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Vail: How it's changed skiing and where it might be going.

newboots

Angel Diva
Not great news, but important. The worse the news about Vail is, the lower their stock price falls. Wall Street has been paying attention. That's a real kick in the butt for the corporation, and that fact that it's not just Stevens but other resorts around the country has contributed to this impact. This is something they can't ignore. If making the passholders angry means making the shareholders angry, action might follow!
 

RoseSki

Certified Ski Diva
Not great news, but important. The worse the news about Vail is, the lower their stock price falls. Wall Street has been paying attention. That's a real kick in the butt for the corporation, and that fact that it's not just Stevens but other resorts around the country has contributed to this impact. This is something they can't ignore. If making the passholders angry means making the shareholders angry, action might follow!
Yep.


For a visual, if you google "mtn stock", and select 6 months, it's obvious that the stock price spike that seems to have coincided with the announcement of the number of Epic passes sold (mid September) has since mostly been wiped out. Not clear that anything other than bad (and accurate) press could have accounted for the drop.
 

echo_NY

Angel Diva
Excellent article in the Park Record that pretty much sums up a lot of stuff going on with Vail. In a nutshell, Wall Street is starting to take notice of all the issues -- and they don't like what they see. Maybe that'll wake someone up.
Thank goodness they've taken notice.
Notice it's definitely not been the experience of a lifetime for so many skiers/snowboarders? It boggles the mind.
 

echo_NY

Angel Diva
Did you notice that OnTheSnow is back? Can't quite remember who managed to revive it but pretty sure they were connected to Mountain News Corp. MNC created OnTheSnow and then were bought by VR. Soon after MNC bought EpicSki, which was eventually shut down with very short notice.
I hadn't noticed! Thanks for the mention
 

Christy

Angel Diva
It's the front page story in the Seattle Times today, and Vail actually talked to the reporter. They still sound so clueless, though. They say the situation at Stevens is worse than anywhere else, but don't seem to understand why. There's nothing harder about running Stevens Pass than any of the other ski areas in the Cascades, and it's actually less remote than most of the others. And they still sound so baffled that they raised wages to $15 but can't find workers...that's only 50 cents over WA minimum wage. Seattle minimum for large employers is $17.27. We've been hearing from restaurants owners here for years that they can't find line cooks and other kitchen staff for less than $20-25 hour. But Vail comes to town and can't understand why $15 doesn't work. And everyone has Covid. It's not because of Covid.

“Candidly, I think our staffing challenges hit Stevens Pass harder than any other resort,” said Pierini, whose company owns 40 ski areas across 15 states and three countries. “We are more challenged there than anywhere else.”


Spooky....

Once ski patrol lifted restrictions on uphill travel for the day, my partner and I explored the ridge between Cowboy and Big Chief mountains, the two peaks under which the marked trails at Stevens Pass unfurl. We passed a succession of dormant chairlifts. As the empty chairs swayed in the wind, saddled with feet of snow when they would normally be filled with skiers and snowboarders, I had the impression I was hiking through one of our region’s abandoned ski areas. The experience was like visiting a skiing ghost town. Back at the resort base, I found spartan lunch options, a closed tuning shop and an empty Foggy Goggle — the après-ski bar at Stevens that has yet to open this season.
 

MissySki

Angel Diva
Spooky....

Once ski patrol lifted restrictions on uphill travel for the day, my partner and I explored the ridge between Cowboy and Big Chief mountains, the two peaks under which the marked trails at Stevens Pass unfurl. We passed a succession of dormant chairlifts. As the empty chairs swayed in the wind, saddled with feet of snow when they would normally be filled with skiers and snowboarders, I had the impression I was hiking through one of our region’s abandoned ski areas. The experience was like visiting a skiing ghost town. Back at the resort base, I found spartan lunch options, a closed tuning shop and an empty Foggy Goggle — the après-ski bar at Stevens that has yet to open this season.

Wow, that IS spooky!

Also a random aside, we have a Foggy Goggle at the main base area of Sunday River too.
 

Christy

Angel Diva
I wonder how they will be able to dig out when the highway reopens. SP got many many feet of snow, then it rained, then they got many feet of snow again, today they are getting rain. They've been closed for a week and there's no one to groom when they do reopen. I have this vision that they manage to dig out the chairs and get them running, but they dump skiers into a giant pile of snow where everyone just sinks.
 

Christy

Angel Diva
I wish the reporter had asked about perks. It seems like you can throw a lot of perks at employees to keep them happy. It's also interesting that last year they told the Times how much housing they had at the pass (enough for 65 people), and this year, they wouldn't comment. Other sources have said they took away the housing, so maybe they just want to play dumb on that front.
 

