Hidden Valley Skiing to Close this Weekend
Hidden Valley has indicated that this will be the last weekend of skiing. Since they have not made snow since the beginning of February and have relied on the natural snow received in the past month or so, I am not surprised that they will be closing since their base never seemed to be much. The season at Hidden Valley lasted basically 7 weeks.
With increasing requirements for capital investment in new ski rental equipment, ski area maintenance and repair and the reduced income from a short season, I have heard that the Kettler's are eager to unload the place. I hear there is a group from the west coast that is looking into obtaining the gambling liscense abandoned by 7Springs for use at HV. I have also heard that Buncher has shown a renewed interest in the place.
I predict an ownership change by this summer.
Yeah, it definitely seemed to be a minimum effort type-of-season at HV. But despite the short season, there were better (individual) days of skiing this year than there have been in the recent past, which may serve as encouragement for any potential buyers. Ideally, I hope slots don't figure into the future of the resort, but at this point, whatever it takes is going to have to be acceptable to homeowners, patrons, etc.
The President's Day weekend was one of the best I have experienced. Outstanding snow. A few positives - the wine bar at the Outback. The new Hiking Club. The amazing amount of snow we received in February. My recent beer drinking evening and the friendly crowd at Glacier's Pub
Based on some information (on the logging at HV) that was provided to me by a DCSki member (via a PM), I drove through HV last week. I was shocked at how extensive the logging damage was, especially along the Golf Course. Also, I got out of my car to see how large the stumps were and, again, I was shocked at the small size of the stumps. The trees that were logged were generally too small to be of high value; I would say that most of those trees were used for things like pallet-wood, furring strips, and pulp-wood. There is NO excuse for such exploitive behavior in a Resort.
What makes HV uninviting to start with is the fact that you have to drive past a major quarry/mining operation as you enter the Resort. Now, the logging destruction just adds to that industrial/resource-exploitation atmosphere. If I was a property owner at HV, I would try to DUMP my place now, before things get even worse. Given that PA has one of the worst environmental records of the 50 States, PA natives are so used to bad environmental practices that they're barely aware of things like mining and logging damage (and, if they are, it usually doesn't bother them). However, to survive, HV has to attract lots of folks from outside PA, especially the DC/Baltimore area. And, unfortunately HV just doesn't look pristine enough these days to attract much business from DC/Baltimore.
HV property owners should ban together and try to look into the logging to see if it was done on the "up and up". Is there a HV covenance that prevents things like logging? Was a survey done prior to the logging? Was the logging done with a Timber Management Plan as required by PA Law? Were any HV "public areas" logged? Have property values been hurt due to the logging (a good Real Estate appraisal company can probably reach a conclusion on that one). The HV property owners have likely been hurt by the actions of the Resort owners and they shouldn't have to take it lying down.
Thanks for all the updates. It has been a while since I last posted. Looking forward to some good news about Hidden Valley this summer. What potential!
I, too, have 'lurked' but not posted much lately due to extremely hectic work obligations.
Skied mostly HV (I know that seems to be heresey to say this season) but it is where my condo is and where I had a season pass.
Just returned from skiing HV this weekend and, once again, conditions were outstanding. Yesterday (sAT) was ungroomed and nothing but powder on all slopes (although northface was closed) with decent crowds but not so many that you couldn't find a powder run up thru their 5pm closing (it also continued to snow almost non-stop all day).
Today, was a mix between natural and perfect groomers under sunny blue skies! It was an incredible way to end the season.
My personal opinion -- from mid-january thru this final weekend (albeit due to a lot of cooperation from mother nature)conditions wise, this was probably the best 8-week run at HV in recent years!
And, BTW, there are new, recent rumors floating about re: several potential interested buyers of the resort-- most of the rumors include the potential slots license as a component.
Any info on possible candidates? I always like to research thier experience and background.
I've heard through the grapevine that there are 3 suitors:
1) a company from Los Angelos
2) Cohen and Cohen from Florida
3) The Buncher Group or a company affiliated with them
Of course these are rumors and are purely speculative. Thus who really knows.
Thanks. I'll check them out.
Good to hear that there are some suitors. Have you heard who the LA group is? I checked out Cohen and Cohen and didn't come up with much.
