New Mexico’s Taos Ski Valley is reportedly being sold by the only owner it has ever known, the Blake family. The buyer is Louis Bacon, a hedge fund manager and founder of Moore Capital whose net worth is believed to be in excess of $1.5 billion. Taos has been able to operate since 1954 essentially on cash flow alone, avoiding the debt service that has plagued so many resorts of late. With Bacon as its owner, the resort seems poised to continue this successful operational strategy into the future.
First quarter results of fiscal 2014 show a widening financial loss at Vail Resorts resulting from its roll-up of other resorts in Utah and the Midwest. Vail Resorts reported a net loss of $73.4 million for the first quarter of 2014 as compared to $60.6 million in the same period for 2013. While it is not uncommon to report first quarter losses as the mountains are not fully operational, its reported financials include the recently acquired Mt. Brighton, Afton Alps, and Canyons.
Hogadon Ski Area near Casper, Wyoming is more than just a ski resort. It is part of the fabric of the community. It is a place where people learn to ski and fall in love with the sport. It is a place where people learn of the beauty of Wyoming, and never want to leave. But operating as a ski resort has become more challenging of late for stand alone resorts, as the consumer spending has plunged, and the costs of capital expenditures has soared. It has been reported that Hogadon requires more than $6 million in projects including building a terrain park and replacing the two chair lifts, ski lodge and maintenance buildings to get up to par. This is not uncommon in the industry which has seen close to 300 resorts in North America close of late. Hogadon is up for the challenge and is believed to be exploring every avenue to continue long into the future. Resorts have turned to non-profit status, community investment, the federal EB-5 program and joint ownership to survive, and hopefully Hogadon will too.
|Construction Underway on Camelback’s New $163 Million Lodge and Indoor Waterpark
Despite the recent bankruptcy cases of several ski resorts that invested capital to become four season resorts, it seems that there remains enough confidence in the industry for others to push forward. As evidence of this trend, Camelback Mountain Resort is pouring $163 million into a new lodge and indoor waterpark to add to their current mix of amenities which already includes an outdoor water park. The new lodge will have 453 rooms hotel and is scheduled to open in the spring of 2015. Greek Peak in Virgil, NY attempted a similar project but ended up in chapter 11 when the fractional shares of the lodge failed to sell during the real estate crisis. Coupled with the accelerated pace of bookings for western ski resorts, the industry appears to be getting a great start out of the gate for 2014.