Hidden Valley in Summer Recess?
July 22, 2007
I was told by the head pro at the country club I belong to that Hidden Valley Golf Course is closed and does not intend to open. They are maintaining the course (i.e. cutting the grass), but that's all and that nothing else at the resort is open. I tried calling the golf course, but the number is out of service. If I were a homeowner, I would be none too happy. Can anybody else confirm this?
I'm not a golfer, but I saw people playing the course this past weekend.
I stand corrected.
I called Northwood Realty @ Hidden Valley. They gave me the number of the sports center which in turn told me that the golf course is in fact opened right now. So please ignore this post.
However, Hidden Valley should update their website so that, at the very least, people know that the golf course is open. They also should update their contact information.
The incompetence of the management team at Hidden Valley is truly astounding. I doubt they could run a snow ball stand much less a resort.
A group of homeowners has finally gotten together who I am hoping will take some action. The web site is:
The new phone # to the pro shop is 814-444-1443. Also note the Steering committee is not recognized by the home owner foundation, or suppported by many homeowners. The last thing we need is for some group of people looking for a little power to jeopardize the pending sale of the resort. Please be cautious.
The Steering Committee raised $18,000 from the Homeowners in a little over a week, thus your contention that it is not supported by the homeowners doesn't hold water. If you think the status quo is good, then you can join in with the other apathetic folks who have allowed the resort to go down the toilet. Did you know the resort sold the land to the strip mine across Route 31? Do you think the logging was good for your property values? Do you like the fact the the lifts are essentially falling apart and the ski lodge has turned into a dump; no restuarants are open any more; the heater is broken on the indoor pool and most likely won't be replaced; the resort maintained roads are full of pot holes; the web site goes unchanged and no one knows if the golf course is open...etc., etc is good for the community!!!!!. If you are satisfied with the way things are and you think "looking for a little power" is what the Steering Committee is about, then I can understand why you would not support them and accept the status quo. The Foundation is powerless to do anything about these issues since the Foundation IS controlled by the Resort. Our folks at the Foundation do a fine job of maintaining our community, but there is little they can do or have even been willing to do to take on the Resort. I don't think the Steering Committee will scare away new ownership and eventually, the Board will be forced to recognize them. Most of the prospective buyers, I can assure you, already know how incompetent the current Resort Owners/Management are and know the reasons why the Steering Committee exist. If we would have had an active Steering Committee 4 years ago maybe we wouldn't be in this situation.
From what you are trying to tell me the "Steering Committee" is trying to have a say in how the private sector of the business (resort) is being handled. I agree and I am sure the mass percentage of the homeowners and resort guest agree that the resort is in major dis-repair. However, and unfortunately it is out of our control when it comes to the private business side of the resort. I have seen the greatest of times on this resort, and witnessed the whole self destruction. I want to see the good times come back as much as anyone. Forming a group to tell someone how to run their business is not going to solve anything. Do you think for a minute that a potential buyer is going to want to get involved if that is the case? Would you like someone to tell you how to run YOUR BUSINESS?
I believe both of you like to see a re-birth of this wonderful four season resort. But i do agree with nic223 that we are dealing and work in a free market economy. Everyone has a choice do go to a place or stay away from it.
Are you suggesting that the owner's of the resort have no obligation in meeting community standards? The relationship between the people that own homes in the resort and the resort are like a marriage. Each side working together to meet the standards of the commons. They share success and failure. When one side isn't holding to the standards set by the community, everyone is hurt. Legally they may be separate entities but morally they are attached at the hip. I appreciate the free market, but it doesn't apply in this case. Homeowners would basically be cutting off thier own heads by not supporting the resort. It is catch twenty-two.
I am angered that people are suggesting trust be placed with the resort owners and should reframe from any community involvement. I guess HV works backwards, current owners don't want to please customers and now your suggesting that new owners are going to be inhibited by customers thoughts and ideas. What ever happend to the customer is always right!
I agree the owner of the resort do have an obligation to the Hidden Valley community ,as well as, to its customers. I strongly support a sale of the place.
If you are talking about morall, you are not talking Anglo-Saxon business style. Hidden Valley does not know its own obligations. So therefore, You cannot tell someone who does not no anything about resort management how to manage one. My point is that legally you have nothing to say....and thats the truth.
I believe as long as families with a "very small budget" can buy their dream at HV, they will remain in business. Of course its only a question .....how long?
I also believe that the owners financial health of its decvelopment business in DC depends on a quick sale of the resort. As long as HV does not have to make BIG investments, like a new lift, they will use it as long as they can for its own write off. Banks dont want resorts they want money. So my conclusion is that HV will remain in business, regardless of its Homeowner foundation, as long as you have bank directors financing a broken resort with little knowledge of resort business. I am not even talking about financial liabilities the resort has to the government.......to tax buyers.
