Archive for January, 2011

Prudential’s 2010-2011 Winter Real Estate in the Vail Valley Guide

Prudential Colorado Properties just published our 2010-2011 Winter Real Estate Guide in a handy online version.  This booklet features homes in every market, in every price range.  If you see something of interest or know someone who may find it of value, please contact me and I would be more than happy to assist.  If you don’t see the property that fits you in our Buyer’s Guide, don’t forget you can see every property for sale in the Vail Valley on my website,

To view the Winter Real Estate Guide, Click Here.

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Acquisition of Squaw Valley USA by KSL Capital Partners Completed

OLYMPIC VALLEY, Calif. and DENVER, Colo. [December 6, 2010] – KSL Capital Partners, LLC announced today that it has closed the previously announced acquisition of substantially all of the shares of The Squaw Valley Development Company, which includes all facets of Squaw Valley USA ski operations, the Village at Squaw Valley and related real estate holdings. 

                “Squaw Valley is the birthplace of the modern mountain resort in the United States with a heritage, history, amenities and perhaps most of all, extraordinary terrain that can never be replicated,” said Eric Resnick, KSL’s Managing Director. 

Recently appointed Squaw Valley President and CEO Andy Wirth will continue in his role.  Wirth came to Squaw Valley in August 2010 after maintaining executive level positions with Intrawest, based out of Vancouver, British Columbia and Steamboat, Colorado, and has 25 years of experience in the resort and hospitality industry. “Squaw Valley has already begun a transformation under his leadership and we look forward to working with him and the Squaw Valley team as we usher in a new era.” said Resnick.  

“The announcement of KSL’s completing the acquisition of Squaw Valley is great news for our guests and our team,” stated Wirth. “The KSL team has already committed more than $50 million in capital improvements over the next three to five years here at Squaw, clearly supporting their commitment to the mountain and guest experience.”

KSL is a private equity firm based in Denver dedicated to investments in travel and leisure businesses. KSL’s current and prior investments include some of the premier properties in travel and leisure, including Grand Wailea Resort Hotel & Spa, Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa, La Costa Resort and Spa, Doral Golf Resort & Spa, Hotel del Coronado, the Claremont Hotel Club & Spa, the San Francisco Bay Club and its sister clubs, as well as ClubCorp, the world’s largest owner of private golf and business clubs. 

KSL has close ties to Vail Resorts (or Vail Associates back in the day).  Both Mike Shannon and Eric Resnick worked for Vail Associates in executive positions.  I’m pleased KSL made this acquisition.  They are known for developing quality resorts and Squaw Valley certainly needs some attention.  They have been hiring a lot of folks from Booth Creek who recently sold Northstar Ski Resort to Vail Resorts so many of their people are available.  Their latest excellent hire was Dee Byrne to be Director of Snowsports School and the Race Department.  Dee most recently was director of business development for the Aspen Ski Schools but prior to that was Director of Snowsports Schools for Vail.  Dee is a wonderful manager, executive, teacher, friend, and skier.  She will do wonders for Squaw Valley.  I’m looking forward to the transformation Squaw Valley will go through over the next few years.

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Pending home sales rise 2.0% in December, NAR says

By Jeffry Bartash

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) – Pending home sales rose 2.0% in December for the fifth increase in the past six months, according to an index released Thursday. The National Association of Realtors said its pending home sales index rose to 93.7 from a downwardly revised 91.9 in November. The index is still 4.2% below the level in December 2009, however. The data reflects contracts and not closings, which normally occur with a lag time of one or two months. The index is based on a large national sample, typically representing about 20% of transactions for existing-home sales.

We are certainly seeing a rising trend in Under Contract properties in the Vail Valley.  See the chart below:

January looks to be on a similar trend with 79 properties already under contract.  It appears that buyers are coming back into the market.  It is probably due to sellers finally getting realistic with their pricing.  Properties will sell if priced right. 

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Ski Tips – Skiing in Powder

I’ve been teaching skiing in Beaver Creek for over 20 years.  Over that time, I’ve become a firm believer that, in general, we do not change our basic skiing technique when skiing different terrain, be it bumps, powder, crud, or groomed.  We “tweak” things a little to allow us to successfully negotiate different terrain challenges.