Hidden Valley skiing has been closed since middle March. We are now in April. With this warm weather, you would think people would want to get in some first swings on the golf course. An opportunity for HV to make some early money. I would be mad as hell if I represented the golf club and the webpage still says WINTER. Why does it always take an act of nature to get things moving at this resort? They should have been planning to update the webpage months in advance as the Spring season approached.
As David Byrne of the Talking Heads once said "same as it ever was".
With it being off season, i guess it is ok to get some 'gentlemanly' conversation going re: the future of hv.
I am aware that discussions with several potential buyer groups have heated up over the past several weeks and that a preliminary deal is at least a possiblity before too long. Bear in mind that if a deal involves a slots license the slots application would be public record and could provide significant insight into the potential future for hv.
As in the past, it is still a wait-and-see situation or, just a wait and wait.... but, at least there is some small glimmer of hope.
Good to know that at least some possibilities are in the works.
Re: the slots process, I have to wonder how this would play out. As I understand it the resort licenses would need to be recompeted and it would be no sure thing that HV would get one. So does the resort first get sold and a buyer take a chance on getting a license, or do existing owners apply to get a license first (this has certainly proven tricky with 7S with change of ownership, etc) It all seems rather complex to pull together. Also, I'm not certain what loosening of the resort license restrictions has actially been decided, and if it is maybe even more competitors for the licencses would appear.
It it a real shame that the Laurel Highlands had gone from a shoe in for 2 licenses to currently none. Whether you like slots or not, the area needs jobs and some new dynamic.
I was thinking the same thing. Logistically it seems like a nightmare. Seems to be a lot of risk either way and at this point, I don't think the facilities are up to par to just move slot machines in. The whole conference/ lodge/inn areas need major upgrades and repair.
I wish someone knew what was really going on up there? Web page still shows winter........for god sakes, someone take five minutes and get the summer page up.....make some money off the beautiful golf course.
You have all these wonderful ad campaigns for the Laurel highlands. The whole area is really taking off and HV is nowhere to be found. I believe that they are mising out on a very good opportunity when customer visits to the highlands looks to be increasing. Drove by all the RV and camping sites near Rt31 last weekend and they were packed. HV was empty.
I was told by 2 people this weekend that the Buncher Group submitted a Letter of Intent on Friday. Given they own the 800 acres next store, it would make sense. I also here a group from Pittsburgh ( a development group) has also expressed interest.Of course, Buncher now has to perform their due diligence thing and I hear your lucky to get a shoe box of records from HV management.
I can add additonal confirmation re: the Buncher Group having submitted a non-binding LOI (which enables HV to continue to negotiate with other prospective buyers). Heard rumor that a second interested party is Don Barden (a casino operator who recently won the bid to build a casino in PGH) Obviously, Barden's bid would likely be contingent upon the casino license. Heard Buncher is not necessarily relying on the slots license. And, at least one other group remains interested.
Personally, I am very hopeful in that, at this point, all operations at HV seem to have ceased, the resort is at rock bottom and, you would think Kettler has to be desparate to make a deal happen.
RE; the due diligence thing....I'm thinking that Buncher is already aware of the 'limitations' in this regard and that both Buncher (because of their adjacent project) and Barden (because of their primary interest in the casino, don't much care about the past operations. They are not, at this point , purchasing an 'ongoing concern'. It is simply, to them, an asset purchase to be developed based upon a whole new strategy/direction than HV's past operations.
Nice to hear from you. I too have heard the news but have been unable to logon since the new Forum software went into effect. I think I have the problem solved today.
I hear the golf course will open soon, but nothing is shown on the HV website the last time I checked. Given the bad year we had for skiing, I doubt they made much of a profit. And they have no other income producing activities going on. They finally have literally run the place into the ground and must sell or they may face bankruptcy. Of course I really don't know if that is the case, but given the past esperience with unpaid taxes, who knows.
I agree that Buncher would be a good choice - they have money including a $1.0 million grant from the State of PA, they are local and they own the future development next store which will be more successfull if HV is successfull. I truly believe, based on what I have heard, that Kettler is eager to sell and that something will happen this year. As far as due diligence, if Kettler is asking too much money and they can't make the numbers work as far making this profitable, then it going to be more of the same.
Keep us posted.