My biggest fear is that the "Steering Committee" is going to scare away any potential buyers. Everything I have been hearing about the sale of the resort is very positive. If you want to protect your investment and see the resort thrive in the years to come now is not the time to cause an uproar. We finally have someone that has money and is willing to spend money on the resort. Additionally look at what your property values have done in the last 3-4 years.
On a side note can anyone tell me what if anything has the "Steering Committee" accomplished for the homeowners so far?
The Steering Committee started several years ago in response to the gradual slide of every thing at the resort including recreational activities, maintenance, the water system, etc. etc. There were several meetings which were attended by at least 200 people which generated alot of enthusiasm. It took them a while to finally react to the wholesale degeneration of the resort, by I think the time has come for an organization that represents the homeowners and the homeowners only. The Foundation is controlled by the Resort and their weak response to issues such as logging and the demise of the resort facilities.
As far as scaring off new buyers and "not telling business what to do", I would say to anyone who believes that - you deserve what you get. If you believe that no one should tell business what to do, I'll give you an example of basically letting busines do what ever they want - Ocean City, Maryland. The Town government enforced no code of quality, thus they virtually paved the entire penisula which is nothing more than a shifting spit of sand. It has got to be one of the ugliest resort towns I have ever seen.
As far as scaring off new buyers, Nic - I suggest you have you doctor check for spine bone during your next physical. How bad does a developer have to treat the folks who they made money off of before you say enough is enough - logging, no maintenance, poor service, selling land to a strip mine, arrogant response to any complaint, more logging. Maybe you can sugges they add a chemical waste dump so the new owner has more ways of making money.
Nic - don't mean to be hard on you, but it is time for the community to stand up and say enough is enough. Hopefully, the Resort owner will be out of town.
I can see the "Steering Committee" has already made an impact on the resort. I haven't seen them logging anymore(no trees left), they also did a wonderful job on stopping the quarry from putting up the conveyer belt that spans across 31. And boy we have far more activities (resort organized) than we did a few years ago. I just don't feel that the "Steering Committee" is the right approach to getting anything done! And it shows! The best thing we can all hope for is new owners.
On a side note how do you expect the resort to operate with no money. Did you support the golf course or mulligans over the weekend?
If I was involved with the company that is seriously considering buying Hidden Valley, before negotiations would even begin, I would have HV do everything in their power to maintain the customer base and continue to try to attract new customers.
I would venture to say that it is the actions of HV that hurt the sale process and put the new buyer at more risk.
Nic - I have spent my share of money supporting a business that does not care about service or it's customers. I do that only because I bought real estate there to make use of the facilities that the resort offered. If they would have done a good job of providing services, marketing, management, etc, they would not be in the position they are in. If you feel obliged to support mediocrity that is your perogative.The more support we provide to the folks who run this failing operation, the longer they'll hang around. Many folks have already spoken with their feet and taken their business elsewhere.
What is keeping you from doing the same? There is another resort on the mountain that is thriving. I believe you will still have made a genereous profit on your unit the 4 years you have owned here. Where I come from a 50-60% gain is pretty good in 4 years.
Nic my friend - I don't know if you noticed or not but the real estate at Hidden Valley is very reasonbly priced. It allows regular folks like us to afford a vacation home since there is no way we can afford Deep (Pockets) Creek Lake, Seven Springs, Bethany Beach, Rehoboth Beach, Snoshoe, etc. As purchasers of real estate at Hidden Valley, we benefit from the gross mismanagement since it keeps the prices down. However, when we go to sell, our real estate is valued far below Seven Springs and Wisp.
I frankly do not like the atmosphere of the residential areas at Seven Springs. Hidden Valley real estate development is well planned and until the logging happened surrounded by mature forests.
That said, it still puzzles me why you think every thing at the resort is hunky-dory. You need to get out more and see what a quality run place is like.
So basically what you are telling me is that you want to "have your cake and eat it too"
By the way I am in the market for a new "Bentley" but I am only willing to pay the price of a new "Kia". Maybe starting a committee to tell "Kia" how to build their cars and run their business will help get that accomplished. Would anybody like to contribute?
I have also stated in my previous post that I don't agree with the current state of H.V.
Generally speaking, I tend to agree with Nic on this one. Over the year or more that the future of HV has been a hot forum topic, general concensus has been that any new owner would be better than the existing one.. Furthermore, for two years the steering committee had been more interested in picnic planning than the future of the resort. it would be a disaster for the steering committee to stick their 2-cents in it now and screw up a potential good deal.