For skiing in powder or crud, here is what I recommend:

  1. Take a slightly lower stance.  You will be bounced around when skiing powder or crud so a lower stance creates a lower center of gravity and better balance.
  2. Distribute your weight on both skis.  Our skis will follow the path of least resistance unless we “power” them through the snow.  We can’t do this unless we weight both skis.  We normally place the majority of our weight on our downhill ski.  I recommend adjusting our weight to 50-50 as much as possible. 
  3. Control your speed using turn shape.  On groomed terrain we often skid our skis to slow ourselves down.  You can’t do that in powder.  If you do, a snow “platform” will build up beneath your skis until the skis suddenly stop and over you go.  “Complete” your turns to slow down.
  4. In deep powder, to start my run I point my skis downhill, pump up and down a little, then spring into my first turn.  I continue to spring from turn-to-turn to help pull the skis out of the snow. 

In summary, there is no need to make wholesale changes in our skiing technique depending on the terrain we are on.  We simple need to “tweak” our technique to adopt it to what we are skiing.

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Skier visits up 10 percent through December

Aspen Skiing Co. reported 7 percent gain over last winter to start the season
Staff Report
Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado,
The performance by the Colorado ski industry as a whole outpaced the Aspen Skiing Co. during the start of the season, a report released Wednesday showed.

Colorado Ski Country USA, an industry association, said skier visits for its 22 members were up 10 percent through December compared to the same period last season.

Skico reported last week that its skier visits were up 7 percent through December compared to the prior season.

Abundant early season snow allowed many state resorts to open more terrain earlier than usual. The opening day for some resorts was Oct. 24. November brought more heavy snow, which enticed skiers and riders to hit the slopes.

“Consistent snow and reliable conditions contributed to a very positive start to the season,” Melanie Mills, president and CEO of Colorado Ski Country USA, said in a statement. “There is a lot of ski season left but we’ve set a good pace, have great snow conditions and hope the momentum continues.”

Vail Resorts isn’t part of Colorado Ski Country, so its four ski areas aren’t factored in to Ski Country’s tabulations. The resort operator reported earlier this month that skier visits at Vail Mountain, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone — as well as two resorts outside the state — were up 10 percent through Jan. 6.

Skier visits are the industry’s metric used to track participation in skiing and snowboarding. A skier visit represents a person skiing or snowboarding for any part of one day at a mountain resort.

Colorado Ski Country officials said the good snow conditions helped generate strong business during Christmas. The growth over last season probably would have been even greater if not for bitterly cold temperatures rolling into the state on New Year’s Eve day, according to local and state ski industry officials. That was expected to be one of the busiest days of the holiday period, but many skiers and riders stayed off the mountains instead.

Lodging occupancy at 15 major mountain destination resorts in the western U.S. was up almost 9 percent in December compared to the previous year, according to Mountain Travel Research Program, or MTRiP. It was the fourth consecutive month with a year-over-year increase.

“Continued signs of strength in the economy combined with good early snow gave most of the ski and snowboard resorts a much happier holiday this year,” said Ralf Garrison, director of MTRiP. “Based on these positive trends from the past few months and the current pace of future reservations, the prospect of a happier New Year is considerably more promising than last year but is certainly not a guarantee.”

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Home Sellers: Cut to the Chase in Home Repairs and Enhancements

By Terry Nolan
Prudential Colorado Properties

        2011 opens as a strong buyer’s market so home sellers must be on their toes to give their homes maximum appeal. Not only should sellers complete the home repairs they know must be made, they should also hire a certified home inspector to thoroughly and impartially evaluate their properties.

        If this inspection results in a fix-it list, review the list with your real estate professional to establish necessities and priorities. Depending on your budget and objectives, you may want to repair only items that could cause significant deterioration to your property, such as a leaky roof. Ideally, the closer you can get your home to “move-in-ready” status, the more likely you are to attract today’s cautious and discerning buyers.    