The great news is that in a few weeks, hv will belong to a local investor who is well financed and has an outstanding reputation.
The story going around is that there will be major investment in expanding the snowmaking capacity through acquisition of a new water pump with four times the present capacity, changing all the snowmaking heads and going to automated operation. Then a number of new lifts, too, with the first to be installed for the coming season!
Further the same source tells me that as soon as the deal closes, Parke Drive will be repaired. The previous non-management allowed the road that's the main entrance to the property to fall into serious disrepair.
I suspect the serious disrepair that has developed over the last few years will be remedied, and we'll again see good skiing at hv. We are already seeing great golf for $25 a round, thanks to Buncher's funding of turf management activities on the golf course.
A new lift for this season? That would be great but it seems kind of late in the year for having a new lift installed by December. Where will the new lift be installed?
If I were going to install a new lift it would be a quad to replace the two aging, fix speed, dangerous, double chairs to the right of the Imperial slope. I have seen more people fall off those chairs during loading then any other lift at any ski resort in the world. I would say that while these lifts are fast, they are ancient and need replacing. Next I would replace the North Summit Quad with an express quad. The ride up that lift is too long.
Actually, I had also heard the speculation of a new lift by this season but, I (i.e., my uneducated self) discounted this as an unrealistic 'rumor'., especially given the amount of preplanning that apparently went into the SS & 7S lift replacemnts.
However, when I heard the speculation for a new lift this coming season, it was for a 6-pak to replace the existing lift on the North Face with the existing lift potentially being relocated to outback the following season (to support several new slopes/trails).
It has been a while since any of you HVers posted...has the sale finalized? Anything else new?
I seem to remember that August 8 has some kind of significance. I believe that is the supposed closing date. If true, we should get some news this week. If something doesn't happen soon, it may be diificult to get enough ski passes sold to support the ski season. And if, God forbid,the sale falls through...
Although from all rumors I've heard, the process is proceeding on schedule.
I spoke to a couple of people who played golf @ Hidden Valley this past weekend. They said the course was in excellent shape. So I'm assuming that Buncher is handling the golf course operations or at the very least financing it because having worked on a golf course maintenence crew, it is not cheap to keep a golf course in excellent shape (wages, chemicals, grounds equipment, golf carts, club house operations, etc.).
This is what I heard recently...
The good news is that there is NO discussion/fear that the deal will fall through.
Unfortunately, however, the scheduled August 8/9 closing date will likely be delayed (I've heard rumors that this is due to legal issues regarding Title). Closing is still planned to occur by the end of August and the asphalters are lined up to come in immediately upon closing.
Don't know how accurate this is but it is the latest I've heard.
Given the number of liens on file against the resort,I would not be surprised if clear title is difficult to obtain. The sooner they close, the better for the residents of Hidden Valley.
99% certain that it is true the closing has been delayed. From what I know, it is most likely a 2 week delay from the Aug 8th date...
The good news:
It still seems inevitable that the deal will go through. Once the closing happens, there are already folks lined up for repair work on roads, the lodge, etc. Buncher's long term plans seem solid. Incidentally, it also has been rumored that they did not finance the deal, but paid cash outright, which confirms what most already knew: they indeed have the deep pockets that a project like this will undoubtedly require.
The bad news:
It is also my understanding that Buncher did intend to replace at least one lift for THIS season. Apparently the co. they have contracted with to do this feels that the two week delay puts them past the date where it is acceptable to start that type of project. So, the earliest will see lift replacements/upgrades is next summer.
I have been told that the settlement has been delayed indefinitely while the title issues are worked out. The fine managemement of the Kettler organization coming through again!! The resort has been for sale for 6 years and nothing has been done to work out title issues?
Your post sounds 'ominous' ( i.e., ...delayed indefinitely...) although I don't know that is your intent.
Did your 'source' suggest that the delay can be for an extended period of time or just a matter of a couple of weeks as I and Leo had heard? Any suggestion that it can be a deal breaker?
Additional details, if you have any, would be appreciated.
I heard similar info as Snowsmith but 'indefinite' may have been a poor choice of words. The info that I received was that they were not sure how long it would take to address the title issue (days, weeks?). I understand that the Bunchers are still committed to completing the sale. We'll see how this unfolds. It is now August and no ski passes have been sold. If it takes until the end of August to get the sale completed, then September will be a critical month for getting the ski operation prepared for the winter. I would expect the the Resort has done nothing to prepare for winter. Thus the Bunchers will need our support to get things going.
