they are out of touch.
However, if I read Jim Kettler's responses correctly, they are gearing the place to full time residents. This is an interesting concept since I know of no ski resort that has gone in that direction. But, if you look at the 'resorts' on the Eastern Shore of MD and Delaware, they are gearing real estate sales to Baby Boomer retirees. So who knows, maybe the old fart Baby Boomers will want to retire at a ski area and we'll have a bunch of old folks skiing down the slopes.
He misinterprets the 'diamond in the rough' comparison to mean we are a bunch of rich city yuppies in a sea of the less affluent residents of Somerset County. But can you think of any ski resort that isn't like that. Ski resorts are generally in a rural area where job oppurtunities are limited. Look at Wisp, Timberline, Snowshoe,etc, etc. None of the areas surrounding the ski area are as affluent as the ski area itself.
The new ski village surrounding the new Outback slopes and the new golf village sound like money makers. But they are going to have to a better job marketing these than they are with the expansion of the North Summit Condos ( a PDF file of a photo taken of a floor plan sheet lying on a table!!??). The marketing guy, who ever he or she is should be sent packing tomorrow! And the web site is too static, kick that persons butt also.
Federick - you should be the marketing chief for the resort. My take on Kettler Bros. is that they know how to develop real estate very well, but they don't know how to run a resort and are not very creative with marketing.
The key to a successful resort operation is to hire someone who knows how to successfully promote and operate a resort. The current person running the day to day operation of the Resort is clueless in my humble opinion.

I must say that Jim Kettler was brave to succumb to our withering criticism. He has a good overall plan to take HV forward, however success is in the execution and the recent track record is not good. I love Hidden Valley and I sincerely hope they can turn it around as I am sure you all agree.
Edgar
November 9, 2006
Member since 08/28/2006 🔗
33 posts
I am also encouraged that Mr. Kettler has decided to enguage in a dialogue, and commend Scott for his involvement thereof.

I also agree with all the comments thereof and here are some more:

- While the concept of full time residents may sound good, I am not so certain that is going to take off as long as many of the resort facilities remain closed. Who wants to live in a mothballed resort? I see the better fit as for 2nd homes for retirees or others who want to spend some but not all of their time there. Otherwise one is targeting the locals who can ill afford it.
- One would think that the ills of HV are due to global warming. However look at the expansion and boom taking place at Wisp and Snoeshoe. Do they not have global warming? What they do have is more mindshare of DC/Baltimore Residents (see below)
- The categorizing of HV as a day trip area, at least to me highlights part of the problem. While it is possible to do HV as a day trip from the major population centers in DC/Baltimore, it is a very long day and there are other options one passes on the way that didn't exist when HV was first conceived, namely Whitetail. So what one is left with is day trippers from Pittsburgh or the local area. Mr Kettler is correct that the locals have very limited cash to burn, while Pittsburgh has seen a decrease on population and now has one of the oldest populations in the US...not eaxactly a prime market. So HV is somewhat stuck in the middle...too small and unknown as a destination, yet without a dynamic local market of daytrippers.
- The only thing that changes this is to become more of a destination for the Baltimore/DC skiers and vacation home buyers. If you open up the DC real estate section any sunday you will see pictures of mountain resorts being advertised as far away as North Carolina and Tennessee. If you go to their web sites they are very nicely presented. HV is closer than many of these areas and has the skiing and infrastructure in place. HV needs to reach out to the DC market and create awareness. The neighboring Buncher development provides even greater critical mass and possible partnering opportunities to do this.
- Being in the shadow of Seven Springs which IS a destination, and now with 7S touting the family theme even more since they will not have slots, HV needs to figure out how to carve out a niche that isn't just the same thing, only smaller with fewer attractions. Rather than making another 7S, HV could position themselves as smaller but more exclusive area for example, which would be more attractive for home buyers.
-However that takes investment to deliver. Although I am encouraged by plans for the Outback area, this was all tempered with "over the next 5 years" and "if conditions permit". We have just experienced a real estate boom over the past 5 years, and if conditions didn't permit then I suspect that they may not permit over the next 5, unless there is a more fundamental change re: how the resort is run and marketed.
- There needs to be an investment in upgrades and marketing, and if Mr Kettler is waiting for a "good winter" to turn things around I doubt that it will. Why would visitors go there if they havn't heard of it? What does it offer that justifies the drive past the other options?
- I for one am not ready to buy a condo or even one of the a season passes at HV. My concerns are that they appear broke, cannot pay their bils, and are thus not in a position to invest in what it will take to do the obvious things.
Frederick
November 9, 2006
Member since 07/26/2006 🔗
79 posts
I agree with all. The weather is not the issue and how can you support a full time living community with limited facilities. This place could turn the corner in an instant if they would just make it look like someone didn't die there and do some positive advertising.
Domino
November 9, 2006
Member since 10/17/2006 🔗
6 posts
Where can I find the interview with Mr. Kettler? Thanks.
pamurchu
November 9, 2006
Member since 10/11/2006 🔗
26 posts
Quote:

Where can I find the interview with Mr. Kettler? Thanks.



www.dcski.com

Go to the front page of the DCSKI forum and you can find the interview there.
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
November 12, 2006
Member since 03/15/2004 🔗
1,363 posts
Was at HV this weekend. Went to the ski swap and picked up my season pass. While walking the dog, I noticed that they had painted the chairs on the North Summit Quad. This is strange since these CTEC chairs are made from galvanized steel. Unless you use a special primer,paint will not stick to galvanized steel and it will just peel off. The other thing that looked odd was the chairs were painted 2 different colors. Perhaps they are not done yet.
The other chair lifts that are not galvanized steel did not look as if they had been painted, although I did not inspect all the chairs.
Frederick
November 13, 2006
Member since 07/26/2006 🔗
79 posts
Thanks for the update. I didn't even know there was a ski swap this weekend? Was it advertised?
rdytooski
November 13, 2006
Member since 11/16/2005 🔗
40 posts
I also made the trip this weekend. Appears that a few of the chair lift operator huts have been repaired. Also at the bottom of the Sunrise Sunset lifts there were about 40 chairs off the lifts. Some primed some PAINTED!!! along with the red emergency stop poles and most of the fences
where up near the lifts and thier anchor points

We decided to try Dundees food was good but no coffee or Iced T was available.
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
November 13, 2006
Member since 03/15/2004 🔗
1,363 posts
I did not know that Dundees had re-opened. I thought they were not going to open until December? I have been told that Dundees will be run by the "Resort Manager" (if you know who I mean). I had some good meals there previously but the service was very bad. If they can get someone in there to run/oversee the place, maybe they can be successful. I still have not seen any evidence that the electricity has been turned back on for the ski slopes. Snow making oppurtunities will be starting in 2 weeks.
snosnugums
November 26, 2006
Member since 04/10/2006 🔗
126 posts
Stayed at Hidden Valley throughout the Thankdgiving holiday. Noticed some changes:
1) Looked like all of the chair lift chairs were being painted.
2) Ski North Ski Shop looks like they will expand to use all of the first floor of the lodge above Glacier's Pub.
3) Other work was on going but I wasn't sure what they were doing.
4) Dundee's re-opened sporting a new bar, a new fire place and a new menu. They might want to do some marketing so they can fill the tables. Looks like they also re-decorated and they are supposed to have a wine bar open on Fridays.
5) New Summit condos appeared to be under construction.
6) Several of the decrepit lift shacks had been repaired and painted!!
7) The lights were back on in the ski area indicating that the lien with Penelec may have been addressed

Also, here is some interesting news, a group from Florida has supposedly renewed their interest in purchasing the resort with an interest in the gambling license that 7Springs lost. Also hear that a developer affiliated with the Buncher Group may be expressing interest.

If they could just get rid of their useless (this guy does nothing) marketing director, they could get this pig turned around.

Unfortunately (or fortunately) the weather was beautiful this weekend. The snow that was on the ground when I arrived Wednesday night dissappeared by Friday morning. So much for skiing in November.