Anyway, it appears that discussions with Buncher are proceeding nicely. The Buncher folks were spotted by 'many' last week doing a thorough review of all facilities. Folks running the golf course have told 'many' that Buncher is already paying for the chemicals and expertise to begin the process of getting the course back into shape.
BTW, Mulligans is reopened with weekend entertainment. Golf fees are $25, with cart or $40 for unlimitied play.
A reliable source and friend called me this morning to say that the sale to Buncher is a done deal. Can anyone confirm this??
I haven't posted much since the end of winter, hopefully everyone is enjoying their summer!
The liquor license posted in Mulligans has a new notification that the license is being transferred to HVBG.
Does HVBG mean the HIdden Valley Buncher Group? That would be a key signal that the deal has been consummated and transfer of assets has begun.
I believe that HVBG means Hidden Valley Beverage Group. The license is being transfered from Boston Concessions to HV.
I've havn't been posting in a while since I was having trouble with my user name. I was Edgar before, and now I just set up a new account as Edgar 3.
Anyway, if this is true re Buncher this is indeed good news although since we have heard so many rumors in the past I'm not going to believe it till I see something official. Anyway could offer the following comments and details:
- I was in the area last weekend and saw that things are moving along re: Buncher building the firehouse. I am really impressed with Buncher as doing something like this that makes good business sense, and helps the community as well, and hopefully we will see more of the same.
- Some additional things have been happening with respect to sewer and water. Looks like they are trying to tap into Somerset water since Somerset will have a new pipeline and thus there may be capacity they could possibly use from Laurel Creek.
- The combination of HV with the Buncher project in the preserve seems to make lots of sense in that there would be a combined area of significant scale that could be more sucessful than if they were done separately.
- Buncher was planning a golf course for their development. With one at HV that is underutilized, one would wonder if they would still do that?
- The Buncher development was to be a gated community. Wonder if any of the facilities would become private?
- Have to wonder how deep their pockets really are to take on something of the combined scale of things. Also, they would appear to have no experience with resort management and their intrests appear to be primarily in development. Wonder how they would actually manage HV. would seem fitting to make a friendly call to Mr Nutting to see how they could work together.
- With respect to the rumors about the resort slot licenses, I understand the application process is now open and due June 20th. So if there is going to be a proposal that in some way includes HV, things are going to have to be sorted out soon or else it isn't going to happen here!
This is my first time. I was at HV this weekend and have been told by a reliable source that Buncher had a meeting with all the employees that he is taking over. He is running the golf course also. Has anyone heard diferently
Well, as we all know, there have been years of rumors. But the person who called me this morning (the reason for my first post today) has never even commented to me on the resort sale in the past, and he spends a good deal of time in the area and has a cabin headed up the mt on 31. He basically presented it as fact. He said it was a done deal. Buncher bought the resort (in its entirety) and that the announcement was forthcoming. I am assuming and hoping that it is accurate info, but there has been no formal announcement at this point, that I am aware of.
Iwas told that they can't announce it until the first of July
I was told by a friend who attended the Steering Committee meeting that it was announced that the golf course would not have opened had it not been for the Buncher Group who are supplying the golf course with golf carts. Apparently the lack of maintenance on the golf carts resulted in nearly all of them being non-functional. Another fine management decision by the Resort owners. Thank you Buncher!
I live on Gardner Road and saw a truck carrying the old white carts away from the golf club a week or two ago. Yesterday I saw a truck taking another load of newer red carts to the golf course.
It has been almost two weeks since the flurry of messages concerning the possible sale of Hidden Valley to the Boucher folks, anything new?
The rumors are still swirling. Supposedly, there will be an annoucement at the end of June/beginning of July.
Hidden valley has place the Seasons condos up for sale for , are you ready for this...$4,86 million (ha, ha, ha!!! :D). VR Steel City is the broker for the sale.(www.vrsteelcity.com). This shoots down the rumor that the entire resort is being purchased by The Buncher Group.
That's sad to hear in that a piecemeal sale could make things drag out and end up with a Balkenized result. Hopefully we are not here next year with the Golf course sold off to Buncher and the ski resort in limbo.
Don't think this is legit either. VR Steel City describes HV condos as being away from the congestion around the slots at 7S. Slots at 7S has been a non-issue for some time now
I just looked at the listing. It must have been listed for some time because it still states 7 Springs and gaming. Not sure who would want to buy the condos at that price with the resort in limbo? Always doing things backwards. This is sad. It is almost to much to ponder the scenarios of how all this is going to work out. It opens an all new can of worms.
Although, I have seen resorts with condo complexes owned by separate entities that work. Although, those condo complexes rely on a thriving resort.