The definition of indefinite per the dictionary is "vague, having no fixed or specified limit", which doesn't seem that ominous, never the less, perhaps that particular word sounds worse than the situation actually poses. Since the new settlement date has not yet been determined, from what I have been told, we are again left to speculate as to our fate. It is not unusual for property transfers of this complexity to have title issues, however, they are usually worked out well in advance of settlement with a little due diligence on the part of the seller. The sad part is that it could affect the ski season. We're 1/3 through August and no season passes have been sold. I hear that Buncher had even proposed improvements for the ski area. These may be in jeapardy given the time available before ski season. Thus we are still continuing to suffer under the current Resort management. Once the lunkheads at Resort Management clear up the property title issues and settlement proceeds, we need to support the Bunchers in anyway we can so that we help the resort move in a positive direction.
Very true snowsmith. Makes you wonder what they were thinking, although suspect it has something to do with paying off those creditors who have the leins and not wanting to front the $ to do it.
I was really excited to hear about the possibility of a new lift this season and believe that would have sent a message that dramatic improvements are underway and have made for a better season for them. It is a shame if this will need to be delayed.
Regarding the related talk of a lift reaching to Outback park for next year, that is real intresting and one has to wonder what the plans are for the Outback park area in general since you would think they would want to take advantage of the rt31 frontage.
Heard the closing date may be this coming Monday, August 20th.
Also, noticed a cherry-picker apparently working on/inspecting (?) several of the snow makers down at the base by the beginners area. Not a whole lot of activity but more than I've seen in awhile (which is nothing).
Now that is some good news. Gizmo - you have been a pretty reliable source of information throughout this process and it is most appreciated. I really hope to meet you one day and buy you a drink. If you would like to have that drink sometime, please PM me.
Not to be the bearer of bad news, but I checked on the potential 8/20 settlement date and was told that as of yesterday, they (Hidden Valley Resort) were not close to resolving the property title issues. The settlement date is still unknown.
And if your talking about the old bucket truck that the resort has, that could be bad news. If Kettler's employees are working on the snow making equipment, that means they are getting the resort ready for winter, not the Buncher Group.
Not wishing to spread bad news either but there were rumors (nothing confirmed) this weekend agreeing with the above post.
The cherry picker referred to is the same old yellow rust bucket that has been around HV for awhile. You can tell it's an HV owned vehicle by the amount of rust on it.
Drats - I see you're a new member but are familiar with the fine organization that runs our Resort and have developed that "Hidden Valley Attitude". Welcome to our complainathon!
Thanks! I was lucky to find your chat while seeking any and all information about the, hopefully, impending sale. I've owned property at HV for almost 12 years. When we purchased our first townhouse, the resort was just a gorgeous place to come and visit and, at the time, a good investment. We now own a home in Old Hidden Valley and have watched as the owners have ruined the place. Parke Drive and the road around the lake are a disgrace....we're embarrassed to invite friends up on weekends.We used to schedule company retreats at the conference center until 2 years ago when the place was too damn dirty to conduct meetings.
Recently, I played golf there and was thrilled to see the condition of the course and even saw new golf carts! $25 for a round of golf on what used to be one of the best resort courses in Ps., was quite a bargain.
The place has awesome potential. I always tell my wife that if we hit PowerBall, I'd love to buy the place and fix it up to realize it's potential. Just paving Parke Drive and adding decent guard rails would be a huge morale booster for me!!!!!
We were at HV today. There is a backhoe on the slopes installing new water lines to the snow maker. The snow maker is down. I seriously don't think the Kettlers are doing this work. Hopefully Giz is on to something.
Still no season ski passes, yet there's work on snow making? Is it possible that the Water Company is working on water lines?
If the Kettler's blow this sale we should run them out of town.
I second the motion.
Maybe there are far more liens against the resort other than back taxes, electric, gas, foundation assessments, . . .
Hopefully it is DD on Buncher's part knowing the past disregard of the resort management.