MissySki

Angel Diva
As of today...I wonder if the old GM got fired, or quit.

On Jan. 12, Vail Resorts announced that Tom Fortune, currently general manager at Heavenly in South Lake Tahoe, California, will serve as the new interim general manager at Stevens Pass, the ski area where he began his career in the industry.
Wow, the GM at Attitash resigned last week I think it was.. imagine if they all start dropping like flies. I can't blame them, they are the ones who are probably taking blame for things they have no control over on the ground.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
As of today...I wonder if the old GM got fired, or quit.

On Jan. 12, Vail Resorts announced that Tom Fortune, currently general manager at Heavenly in South Lake Tahoe, California, will serve as the new interim general manager at Stevens Pass, the ski area where he began his career in the industry.
Interesting for sure! Assuming the man who became GM in 2018 had stayed on, here's the official announcement of that appointment. Seems as if Tom Pettigrew was not a VR manager before the acquisition of Park City. Also named "Tom" so there could be confusion in the next few weeks.

At least Tom Fortune actually has personal and professional history at Stevens.
" . . .
I grew up at Stevens Pass and my ski career started here, too. My three boys have grown up at this mountain and also call it home. I worked my way through the ranks for 20 years (I have the photo to prove it, see below), ultimately leaving in 1999, having served as Director of Operations. Since then, I have been lucky enough to manage a number of amazing resorts across the western United States, gaining new insight and experience along the way. This includes time at Schweitzer Mountain in Idaho as GM, followed by moving to the Tahoe area in 2010, where I’ve held several senior operations roles at both Heavenly and Kirkwood. In 2016, I proudly became the GM of Kirkwood, and three years later, I began serving in my current role as GM at Heavenly.
. . ."


September 2018
I am excited to announce that Tom Pettigrew, currently Senior Director of Skier Services at Park City, will be moving into the role of VP and GM of Stevens Pass effective Sept. 24, 2018.

Tom has enjoyed an extensive career in the industry beginning as a ski instructor at Sundance Utah in 1981, before moving to Park City Mountain in 1982. At Park City he has held varied roles across multiple lines of business including; ski and snowboard school, product sales and service, mountain and guest services, summer operations, rental operations, ticketing operations, parking, scanning, tubing and more. In his current role as Senior Director of Skier Services at Park City, he was a leading member of the team that oversaw the cultural transformation and integration of Canyons and Park City, creating the largest resort in the United States.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
Assuming the man who became GM in 2018 had stayed on, here's the official announcement of that appointment. Seems as if Tom Pettigrew was not a VR manager before the acquisition of Park City. Also named "Tom" so there could be confusion in the next few weeks.
Saw in SAM that Tom Pettigrew was the man who is no longer GM at Stevens.
 

former-boarder

Certified Ski Diva
I wonder how they will be able to dig out when the highway reopens. SP got many many feet of snow, then it rained, then they got many feet of snow again, today they are getting rain. They've been closed for a week and there's no one to groom when they do reopen. I have this vision that they manage to dig out the chairs and get them running, but they dump skiers into a giant pile of snow where everyone just sinks
According to a patroller friend, they've done some work this week (she lives east of Stevens Pass) and the resort isn't as buried as they'd thought it would be. I think the rain helped with compaction. I'm guessing there is still a lot of work to do, though. If I get to go on Tuesday, I guess I'll find out!

This whole Vail-Stevens situation saddens me to no end. I learned to snowboard at Stevens in the 90s and after I switched to skiing a couple of years ago, Stevens became my go-to midweek destination when I progressed past beginner level.

Another thing that irritates me about Vail is that they kicked out all the independent ski schools this year. I'd been taking lessons with a school that operated for 57 years until this year when they were told they couldn't operate at Stevens anymore.
 

teleskichica

Diva in Training
I got two days in at White Pass for the brief window it was opened and have since been taking advantage of closed passes and ski areas to frantically catch up on work... forgive me if this has already been posted but I personally think this is a potentially powerful push back to Vail and its exploitation of customers and employees: https://www.sltrib.com/news/2022/01/11/vail-resorts-park-city/

No, we will not run your resorts while you run to the bank with your profits and run us into the ground!

This is powerful moment and I hope that the employees of all locations organize in solidarity. A $1200 bonus may be significant but not as significant as a contract for real wages and benefits. The long-term gain far outweighs the one month of rent IF IF IF you are an employee who can stick it out through April (the terms of the bonus Vail is offering).
 

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