Snowsmith, Why do you like to spread negative rumors? Sources in the know say Buncher has bought entire resort.
Article appeared in the Pgh paper today re: rumored sale of HV to Buncher. Article doesn't really say much unless you want to "read between the lines" in that both Kettler and Buncher refused to comment to the rumors. While Kettler may not care about bogus 'rumors' you would think that Buncher would be quick to deny them if there wasn't some 'truth' to them.
And, while I'm at it, a quick comment re: the rumors of the Seasons condo's up for seperate sale and if this implies the resort is being sold piecemeal. Absolutely NOT (IMHO)!
The Seasons condo's are NOT part of HV Resort anymore than my or your condo is -- they are privately owned condo's separate from HV Resorts even though kettler and/or HV Resorts may happen to own them. The Buyer isn't expected to buy my condo and yours as part of the 'total resort purchase' and there is no reason why they should be required to purchase the Seasons condo's as part of the total Resort purchase. Kettler/HV Resort can sell those condos piecemeal to individuals if they so desire -- they use to be individually owned (back in HV's hayday, for that matter) before Kettler opted to acquire them.
Pittsburgh developer might buy Somerset County resort
By Sam Spatter and Ron DaParma
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
The 1,500-acre Hidden Valley Four Season Resort in Somerset County might be sold to a Pittsburgh developer.
Residents and real estate agents involved at Hidden Valley are predicting the Buncher Co. will be the successful bidder for the non-residential portion of the ski resort owned by James Kettler of Kettler Bros., a Maryland-based residential and upscale housing developer.
Thomas J. Balestrieri, Buncher president and CEO, declined to comment on his company's plans.
Kettler could not be reached for comment. But he told online publication DCSki in November that he decided to explore selling the resort to take advantage of market opportunities.
A sale would include an 18-hole golf course, eight tennis courts, a sports club, 30 miles of hiking and biking trails, basketball and volleyball courts, a lake stocked with trout and bass, and three swimming pools, plus the ski resort. Not included in a sale are nearly 1,850 of 3,000 lots available for housing development. The other 1,150 lots have been sold.
Buncher Co. has been prominently mentioned as a buyer because it owns an 800-acre site adjoining Hidden Valley that it has planned to develop with similar facilities. Those include a gated community that could include a private 18-hole golf course, equestrian center, 267 single-family lots, townhouses and condominiums, nearly 70 golf cabins and other amenities. The Somerset County Redevelopment Authority has approved a $1 million state grant to Buncher for commercial development along state Route 31.
In October 2005, resort officials said they had received about a half-dozen bids for the resort but declined to identify the firms.
"I have been a longtime resident of Hidden Valley and continually hear that the Buncher Co. is planning to purchase the property," said Merylyn Scribner, a real estate agent for Kettler-Forlines Realty, which is not part of the ownership.
"We hear that Buncher has invested in improving the golf course and helped fund the leasing of new golf carts," she said.
Thomas J. McCaffrey, broker-manager at Grubb & Ellis Co. in Pittsburgh, who owns a condominium at Hidden Valley, also has heard Buncher could buy the complex.
Adrienne and Robert Wagner, agents with Prudential Preferred Realty's Laurel Highlands office in Donegal, told clients in a recent e-mail that Buncher Co. is the leading contender.
Fiscal problems have persisted at Hidden Valley, which was founded in the 1950s.
Just before the resort was to be sold at sheriff's sale in 2006, unpaid property taxes of $900,000 were paid. The resort also owed $750,000 in electric bills to Penelec, according to court records. There was no court record that the bills were paid, and Penelec said billing records are confidential.
Keith James, a Hidden Valley spokesman, said the owners of the resort have paid all their bills.
If the article is true and the inn (Seasons Condos) and the residential property has not been developed are not included in the sale, then the only thing Kettler has accomplished was unloading of all the facilities they refused to spend one penny on improving or maintaining. Thus we're still stuck with having them around and they'll own the land where the real money is to be made. And since they are not selling the inn or the developable property (if true) then that would seem by definition that the resort is being sold piece meal. Kettler bought up 80 of the Seasons units over the years. If Buncher is not buying the developable land, I don't really understand why they would go through with this transaction.
I do not know if Buncher's property adjoins Hidden Valley, but if so, then one reason Buncher might buy the facilities is that he gets the amenities he wants for his development and does not have to build them, only repair the ski, golf, etc. complex he buys from Kettler. Then he could put different amenities in his development and even more houses than previously planned. This way he might be able to buy the resorts activities fairly inexpensively since both the Buncher homeowners and future homeowners and the HV PRESENT AND FUTURE HOMEOWNERS COULD BENEFIT.