I would have to believe that Buncher, with there vast experience, did not enter this deal blindly. I am sure they knew what leins were owed before they entered into the deal. And aren't leins satisfied out of the purchase price? Buncher has already invested a ton of money into HV and I would think they would not have done this unless sure of a deal. This is probably last minute posturing trying to get the most or least money out of the deal depending on which party you are.
You have to wonder if it was wise for Buncher to spend a cent on HV until the deal was done......could they retrieve their investment if the deal fell through??
I was just up there for the past few days working on a home and doing some golfing, and yes, the golf course was in good shape. As for the ski seaosn and the sale, I was talking with some management about getting some old skis form them and they seem to be optimistic about the sale in the means of saying that I might be able to pick up a lot more skis soon. Which, if is true, the demo skis and board I rode for the rental shop will be ordered for this season. I didn't happen to see the old bucket truck out but they at least had the tractor out mowing the slopes as usual. I do hope though that them looking at the snow guns doesn't lead to less guns on the hill again like last season where they took them off of the towers and they were not to be seen again.
I always seem to stay ever optimistic about HV, but now I still wait to see real progress in person instead of rumors. I just hope all this means something.
I've gotten some dependable information from the Abe and Wags realtors website and newsletter. They seem to be plugged into both HV and 7 Springs. They're also more realistic than some realtors who sometimes are overly optimistic.
So, what is the latest from your good sources?
Just checked....no updates since July.
Buncher has been at HV today conducting personal interviews with the current staff. Official closing is to be next week.
Your source is way behind.
Nic - if true, that is great news. I was getting worried about the ski season. September is approaching and we don't even have any season passes to buy, meaning we're screwed if HV doesn't sell and open. From what I have been told, Buncher, once they take possession, will be offering very cheap season passes ($200 is what I heard).
The interviews definately happened and the Buncher people said the closing was scheduled for next week.
As far as the season passes go, that is the last thing I am worried about. Buncher taking over the property is far more important!
Nic......That is fantastic news. I was there last weekend and they look like they're all set up to make snow. Seems way ahead of where they usually are this time of the year. Chairs and snowmakers all set up
Nic and Drats - this is very good news. I haven't been to HV in a few weeks, but during my last few visits, I noticed that the stationary snow guns were not removed from the pole mounts since last winter. I'll check it out this weekend.
I understand the point about the season passes. If you have to buy one elsewhere, it would be quite expensive at this point.
What did Buncher have to say? We are new homeowners and are very excited about the sale.
Sounds great! Did they give any hints on how they plan to return it to the way it was.
Thanks, We also love it and look forward to spending as much time as we can at HV
Does anyone else have anything to offer?
New member to forum but long time viewer. I see stars in responses to some important questions of interest to everyone who love HV. I understand the need to be prudent with information but, little nuggets will help us all get in the mindset of the season and give us the confident freedomn to speak positvely of HV once again. C-Mon how about a couple of nuggets. I promise I won't tell anyone ;-)
I just returned from a weekend at hv and attended the homeowners mtg. It appears as if you may have provided feedback re: comments of the Buncher reps at that mtg and subsequently deleted. I'm somewhat confused--not sure if your deletions were for a purpose, e.g., at the request of Scott, or if it is o.k. to provide a few 'nuggets' for Jim T.
My position is that Buncher provided info in an open forum to whomever was interested in listening and there was no intent or expectation of confidentiality so why not share some good news re: hv for a change. Please advise if I, too, should '*'-out the following:
Anyway, after the homeowners mtg. representatives from Buncher stood outside the southridge pool and answered questions re: their plans and expectations for hv. Bottom line is that myself and everyone I spoke to who was at that session was impressed that hv will be in capable hands---Buncher appears to have done their homework well and is poised to 'push the button' and get things moving immediately upon closing. They've hired and ad agency, have prepared press releases, hired a mountain manager and a resort/operations manager (and they were very specific- gave names and backgrounds---don't remember the ad agency, both mgrs come from vermont resorts). They hope to have season passes on sale by mid-September. They will make major necessary renovations and repairs to the ski lodge, lifts, snowmakers for this season even though they recognize that , ultimately, they may have to tear down and rebuild for subsequent seasons (e.g., the maintenance bldgs). They are targeting for at least 3 good restaurants during prime season with at least one restaurant opened year-round (probably at the outback -- structure likely replaced at some point). They still hope to get a new lift installed for this season --- my understanding is that this would be a 4-man to replace the two 'imperial lifts (lightning and 'whatever') although I am not positive I got this correct. They hope to be able to add the outback slopes within the next 2-3 seasons. They indicated that development of the 'reserve' property will likely take a back-seat to hv at this point in time and that as realestate developers they are certainly interested in developing the property at the top of the mountain (condos, townhomes, etc) ) but that they recognize they must get the amenities in first to support the sale of additional residential development.