        Among the most common repairs and enhancements yielding immediate buyer appeal include:

  • Paint inside and outside in neutral colors
  • Steam clean or replace carpets
  • Polish or replace hardwood floors
  • Clean or re-grout kitchen and bathrooms
  • Replace light fixtures
  • Change light bulbs throughout and replace wall-switch covers
  • Repair dripping faucets
  • Fix sticking door
  • Repair broken fencing

        Home sellers wanting to do more should consider the findings of Remodeling magazine’s 2010-’11 Cost vs. Value Report, released in December 2010. The survey used input from REALTORS in 80 cities to rank home remodeling projects according to those that bring the greatest cost recovered at sale.
        Many of the top projects focus on exterior replacements, as replacements are generally less expensive than other types of projects and they add all-important curb appeal – essential for today’s competitive market or any other.

        The Top Five projects in the Cost vs. Value Report include:

          No. 1 – Entry door replacement (steel)
          No. 2 – Garage door replacement (four-section door, reuse existing motorized opener)
          No. 3 – Siding replacement (fiber-cement siding)
          No. 4 – Kitchen remodel (minor: new cabinet doors, drawers and hardware, plus new energy-efficient appliances, flooring, counters, sink and faucet)
            No. 5 – Deck addition (wood)

        When the dust clears and projects are complete, be sure that you and your real estate professional document your repairs and enhancements, and share the report with prospective buyers. Walk prospects through the enhancements and include their costs.

        A home in good condition demonstrates pride of ownership. Taking the time to make enhancements helps ensure your home is presented in its best-possible light, primed for sale.

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Michael Andre Adams

I had the pleasure of skiing with freelance journalist Michael Andre Adams over the weekend.  Michael is from Atlanta and is living the dream.  He travels extensively and reports on all the fun he has, all on someone else’s tab.  Michael was in the Vail Valley to check out the Westin Riverfront Resort and Spa in Avon as well as Beaver Creek Mountain.  He managed to sample several local restaurants as well.


I toured Michael around Beaver Creek Mountain and gave him a few skiing tips over the course of 2 days.  Michael had very solid skiing fundamentals.  He had learned to ski in the past from World Cup Champion Marc Girardelli.  Michael loved skiing fast and I was barely able to keep up.  Read about Michael’s ski trip by clicking on the following links:

Part 1

Part 2

Michael plans to return in the summer and experience the Vail Valley at its finest.  I thoroughly enjoyed meeting and skiing with Michael.


“Younger Next Year” by Chris Crowley and Harry Lodge

I just finished a great book called “Younger Next Year” by Chris Crowley and Harry Lodge.  If I can summarize, it explores aging and critical factors that can delay what we often think of as the inevitable signs of aging.  I’m a convert! 

The graph below is what we typically think aging will look and feel like:


This is the graph that Chris and Harry think should be the norm:

They believe we can have a thoroughly active life into our 80’s and 90’s by following Harry’s Rules, listed below:

1. Exercise six days a week for the rest of your life.
2. Do serious aerobic exercise four days a week for the rest of your life
3. Do serious strength training, with weights, two days a week for the rest of your life.
4. Spend less than you make.
5. Quit eating crap.
6. Care.
7. Connect and commit.

I’m convinced and am giving it at try.

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Beaver Creek Ski Condition Update

It was negative 10 degrees Fahrenheit when I drove into the parking structure for my office in Beaver Creek this morning.  I love to ski but that is too cold for me to think about getting out and making some turns.

I did make it out yesterday when it was hovering around zero degrees but the sun did make an appearance.  It was an interesting day to say the least.  Beaver Creek reported 11 inches of new snow.  I think that was fairly accurate, although much of that fell during the day on Sunday.  I clearly didn’t have the correct wax on my skis for the temperature.  My skis kept grabbing throughout the day, making for inconsistent sliding. 

I started in Strawberry Park and enjoyed freshies on President Fords and Stacker.  After a few runs I headed over to Larkspur.  Yarrow was loads of fun.  I encountered places with over a foot of new snow.  The bumps were negotiable and really didn’t impact your line.  I made three runs down Yarrow then up Grouse.  I skied Screech Owl to take advantage of the powder.  Boy are the bumps huge!  I still struggle with big, powder covered bumps.  I need to be more aggressive. 