I believe the property does adjoin. But if they do not build a new course of their own that means fewer high $ course front lots they would have to sell.
Buncher would be doing Kettler's a big favor if they were to invest/upgrade/market the resort if Kettler would still have all the existing lots for sale, which would benefit and compete with Bunchers lots next door. Suspect there must be more to it.
With all the purchases and clearing of the way Buncher had done in Bakersville, their development appeared to be very Bakersville centric, but if the main facilities are up the road at HV it really spreads things out.
You beat me to the punch! I was just ready to enter this info earlier this AM and saw that you were on the ball! Hopefully, happier times are ahead for my favorite ski resort. Positive thoughts are heading out to HV's new ownership.
I, too, view this as very positive news re: HV and I am looking forward to new ownership with great anticipation.
Here is my take/speculation on how this is going down....
I had been told over the past few weeks by two different individuals that the key 'dates' were June 24th and August 8th. The June 24th date appears to have come true. So, here's how I figure (guess) the deal is coming down (and, btw, this is based upon personal experience with a commercial realestate transaction of similar size): A Letter of Intent was signed. Buncher had until 6/24 to perform due diligence and back-out of the deal or their 'hand-money' went 'hard" (became non-refundable). Upon completion of due diligence, a typical timeframe for the buyer to put together the financing and close the deal is 45-60 days. It happens that August 8th is 45 days out so i'm guessing Buncher has 45 days to close and the deal will be done on or before August 8th. The buyer can always pull out and forfeit the hand-money but this is not likely. Everyone 'assumes' that Buncher has deep pockets so structuring the finances should not be a problem. So, my guess is the deal is finalized on or about August 8th.
I am very pleased with the outcome. Its certainly good news for the region as well as for the homeowners. It will enhance competition in the area.
I am happy for the homeowners as well as for my friends at the ski school
Iwan F Fuchs
In the immortal words of Martin Luther King" Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty I'm free at last".
Here is the information that was told to me:
- the Buncher Group (BG) has told the Foundation that they are seeking bids for various renovation work for the ski lodge
- BG is investigating rebuilding Park Drive and Lake Drive and then turning the roads over to the Foundation
- BG has hired a ski resort design consultant from Utah to assess ski facility improvements including expansion of the ski area, lift replacement including possible high speed lifts.
-BG wants to return HV to a destination winter resort instead of a day ski area
- the water/sewer utility has not yet been conveyed to BG due to procdural issues with the Public Service Commission. This will take up to a year to accomplish from what I hear, Thus Kettler will temporarilly operate the water supply and sewage system. BG may also try to hook up HV to the Somerset County system via Bakersville some where in the future, if it is possible.
- Given the expected lateness of the ski pass offering (even measured by Hidden Valley terms)they may be offering a very reasonably priced ski pass.
It is exciting to know we finally have an owner who has the resources and perhaps the creativity to return HV to it's former glory.
This is the time where we can really see something go from the ground up. As many have said with Hidden Valley reaching rock bottom, for those of us who start attending there year after year, we can watch something go from nothing to hopefully a destination resort before our eyes. I don't know about you all, but riding at a place like that would be worth it to see it grow and flourish. Then again I've never been to Hidden valley before...
I am so pleased to hear that Hidden Valley has been purchased! My hope is that the new owner will provide everything that the homeowners, season pass holders, etc. want in the new and improved Four Season Resort.
I don't think anything in this article is new but I will post it anyway.
It's from the 26 June edition of the Connellsville PA Daily Courier
for Hidden Valley sale
The Buncher Co., a Pittsburgh-based developer, reached an agreement in principle to buy Hidden Valley Four Seasons Resort in Somerset County.
Terms of the private sale were not disclosed. The sale and transfer of all of Hidden Valley's assets is expected to be completed sometime in August.
Hidden Valley Four Seasons Resort is owned by James Kettler of Kettler Bros., a Maryland-based residential and upscale-housing developer.
Thomas J. Balestrieri, president and CEO of Buncher, could not be reached for comment.
The transaction -- along with the anticipated opening of the company's new Hampton Inn & Suites Pittsburgh, Downtown -- marks a Buncher Co. move into the entertainment and hospitality industries.
James Kettler, who purchased the property in 1983, could not be reached for comment. But he told on-line publication DCSki in November that he decided to explore selling the resort to take advantage of market opportunities.
Along with 1,800 buildable housing units, the Four Seasons Resort features 28 ski slopes and trails; an 18-hole golf course; eight tennis courts; a sports club; 30 miles of hiking and biking trails; basketball and volleyball courts; a lake stocked with trout and bass; and three swimming pools in addition to the ski resort.