I think that pretty much covers it all (don't know if this is similar to pamurchu's prior posts). All in all, i was impressed by their openness, specificity and preparation.
I just returned from a weekend at hv and attended the homeowners mtg. It appears as if you may have provided feedback re: comments of the Buncher reps at that mtg and subsequently deleted. I'm somewhat confused--not sure if your deletions were for a purpose, e.g., at the request of Scott, or if it is o.k. to provide a few 'nuggets' for Jim T. ...
Nope, I didn't make any requests for deletion. Not sure what the edit was about.
Thanks for the "nuggets". The fact that Buncher has already hired resort / mountain managers, and they are from Vermont resorts is more than enough info for me at this time. It tells me alot about how they are thinking of the resort and their interest in running as such. See you on the slopes!!
Best news I've heard in quite awhile in relation to HV. Their priorities are "right on". Resort managers from Vt. A PR campaign.....can you imagine this 5 years ago??
Any idea when the deal will be done?? Still on target for this week??
I am not sure why Parmurchu deleted all of his posts, but the Buncher's made all this info public.
A few weeks ago, I sent an e-mail to Buncher's honcho who is involved in their real estate division. I suggested, amongst other things, that they check out http://www.dcski.com.
So hopefully they are reading out little comments. It's too bad the thousands of posts that realy hit hard on the Hidden Valley demise issues have been deleted from the Board.
From what I've heard, these folks are serious about turning things around.
Thanks GIZ for stepping up and helping some of us guys out who can't attend the meetings and want to keep up on what's going on in HV.
any idea when the closing will occur?
I must say that this must set some kind of record for the longest ski season in the east. How they managed not to close until Friday is beyond me????
I almost hate to comment on Jimmy's email about the late closing of HV this year...it will only encourage him!
But I must give him credit for a great one!! Looking forward to skiing with you some this winter.
If they reopen the bar in the conference center, the beers are on me. Three restaurants!! I remember when there was a pretty good one at the conference center...seems like a long time ago
That bar was called the Snowshoe. It was closed after the 2005-06 season. It was closed for only one season. It actually was the real after hours apres ski destination for a few years.
Hopefully, today, Friday, August 31, 2007 will be the start of a new era at Hidden Valley. Having an owner who will actually invest in the resort will be fantastic.Having a Resort Manager who actually has people skills and actually cares about what the residents of the resort think, will be refreshing. Having a ski lodge that is actually maintained will be enjoyable. Having restuarants that are well run will be a great experience. To Jim Kettler and John Scanlan, I say, good bye and good ridance.
Its noon time on the suspected day.
Has anyone heard or seen anything?
I suspect that once it happens it will be noticable
Hi all -- I am blogging from my laptop at the South Ridge pool. Word just came to me that the closing is not happening and the deal is perilously close to falling through. Buncher allegedly cited irreconcilable issues with liens, etc. Just kidding. AGAIN, just kidding! Not funny, I know. Hopefully we will hear something soon.
Have a good weekend, all!
Somebody push him in to the POOL!!!
I second that! All our hopes and dreams are waiting for this to be put through and yourmind is set on toiling with our thoughts by posting that! AHHHH!!! OK. Now that I have gotten that out of me, somebody please say something good soon so we know that HV is in good hands and we can drop our jaws when repairs start. We can all gather around by Glaciers and start up a fire in the pit and watch them fix everything in front of us!
Dammit Leo.......I nearly had a coronary. But......this has been dragged out so long, nothing would surprise me.....
Buncher just closed on the Resort.
So who's going to give us the first msg of work being done up there now that the closing is through?
Hidden Valley is closed and born anew! Time to start a new thread. Border, I like your thinking so I will start the new good news thread.
The deal closing is right up there with the Steelers going to the Super Bowl!! Colonel.....keep us posted about the new thread.