After a short break at Redtail Camp to rest my screaming legs, I headed off to Bachelor Gulch via Harrier to visit my lovely wife.  The lower black face on Harrier was probably my nicest run of the day.  A couple of chocolate cookies in Kim’s office helped revive my energy.

Three runs down Arrowhead got my heart pumping again.  Golden Bear and Little Brave were grippy and fun.  Cresta was a sheet of ice.  I’ll avoid that in the near future.  Then back to the office before my hands and nose froze.  All in all, a nice day.  Checking Epicmix, it added up to over 24,000 vertical feet.  No wonder my body was tired!

Ski conditions in Beaver Creek are excellent.  We have a 50 inch base, just about enough to test the tree skiing.  We are expecting some additional snow this weekend for the MLK holiday but I’ll be in Blue teaching for a few days.  Should be fun.

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Vail Resorts Reports Certain Ski Season Metrics for the Season to Date Period Ended January 6, 2011

BROOMFIELD, Colo., Jan. 10, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Vail Resorts, Inc. (NYSE: MTN) today reported certain ski season metrics for the comparative periods from the beginning of the ski season through January 6, 2011, and for the prior year period through January 7, 2010, with both periods including the holiday period through the Thursday after New Year’s Day.  The data mentioned in this release is interim period data and subject to fiscal quarter end review and adjustments.


  • Season to date total lift ticket revenue at the Company’s six mountain resort properties, adjusted as if Northstar-at-Tahoe (acquired in October 2010) was owned in both periods, and including an allocated portion of season pass revenue for each applicable period, was up approximately 7.4% through January 6, 2011, compared to the prior year season to date period ended January 7, 2010.
  • Season to date total skier visits for the Company’s six mountain resort properties, adjusted as if Northstar-at-Tahoe was owned in both periods, were up approximately 10.1% through January 6, 2011, compared to the prior year season to date period ended January 7, 2010, including higher utilization by season pass holders.
  • Season to date ancillary spending at the Company’s six mountain resort properties, adjusted as if Northstar-at-Tahoe was owned in both periods, increased significantly, with revenue from ski school up 11.5%, dining up 13.3%, and retail/rental up 17.5% through January 6, 2011, compared to the prior year season to date period ended January 7, 2010.  

Commenting on the ski season to date, Rob Katz, Chief Executive Officer said, “Our early season visitation was strong, especially as our growing season pass holder base enjoyed the outstanding snow conditions across all of our mountain resorts.  While the Christmas to New Year’s week was negatively impacted by storm related challenges in the Northeast that kept some of our guests at home, as well as two days of unusually cold temperatures in Colorado, we feel great about results to date and the momentum we have going into the remainder of the season.  Importantly, we observed strong ancillary spending, yielding gains in all categories that outpaced lift ticket revenue growth and marked a continuation of the improving consumer spending trends we first reported in the spring of 2010.  Furthermore, in our first season of operation, we are pleased with the performance of Northstar-at-Tahoe, as it is showing improved results to date over the prior year.  Northstar is proving to be a great addition to our family of premier resort properties and Tahoe area skiers have embraced the opportunity to ski our two Tahoe resorts on one pass product, which contributed to the strong growth in visitation by season pass holders.  We also saw strong revenue growth across our lodging division and are seeing a continued strong booking pace at all of our resorts.”

Below is a table highlighting the season to date metrics for our six resort properties, adjusted to include Northstar-at-Tahoe as if it was owned in both periods.  Had Northstar-at-Tahoe been excluded for both periods, the results would have been similar to those reported.  

Season to Date Metrics Adjusted for Northstar-at-Tahoe(1)

(% change from prior period)

Season to Date

1/6/11 vs. 1/7/10

Lift Ticket Revenue 7.4 %  
Ski School Revenue 11.5 %  
Dining Revenue 13.3 %  
Retail/Rental Revenue 17.5 %  
Skier Visits 10.1 %  
(1)Adjusted to reflect as if Northstar-at-Tahoe were owned in both periods.  

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