Buncher Co. had been prominently mentioned as a buyer because it owns an 800-acre site adjoining Hidden Valley that it has planned to develop with similar facilities. Those include a gated community, which could include a private 18-hole golf course, equestrian center, 267 single-family lots, townhouses and condominiums, nearly 70 golf cabins and other amenities. The Somerset County Redevelopment Authority has approved a $1 million state grant to Buncher for commercial development along state Route 31.
In October 2005, resort officials said they had received about a half-dozen bids for the resort but declined to identify the firms.
Fiscal problems have persisted at Hidden Valley, which was founded in the 1950s. Just before the resort was to be sold at a sheriff's sale in 2006, unpaid property taxes of $900,000 were paid.
It will be interesting to see how they connect the two sites. I understand that they have hired a ski resort consulting company from Utah to advise them how to run, improve and expand the resort. I have also heard that they don't know what to do with the conference center. Since they have a $1.0 million grant for commercial development along Route 31 perhaps they have new plans for a hotel, shopping, conference center, etc???. I can't imagine they would build some humdrum shopping center adjacent to their high end resort. They will not be able to start selling ski passes until they finalize the sale. Thus it looks like August before we see season passes for sale. I have heard that they will be reasonable priced. I was also told an interesting fact...HV sold 8,000 ski passes in 2000 ( I believe was the correct year) and something like 1,200 were never picked up by the purchaser??? Doesn't that seem odd? It was assumed that since they were so cheap, some folks didn't bother to pick them up. August should be an interesting month since I assume we're going to hear and see the results of this sale. I have heard that the ski lodge will be completely refurbished.
All good news. Yes the tie in between HV and earlier announced plans will be intresting. It's not like the plans for the neighboring development were done with the idea to necessarily include HV. If the 2 projects are merged, then do they still build another golf course and do the commercial development in Bakersville?
I also saw in one of the announcements that there were no plans for any changes on the operations side of things other than improvements. I'm surprised that Buncher would want to run a ski resort, rather than partner with in an entity from the outside to add experience and marketing capability.
Also, wonder what ever happened to the reapplication for the resort slot licenses?
I also saw in one of the announcements that there were no plans for any changes on the operations side of things other than improvements.
Does that mean that asshat Scanlon still gets to run things? Buncher can't be that stupid.
I have heard many positive things about Buncher including proposed improvements to the ski area and other resort facilities. I find it hard to believe that Scanlan would be kept around.
I have heard many positive things about Buncher including proposed improvements to the ski area and other resort facilities. I find it hard to believe that Scanlan would be kept around.
I do too, but has it been confirmed?
I think it is almost certain that JS will be around for awhile.
Do not allow this to taint your impression of Buncher and hopes for a better HV.
If you think about it, HV is a fairly large/complex operation to take over. Buncher will need to have knowledgeable people from the past around, at least during a transitional period,to train new people.. At HV, who else is left but JS!
I think we would all be amazed at how much information there is that needs to be passed along during a transition period...from " where is the circuit breaker that controls that outlet" to human resource related stuff when it comes to hiring lift operators next season, to whatever.
Like it or not, JS certainly has knowledge re: the physical plant and operations and Buncher would be foolish to forego the opportunity to acquire that knowledge at least through a transitional period.
Don't be too upst if JS is around for awhile!
I know that there has been no official notifications of the sale that would include future improvements but is there any word going around about improvements that will distinguish HV from Seven Springs.......Does Buncher intend to add additional trails (Outback)? etc.
I am hearing rumors of:
- Application for slot license once the sale closes
- Possible collaboration with other area resorts??
You are right that they need to offer something to distinguish from 7S.
On that note, has anything happened with respect to the water park at 7S that has been announced again and again but not a single thing seems to be happening. Wondering if they are waiting to see what HV does. Also there had been a water park hotel proposed for the somerset turnpike exit that also seems to have gone silent. Buncher would be well served to link up with them to put it at the outback base instead. Who wants to go to a waterpark overlooking the pa turnpike anyway.
Coming to Gizmosnow comments about JS. I believe many expert will tell you that such an opration can be overtaken without JS. HV is not a big operation like everyone thinks. A middle manager could take over very quickly. And regarding hiring snowmakers, mountain manager, etc it could be a chalange but not imposible. After all, if you want to start all over....please without JS.
I also believe with some ski industry knowledge and management experience could take over. Regarding the ski industry, JS did not much at all. Read for a change the NSAA web site and you will see where those resort Presidents have their ideas.......a no brainer.
