Intrawest sells to Aspen and KSL

Discussion in 'General Skiing' started by SBrown, Apr 10, 2017.

  1. SShore

    SShore Getting on the lift Skier

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    I wonder who's sights Big Sky/Boyne are in? That seems to be the biggest prize left for the taking in the American market.
     
  2. The Dad

    The Dad Booting up Skier

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    Where are those data from, and is the comprehensive set available?

    Really? I would expect Kay-Aspen-Ell to try to acquire a Utah resort to compete with Vail's Park City/Canyons, perhaps Snowbird and/or Alta. And I don't believe that either has resorts in the PNW.
     
  3. SShore

    SShore Getting on the lift Skier

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    To my knowledge, neither of those has any real estate business to speak of, Big Sky on the other hand...
     
  4. Muleski

    Muleski Out on the slopes Industry Insider

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    True, but Boyne is NOT an insignificant player in this business. They are "all in" on the 10 year plan for Big Sky, which looks pretty amazing. And of course you have CrossHarbor, the PE firm who has partnered with Boyne to buy and pour money into Spanish Peaks and Moonlight Basin. I think that CH will soon have turned over all of the YSC ownership to the members.

    So, IMO, No chance of a Big Sky sale. And, good chance of Boyne buying back some of the properties that they sold to CNL, yet still operate. They have a stellar reputation, and would have no lack of financial partners....like CH.

    A number of other big targets out there. Not sure how critical the RE play is at every one. Lots of options to fit this together.

    The Cumming family has a reputation of being somewhat stubborn, and while you never say never, a sale of Snowbird would surprise me. Keep in mind that Snowbird is held by the family. Was not rolled into Powdr Corporation.

    I'd be thinking of privately owned big-name resorts, etc.

    Only just beginning......
     
  5. 4ster

    4ster Sucking a little less each day Instructor

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  6. markojp

    markojp mtn rep for the gear on my feet Instructor Industry Insider

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    FWIW, Crystal Mountain WA is now private and financially stand alone. Inter-family buy out.
     
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  7. James

    James Out on the slopes Instructor

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  8. Muleski

    Muleski Out on the slopes Industry Insider

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    Interesting.

    The CNL sale to Och-Ziff closed about 10 days ago, I believe. Maybe 4/1 was the target date.

    My impression was that Crystal had been part of the portfolio to convey to Och-Ziff, so O assume that the new owners must have bought it from O-Z. I keep hearing that every property is essentially for sale, and that the O-Z plan is to break it up, and realize significant gains with the sum of the parts. Is this number one?

    I was reminded this weekend that Intrawest owned a chunk of Mammoth. My friend was quite sure that they had the right to match any offer on Mammoth, etc. So, KSL agreeing to acquire Intrawest would make the acquisition of Mammoth by say, Vail, not to simple. Hence the Mammoth deal.

    So, what next? Depends on who you listen to. I think people in the press are spinning their wheels, and getting hair on fire frenzy about a battle with Vail Resorts. Season pass price wars. The need for feeder areas. More along I-70.

    Talking to friends who I consider very much on top of this, I don't think that is the plan. I don't think there will be any one size fits all Pass in 2018-2019. I am hearing portfolio of Top End Resorts. With some conmonality to your season pass.

    I also have been told that there is no impression that Intrawest knew what they were doing. So expect a variety of things to change over the next 18 months. I hear that some of the properties may be sold. Not following Vail on the feeder thing. If you're a passholder at. Mammoth, every property should have some appeal to you. Or it should have unique upside.

    I was told to bet on Snowbasin, Sun Valley, and I am guessing that they will make a huge push for Jackson. It's privately held. Just picking up on cues.

    If the vision is high end, based on the value proposition of the best of everything, and not on just selling 1Million cheap passes to push the stock price, you can almost put together that kind of portfolio in your head. And you do not need to have every geographic base covered.

    I would assume this extends beyond the US and Canada.

    Right now, I'm interested to watch O-Z. The KSL stuff is going to take time and the train has just started to roll.

    Very smart people,very smart investors. It's been said to me that there is ZERO chance long term of just taking over Intrawest and letting it run.

    I think it's going to be very interesting to watch.
    Every conversation that I have, with people who I think are pretty well informed and savvy points me away from the compete with Vail at their game model. For example, who knows if they will even have long term interest in WP, let alone Copper. And I know how big the market is.