I also visited the Deep Creek Lake area. It looked as though as every avialable vacant piece of land was being developed. Overdevelopment is what I'd call it. I will say I had a great meal at Uno's restuarant. This place is like no other Uno's that I've been to. Deep Creek is a nice place to visit, but I prefer the more laid back atmosphere of the Laurel Mountains.

So, it looks like things are looking up at HV. If they could just hire someone who cares about marketing the place, they might make some money.
Frederick
November 27, 2006
Member since 07/26/2006 🔗
79 posts
Thanks for the update. Always nice to hear about any changes.
Edgar
November 27, 2006
Member since 08/28/2006 🔗
33 posts
Good to hear. Looks like there is somewhat of a renewed commitment to the resort, as well as renewed buyer interest.

I would think that trying to base the resort purchase on the shot at the slots license would be a difficult to tie together. As I understand it, there will be a recompete for the spare slots license next year, and the outcome would be far from assured. Also, someone would have to front the application fee. I wonder if the application at 7S by the Dupre's is somehow "transferrable" (at least the $5M part of the application) and wonder if they would want to be involved at HV?

Whether you like slots or not this would be the kind of thing that could dramatically turn things around at the resort, and be a good reason for investors to get involved. Good to hear of the Buncher related interest as well.

It seems like there are some very intresting pieces in place and if these parties could work together, this could be a huge turn around story in the way that Deep Creek Lake has had a big turn around from just a few years ago. I agree with you that I also like the slower pace of the Laurel Highlands, but then again I want to see HV and surrounding area be sustainable, rather than the current path to closure they have been on.
JCHobbes
November 27, 2006
Member since 09/12/2005 🔗
94 posts
It's good to see that positive things are happening at Hidden Valley. As much as I love Laurel Mountain, Hidden Valley is also a very favorite place of mine, if only to escape the crowds of 7Springs...
gizmosnow
November 28, 2006
Member since 10/6/2005 🔗
269 posts
I agree with Edgar that comtemplating the purchase of HV on the basis of receiving a slots license would not seem prudent.

However, interestingly, Joe Hardy (Nemecolin) rescinded his application for the slots license today!
(Supposedly due to an unfavorable ruling re: the $25 purchase requirement)

Therefore, that now leaves both slots licenses up for grabs!
Ya never know.
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
December 1, 2006
Member since 03/15/2004 🔗
1,363 posts
HV website says they will be opening on 12/15. They should be able to start making snow tomorrow.
If you didn't know already, the resort actually has a television station. It has a repeating loop of commercials, some of which are quite old which extolls that merits of Hidden Valley. The station is on Channel 23 (cable).
This could be a great resource for the community, the resort, etc. But is just languishes, repeating the same stuff over and over. Of course the last time I turned it on there was no sound. More evidence that the marketing chief is not doing his job.
I'm sure the resort must pay for this channel so why not make use of it to promote the resort and the Community. At least let folks know that it exists.
Frederick
December 1, 2006
Member since 07/26/2006 🔗
79 posts
Snowsmith,

