Anybody hear anything new about Canaan Valley?
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The Colonel - DCSki Supporter
August 3, 2008
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
3,097 posts
When last we discussed this subject during the winter, the state had put the Canaan Valley operation/management out for bids. We also learned that the new lease stated that there had to be a number of needed improvements to the ski area.
Anything new? How about it you DCSkiers with places in or near the valley!!!
The Colonel \:\)
kwillg6
August 4, 2008
Member since 01/18/2005 🔗
2,021 posts
Haven't heard anything yet, but I'll ask around next weekend. Most of the regulars inhabit t-line and the two areas don't communicate very much. All I know is that the weather has been real nice up there and when i visit, it's hard to leave to come back to the nasty hot we've been having. \:\( On another note of worthiness... watch your speed in the valley. With it's important recent homeowner (gov M) there is a increase in state police law enforcement. The CVFD has a bunch of new pieces of equipment... wonder how that happened , and there is the new t-line "Hilton" nearing completion.
fishnski
August 4, 2008
Member since 03/27/2005 🔗
3,530 posts
Couldn't get an answer the last time I was up at the valley...there is 0 movement up at the slopes so there doesn't look to be anything new this year \:\(
kwillg6
August 11, 2008
Member since 01/18/2005 🔗
2,021 posts
I stand corrected and the CVFD hasn't had a cashfall from any source. They'll get my annual $$$ as usual for the great work they do. Couldn't find out who the ski area operator of CV is either however anyone would be an improvement over the one there the last few years. Overall the place was dead last Friday night.
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The Colonel - DCSki Supporter
August 11, 2008
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
3,097 posts
If by chance a different company gets the new Canaan management contract it will be for the entire resort, not just the ski area.
I am still hoping for Intrawest.
The Colonel \:\)
wvrocks
August 11, 2008
Member since 11/9/2004 🔗
262 posts
Thanks for the correction Kim. And thanks for your donations and those of the many other DCSKIer's who own homes in Canaan Valley. They really do go a long way toward helping us serve our community and keep our firefighters safe, trained and prepared.

On another note, I haven't heard anything about a new owner for CV. Would be nice to see something happen there.

I was by the new hotel at T-line yesterday. Actually looks pretty nice from the outside. That's all I've seen of it though.

OhioHillbillies
August 12, 2008
Member since 09/29/2007 🔗
30 posts
Pics of the new hotel construction at t-line



tgd
August 25, 2008
Member since 07/15/2004 🔗
585 posts
Front page of the Parsons Advocate this week "$30M investment likely. Canaan lodge rooms, slopes to get improvement." The state has issued an RFP seeking a 25 year contract with a service provider willing to invest $30M or more in modernizing and upgrading the lodge and ski area. Guest Services, Intrawest, and Center Equities out of Georgia are expected to bid. There is a bidders conference scheduled at Canaan Valley State Park on September 17. Proposals are due November 17, and award is expected after January 2009.

There was a holdup getting a state law passed that allowed that state to enter into a 25 year contract - previous state law limited contract durations to 10 years. The state figures it will take a 25 year deal to make the up front investment payoff for a service provider.

The improvements include demolishing and replacing 250 lodge rooms with new ones up to modern standards. No specific ski area improvements were listed, though the state expects improvements to bring the ski area to its "fullest potential".

Interestingly, the state explored the possibility of building up-scale lodging and offering long term leases to private parties as a potential money maker. However, surveys indicated that leases were a poor competitor to the second home market that exists in the Valley. I still think a potential land-swap involving slope-side parkland for real estate development is not out of the question. Why else would a real estate development company like Intrawest be interested in being a park concessionaire?

Tom
fishnski
August 26, 2008
Member since 03/27/2005 🔗
3,530 posts
There you go Budro!..Great news, just wish it happened last year so we could get a better skiing experience this year. Looks like the place will be a ghost town this winter unless mother nature cooperates...

Fav quote....Though the State expects improvements to bring the Ski area to its "Fullest potential".....Music to my ears!
kwillg6
August 26, 2008
Member since 01/18/2005 🔗
2,021 posts
Tom, I take it that we will suffer one more season with the current operator. Those folks don't know anything about running a ski area, let alone anything about snowmaking. I know last year was not a good snowmaking season, however, when the operator doesn't even attempt to open their marquee' trail(gravity) they have no business in snow business. \:\(
tgd
August 26, 2008
Member since 07/15/2004 🔗
585 posts
Well, since the current operator (Guest Services) is also a bidder for the new and potentially more lucrative opportunity, one might expect it would be to their competitive advantage to put on a good show and pump up customer satisfaction at the same time the state is evaluating their proposal. At least that's the way we do it in my business. We'll see.