    Just starting.......
     
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  9. markojp

    markojp mtn rep for the gear on my feet Instructor Industry Insider

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    CM... the son of the founder of Boyne bought the area.
     
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  10. Muleski

    Muleski Out on the slopes Industry Insider

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    So Crystal....that would be John Kircher? I know it's not Steven. He's the Boyne CEO now, since they disbanded the East/West co presidents thing.

    So CNL owned the hard assets, and Boyne held the lease to operate. The term left was at least 20 years. That lease transferred with the sale from CNL to O-Z.

    Wondering if John ended up with the lease in his name, or whether he has bought the hard assets from O-Z as well. I'm curious as I haveca pretty vested interest in two other Boyne CNL properties.

    Either way, glad to see him running it!
     
  11. markojp

    markojp mtn rep for the gear on my feet Instructor Industry Insider

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    That would be correct.
     
  12. SBrown

    SBrown Chuck Norris Admin Pugski Ski Tester

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    Another great article by Jason Blevins. I hope he doesn't mind that I keep linking him here.

    http://www.denverpost.com/2017/05/07/ski-industry-merger-antitrust-concerns/

    Some excerpts:


    Twenty years ago, a merger of giants in the ski industry triggered antitrust concerns that the lack of competition could lead to price spikes for skiers.

    Today, with recent consolidation deals setting up a battle between two major resort operators in an industry driven by season-pass sales, the competition could involve two titans offering more for less.

    When Denver private equity firm KSL Capital Partners — the owner of California’s Squaw Alpine resort — announced last month it was joining privately owned Aspen Skiing Co. in acquiring Intrawest’s six resorts for $1.5 billion as well as southern California’s four-hill Mammoth Resorts, the deal marked the return of an oligopoly in the resort industry.

    Within the span of one newsy week in April, the resort industry veered from a semi-monopoly controlled by Vail Resorts to a duopoly, with two giants vying for control....

    A source close to the KSL-Aspen Skiing deal said a pass product involving all the Intrawest resorts, Squaw Alpine, Mammoth Resorts and Aspen Skiing’s four ski areas is planned and will rival the Epic Pass.


    Independent resort owners across the state are watching the KSL-Aspen Skiing deal warily. A market dominated by cheap season passes could pinch resort owners dependent on day-ticket sales....

    Powdr Corp. is the model of resort operator adaptation. The company, which owns nine mountain resorts in six states, including Copper Mountain and Eldora, has diversified away from a reliance on lift ticket sales with the acquisition and expansion of the Outside Television network and Woodward action sports training camps, making it more of an adventure/lifestyle company than a ski-area operator.

    “Powdr’s approach to the ski business has evolved over the years and differentiated us within the competitive industry,” said Tim Brennald, Powdr’s head of resorts, who had forged pass-sharing deals with Intrawest to promote cross-visitation.

    Even with a footprint beyond ski areas, Powdr relies on season pass sales.

    “It’s still early to tell what kind of impact resort consolidation might have, but our partnership with Intrawest on pass products has been key in reaching our goal to provide guests awesome experiences in amazing places,” Brennald said.

    But with Vail and Aspen selling day lift tickets for as much as $189 last season— a pricing strategy that pushes both day-trippers and destination guests toward the $859 Epic Pass — the little resorts with tickets closer to $100 have an appeal among budget-minded skiers who aren’t bothering with a season pass.

    “In some ways, I wonder if this might help us,” said Davey Pitcher, the longtime owner of Wolf Creek ski area. “Our day tickets are much lower than most day tickets. These crazy season passes, it’s a business model that we have to live with but I’m not really sure it’s anything we can complain about.”

    “We have a big pricing advantage over the big guys,” said Monarch owner Bob Nicolls. “If they raise prices, that’s a good thing. We can track behind those guys. Things are going to consolidate, and they aren’t going to lower prices. Just watch.”

    Exactly, said Soma. If the price for season passes does fall with the introduction of a KSL-Aspen Skiing pass, they won’t stay low for long in a market controlled by two entities.

    “History says that a duopoly will simply maximize the price between the two entities,” Soma said.