Can you elaborate on the management structure at HV? Or whats left of it. Is there even a person still marketing the resort? Or is the whole operation being run by one person and this person is trying to do everthing?
gizmosnow
December 2, 2006
Member since 10/6/2005 🔗
269 posts
Picked up my season passes today and was told that HV is actually ahead of last year on sale of season passes -- which was a surprise, for me, at least. Was also told that they MAY start making snow later this week for a 12/15 opening (my fear was they would resist making snow until they had a blanket of natural). Also heard that they had expanded the ski school staff and several 'people' told me, regardless of all else, they are committed to the ski season. Not a whole lot there but at least more positive than negative.
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
December 3, 2006
Member since 03/15/2004 🔗
1,363 posts
I would hope that they would start making snow on Monday since there appears to be an extended cold period on the way. 7Springs and Wisp have started snow making. At least they have announced a date. I don't remember them ever announcing an opening date a head of time. This is a good thing since it allows folks to plan ahead. I was hoping they may have a limited opening next weekend just for the residents. They have done this before.
Every ski resort that I know of has a web cam. The HV website doesn't even have a recent photo. If you know who their marketing director is, you know the guy is a useless bag a wind. Get rid of him and hire some eager marketing graduate and let him go to work creating an effective marketing plan for the resort.
pamurchu
December 4, 2006
Member since 10/11/2006 🔗
26 posts
It is Monday, December 4, 2006, at 10:55 AM, and I can hear the snow blowers running. Hopefully, a December 15 startup is definitely in the picture.
Frederick
December 4, 2006
Member since 07/26/2006 🔗
79 posts
Thanks for the update. Hidden Valley continues to miss out on free advertising, I would love to sit in my office all year long and see whats going on at the resort. Instead, I go to other resort sites and dream.
Edgar
December 4, 2006
Member since 08/28/2006 🔗
33 posts
Yes, from a marketing perspetive HV is a wasteland. I was surprised to find out that they are not even a member of laurelhighlands.org, which is the area tourism organization that gets matching funding from the state and has all the literature racks in the region. You won't find HV on any of those literature racks, or their web site, or in their big annual guide to the region handed out at all the turnpike rest stops. I guess from a marketing perspective they wouldn't want that kind of attention, but would rather just cite global warming and the lack of F500 firms left in Pittsburgh for the decline of their business.
snosnugums
December 4, 2006
Member since 04/10/2006 🔗
126 posts
Quite frankly, if I were the guy who puts their website together, I would be embarrassed to admit that I actually setup and maintain the website. It has those same tired old photos. You can't tell me that someone doesn't have a digital camera at the Resort. Take a photo of the snow guns running. Do something!!!!
If you have ever met their marketing guy, he gives new meaning to the word zero. He should be selling used cars not marketing a resort. If he has a full time job, what on earth does he do everyday. Someone please tell us, cause it sure ain't work. Kick his ass out the door!
Leo
December 5, 2006
Member since 11/15/2005 🔗
279 posts
Maybe his theory is that any attention is good attention...so when he's asked to report on "marketing" progress, he can brag about the number of views and posts that HV generates on DC Ski.
BushwackerinPA
December 10, 2006
Member since 12/9/2004 🔗
649 posts
they hired alot of new people this year is ski school, but several left for for the west. Quite Normal for them actually alot of alumis of that ski school are high level instructors accros the county.
Frederick
December 10, 2006
Member since 07/26/2006 🔗
79 posts
Maybe its just me but whats the point of hiring more ski instructors if no one knows about it. It is backwards thinking. Why not spend the money and spruce up the area to attract more people, than once you have the people you keep them there with the great ski school. People have to choose to ski there first and than secondly they will concenrtate on taking lessons and learning. Where is the effort to attract people to the resort?
Edgar
December 10, 2006
Member since 08/28/2006 🔗
33 posts
I know it's not much, but I heard that the potential buyer from Florida is Horizon something?? Sound familiar to anyone?
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
December 10, 2006
Member since 03/15/2004 🔗
1,363 posts
One tradition that Hidden Valley has not lost is the excellent ski school. Folks like Bushwackerin and other dedicated members of the ski school have somehow continued the tradition despite the lunkheads in HV management. The lady who runs the ski school ( I think her mane is Joy)is well thought of.
Frederick
December 11, 2006
Member since 07/26/2006 🔗
79 posts
The Ski School is renouned. What I am always confused about is the backward approach to things. Why spend money on hiring more ski school instructors when there is no active attempt to get new customers or even retain old ones? It has to work hand in hand.
Leo
December 11, 2006
Member since 11/15/2005 🔗
279 posts
Frederick -- I generally agree with your perspective on the resort... I am just playing devils advocate here. When I instructed at HV, our compensation was based on time teaching...so the cost of having instructors, if there isn't work, is relatively minimal. This may have changed since I last taught, but at that time, we weren't really paid an hourly wage unless we were out on the slopes teaching...we also paid for our own jacket, insurance, etc. So hiring new instructors would not add much fixed costs to running the ski school.
Frederick
December 11, 2006
Member since 07/26/2006 🔗
79 posts
Adding more instructors to the ski school is a great thing but no one even knows that the ski school is expanding except for the insiders. This is a deeper problem than just the hiring of more instructors. It goes for any updrades or advancements taking place a HV. I can search deep on the web site and find limited or minus information about what updates or advancements are occuring at Hidden Valley. What I am trying to say is that the hiring of more instructors has to be tied to promoting it otheriwse people who want to learn are going to go to other resorts that promote the ski school and its upgrades. Lets say I'm a begginner from the DC area and I'm thinking about taking my family away for the weekned to ski.....so I begin to do some research. I come across HV website and it says absolutely nothing about any upgrades or advancements to the ski school, I'm going to choose somewhere else. I want to be sold on HV and why its such a great place to go skiing and not find out through DC Ski.
Leo
December 11, 2006
Member since 11/15/2005 🔗
279 posts
Agreed. And another example (which may have been discussed in another thread) is the fact that the website showed a 12/15 open date and then they were open this weekend for skiing. I did not come up this weekend b/c I had checked the website late in the week and it said opening day was 12/15. Based on the long term forecast I may have missed my only chance at early season skiing b/c HV could not even update a sentence on their main home page.
Frederick
December 14, 2006
Member since 07/26/2006 🔗
79 posts
Do both Kettler Brothers own the resort? I noticed that several articles list one or the other as the owner and the most recent interview was with Mr.Jim Kettler. Are we to assume that Jim Kettler has the most oversite at this point?
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
December 18, 2006
Member since 03/15/2004 🔗
1,363 posts
I see that all comments on the Kettler interview have dissappeared. I guess we're not allowed to discuss this subject anymore. Scott - I suggest you actualy visit Hidden Valley sometime to see what all the griping is about. There are more than a few (like EVERY property owner), as you seem to suggest, that have concerns about how the Resort is run.
That said, perhaps we have beat this this subject to death and no changes will most likely take place until the resort is sold. Unless something changes or I have factual events to post, this is my last post on this subject and I'll return to happy talk.
Scott - DCSki Editor
December 18, 2006
Member since 10/10/1999 🔗
1,139 posts
The comments have only disappeared temporarily until I have time to implement some new policies on DCSki; then they will return. Please refer to the following post:

http://www.dcski.com/ubbthreads22/showth...age=0#Post31081

One or two individuals abused DCSki's openness by posting completely inappropriate comments. Snowsmith: I don't think you would have any questions why the comments were deleted if you saw them.

From an editorial viewpoint, I do believe that Hidden Valley discussions have gone on long enough, although it's never been my policy to restrict discussions just because I'm tired of hearing about a certain subject. But, yes, I do think it's been beaten to death. That's simply a separate issue.
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
December 19, 2006
Member since 03/15/2004 🔗
1,363 posts
Scott - I agree. It's time to move on. The folks who should be listening aren't listening anyway.
Tucker
December 20, 2006
Member since 03/14/2005 🔗
893 posts
Quote:

Scott - I agree. It's time to move on. The folks who should be listening aren't listening anyway.




It's easy to understand the frustrations. The complaints sound real/valid and some of the solutions seem simple and low cost.

But I agree I doubt any of these resorts that are poorly managed are listening or are going to change anything based on comments on this site.... These resorts are what they are... if they weren't then they wouldn't have to listen to an internet site for business planning...they would hire people who know the industry and listen to their ideas, they would be more agressive in producing a quality product, they would try to model their business in accordance with industry standards, they would know what their competition is offering and etc,etc,etc. If they do not know to listen to customers, industry standards, etc than they are not going to listen to folks on an internet site... If the idea is to bad mouth and slander them into changing is that really worth it, will that work...I doubt it...

Having said that using the internet to network and group up and to approach resorts as homeowners and season pass holder with invested interest might have an positive effect...I guess that remains to be seen...

But as far as simple comments I don't think this site is vary useful when getting resort to change in a positive way, or atleast hasn't proven to be...but this site is a great way to get an idea of what is going on at these resort first hand...you can find out more about these MID-A resorts good or bad, pro or con whether it's conditions, pictures, skiing reports, amenineties, directions, etc than you can on the resort web-sites...the information is always more uptodate and accurate and that to me is an amazing testament to DC SKI and could be another suggestion/recommedation to resorts...
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