HV needs to distinguish it from 7springs. Well I guess you talk like a red strategist. Compete in existing market space, beat the competition, exploit existing demand, etc. I believe if HV will create its own marketplace it will position itself very well in the industry - create a blue strategy. Blue ocean strategy was used at many other industries such as the circus industry with the circus de soile. It did not focus on its rival instead it focused on its own. Create uncontested market space, make the competition irrelevant, create and capture new demand, and work on a break the value-cost trade-off.
Many ski industries focus too much on organizations such as the NSAA and/or SAM. Let's focus on new demand like other resort around the world did. HV could and was a great resort with a great family touch.........
I was told by a reliable source the following:
- Buncher has contracted a Utah ski resort consultant who will assist them to operate the resort and assess improvements such a two new lifts
- the Outback expansion is being looked at since it is tied with real estate development
- 26 acres of spray fields are currently used forsewage disposal and additional 26 acres of spray fields would be required if the remaining developable land is developed. Alternaive methods of sewage disposal are being looked at.
- Buncher would like to return HV to a destination resort instead of a day resort. However, currently there is insufficient lodging to make this happen.
-extensive renovations are planned for the ski lodge as soon as the deal is official
I just returned from HV and talked to a number of people there. I heard that:
a number of local firms have already been asked to propose on various facility renovations at the resort
Foundation Board members were invited to Buncher's company picnic this summer and were impressed with the company's principled approach to business
Buncher's reputation is to stay for the long haul and do things right. They are attending the August meeting of the Foundation board to discuss their plans
A manager at the resort said that major investments in skiing are planned over the next few years, starting in the near term.
Buncher provided funds this spring for the golf course to do routine spraying for weeds and to fertilize and rent golf carts so that the course could open
A real estate man (who was not trying to sell me anything) said that the number of available residences at Hidden Valley is decreasing quickly, amidst an expectation of rapid price appreciation as the resort revivifies.
In summary, the expectations of those close to what's going on are that we will see a new era at Hidden Valley, and a return of some of the value that we thought we had bought, that was taken away from us by the previous mis-management.
We all might believe that some needed investments will make it all the way to HV. The fact is that most ski lifts at HV need to be replaced. That's a fact. They look at about 6 to 8 million dollars. The snow making system needs an update including the pumps and compressor room. The groomers look not too BAD but need one more and a pipe-dragon. And that's just the mountain site of a resorts operation in the winter. Let's look on a 5 to 7 years plan. They still look into a lot of investments with no financial return in the first 5 to 7 years.
I also can tell from an expert view that ski resorts like HV size is not of high interest radar screen for investors unless they see more then us. I hope they have a realistic perspective about the potentials and commitment that such an undertaking takes.
Understood, but I believe that falls right into Bunchoers M.O. From what I know about Buncher, they make long-term investments sometimes, I believe, sitting on land purchases for 'decades' to make a killing -- (I think that is what they did with land they purchased that ultimately became the westend busway.) Hopefully, they are taking a long-term view of the HV/reserve project and not in it for a quick flip.
I agree, I hope a long term commitment is on their agenta
There is no doubt that a significant investment is going to be required to not only fix what is there on the mountain, but to truely make it a destination year round resort to go beyond that. But from the track record of Buncher they would appear to be well aware and be taking that into account, and as you have stated "see more than us". They are bacically picking up a fixer-upper at low price sith some intresting upside.
Look at it this way; Where else in the entire midatlantic mountain region has anyone assembled such a large tract of gorgeous developable land, with city sewer access (very big issue), good year round access to major highways, and a operating ski and golf resort? Look at Asheville NC and how that area is booming, as well as other resort areas like Snoeshoe and Wisp. But here is an area within 3 hrs easy drive of DC/Balt, 1 hr (commutable) distance to Pittsburgh, next to another major resort, and all the basic things required for daily life just a few miles away.
What they need is something to attract year round guests, such as a slots license, brand name resort hotel, etc. Frankly just upgrading the lifts and lodge to "restore" HV to what it was before the Kettler's decided to let it rot isn't going to do it from what I can see.
This might be the time to buy in HV before the sale is final, the improvements announced and the possibility of a slots license. From all I have heard, it appears that buncher knows his stuff and I hope for great things.
Walked around HV this weekend. Buncher has a lot of work ahead of them. Everything needs work. Appears to have water run off that flooded the Inn. Everything needs sanding, painting or rebuilt and the weeds are taking over everything. It will be interesting where Buncher starts, the Inn or the Lodge?
The real estate question is a good one. Still Risky? Buncher has yet to really do anything.
Not only need the Buncher group to do anything yet they need to understand and feel the potential of the resort. I am a big believer in HV and see a lot of potential just like all of us. But can they turn the place into a RESORT again? To lead a resort it not only needs an understanding of all phases of a resort business..... it needs heart and passionate. Another factor is its big homeowner base, which is rare in the industry. I just hope they can and will turn the place into a better future.