    One interesting twist in the KSL-Aspen Skiing deal is that Aspen Skiing’s chiefs have said repeatedly that their four Roaring Fork Valley ski areas — Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk and Snowmass — will remain separate from the collective under the new, yet unnamed company. That would prevent Aspen Skiing from even being at the table when the new company schemes its ticket revenue strategy. Two competitors can’t work together to set pricing. So the deal will likely require Aspen Skiing to create a sort of wall between the new KSL partnership to prevent the appearance of collusion on pricing.

    “We are very aware of all these things and proceeding accordingly,” said Aspen Skiing spokesman Jeff Hanle, adding that it was “premature” to discuss any potentially contentious issues before the deal is even finalized, which is expected in the next several months.

    Soma said the idea that Aspen Skiing will remain separated from the new company “is just horsefeathers.”

    “That’s a bunch of baloney,” Soma said. “Give it two, three years and they will be operating as if they are the same group.”
     
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  13. DanoT

    DanoT Getting off the lift Skier

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    One thing that the article posted by SBrown skirts around but doesn't actually mention is the affect that the KSL-Aspen merger will have on the Max Pass and Mountain Collective Pass.

    AFAIK, Aspen has been the major driver behind the MCP while the Max Pass head office is the same address as Intrawest's head office. So going forward what will these two competing season passes look like?
     
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  14. Dave Marshak

    Dave Marshak Booting up Skier

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    I really have no idea how this plays out. I'm hoping they just add Aspen and the other KSL resorts to the MAxpass and call it good. I think it's more likely the Intrawest resorts get out of Maxpass. I hope that doesn't happen. Worst case is the whole Maxpass fails.

    dm
     
  15. Uncle Louie

    Uncle Louie The Original Gathermeister Skier

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    [QUOTE="SBrown}

    A source close to the KSL-Aspen Skiing deal said a pass product involving all the Intrawest resorts, Squaw Alpine, Mammoth Resorts and Aspen Skiing’s four ski areas is planned and will rival the Epic Pass.

    One interesting twist in the KSL-Aspen Skiing deal is that Aspen Skiing’s chiefs have said repeatedly that their four Roaring Fork Valley ski areas — Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk and Snowmass — will remain separate from the collective under the new, yet unnamed company. That would prevent Aspen Skiing from even being at the table when the new company schemes its ticket revenue strategy. Two competitors can’t work together to set pricing. So the deal will likely require Aspen Skiing to create a sort of wall between the new KSL partnership to prevent the appearance of collusion on pricing.



    I'm wondering what the Season Pass(es) will look like when you consider the two sentences above. Maybe the thinking is something like the A-Basin / Vail Resort deal where the Basin isn't owned by Vail (I think) yet you can still ski there on most Vail Resort Passes all season.

    Which Epic Pass will they rival? I'm wondering if the deal is going to be along the lines of the current Epic Local Pass where you get unlimited skiing at a few areas and limited days at other areas. It wouldn't surprise me to see a season pass (or multiple passes) for several of the areas which includes 10 days at Aspen. That way they could still offer a Aspen full season pass which would only be good at the 4 Aspen areas.

    It would be amazing if they offered everything on one inclusive pass that rivaled the Epic Pass. We'll see !
     
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  16. newboots

    newboots Getting on the lift Skier

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    Tiny Blandford, operated by the Springfield (Mass) Ski Club, is considering selling if they can. Poor weather in '15-'16, and drought water restrictions for snowmaking in '16-'17.
     
  17. otisshirley

    otisshirley At the base lodge Skier

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    Blandford is the kind of small New England hill (calling it a resort would be a stretch) that has been going out of business over the past couple of decades. I've been there, and they could really use some infrastructure improvements, but I can't imagine they could finance them out of operating cash flow.

    In their case, the alternative to finding a buyer may be shutting down (or at least it seems that way from the outside).
     
  18. Uncle Louie

    Uncle Louie The Original Gathermeister Skier

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    This is pretty much what I've been thinking and hoping for.
     
  19. SBrown

    SBrown Chuck Norris Admin Pugski Ski Tester

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  20. Jilly

    Jilly Lead Cougar Skier

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    I really can't see them keeping the eastern resorts. I know RCR tried to buy Tremblant years ago, but was stopped by the government. Blue Mountain, Ontario would be a good catch for a local group. The American resorts I don't know too much about.
     

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