Tom
tgd
August 26, 2008
Member since 07/15/2004 🔗
585 posts
Here is a link to the actual RFP seeking proposals for improvements to Canaan Valley State Park. The mandatory bidders conference is at the park on September 17, and your proposals are due November 17.

Canaan Valley State Park RFP
pagamony - DCSki Supporter
August 28, 2008
Member since 02/23/2005 🔗
832 posts
The report contains no direct mention of ski operations such as lifts, trails, snowmaking, grooming, or any other needs; with the exception of an interesting note about about the ponds. I would not hold my breath for improvements.

I have extracted relevant sections of the report including references to a focus group study:

"The area is known for its cool, high Allegheny climate and heavy winter snowfall which make it a popular winter sports area. The not-too-distant future will almost surely see Appalachian Interstate Corridor H completed to within some 12 miles of the state park
...
it is contemplated that the improvements at minimum will likely consist of demolition of 250 existing rooms and reconstruction of the number of lodge rooms that the redevelopment investor believes are necessary to meet market demand and assure financial success as well as any necessary improvements to the ski facilities to bring them to their fullest potential.
...
problems exist with two ski area water storage ponds that have never properly held water. Resolution of this problem is currently being discussed by the State and the concessionaire.
...
The State also envisions that major enhancements to the ski mountain complex will be necessary to assure its continued attractiveness to skiers.
...
The State estimates Canaan Valley Resort State Park that a minimum of $30 to $35 million in total investment is likely needed for redevelopment
...
Price was also mentioned as a reason why visitors, particularly those who ski, come to Canaan Valley Resort. The cost of a ski trip to Canaan Valley was perceived to be significantly less than a trip to Snowshoe. However, dissatisfaction with the location of the ski lift relative to the drop off location for Canaan Valley Resort shuttles was noted by several members who complained of having to walk from the shuttle to the lift with their ski equipment.
...
Skiers and non-skiers noted the need for "skier-friendly" rooms that had an area for wet boots and a place to hang skis.
...
Participants had mixed opinions when the concept of lodging on the ski slopes was discussed... some felt that the idea was a good one because the lodging and slopes would no longer be disconnected, some indicated that they liked the fact that there was no lodging on the ski slopes of Canaan Valley Resort. Participants who have skied at Canaan Valley Resort are not bothered by the shuttle from the lodge to the ski slopes. However, there was agreement that skiers want to be able to get off the shuttle right at the ski lift.
...
Suggestions for the exterior-of the lodge were also given by participants. One participant requested that Canaan Valley Resort strive for a unique, "exotic" architectural style. "Don't make it comparable to other places in the Valley." The village concept used by Snowshoe Mountain, With shops and restaurants clustered together, was suggested by one participant."
tgd
August 28, 2008
Member since 07/15/2004 🔗
585 posts
Yes, the language regarding ski resort upgrades is non-specific beyond the "fullest potential" quote I cited in my original post. Also, $35M does not seem like a large amount of money considering how much work needs to be done. Snowmaking, high-speed lifts, and new trails could easily eat most if not all of that budget. Still, the new lodge rooms are clearly the priority item for the state. Also, what about the golf course? I would imagine there are some significant investment needs there as well.

I think they should have set their eyes higher - say $100M. However, by limiting the investment payback to visitor concessions revenue alone the state effectively caps the value of this deal.

That's what seems to make this deal a pretty small play for Intrawest. I'm accustomed to them making big moves like buying Steamboat and such - not chasing hotel management jobs. But maybe Intrawest figures they can leverage their existing international service infrastructure and local presence at Snowshoe to drive down costs in a way that makes them a little money here.

Still, I don't understand why Intrawest would build up a resort in Canaan Valley that competes with Snowshoe for visitors and second home buyers. Given Intrawest owns more real estate they can develop and sell in Snowshoe, and no real estate as far as I know in Canaan Valley it seems like an odd business move for them. Wouldn't they expect a better return on their investment of $35M if they put it into Snowshoe versus a competitor resort they do not own?