The points made by Edgar3 are I believe the key to the success of the future Hidden Valley. Shrewd marketing of the markers that are within 3 hours - Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Baltimore, Washington, etc. will be important. If HV is to be a destination resort, they'll need to build a hotel. And they'll need to sell real estate. With close to 1,300 acres available for development, there is money to be made. The resort amenities are the only thing that is going to draw people to buy real estate. There are few jobs in the area, so I would anticipate most will be part time residents.
We'll find out the real story in about a month.
The anticipation of the master plan from Buncher is agonizing. I also wonder if the new summit development was taken off the table? Those condos appeared to be the next phase in moving into the outback slope expansion, except I would have put the slopes in first. I think the key to succes is going to be first, repairing and maintaining what is there. Second developing the area at the base of Outback using the $1M grant. Tying in new slopes that connect to a small village with shops, condos etc.
If everyone believes that HV is the only ski resort with potential and is located within 3 hours of some cities. I guess most East Coast resorts can say that. I guess it will work for HV but so can it for other resorts too.
Of course (IMHO) it can work for HV and it is already working for other resorts in the area...look at 7S, Wisp, SS, as examples.
It is a matter of supply and demand and nearby 7S is a clue...with 1,700sf condos selling, like hotcakes, for $800k; nearly 3,000 business conferences and 14,000 season passes per year (these figures are based on my best memory but, I beleive pretty accurate), it certainly appears that the demand is there to support a robust HV (I suspect it is why Buncher, who is known to be an extremely shrewd and highly successful developer, purchased the reserve land to begin with)
I never said it won't work for HV. What I am saying is that you cannot only count on it because most ski resorts have it but cannot make it. It needs more then that. A well-built business plan with a strong vision will help. I also consider that HV could be a top 20 ski resort for family in the East coast. We are also see new demand regarding chalets to rent to high end up clients, especially in Europe and out West. I believe HV should go in that direction.
I think the key to succes is going to be first, repairing and maintaining what is there. Second developing the area at the base of Outback using the $1M grant. Tying in new slopes that connect to a small village with shops, condos etc.
Since the $1M grant was approved based on the other property prior to the HV announcement, not so certain this can be used for anything at Outback Park.
It will be intresting to see where the "core" of the development ends up. The new firehouse is now under construction courtesy of Buncher, so a sizable investment is being made to clear the way in Bakersville, which will be closest to the sewer extension. On the other hand you would think thay Outback Park and the slopeside possibiities would pull things in that direction.
There are various parcels along Rt 31 between Bakersville and Outback Park for sale and wouldn't be surprised to now see Buncher want to tie things together and clean up the area along Rt 31 like 7S has on Copper Kettle Hwy.
Yes, would agree that success is not assured and it will take a good business plan.
For every "successful" midatlantic ski areas and mtn resorts within 3 hrs of DC there are plenty of failures.
I see that Bedford Springs Resort is now officially opened after a $120M renovation. I am certain they are also targeting conferences and will no doubt have some impact on 7S business or potential at HV.
Botton line is that there has to be a draw to get visitors to go year round. The skiing season is short and unpredictable, and HV will never stand out with vertical or acres. I agree with the high end focus. Look at Deer Valley or Beaver Creek, both of which lack in terrain vs their neighbors but set the standard in other ways. One would think that there is an opening for an eastern equivalent that is drivable from major population centers.
Heard that the deal with Buncher is progressing ahead of schedule. Crews are lined up to repave the roads as soon as the deal is closed. And, btw, for those who have not already done so, visit jackjohnson.com -- believed to have been hired by Buncher for the renovation/expansion of HV.
Jack Johnson company looks impressive. I was an inch away from buying a place in the summit but something is still holding me back. I am concerned about the view and the mining mess, now on both sides of RT31. It just bothers me to look out from the summit and possibly the new slopes off outback and see all this mess. I wonder how this can be solved. The mining is as clear as day even in the summer with the trees.
The list of resorts that Jack Johnson has provided design services for was impressive. If this is true then I would say that Buncher is on the right path.
Yes very impressive list from Jack Johnson. I see that 7S is one of their clients. Hmm.
Also note that they have done anything from 5 lot subdivisions up to complete resorts. The real question is what exactly havethey been hired to do? Good to hear rumors of pump upgrades, lifts etc so they thinking in some significant ways.
Also see it reported of 4 resort slot applications thus far with none in the Laurel Highlands. So at least at this point it would appear that slots will not be part of the HV renaissance.