Tom
pagamony - DCSki Supporter
August 28, 2008
Member since 02/23/2005 🔗
832 posts
A long time ago, there were a few proposals to create a public financed ski area in NC, including one on Mt. Mithell. The legislature took the position that public financed enterprise had an unfair advantage over private enterprise. It is ironic that now a state park system cannot compete with private ski areas. $35M does seem a paltry investment for the entire resort services, and I cannot imagine what Intrawest, which seems primarily a real estate company that develops skiing as the big draw, sees in it. I'd like to see a more-experienced small ski area operator like Boyne get a handle on it. What I really want, though, is CV with great snow conditions early in the season and reasonable lodging - nothing more nor less.

According to the report, they just need cheap prices, nicer rooms with boot heaters, and a shuttle to the actual slope - forget about the actual skiing!
GGNagy
August 29, 2008
Member since 01/5/2006 🔗
445 posts
 Originally Posted By: pagamony
A long time ago, there were a few proposals to create a public financed ski area in NC, including one on Mt. Mithell. The legislature took the position that public financed enterprise had an unfair advantage over private enterprise. It is ironic that now a state park system cannot compete with private ski areas. $35M does seem a paltry investment for the entire resort services, and I cannot imagine what Intrawest, which seems primarily a real estate company that develops skiing as the big draw, sees in it. I'd like to see a more-experienced small ski area operator like Boyne get a handle on it. What I really want, though, is CV with great snow conditions early in the season and reasonable lodging - nothing more nor less.

According to the report, they just need cheap prices, nicer rooms with boot heaters, and a shuttle to the actual slope - forget about the actual skiing!


Pagamony,
I know you are on SJ, and there have been a few threads about the NY state owned vs private ski areas where they have discussed the possible conflicts of interest. Using Canaan Valley as an example is poor, because that ski area is an afterthought to the State. If the state got serious about CV, it would instantly create much stiffer competition for Timberline, which acts like it allready is a make-do operation.
Norsk
August 29, 2008
Member since 05/13/2003 🔗
315 posts
It is interesting, though, that other state/local governments have been able to make ski area management work, in terms of offering a credible, quality product. The New York areas, esp Whiteface, come to mind, as does Winter Park CO. Point being if they want to, it is possible.
pagamony - DCSki Supporter
August 29, 2008
Member since 02/23/2005 🔗
832 posts

Good points and I agree that public areas can succeed, after all money is money, but there is a literal wealth of difference between NY and WV in this area at least. Even so, I have to wonder about it, as CV is never going to have the regional population of NY or the cross-regional draw of WP.

CV is a fun little ski area when it has snow and I'd like to see it prosper, it's a better trip to be able to visit both CV and TL.
Kris
September 10, 2008
Member since 03/15/2005 🔗
248 posts
I really like CV. Not too crowded. Nice wide main trails. There is some nice tree skiing between Gravity and Timber trail (i think thats what its called). When the snowfields are open they are rarely touched. Lots of fresh lines to be made.

I would just like to see them get on the ball a lot quicker than they have been. It seems like they open less and less trails every year.

But hey, At least im skiing right???
kwillg6
September 11, 2008
Member since 01/18/2005 🔗
2,021 posts
CV used to pride itself in being opened for the thanksgiving holidays. They used to compete with snowshoe to see who could drop the rope first. The current operator of the area doesn't value skiers. Most of those who used to work at the CV ski area are elsewhere now. It's sad to lose those personalities who made CV a great place. On a POW-POW day that was THE place to go to get fresh all day. Still may be, but I don't waste my money on the place anymore until they fix things.
myrto
September 11, 2008
Member since 10/4/2001 🔗
259 posts
Originally Posted By: tgd

Still, I don't understand why Intrawest would build up a resort in Canaan Valley that competes with Snowshoe for visitors and second home buyers. Given Intrawest owns more real estate they can develop and sell in Snowshoe, and no real estate as far as I know in Canaan Valley it seems like an odd business move for them. Wouldn't they expect a better return on their investment of $35M if they put it into Snowshoe versus a competitor resort they do not own?

Tom




Maybe they figure $35mil would break even and eliminate the possibility of someone else comming in and giving stiff competition to Snowshoe?
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